While doing background research for Georgette Heyer, I ran across this statement:
"I don’t quite remember when I started reading this book [Friday's Child], probably at the end of June or beginning of July and I only finished it tonight! I’m already not a fan of romance books but I thought I’d give this book a try as it was sent from Sourcebooks. This was my first Georgette Heyer book and at least, it’s better than Austen."
Let's hope this writer is absurdly naive and young and that she is just beginning to flex her critic's muscles. Heyer, as serious readers will agree, is most definitely not "better" than Austen. Had this young person written that Heyer's books are fun, breezier, and easier to comprehend, I would not have given her statement a second thought. For those who have difficulty reading Jane Austen's 19th century language or understanding Regency customs and etiquette, Georgette Heyer's books provide a rollicking introduction to understanding that bygone time. Sherwood Smith observes:
"If a person has read enough Heyer and others who emulate her, he or she ought not to find Austen's language impenetrable, and will probably be able to comprehend the wit. Anyone who loves, say, Friday's Child ought to laugh out loud at the absurdities of Mrs. Norris, or enjoy the sly selfishness of Isabella Thorpe--or recognize how John Dashwood, so continually worried about his position in society, becomes more servile than his servants."
While Georgette Heyer does not possess Jane Austen's immense literary stature, one can be assured that her novels are historically accurate. An Infamous Army is so true to life (every line uttered by Wellington in the novel is attributed to the real-life man), that it was rumoured to have been on the reading list for the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Sourcebooks has been reissuing Georgette Heyer's frothy regency romances, allowing me to fall in love with the author's works all over again. For my review of The Corinthian, go to Jane Austen's World.