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Hard on the heels of Naxos releasing "The Grand Sophy" and "Sylvester," two of Georgette Heyer's greatest, comes the equally wonderful "Venetia." All three books were written at the peak of Heyer's career. "Venetia" has a bit more melodrama than "Sophy" or "Sylvester," partly because of the reformed rake with a painful past that is the the hero, Lord Damerel.
All her life Venetia has heard oblique references to her "delicate position," along with veiled warnings that she must be especially protective of her reputation, "so as not to be thought to be...." At which point her well wishers generally trail off and say something like "....but I must say no more on that head," leaving Venetia puzzled, to say the least. The arrival of the charming but brooding Damerel increases these warnings to a fever pitch, for reasons that the reader will probably guess before Venetia solves the mystery.
During her lifetime Georgette Heyer was said to resent the fact that her Regency romances were so much more popular than her mysteries or her historical fiction. I agree her mysteries are underrated (particularly "Envious Casca," which I think is a minor masterpiece that Masterpiece Mystery should dramatize immediately), but, whether she agreed with the assessment or not, her Regencies are in a class by themselves. The best of them -- including Venetia -- stand head and shoulders above the pack. Enjoy!
40 of 41 people found this review helpful
I gave up calling Georgette Heyer a "guilty" pleasure a long time ago. A literature major, I was taught that certain genres of writing are just inherently inferior - and one of them, of course, is Romance. Now I know that good writing is good writing, whatever the genre, and writing doesn't get any better than in "Venetia"!
The story is a fairly common one in historical romance: "good" girl heroine attracted to "bad" boy hero. But Heyer does it so well here. The characters (major and minor) sparkle with humor, wit and personality. There are even valuable lessons in tolerance and reserving judgment.
Venetia is an exceptional leading lady, full of life and heart, and I predict that anyone (even those who aren't big Romance fans) will fall in love with her, with her flawed love, with her brother, and even with those minor characters who so perfectly reflect the oddities in our fellow humans.
And no small credit goes to the wonderful Phyllida Nash, who narrates this with great energy and skill. "Venetia" has long been a favorite read; now it's also a favorite listen! Along with Audible's versions of "Sylvester" and "Sprig Muslin", this will certainly appeal to Heyer fans and would be an excellent introduction to her really superior books.
39 of 40 people found this review helpful
I was so happy to see another Georgette Heyer book narrated by Phyllida Nash, thank you so much! The story is one of my favorites, too, and Phyllida Nash gives it full scope with her wonderful reading. I am eagerly waiting for the next one as I am re-listening this one again and again :).
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Anyone who's read the book will know that, far than the slightly Barbara Cartland sounding publisher's 'summary' suggests, it's a wonderful comedy of manners with some strong characters and a great deal of humour.
There is the usual strong cast of supporting characters, all distinct. I think I love the cameo of Sir Lambert Steeple as much as Sir Bonamy Ripple in False Colours, and they such have a lot in common. Edward Yardley, Venetia's 'worthy' suitor, is someone we'd never want to be stuck in a lift with. Aubrey, Venetia's younger brother, is genius in more ways than one, and as for Mrs Scorrier... she makes every mother in law in history look like sweetness and light.
I left this till late in my journey through Heyer on Audible as a treat, and wasn't disappointed. Phyllida Nash nails them all, she doesn't just read it, she brings them all to life. Brilliantly - even the men's voices are spot on. Her best since The Talisman Ring as far as I'm concerned. If you've not listened to this one yet, put your feet up and prepare to enjoy yourself.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
One of the most honest stories written by Heyer, read outstandingly by Phillida Nash. Her interpretation of character is perfect.
A more interesting plot line than in other Heyer novels with a rather modern heroine. Good fun and easy listening.