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The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer Bookclub 17

(70 Posts)
thewhistler Fri 01-Feb-13 19:12:56

This is quoted by so many people as one of their favourites that I have been wondering why. It is one of mine, I should add, but what is it that charms us most?
is it
The sour hero transformed,
The fairy tale princess taking second place with her almost Dickensian named swain, the nearest I can find to Dickens naming, in Fawnhope,
The humour, often about Sophy's pistol ( useful feminist discussion point here), in the cost with Charles and the turnup with the turnip, Goldhanger, ( with a bit of anti semitism that I don't enjoy)
The pantomime villainess of Eugenia Wraxton
The touching scene of childhood illness
The much better rescuing of a credible young man,Hubert is so much more realistic than Nicky or Bertram,
Wanting to be Sophy in so many ways

Or, and I think it is this overall for me, the consummate artistry of the last chapter. Not since the scene between Avon and Leonie has the suspense been plotted so well and this time with humour

This is a short intro because I am willing to bet we all know it well enough to quote from, and because I am on a phone.

So why do we love it so much?

Or is there anyone who doesn't, who finds Sophy tedious and egotistical, and sympathies with Miss Wraxton?

TolliverGroat Wed 20-Feb-13 21:16:53

Link to new thread here.

HoratiaWinwood Wed 20-Feb-13 21:09:30

Go on! Whatever you say, you'll get us going. Don't forget to put a link on this thread so the thick amongst us that is, so I can find it once you have started.

TolliverGroat Wed 20-Feb-13 20:03:59

But I'll do it if no one else will... <vaguely waits for the massed hordes to jump in and shout "No, no, let me!">

TolliverGroat Tue 19-Feb-13 23:49:26

It's better than I remember its being (I think I can appreciate some of what she's trying to do better than I could twenty years ago when I last read it), but I don't think I have enough to say to write an introductory post.

thewhistler Tue 19-Feb-13 23:15:50

I did it last time and tho DH has today brought it back from a charity shop ( yippee, kind DH) it really isn't a favourite so I would not do it justice.

Too like Regency Buck mixed with A civil.contract. and the worse bits of both. Tho Adam would never be so rude as st erth is.

TolliverGroat Mon 18-Feb-13 14:03:44

I think we should be discussing TQG now, if someone starts a thread (which is the problem with scouring charity shops or seeing if the library will order it in (also the library and I have a delicate situation at the moment with some overdue books blush)).

I think I'd read almost all of them by the time I was an adult (barring a couple that I still haven't read). My mother had many of them and the school library had more. Then I read the detective ones in my early 20s.

LeonieDeSainteVire Mon 18-Feb-13 12:36:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HoratiaWinwood Mon 18-Feb-13 08:55:01

I was at least 23 when I read my first. I couldn't tell you which it was.

I am generally very hot on copyright because I used to work in a related field, but DH downloaded them all for me before he wrapped the surprise 30th birthday present Kindle. thanks

TolliverGroat Sun 17-Feb-13 23:35:27

Oh dear. I thought "No, she can't have been dead for 40 years, she died not long after I was... Ah." Not sure I'm ever going to get used to being in my 40s except possibly when I'm in my 50s ...

May be able to borrow TQG from my mother, if she has it. I gave her my copy of Cousin Kate recently, so she owes me...

MooncupGoddess Sun 17-Feb-13 23:15:22

AS Byatt is a GH fan so I feel no shame about it at all. Though I feel a bit hmm about illegal filesharing sites... of course GH has been dead for 40 years and her son is dead too now, but copyright law exists for a reason.

I started on them at eight, I think, with Devil's Cub. Much of it went straight over my head (including the rape threats, fortunately) but I understood enough to be hooked and have never looked back. My family are all GH fans and every so often my father and I are passing some obscure village (say, Crimplesham) and one of us will say - 'Ah - the valet in The Unknown Ajax, I think?'

LeucanTheMopsis Sun 17-Feb-13 23:07:26

Ishall (also a TP fan) - I caught my most intelligent friend ever (a government expert in recidivism) with a GH poking out of her bag. She was most reluctant and embarrassed to own up to what it was, but being the nosy, persistent, compulsive reader that I am I made her own up.

I can see where the embarrassment comes from, but despite being a bit clunky, there's a lighthearted wit about them that's very appealing in an age where people feel the need to be serious about their emotions all the time.

IShallWearMidnight Sun 17-Feb-13 22:35:06

Sophy was my first GH when I was 11 or so, so has a favourite place in my heart. I do recall feeling very "naughty" reading it though, and hugely jealous of my older friend who didn't have anyone checking her reading material (I was forced to spend days and days skulking in the library reading the stuff they wouldn't let me actually borrow grin).

When I was 11 I wanted so much to be Sophy, but not have to marry Charles as he seemed a really boring grown up. Vincent was much more fun.

My 11 yo thoughts aren't really adding much to this discussion are they wink. How old was everyone when they first read GH? And whose copy was it? Mine belonged to an older fried whose mum had died when she was young, and her elderly aunts did a lot of her bringing up, so I suspect her copy came from them.

IShallWearMidnight Sun 17-Feb-13 22:28:42

they must be coming out of copyright soon, surely?

<cough>(TUEBL might be a place someone might want to have a browse btw depending on your morals wink)<cough>

HoratiaWinwood Sun 17-Feb-13 22:19:31

Ahem. He says something about a torrent and yes they were all free shock shock shock

LeucanTheMopsis Sun 17-Feb-13 19:42:06

I suspect Sophy knows exactly what she's like. I haven't read it for a while, but I'm sure she refers to herself in some disparaging 'capable' terms - good for men, bad for women. I like that she gets on and does what she's capable of anyway.

HoratiaWinwood Sun 17-Feb-13 19:14:50

DH got them for me. His copyright principles may be more flexible than mine. I'll ask him when I'm downstairs.

TolliverGroat Sun 17-Feb-13 18:45:01

E.g. this is £5.22

TolliverGroat Sun 17-Feb-13 18:42:41

Where, because I've been forking out more than next-to-nothing for the others on Kindle ?

HoratiaWinwood Sun 17-Feb-13 18:39:39

Thanks Tolliver.

You can get them all for nothing, or next to nothing, on the Kindle.

TolliverGroat Sun 17-Feb-13 18:07:12

It's The Quiet Gentleman before Cotillion. i'm probably going to skip it as the library doesn't have it and I don't want to part with actual cash for it. But I'll be back for Cotillion c

HoratiaWinwood Sun 17-Feb-13 17:33:18

Are we on Cotillion next? I am pinned to sofa under poorly small, so ought to do something productive!

thewhistler Wed 13-Feb-13 08:40:22

Harry never had children, IIRC. There could be a number of reasons for that, and I don't know if they lost some at early stages.

I have a suspicion he came from quite a god fearing family, or may have been so himself, although that may have been looking back in old age in a different era. his father being a Dr might have encouraged him to be cautious.

LeonieDeSainteVire Tue 12-Feb-13 22:48:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HoratiaWinwood Tue 12-Feb-13 09:22:39

What do we think about Harry Smith, then, and Johnny "pretty girl in every village" Kincaid? confused

MooncupGoddess Mon 11-Feb-13 23:46:24

I love the way these threads come alive when the subject of sex comes up grin

Can't remember any explicit references to VD in GH (though perhaps a few uses of 'pox'?) but syphilis certainly appears in the Poldark novels, set a little earlier. I remember a mention of someone losing his nose thanks to the French disease shock

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