Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Are You Reading with Sandra Hyatt

Here's Sandra Hyatt to tell us about her first loves of romance reading - and we think she has very good taste!

Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Georgette Heyer. These three authors were my first loves of romance reading. As a teenager, I found them on my mother's bookshelves and discovered a whole new world, ditching The Famous Five with scarcely a backward glance (sorry Julian). Even now, when I have the time, or the need, I'll dip back into them.

If asked to pick a favorite, I couldn't chose between them, I have so many fond memories of all of them. I do however have definite preferences amongst each of their bodies of work.. Although my main complaint, particularly of the first two are that I'd like their bodies of work to be far more substantial. If only they'd lived longer and had computers.

I know many readers opt for Pride and Prejudice as their favorite Jane Austen book – and the wonderful film and TV adaptations certainly haven't hurt (who can complain about Colin Firth as Mr Darcy). But my favorite Jane Austen book is Persuasion. I think it's the slightly older heroine reuniting with her first (only) and true love that resonates with me.

With the Bronte sisters, Jane Eyre is a perennial favorite. The lonely governess triumphing to find her true love while remaining true to herself. I enjoyed Wuthering Heights when I was younger but it's a little too dramatic to be my favorite. And although it's been quite some time since I read it, I really enjoyed the lesser known Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, as well as Charlotte's Villette – although I remember feeling tricked by the identity of the hero in that one.

Georgette Heyer – bless her, was far more prolific. And I'm almost pleased to say that I haven't read all of her books. Pleased because that means there are undiscovered treats in store for me. I've loved Venetia, Devil's Cub, These Old Shades, The Grand Sophy, Frederica and The Black Sheep. Her dialogue and sharply drawn characters never fail to enthrall me. And I'm looking forward to working my way through her books.

So what are your favorites? And please, send any Georgette Heyer recommendations my way. I'm compiling a list and am going to work my way through it. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

USA Today bestselling author Sandra Hyatt's third Silhouette Desire, His Bride for the Taking, a tale of forbidden desire, is out in June in North America and July in Australia and New Zealand.


  1. Sandra --
    Persuasion is my fave Jane Austen as well.
    With Georgette Heyer -- you know that her first book The Black Moth features the Duke of Avon as the villlain.
    Regency Buck is well worth a read.
    And An Infamous Army is one of the best books on the Battle of Waterloo. Characters from Regency Buck and Devil's Cub make an appearance. Vidal is rather older though...

  2. Sandra - I agree with Michelle and you, Persuasion is my favourite as well.
    With Georgette Heyer I am a fan of Frederica, I also like The Corinthian, The Quiet Gentleman and Arabella.
    OK I am feeling a Heyer fest coming on!

  3. Loved your post, Sandra. I love Persuasion too, but I'm afraid for me it's pipped at the post by Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I've only recently reread Jane Eyre and I think I love it just as much as P&P.

    Ahhh... Georgette Heyer -- what a treat. You HAVE to read The Grand Sophy, Faro's Daughter and Cotillion (and I'll stop now before I fill up your compiling list :-))

  4. Hi Michelle - I'll bet the Duke of Avon makes a terrific villian. He had some chilling moments in These Old Shades. He could be so wonderfully cold!

  5. Biddy - those three authors are my comfort reads and every now and then I just need one.

    When I first learned to play sudoku I was reading a Georgette Heyer book and now whenever I play it I get a hankering to read her.

  6. Hi Michelle D - it was a toss up for me between Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. I love the wit and dialogue of P&P but there's just something about the suffering Ann and Captain Wentworth went through without each other that gets me.

    I'm making a list of the Heyer recommendations. A great incentive to crack on and finish my current work in progress.

  7. Sandra, Devil's Cub for more Alastair goodness. Love that one. Oh yes to Regency Buck, Arabella and Frederica. Sylvester is a goodie too. And I do like Venetia. Also Black Sheep too!

  8. Hi Jackie - despite a relatively brief appearance, Alastair is gorgeous in Devil's Cub. Someone recently lent me Regency Buck so I'll bump it up my reading list. In retrospect I think I was too young to fully appreciate Georgette Heyer when I first read her. I've enjoyed her books even more and seen more humor second time round.

  9. Okay, Heyer virgin here. Do I start with her first published book and read through so I get to know the characters? I suppose there's a list somewhere--my library is excellent about things like that. I prefer P&P for the wit and Darcy's suppressed desires. The way he holds himself in check thrills me. I'm not much for suffering bravely, though, so Jane Eyre and S&S don't resonate with me. Have the same problem with Wuthering Heights, although I only read it in high school, so maybe it's time to try again. Thanks for the suggestions.

  10. Hi Megan - I thought I answered you but my reply vanished. So, trying againg but hoping you don't get two. I don't think you need to read her in order. All her books are stand alone although the hero from Devil's Cub is the son of the hero and heroine from These Old Shades - so I'd read that one first. And as Michelle said that hero was actually the villain in The Black Moth - which I've yet to read.

    But if you like the with and sharp dialogue of P&P I think you'll like Georgette Heyer. To my mind, some are better than others and some have a little too much description (but you can skim), but their definitely worth it. Enjoy!

  11. Georgette Heyer in my opinion was simply one of the best. I love all of her books and through the years I've read them all at least once and sometimes twice.
    My top three are:
    These Old Shades
    The Devil's Cub
    The Black Moth
    All of her works are timeless and anyone who truly loves romance MUST read Georette Heyer. Her story telling will live forever.

  12. Thanks for the recommedations Maire Aine. Bumping The Black Moth up to the top of my list.