Georgette Heyer books remain most excellent on the umpteenth reread. On this occasion Venetia, Frederica, and Sylvester. Am unable to decide which I like better: Venetia or Sylvester. Right now am tilting towards Sylvester on account of authoress Phoebe’s roman a clef, the hero, Sylvester’s attempt to “mount” the heroine, and the truly appalling Sir Nugent Fotherby. But the sexy talk between Venetia and her Wicked Duke Damerel is hard to go past.

Can’t stop listening to Missy Elliot’s latest The Cookbook. Current fave: “We run this”.

The latest New Yorker has a gorgeous account of just how much Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) drank in a day:

At about ten o’clock, he would have his “morning draft”—usually “small” (or weak) beer, but sometimes regular beer or even wine. Cakes might be eaten with the draft, but dinner was the day’s main meal, then taken at noon, and, at least on some occasions, this was washed down with wine—possibly watered, given the volumes that Pepys records knocking back. During the rest of the working day, more wine might be consumed; Rhenish wine (sometimes sugared); “sack” (sherry or Spanish white wine); claret (red Bordeaux); “Florence” wine; “burnt” or “mulled” wine; wine flavoured with wormwood. He might also have further drafts of beer (traditionally hopped) or ale (traditionally unhopped), and specified as Margate, Lambeth, China, or Hull).

Fair enough. Drinking water back then was dangerous. I’d’ve been dead of cholera so very fast. I love me the taste of water. Especially New York City tap water which was unavailable to Pepys. Poor bastard.

It finally got hot here in NYC. I’m very happy.


  1. Pauline Dickinson on #

    I agree with you about how enjoyable it is to reread Heyer, although I’m not as fond of Venetia as the other two. My current favourites, after Frederica, are These Old Shades, and the very funny Talisman Ring.

  2. niki on #

    London water is horrible – recycled from the Thames -berk !

  3. niki on #

    …that probably explains all the drinking

  4. Justine on #

    Pauline: Wow, it’s so long since I’ve read Talisman Ring I’ve completely forgotten the plot. I’m blessed that way. Don’t tell it me! I’ll reread and be pleasantly surprised.

    These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub used to be my faves, but Leone has increasingly worn on me as I get older. Dunno why exactly. A bit too hero worshippy maybe? A friend of a friend says she’s just like one of those fan girls who can’t admit that her object of worship could ever do anything wrong.

    Niki: that’s fab news. So not only is booze and food prohibitively expensive but I’m going to have to pay for water too! Bloody hell. It’s gunna cost a fortune! Why am I going there again? Oh that’s right you’re there!

  5. Kelly Link on #

    Venetia and Sylvester are my two favorites as well, I’m afraid. I lean a bit more towards Venetia because of the fabulous line “May the caterpillar devour thine increase!” — or something like that. And I love the ending so much. I loved Devil’s Cub and These Old Shades, but am reluctant to go back and read them. Once loved The Grand Sophy, but now I find her bossy and annoying.

    Anyone ever read Laura London’s The Windflower? It was the first romance novel I ever read. The prose is alternately witty and smart and then painfully purple, the gender dynamics are terrible, but the secondary characters are fabulous. That and Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm are both fab — Justine, I think I’ve given you a copy of the Kinsale, perhaps.

  6. Justine on #

    Kelly: I can’t read Grand Sophy any more either. The anti-semitism does me in. I have nothing against bossiness. Heaven forfend!

    You gave me a bunch of romance books all of which I adored, but given the crap memory you’ll have to plot me to see if I can remember Flowers from the Storm or not. In the one I remember most vividly the hero has a stroke and there’s lots of sexy nursing.

  7. Harriet on #

    Coincidentally, I grabbed a Georgette Heyer off the shelf for a re-read last night. I find that most of the best ones I have somewhat read to death – not so much the “umpteenth” read as the “umptieth” – and I need to rest them for a bit longer. So I’m left with the less good ones (specifically, The Reluctant Widow).

    A bit embarrassed to say, though, that Grand Sophy is still my absolute favourite. Point taken about the bossiness and the anti-semitism, but the plot and the dialogue are just so much fun! And I like the fact that Charles is a “Mark 1 hero who thinks he is a Mark 2” (or words to that effect – it’s a (mis)quote from Heyer, who said that she only had two types of hero, Mark 1 and Mark 2).

    Sylvester, Venitia and Frederica are high on my list, though I think I’d place Black Sheep and Cotillion above them. I think some scenes from Talisman Ring are enormously funny, but the book as a whole isn’t as rich as her best work. Also have to admit to a great fondness for The Masqueraders, even though intellectually I know it’s not as well written as a lot of her other stuff.

  8. mely on #

    flowers from the storm is the one with a stroke. go justine! i love kinsale’s writing. she’s brilliant and strange and is always doing stuff people just don’t think of doing with romance. you might like judith ivory/judy cuevas’ work, too, although her best stuff (under the cuevas name) is out of print, and it’s possible she may go too purple for you.

    i love the windflower. i always wanted a sequel about the abused second lead, cat, who now that i think of it is a lot like samuel, the hero of kinsale’s the shadow and the star, my favorite of hers despite the cracktastic plotting. sharon & tom curtis/laura london did a bunch of traditional regencies too, in most of which my hatred of the passivity of the heroines wars with my love of the dialogue.

  9. ron on #

    so did they have a goergette heyer high tea at worldcon in glasgow?

    I know this used to be a bit of a tradition – up until the mid/late seventies i think – and I know a sydney fan revived it for the ’85 worldcon in melbourne – but don’t think it happens anymore – ?

    now there’s a grand project – why don’t we revive the tradition? be lotsa fun… could frock up an’ everything!

    now where did i put my buckram shoulder pads…?

  10. Justine on #

    Dunno. Maybe? I was too engrossed with the cricket to notice much else . . .

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