An Incredibly Informative Resource
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
While engrossed in the pages of a delightful Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer novel have you ever come across something you didn’t quite understand? Like what is the difference between a barouche and a phaeton? Have you ever thought about places mentioned in these novels like Almacks, Hyde Park, Carlton House,Vauxhall Garden and wondered if their renderings were true? Or are you fascinated by the Regency Era and interested in learning all you can about it? If you are anything like me, you would probably love to have a cumulative and accessible resource in which to find the answers to these and many other Regency related questions. Good news! One does exist!
Broken down into fourteen distinct chapters and with six valuable appendixes, Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester is a fantastic resource for understanding the Regency World. The chapters are categorized by topic and include manly pursuits (The Pleasure Haunts of London and The Sporting Life), areas of feminine interests (Shopping and The Gentle Sex), and historical places and people (The Fashionable Resorts and Who’s Who in the Regency). It was interesting to learn that many characters from Ms. Heyer’s novels were real people, such as Almack’s patroness Lady Sefton and famous physician, Dr. Matthew Baillie. It would appear that Ms. Heyer has deftly woven fiction with history in her novels!
My favorite aspect about this book is that it could be read two ways: cover to cover for a full immersion of Regency history and life, or in conjunction with a Regency fiction novel, serving as a reference/guide. With chapters divided into subtopics and a detailed index in the back the reader can look up any question or topic with ease and convenience. Another aspect I greatly enjoyed was the black and white illustrations. I found them to be very helpful visual aids, I only wish there were more of them! Lastly, I took pleasure in reading the appendixes where there is a glossary of “Cant and Common Regency Phrases,” as well as other informative lists and indexes.
There are many allusions and references to Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels interspersed throughout this text. If you have read several of her novels, then these references will make sense. I haven’t read any of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels, I have read two of her Georgian novels, so the references to Mr. Beaumaris of Arabella or the Taverners in Regency Buck went right over my head! However, this did not deter my enjoyment of this book and when I do read some of Ms. Heyer’s Regency novels I am sure I will understand and appreciate these references.
So, who would enjoy this book? Readers of Regency novels, of course, especially Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen novels! In addition, this book would be great for first time Regency readers who may not understand some of the language or etiquette of the era. Lastly, this book would be a tremendous resource for authors trying to write in this time period. I know the next time I read a Regency novel by Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, I will keep Jennifer Kloester’s book close by and most likely turn to it often!