Monday, February 7, 2011

Guilty Pleasure - Georgette Heyer

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the invitation and also the Lauren Willig recommendation. I am always dying for book recommendations!!!

My guilty pleasure is Georgette Heyer. Here's how I was introduced to her:

When I was growing up, my local library was the Jenkintown Library - tiny, dark, built in 1836. The librarian was a formidable and stern young lady named Edith Prout. I would go in every week and check out a tower of books, take them home and put them on my bed and then read them one by one. Well, eventually, since the library was so small, I had simply read nearly every book in the children's and young adult section. I must have looked forlorn one day, because Edith took me aside and said, "Do you need a recommendation?" and I said, yes please. She took me over to the adult section (thrilling! because I was 11 or 12 at the time) and handed me "These Old Shades" by Georgette Heyer. Done and done! I looooooooved Georgette Heyer. Her books were funny and smart and elegantly-written, and the romances were just chaste enough and just mildly racy enough to make them appeal to my 11-yr-old heart. Edith Prout never ceased to chide me about my voluminous late fines and only occasionally granted me a smile, but I am eternally grateful to her because she introduced me to Georgette Heyer.

Fast forward 30 years. Because I lived nearby, I had checkout privileges at all the local libraries. My parents still lived in Jenkintown and one time while visiting them I decided to take my 4-yr-old son to the Jenkintown Library to look at their children's books. I walked in the door (I have not been there in 30 years or so at this point), and I hear a voice say, sternly and matter-of-factly, "Hello, Diana." It is Edith Prout, still behind the desk, never missing a beat, as if I had been in every week like I did when I was a teenager!

I still turn to Georgette Heyer when I'm in between weightier tomes or when I need a break, mentally. My favorites are "Sylvester", "Arabella", "The Devil's Cub". And of course, "These Old Shades", the book that started it all.


  1. Diana, when I win the lottery I plan to give $1 million to our library, with the stipulation that I'll be exempt from overdue fines for life.

  2. I'll need a million dollars to cover mine!!