Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester
Trade paperback, 416 pages
Book Source: Sourcebooks
My Rating: 90/100
Millions of readers love the outrageous lifestyle, fashions and capricious escapades of the elegant bon ton that are the hallmark of mega-bestselling author Georgette Heyer’s historical romances set in Regency England. Jennifer Kloester has created the ultimate reference guide to the world of Heyer’s dashing characters, from the entertainments they frequented, the parties and seasons they celebrated, to how they ate, drank, dressed, socialized, shopped and drove their carriages. An utterly delightful read, beautifully illustrated and compelling in its historical detail, it includes an appendix of popular slang terms, and a time line of important political events of the Regency period.
This book is exactly what the blurb above says it is. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Regency period is described in this book. What they ate, the major social players, different types of carriages, places of interest, how they dressed, everything is in this book. Each chapter covers a specific topic, and beautiful pictures or sketches accompany some of the descriptions. One of my favorite sections was the skinny on the infamous Almack's. There were 7 women or patronesses who were responsible for setting the tone and allowing admission to this prestigious club. I always wondered who these women were, and Kloester gave me the necessary information. The birth of Almack's back in 1763 and how it evolved is also described.
There was also a section on etiquette with a sample listing of some of the rules. Sheesh! I hope I never accidentally wake up in the Regency, because I can't remember names very well, let alone rules. I like to break rules anyway, so I am sure I would have been cut in society eventually.
The book reads very well and not like a dry, boring non-fiction book. It was easy to pick up and down and since it wasn't a "story" I never lost my place or forgot what was occurring. One thing that did annoy me after a while, was Kloester's reference to people or events in Heyer's novels when she described or explained something. I understand that this work relates back to Heyer's novels, but these were particular books I never read. It also seemed like Kloester was referring to the same five books time and time again. I didn't actually keep tally, but lets just say that Cotillion, Friday's Child, and A Civil Contract are moving up on my reading list. Fortunately, there is a handy appendix in the back listing all of Heyer's novels which I will be sure to refer to in the future.
Overall this was a great read and would make an excellent reference for anyone wishing to know more about the Regency, or who may plan on writing a Regency novel themselves. I would also recommend memorizing the etiquette list as well, you know, in case you suddenly find yourself in Regency England. One can never be sure :)
A big thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my ARC.
2010 Challenges Met: 100+
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