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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.
98 of 100 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'm not sure a review is helpful here. It's a classic Georgette Heyer. Is there is a marvellous, meddling heroine determined to sort everyone out? Is she a dashing rider of other people's horses/driver of their high perch phaetons? Is there a handsome man who is exasperated by our heroine's shenanigans? Is he highly respected at Jackson's? Are there various unpleasant, meddling females undermining her? A chorus of naughty but delightful young persons who kick up no end of larks and complicate matters? Does Lady Jersey make an appearance and issue tickets to Almacks? The answer to all these and more is yes, of course. If you are suffering from a fit of the blue devils, this is just the tonic. That or a fetching new pelisse.
Sarah Woodward is excellent.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Back in the dark ages when I was 12 or 13, I discovered and devoured Georgette Heyer's Regency novels. My half century old paperbacks are more than well worn and now I'm working through my favourites in audiobooks, rapidly finding some narrators are better than others.
Sarah Woodward is one of the good ones. Miss Wraxton, Augustus Fawnhope and Lord Bromford are the comedy foils to Sophie, and it might be tempting to ham them up. Sarah doesn't. She absolutely nails them, and I'd certainly buy any others she reads.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
A fabulous witty tale. Loved the humour! The narrator was perfect. My favourite Georgette Heyer book!
A delightful story with an adventurous heroine and Heyer's signature humour read in just the right way. I was sad when the book ended!