April 22, 2022

Ep 25 - An Infamous Army

Spoiler alert!

Heyer pulls off quite the feat in An Infamous Army - capturing the horrors of war through the love story of dashing Charles Audley and rebellious Barbara Childe.

While Heyer’s research into the Battle of Waterloo has long been respected, we also take a moment to appreciate how she builds an atmosphere. We’re right there with the ton in Brussels, swept up in the mad rush to cram in as much pleasure as possible. And we’re still with them as they confront a pivotal moment in history and the devastating loss of life that brings.

It feels like a ‘big’ novel, so we’re grateful to be accompanied by old friends in the form of Judith and Worth, Mary and Dominic, and (to a slightly lesser extent) Peregrine. 

So join us on the battlefield and in the ballroom in our latest episode.

“No one could foretell what the future held; but everyone knew that these weeks might be the last of happiness. Except when news crept through of movement on the frontier, war was not much talked of. Talking of it could not stop its coming; it was better to put the thought of it behind one, and to be merry while the sun still shone.”

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

March 25, 2022

Ep 24 - The Masqueraders

Spoiler alert!

Have you ever been tempted to slap someone with a glove à la Sir Anthony Fanshawe? While we’d never condone violence, to be honest we do see the appeal.

In this episode we talk about the magnetism and audacity of the Old Gentleman, the all-accepting love of the Large Gentleman, the stoicism of Prudence, and the Princess Bride levels of swashbuckling shown by Robin. Also we surprised ourselves by only very rarely stumbling over our Robins/Peters/Prudences/Kates.

Happy listening our little cabbages, as Lady Lowestoft might say.

“‘I say, Mr Rensley, that you dare not meet me now or at any time,’ Sir Anthony replied, to the astonishment of his friends. His hand came up, and he struck Mr Rensley lightly across the mouth with the glove he held.”

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

February 11, 2022

Ep 23 - Charity Girl

Spoilers ahead!

Why does it take so long for Viscount Desford and Henrietta Silverdale to get together? We’ve got theories…

They’ve both enjoyed a few years of freedom and frivolity of course, which makes a nice change. Des’s father is still alive and kicking (and perfectly capable of a delivering a fine trimming) so there wasn’t any need for Des to assume responsibility early like some of our other heroes. And Hetta? We suspect her heart was engaged before Des’s was, but she didn’t seem to be pining away, merely keeping herself entertained with an array of suitors while Des shook off some youthful racketyness.

So all it needed was the perfectly lovely Mr Cary Nethercott and Miss Cherry Steane to make our lovers realise they wouldn’t be happy to see their best friend with anyone else.

Perhaps that means they settled down at just the right time. We like to think so.

And woven in amongst this lovely journey from best friends to lovers, we have the joy of meeting the irascible and loyal to the last, Simon Carrington, Lord Nettlecombe and his lady housekeeper wife, and of course Wilfred Steane, or should we say Baron Monte Toscana?

Fascinated, Simon said: ‘Do you - do you carry different cards, sir?’

‘Certainly! I find it convenient to use one card here, and another there, for you must know I am domiciled abroad, and spend much of my time in travel. But this card,’ he said, handing it to Simon with a flourish, ‘bears my true name, and will doubtless explain to you why I have sought you out!’

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

January 14, 2022

Ep 22 - Cousin Kate

Spoiler alert!

It’s cold and dark here in London so the perfect time to get a little gothic with Cousin Kate. It doesn’t seem to be a universally popular novel, but we tapped into our inner torment and really enjoyed it. We will acknowledge however that this isn’t the most comfortable of reads - what with all the violent deaths and animal cruelty.

In this episode we talk about the chilling gothic elements in this story, and how the ratcheting tension is cut through with the refreshingly straight-talking Nidd family, and the absolutely charming love story (with a real cracker of a proposal scene).

Everyone falls under the spell of Kate Malvern of course. She’s an intrepid heroine who grew up following the drum, isn’t above working to support herself, and is quite capable of slapping her employer’s lecherous relative. And Philip, with his loyalty and kindness, proves himself worthy of her.

Minerva, Torquil and Sir Tim on the other hand are much more dubious figures (unless you’ve got more sympathy for Sir Timothy than we have). Machiavellian machinations and murder galore in that unhappy little triumvirate. We end up discussing whether Sir Tim had a happier ending than he deserved, and how Heyer forces us to feel sympathy for Torquil.

And then there’s Minerva - you know we love dissecting a good baddie, and she certainly gives us plenty to get our teeth into.

“He addressed himself to Kate, saying, in his stateliest manner: ‘I beg your pardon, miss, but since her ladyship is unwell I feel it my duty to inform you that Mrs Thorne has seen fit to Prophesy!’”

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

December 11, 2021

Ep 21 - A Civil Contract

Spoilers ahead. 

It’s time for a very domestic story in this episode as we quietly cheer on the growing closeness between lovelorn Adam and the ever-practical Jenny.

Jenny might be the least likely heroine in the Heyerverse but she marries a man hopelessly in love with another, just because it’s the only thing she can do to help him. That makes her a hero in our eyes - although we could wish she set a slightly lower standard in wifely behaviour, because she’s making the rest of us look bad.

She certainly makes a better wife than Julia - the ethereal beauty who swoons at parties, and pointedly sings sentimental songs at a married man. Rockhill deserves better, but evidently even clever men are susceptible to fleeting beauty (the Mrs Bennet effect).

But not only are we treated to the bittersweet, and often unflinchingly honest, relationship between Adam and Jenny, we also have the absolute delight of Jonathan Chawleigh - a self-made man with a tendency to show up with a lobster for his hostess. He’s such a juicy character, and the contrast this forceful and emotional family man presents against the restrained and cool Lyntons gives a fascinating insight into class and family life.

All-in-all it’s a complex and subtle story, so we stubbornly make no apologies for the run time of this episode - we were having a ball!

“But I was never one for reading those old romances and legends that Julia dotes on,’ said Jenny apologetically. ‘I do know that he likes his eggs boiled for four minutes exactly, and won’t touch muffins.”

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

November 12, 2021

Ep 20 - Faro‘s Daughter

Spoilers ahead. 

Poor Lady Bellingham! Running a profitable yet respectable gaming house is harder than it appears. Especially since her niece refuses to form a connection for such a base purpose as financial security. And then there's the cost of green peas to consider.

If only there was a handsome green pea farmer for Deb to marry, but sadly it's down to Max Ravenscar's deep pockets to save the day. Can this pair get past Max's blistering tongue and Deb's determination to win their battle at any cost? 

Join us in this episode as we scrabble to uncover Max's finer points, discuss well-turned ankles, and whether the secondary characters in this book cut the mustard.

(Also if you'd like more Heyer podcasts in your life, give Heyer Today a listen: https://fablegazers.wordpress.com/binge-our-podcasts-now/ you will learn sooo much.)

"I will say this for you, Deb: you may lock people up in the cellar, and fling thousands of pounds in their faces as though it was mud, but you don't cry!"

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

October 9, 2021

Ep 19 - False Colours

Spoilers ahead.

Kit's got quite the moral maze to navigate in False Colours - pretend to be his AWOL twin to avoid offending his possible-future-wife's grandmother, but without accidentally letting possible-future-wife fall in love with him before his twin returns. It's a good job he's got some serious diplomatic chops, and that Cressy Stavely is quite the diplomat herself. In fact this couple has all the political nous and charm of Regency Obamas.

But as lovely as their romance is, a special mention has to go to Sir Bonamy Ripple, bon viveur and loyal cicisbeo. Only the combination of his deep pockets and chivalry is enough to keep Lady Denville out of debt. And we couldn't bear to see Lady Denville kept in anything less than opulent style. A middle-aged woman with the ability to effortlessly enthrall young men is truly an inspiration. Although we possibly find ourselves relating a little too much to her concerns about haggard necks.

Join us in this episode where we discuss the slightly soppy endearments employed by our young couple, whether Evelyn should have a better fate than the saintly but dull Miss Askham, and we ask just how entrapped was Sir Bonamy?

'Sir Bonamy Ripple enjoys a good tipple,
Spanish fritters, partridge and pike.
But if he eats too much turtle, 
he’ll soon turn quite purple,
for his corset’s as tight as you like.'

"Would you believe it? - the instant she clapped eyes on me, she said that she saw I had taken to dyeing my hair! I was never more shocked, for it is quite untrue! It is not dyeing one's hair merely to restore its colour when it begins to fade a little!"

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

September 11, 2021

Ep 18 - Venetia

Spoilers ahead. Possibly the most romantic of all Heyer novels, in this episode we fall under the spell of Dameral - a young Classics nerd turned rake, rejected by his family and society; and Venetia - pragmatic, brave, witty and kind despite a lifetime of loneliness. Theirs is an uncommon love, and we absolutely luxuriate in it.

But it's not all about the love story, because when Mrs Scorrier and Edward Yardley are on the scene the red mist of anger descends upon us. We simply cannot bear to see these domineering and outrageous figures persecute our lovely heroine. But of course, it's always fun to have villains you can happily hate.

Finally, apologies for making precisely zero references to any of the many literary allusions scattered throughout the book. We ran out of time and Flurry ate our homework. Instead we stick to our usual level and discuss Regency orgies and take bets on Dameral's faithfulness (in summary: we think he's clearly reformed).

"The thing is that even if you were to hold an orgy here the chances are he would only think it pretty tame, compared to the Romans, not to mention the Bacchae, who, from anything I can discover, were precisely the sort of females one would wish a boy not to know about!"

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

August 22, 2021

Ep17 - The Reluctant Widow

Spoilers ahead. A deathbed marriage, Bonaparte agents, a secret stairway, and Bouncer the much-maligned guard dog all play a part in this high-stakes adventure. We wonder if Elinor would have found herself embroiled in it if she wasn't making decisions when hungry.

Perhaps she should have had some of Dr. Ratcliffe's Restorative Pork Jelly - it seemed to keep Francis Cheviot strong enough to devise numerous devious plots (and we do like seeing the famous pork jelly get a mention).

But of course, Francis Cheviot is no match for the Carlyon brothers. We really enjoy the brotherly squabbling between sensible John and exuberant Nicky, and we commiserate with Elinor as everyone around her bows down to the unstoppable will of Ned Carlyon.

And naturally, our thoughts go out to Mrs Macclesfield - forced to rear her own children in the absence of a governess.

"She could not but acknowledge that it was the part of a loyal Englishwoman to do her possible to frustrate the enemies of her country, however ruthless these might be. But she wished she had not been the appointed Englishwoman."

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

In this episode we talk about how Horry and Rule - two charming and capable individuals - are made even more likeable because of their vulnerability when it comes to affairs of the heart.

It’s a vulnerability that allows our trio of villains (with distinct Dangerous Liaisons vibes) to interfere in their path to happiness. But there’s nothing like getting dunked in a pond to take a man down a peg or two.

And because we can’t have our Heyer novels too dark, we’ve got the risk-taking Pel, the ever-punctilious Pom, and the relatively level-headed Captain Heron becoming the most beset gang of highway robbers that we’ve ever heard of.

‘Marcus, is the girl a minx?’ She asked.
‘No,’ he answered. ’She is not, Louisa. I am not at all sure that she is not a heroine.’

Instagram: @georgetteheyerpodcast

Twitter: @heyerpodcast

 

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