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Monday, November 19, 2012

An Interesting and Fair Biography of a Much-Loved Author

I approached Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester with some trepidation after reading reviews accusing the author of being unduly critical of the much-loved writer.  I am a big fan of Heyer so I didn't want to be too disillusioned about her real character!

Jennifer Kloester does criticise Heyer's Conservative politics, snobbishness, and some aspects of her character.  However, I thought that her criticism was mostly fair and I thought that she was sympathetic to Heyer , although I thought she should have been more objective about Heyer's politics.

Heyer inspired and gave hope to many - she was especially proud of providing much-needed escapism and hope for a group of Romanian women prisoners.  Kloester writes about Heyer's inspirations and meticulous research, how her relationship with her husband resembled the love affairs in her books, and many other details of Heyer's life.  These include the influence of her father on her writing, her sometimes acrimonious relationships with editors and publishers, her struggles with her health and her financial troubles.

The best-selling author of clever Regency romances led a fairly quiet life except for her travels.  She travelled to Africa (where she wrote lavish romances in a grass hut), for example.  However, the author manages to make this biography interesting - I especially enjoyed reading about Heyer's yearning for to be taken seriously as a writer.

NB: I was pleased to learn that Australians were always amongst her biggest fans.

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