When Europe looks bleak, Georgette Heyer
Reading another of my co-editor's posts on dependably dismal Europe, I thought of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, set when Napoleon was ruining the continent.
Heyer's novels "are a sunny and compact genre in which a lady and a gentleman meet, form indifferent opinions of each other, banter for 200 pages or so, kiss and agree to marry" (Wall Street Journal).
Well, rather more than that.
Georgette Heyer wrote over 50 gorgeous novels - witty, laugh-out-loud funny books, with brilliant historical detail and a swiftness of line and characterisation which evokes the dogs, galloping horses, men and independent heroines swerving through them.
Georgette Heyer's first novel, Black Moth, published in 1921, was written when she was fifteen "to amuse her convalescent brother" (Amazon).
The Regency period was also Jane Austen's. At his request she dedicated Emma to the dissolute Prince Regent. Drinking, adulteries, and stupefaction riddled the rich members of the Regency period, but Heyer's novels sail above turpitude and dazzlingly reward virtue.
She includes social detail. An Infamous Army is reputed to contain one of the most historically accurate and vividly narrated descriptions of the Battle of Waterloo.
Amazon's book links are a bit haphazard tonight, but Heyer is dependably delicious.