Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-06-13
- Reviewer: Staff
In a competent and thorough portrait of the writer at work (first published in the U.K. in 1984), Hodge covers the life of Georgette Heyer (1902–1974), a bestselling but intensely private author of historical romance novels. Through a close reading of the British writer's oeuvre and voluminous correspondence with publishers as well as interviews with friends and family, an image emerges of a shy, stylish but formidable woman who "loathed pretentiousness, hypocrisy, and self-deception," was a stickler for manners, morals, and historical accuracy, and who admired and emulated Jane Austen's unromantic, ironic style. Her career was launched when she was only 19 with the successful publication of The Black Moth, and Heyer became the breadwinner for her mother and two younger brothers after the early death of her father as well as the chief wage earner in her long, happy marriage to barrister Ronald Rougier. If her books never received critical acclaim during her lifetime, says Hodge, her elegant romantic comedy had fans among dons, lawyers, high-powered businessmen, and critics and novelists like A.S. Byatt. This book may entice readers to explore Heyer's novels (some of which have been reissued by Sourcebooks). Illus. (Aug.)