The Private World of Georgette Heyer (by Jane Aiken Hodge)

My all-time favourite writer of historical fiction is Georgette Heyer. My second is probably Jane Aiken Hodge. So when I discovered that the latter had written a biography of the former, I had to get hold of it.

Having done so, it took me a couple of years actually to start reading 'The Private World of Georgette Heyer', and a couple of months to finish it. I picked it up at random times, and read a chapter or two, but it wasn't so gripping that I had to keep reading.

Georgette Heyer was evidently a very private person with a real dislike of publicity. However she had a great sense of humour and irony, and much of her correspondence with her publishers and others has been preserved. Little is known of her family life, either as a child or an adult, other than the little that has been revealed by those who knew her well. Nonetheless, Jane Aiken Hodge has written a sensitive and fascinating account of her fellow historical novelist.

While the details of Heyer's home life are inevitably scanty, there is much of interest surrounding the writing of the books, the development of characters, the classification Heyer herself made of her heroes, and the progression of her skill as an author.

Re-reading Georgette Heyer's novels, as I do regularly, I shall no doubt dip into this book again to gain more insights into their backgrounds and to remind myself how she felt about the various characters.

Recommended to anyone who has enjoyed Heyer's work.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 15th July 2010

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