Aug 152016
 

VEnetiaThe Green Girl and The Notorious Rake

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

In one of her most popular and beloved novels, Georgette Heyer introduces readers to Miss Venetia Lanyon, a twenty-five year old beauty tucked away in her family estate in Yorkshire. At the moment Venetia’s life is somewhat at a standstill. Her brother who serves in the army, Conway has not yet come home these three years to take over the running of the state and her younger brother, Aubrey, who is preparing for Cambridge, has a diseased hip and needs to be looked after. So, for the time being at least, Venetia is stuck at her ancestral home, in isolation, and with limited society.

But even with such few neighbors and friends, our fair heroine has found herself two admirers – both of which she doesn’t particularly wish to encourage. One who is six years her junior and likes to fancy himself Lord Byron, and one who has a detestable habit of giving lectures and moralizing over situations in which he has no authority. With such contenders for her heart, Venetia often imagines herself never marrying and one day setting up home for her and her younger brother in London. That is until the infamous ‘Wicked Baron,’ Lord Damerel returns to the neighborhood and happens to cross her path…

Now I can see why so many Georgette Heyer fans list Venetia as one of their favorite Heyer romances! I must admit that Venetia is my favorite type of Heyer heroine, I don’t tend to favor heroines who are just beautiful and sweet or ones who are scheming and capricious.  I like heroines who are of Venetia’s stamp – artless, forthright, sympathetic, loving, and longing for adventure. In Jane Austen terms, I thought Venetia was a wonderful blend of Elizabeth Bennet (quick wit and frankness), Catherine Morland (innocence and inexperience), and Emma Woodhouse (sheltered childhood, beautiful, and duty to family).

In Venetia, I fell in love not only with Venetia, but with rakish Damerel as well. Damerel, who is true Byronic hero of the tale – with his sneers, black and sinful past – plans a seduction for Venetia at their first encounter. But Venetia unintentionally thwarts Damerel’s seduction plans by challenging him, freely speaking her mind, and openly accepting him as friend, despite all she knows of his past. It was the sweetest thing to see how her compassion and understanding worked as a balm to his jaded heart.  And I loved that Damerel was more than just a handsome libertine. He has an intelligent mind, broadened by extensive travel, showed kindness in repeatedly taking care of Aubrey, and admirable honor as he decides he cannot bear to stain Venetia’s reputation. Talk about a complex and intriguing hero!

I loved all the secondary characters in this tale, which were a variety of eccentric, sheldoncooper1entertaining, and exasperating personalities. But I must admit my favorite secondary character was Aubrey, who kept reminding me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory! LOL! Aubrey is a brilliant scholar who delights in spending his days studying and reading, but he is also described as an “egotist” and liking “books more than people.” With his self-absorption, offending manners, and penchant for working himself into a passion, I couldn’t help but laugh at the comparisons. (Especially at the end!)

Venetia is a romantic adventure full of Georgette Heyer staples – engaging characters, sparkling wit, and riveting dialogue – all of which I love and admire so much. But what I loved most about this tale was the important message it delivered about accepting others and not judging them for their pasts – to love and accept people just as they are.  Definitely a fave!

Side Note: I may be showing myself to be a green girl like Venetia by saying this, but I can’t help but comment on how surprising it was to see topics like rape and orgy spoken by characters in this novel! (don’t worry, none of these take place in the story!) It seemed shocking to have them bluntly and openly spoken of as opposed to carefully alluded to or hinted at. But perhaps we owe that to Venetia and her forthright, no nonsense manner…

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Georgette Heyer Birthday

For the past three years I’ve made it a tradition to post a review near Georgette Heyer’s birthday (August 16th) in celebration!  I’ve read several Heyer novels not during August too, you can find all my reviews below.

Arabella

Cotillion

Devil’s Cub

Sylvester: or the Wicked Uncle

The Black Moth

The Convenient Marriage

The Grand Sophy

The Masqueraders

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Which Georgette Heyer book do you think I must read next?

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  39 Responses to “Venetia – Georgette Heyer”

  1.  

    It is a wonderful book Meredith, I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I do. Next book? Well as you have read Devils Cub maybe you should read These Old Shades next and find out more about Avon. Otherwise I would definitely recommend Frederica. Happy reading

    •  

      I’m glad to hear you loved it too, Glynis! I have These Old Shades on my list, I don’t own that one yet – but I agree with you, I think it would be one I’d love! 🙂 Thanks for the rec!

  2.  

    So glad you liked Venetia Meredith. It’s definitely one of my favourites and Damerel id one of my fav heroes too. My absolute favourite Heyer book is The Nonesuch. It doesn’t seem to be as well liked by others and I don’t know why. So maybe you’ll give that one a shot. I’d be delighted to know what you think of it.

    •  

      I agree, Teresa! I think Damerel might be one of my favorites too! I really appreciate the rec, I don’t have The Nonesuch, but will make sure I snag a copy soon!

  3.  

    Oh, The Grand Sophie, there can be no question about that!

  4.  

    Glad you also liked this one. Fabulous review. It was 5 stars for me too.

  5.  

    wonderful review

  6.  

    Love so many of Georgette’s wonderful stories! Venetia is awesome, and my vote goes to Frederica, my hands down favorite. But The Nonesuch is super as well.

  7.  

    Love love LOVE Georgette Heyer. Please oh please Meredith, read Frederica and Faro’s Daughter! Yes, I also liked The Nonesuch, and the ones others have mentioned above.

    Thank you for this review, and the birthday tribute to Heyer. I love that you do it each year. A year is too long to wait though to read your next one. 🙂

    •  

      OH! And Happy Birthday, Meredith! Have a very very Happy Meredith Day. 🙂 <3

    •  

      Great recommendations, Michelle! It is amazing how many books there are for us to enjoy from Georgette Heyer! I’ll be sure to add your recommendations to my list. I don’t own any of them at the moment, but will be on the lookout!

      And yes, I found once a year was too long too. Now I try to read one GH book on our half birthday too! 🙂

  8.  

    Great review, Meredith! Although it must hurt me amongst my friends to say it, I confess I have never read any Heyer. 🙁 Your review has convinced me to amend that error: any suggestions as to where to start (from anyone)? There’s a cute used book store near where I live and they always have a lot of Heyer.

    Best as always,

    Stan

    •  

      Thank you, Stan! I was only led to Georgette Heyer by other Austen blogs several years ago myself. I’m really glad though, because she really is the best author to read if you are a lover of Jane Austen’s novels! I agree with both Sheila and Teresa, Venetia is a great place to start. You may also like Arabella or The Black Moth, both have very strong and admirable heroes… 🙂

      •  

        Thanks Meredith; and thanks again for allowing me into your unique place of ease and civility.

        Now, the problem is, once I get started on an author, everything else comes to a screeching halt until I’ve read every book I can lay my hands on. Timing is everything. 🙂

        All the best.

        •  

          Oh boy, then you will need to clear your schedule, because I think Ms. Heyer has 50 novels! 🙂

          I forgot to mention, but I saw that Sourcebooks is having a big sale on all Georgette Heyer novels for the next couple of days in honor of her birthday. The kindle price is $2.99 and the sale ends August 28th in case anyone wants to go shopping and stock up!

        •  

          Mr Hurd, I really hope you can get your hands on as many as possible. And I completely get that ‘reading everything you can get your hands on’ from a new author you just discovered you now love. I’ve been that way my whole life. But somehow, since G.H. does have a finite collection, and I adored the ones I first read, I decided to savor the collection and go to it whenever I needed a Heyer ‘fix.’ Trouble is, I have four or five favorites I keep rereading and haven’t read all that I already own. I personally think this is silly, but I’m loathe to come to the end of more new ones. 🙁 I don’t know what my deal is.

          I truly truly hope after reading one of her books, you don’t feel like just smiling and saying thanks, like your Mom taught you. 🙂 After just now reading Venetia, I suggest you start there. But there’s so many many good ones.

  9.  

    Stan, this book was also a 5 star for me and so far my favorite of hers. But I have only read 6 so far.

  10.  

    Stan this book would actually be a very good one to start with. One of her best.

    •  

      Teresa, thanks very much for sharing your thoughts. I have had pretty good luck with the recommendations of my Austen friends, so I look forward to reading this one. I have one of those literary friends who are always pushing the latest great novel at me, and they’re always terrible, but she is SO earnest in her esteem — I just smile and say thank you like Mom told me to. 🙂

  11.  

    Beautiful review, Meredith! I can’t wait to read Venetia! Another friend is reading it right now and she is loving it, too! My top favourites so far are Bath Tangle and Black Sheep. The protagonists in Bath Tangle argue all the time but they’re clearly made for each other. And the hero in Black Sheep is wonderful! I hope you’ll enjoy your next Heyer… whatever you’ll pick! 😉

  12.  

    I just signed up for this book site but so far I am not finding the sale…e-books? I know you read paperbacks so I am wondering if the sale is just on those.

  13.  

    Thanks – I did buy several plus “borrowed” one on my KU account. Which ones have you read? I do look for recommendations as there are so many.

    •  

      Great, Sheila! I under my review you will find the short list of books I have read – if I remember correctly you have read some of the same ones! 🙂 If you haven’t read Cotillion and Sylvester, I’d recommend those! 🙂

  14.  

    These Old Shades and the Devil’s Cub were my absolute favorites. Next up would be the Corinthian and then The Conqueror. You really can’t go wrong on any of her books. I would love to see any of these books on film.

  15.  

    How could I have missed this Heyer book? On your recommendation, I bought it and have begun reading. Thank you!!

  16.  

    Thanks for the recommendations. I did add 3 to my kindle but will now look to pick up those also. I just began reading Nonesuch as several recommended it.

  17.  

    OKAY. I am back, just one more time. Based on your review, I put Venetia on top of the TBR pile (I already owned it but hadn’t gotten to it) and just finished reading it yesterday. Oh. My. Gosh. I was grinning for the next hour. Can’t believe I hadn’t already read it. It is wonderful. It’s now in my top 5 faves of hers. Thank you so much Blogmistress. 🙂 I could kiss you!

    •  

      Oh yay! This message so made my day! I’m so glad my review prompted you to pick up Venetia and I’m so very happy that it is now one of your faves! Isn’t Venetia such an adorable heroine? 😀 I’m so thrilled you loved it!

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