If Georgette Heyer's many fans were to vote for their favorite Heyer heroine/novel, I predict "The Grand Sophy" would win. Naxos did a nice job on the abridgment that has been on Audible for two years (and which I quickly ponied up a credit for), but it was … abridged.
Now we get the entire book, and it is good. I enjoyed Clare Wille's narration of the abridgment -- she also reads the unabridged versions of "Cotillion" and "A Civil Contract," both well worth listening to -- but Sarah Woodward's rendition is equally good, and now all my favorite scenes are here, not on the cutting room floor.
Sophia Stanton-Lacy is the daughter of a British diplomat who has spent her teenage years traveling the Continent with her widower father as the Napoleonic wars wound down. Now Sir Horace is off to Brazil and leaves the 21-year-old Sophy in London with his sister and her numerous offspring. The household's eldest son is strait-laced Charles, who has recently (1) inherited a large fortune from a distant relative and (2) become engaged to the Honourable and egregiously proper Eugenia Wraxton.
Sophy is sparkling, spontaneous, self-sufficient, and as Charles disapprovingly observes, “on easy terms with every rattle who ever wore a red coat." Not hard to see where the romance will go, especially keeping in mind that first-cousin alliances were common among the “quality” right up through the early twentieth century.
Besides the protagonists -- and Sophy and Charles are among Heyer's most delightful and memorable -- several other characters also have romances underway or underfoot, and the machinations are tangled, funny, and occasionally bittersweet. Sophy's interactions with her large brood of cousins add marvelous depth to this classic novel. All will be well that ends well, so set aside the dreary dystopians and the vapid vampires and enjoy a romp through the Regency.
99 of 101 people found this review helpful
All the familiar elements of a good Heyer Regency are here - the star-crossed lovers, the stern but good-natured Charles, the humourless Eugenia, the ineffectual Lady Ombersly, and, of course, the Grand Sophy, a resourceful young women brought up by her father, Sir Horace, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. The final climax of the story is perfect Heyer. Funny, convoluted, and perfectly in keeping with the characters.
The reader is Sarah Woodward and she does an excellent job. Highly recommended.
41 of 42 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. The narration was excellent, and the development of the attraction between the two protagonists worked perfectly for me. It ranks as one of my top three favorite Heyer books.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
Love love love this book, the dialog is fabulous. How can you not love 'the grand Sophy'. I don't remember a book when I've laughed out loud so much. Sophy is everything I would want to have been, if I had been born in that era. She takes the town by storm. Her schemes are so funny I could just see her mind working. The narration was great also. I am hooked on these older books by Heyer and will be looking for more.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Grand Sophy again? Why?
Indeed I would and have done so. I enjoyed it so much the first time that I looked forward to meeting these characters again.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Sophia is such a tremendous character. She leaps from the pages with her intelligence, humor, compassion and generous heart.
Which character – as performed by Sarah Woodward – was your favorite?
Woodward was simply marvelous. I have listened to a great many narrated books and her performance is very high on the list. I believe she captured Sophia's and Charles' personalities to perfection.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Oh, this is a very funny book. The dialogue is great bringing on smiles and laughter.
Any additional comments?
21 of 24 people found this review helpful