Georgette Heyer

Jennifer Kloester, Author
Jennifer Kloester. Sourcebooks, $16.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-4022-7175-5
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
Hardcover - 465 pages - 978-1-4022-7177-9
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-434-02071-3
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English Regency social historian Kloester details the life of Georgette Heyer (1902–1974), the “Queen of Regency romance,” who sold her first book at age 17 and, over the next 50 years, married Ronald Rougier, bore one son, and wrote 55 books. With access to a thousand pages of new material plus full access to Heyer’s private papers, Kloester adds to, and sometimes corrects, some facts in Joan Aiken Hodge’s 1984 biography, while remaining frustratingly reticent about others. Despite the new material Kloester, like Hodge, provides scant insight into the writing process of the fiercely private Heyer, who granted a single interview and destroyed all her manuscripts and most of her personal correspondence. Kloester relies on Heyer’s early contemporary novels for clues to the author’s inner life bolstered with guesses based on quotations from correspondence, especially with Heyer’s agent and publishers. Kloester is not completely uncritical but her sympathy is obvious, often putting the best possible spin on Heyer’s snobbery and poor financial decisions. The result is a parlor portrait of this famous writer who claimed to despise her readership while craving the critical attention that eluded her. 73 illus. (Jan.)
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