My favorite Escapist Reads are written by an English woman born at the turn of the last century. She wrote in abundance and is credited with being the Mother of the Regency-England Romance. Whereas Jane Austen wrote contemporaneously, this author wrote with the knowledge of extensive research. Her novels are clean, witty, intriguing and humorous. I have often found myself giggling with delight and girlish glee. She is Georgette Heyer. Georgette Heyer wrote Historical (romantic and otherwise), Mystery, and Contemporary novels. These are all wonderfully written, but, again and again, I reach for the historical romance.
Yes, I love romance. For all of my pragmatism and objectivity, I am a whimsical romantic at heart. Of her many, many novels, these are my most favored:
(A Civil Contract) My all time favorite. I could read this over and over- and I have. It is not a tale of passionate infatuation, but that of a more quiet, peaceful, enduring love. The hero must marry a wealthy heiress of a merchant to save his family's land though he loves another. The heroine is the daughter of a wealthy tradesman and is not beautiful, but wants to make his life as comfortable as possible, if not happy.
(Friday's Child) Definitely the sweetest. I am thrown into fits of hilarity and giddiness by the dialogue and situations. Our young hero gets married in a fit of pique to a young woman barely out of the schoolroom, believing that his life will not be altered and he may continue as usual. Our young heroine is innocent of the ways of society and how to go on. She falls into many social scrapes, a constant source of discomfiture to her husband.
(Beauvallet) (These Old Shades) (Devil's Cub)
Beauvallet is filled with adventure, passion, and intrigue. Set in the 1500's, an English Privateer (legalized pirate) and a young Spanish lady fall in love. He promises to come for her, but the way in and out is fraught with peril.
These Old Shades and Devil's Cub are part of a trilogy; these are set in Georgian Europe. In These Old Shades, one of Georgette Heyer's first characters from The Black Moth receives a reprisal as the "hero" who discovers a fiery-tempered young woman cross-dressing as a youth in France who resembles an enemy of his and takes her under his terrifying wing. Devil's Cub is the story of their son who mistakenly absconds with the wrong woman. This woman sought to save her sister's reputation by pretending to be her in meeting the intended at a midnight rendezvous.
These books carry me away to warm, fuzzy, exciting places filled with period cant, witty dialogue, hilarious situation, and believable characters. I have laughed. I have cried. I have cheered. I have jeered. I hope you will have a look at these, and perhaps you will find others of her books that you love. Many public libraries will have at least one of her novels if not more. Otherwise, inexpensive ones can be found on EBay and Amazon.
What are your favorite recreational reads?