Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jennifer Kloester's "Georgette Heyer"

While living in the jungle in Papua New Guinea Jennifer Kloester discovered Georgette Heyer's Regency novels and fell in love with the romance, the humor and the glorious prose. Ten years of research produced a PhD and two books: Georgette Heyer's Regency World (an illustrated companion to the glittering era of so many of Georgette Heyer's novels) and Georgette Heyer.

Kloester applied the “Page 99 Test” to Georgette Heyer and reported the following:
Page 99 finds Georgette Heyer in Macedonia living in an expat community of 'Britishers'. It is not her natural environment but she had an ability to be self-contained in any situation and this was no exception. A description of one of the women in the group by David Footman, British Consul in Skopje and a friend of Heyer's, in his book, Halfway East, could easily be Georgette:
"Lorna Coote was thirty-three. She was tallish and slender, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. When you saw her in evening dress you thought she was rather pretty. Some people thought she was rather highbrow, and complained that she didn't have much to say for herself. That was because she generally refused a second cocktail and never seemed much at home among the noisy and drunken parties we sometimes used to have. She did not like crowds. She was always charming to everybody, and if she was ever nervy or depressed or bad-tempered she did not show it. She was fond of music and read a good deal. She used to have a lot of books sent out from England."
My biography of Georgette Heyer took many years to research and write, mainly because its subject was so reclusive. Despite her enormous international success as an author, Heyer insisted on keeping her private life private, so it's gems like the above quotation that help to flesh out the woman. It's 1929 on page 99 and Heyer, who had her first book published in 1921 when she was only 19, is beginning to make her mark as a writer of historical fiction. The aim of the biography was to give readers a well-rounded, objective account of the woman who created a genre (Regency fiction) and page 99, with its references to Heyer's daily life, her writing, her personality, likes, dislikes, her financial situation and her relationship with her mother, is a nice aperitif.
Learn more about the book and author at Jennifer Kloester's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Georgette Heyer.

--Marshal Zeringue