Argh Re-Reads: Georgette Heyer

When interviewers used to ask who my inspirations for writing were, I’d say, “Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Parker.” I think that’s still pretty accurate. I loved the liquidity of their writing, the smooth flow of words that let the emotions flow through, the fun of the story over the depth of the meaning. And I loved their humor, not obvious slapstick jokey stuff but subtle plays of language and character, the way they both looked clear-eyed at the insanity of their societies. The difference between them? Parker was acidic, scathingly funny in her indictments but with a sharp edge. Heyer was softer, wrapping everything in the promise of a happy ending for her emotionally healthy characters. They both wrote at roughly the same time although Heyer set her romances in the past, but Parker sat back with her cutting edge while Heyer leaned in and laughed her way through bouncing love stories. I wondered at one time if that wasn’t because Parker was American and Heyer was British, but I’m sure it was also just part of their personalities. Somebody once described Parker as a cross between Little Nell and Lady Macbeth, while Heyer always seemed to me to be the embodiment of one of her book titles: a Lady of Quality. Of the two, which one do I reread? Heyer, of course. If I’m needing a reread, I want that happy ending. Continue reading

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