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I have a confession to make. I adore Georgette Heyer. I am consoled by the fact that I'm in very good company.* So I was absolutely delighted to be able to read her biography (at last) and meet the woman herself, so to speak.

I first read The Convenient Marriage when I was raiding my mother's bookshelves at the age of 13. And then I found there were more! I managed to track down almost all of Ms Heyer's romance/historical books over the years. I even found the four early modern romances that she suppressed, thanks to the wonderful Toronto Public Library network.** But I just couldn't justify the hardcover price for this biography by Jane Aiken Hodge ($65.00 at Borders) when I saw it a few years ago. Luckily for me, Eric and I ran across this delightful (and affordable) paperback version just before Christmas last year. Guess what I found under the Christmas tree?

I think it is a mark of a successful biographer to capture the personality of their subject, instead of merely providing dry dates and events. Jane Aiken Hodge succeeds in doing so, bringing out Ms Heyer's strong character and sense of humour through excerpts from her correspondence and anecdotes from friends and family. It was a true privilege to peek into the daily life of one of the most successful authors who has graced the literary landscape, to hear about her fights with the tax man, her dedication to her work, and her strong principles. (It was particularly fascinating to realise that she was related in some sense to the Pullein-Thompsons, whose books filled my childhood with dreams of hoofbeats.) If you are a fan of Ms Heyer's work, this book is clearly worth your time and effort.

* Names of the guilty are available upon application and payment of the application fee.

** The TPL is a fabulous network with 90 (!) libraries in Toronto, Canada. It also had the Great Roxhythe, which I found quite odious.

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August 2012

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