Her Sophy brings sunshine to the stage merely by her presence in the scene. Her joyful disposition and quick mind means she sees a solution to every problem, even, and perhaps especially, when that solution will drive her cousin Charles past the end of his reason. Wille shows off vocal range with Spanish Marquessas, every age of person and station in life, including a very memorable gentleman with a cold, and all the timeSophy with a smile in her voice.
Recommended for all fiction collections. Claire Wille has exactly the right touch in her reading of The Grand Sophy , which is Regency romance at its very best. Her cousins soon adore her — except for the eldest, Charles, burdened by the debts his reckless father had left him with. He is betrothed to the dull and humourless Eugenia, and of course he disapproves of Sophy… Full of witty dialogue, delightful family feeling and heart-racing romance — just the thing for a rainy September evening!
I listened for two reasons — I needed to fill the abridged category of my Listening Challenge and I wanted to hear Armitage. Her narration was simply outstanding. Sophy comes to live with her aunt and uncle while her father travels to Brazil. They find her to be kind, resourceful, and certainly more self-assured than the average young lady. Her behaviour can be quite shocking at times — she shoots and rides with great proficiency.
Georgette Heyer, The Grand Sophy » Novel Readings - Notes on Literature and Criticism
The Grand Sophy is a witty and charming story with a large cast of characters. The size of the cast did cause confusion at times and made me wonder if an unabridged version could have lessened that confusion. Regardless, I found it quite entertaining and think this is a good starting place for those who are curious about Heyer but have yet to give her a try. It truly set the mood for this type of romance.
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
A request to the audiobook industry — please, I want more Clare Wille. This is the fifth of the uniformly fine Naxos abridgements of Heyer; there is also an interview with Wille on the Naxos website that gives intriguing insights into the art of narration. I listened for two reasons — I needed to fill the abridged category of my Listening Challenge, and I wanted to hear Armitage. Her behavior can be quite shocking at times — she shoots and rides with great proficiency. It is made clear that Sophy herself, with her father Sir Horace, was at the centre of the action.
Heyer is also a snob — by our standards. You could just about skip that and read the rest. I saw the grade and thought, are you fucking crazy? In general I glaze over racism etc. However, I am sorry that it was personally painful. I do think was long enough in the past to overlook the casual racism. Sayers, too. I reread both Heyer and Dorothy L. Can you imagine how Heyer and Sayers would have treated characters of color? Stereotypes are products of ignorance, and of the times, and let me disillusion people who think WWII magically changed the prejudices of hundreds of years.
Anti-Semitism was alive, well and institutionalized up until the s when the civil rights movement made discrimination of most kinds not only uncool but illegal. I still think Sayers and Heyer were brilliant writers and if either or both ladies were still with us and still writing, I have to think the social evolution of the past 60 years would be reflected in their novels.
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I remind myself of that every time I pick up one of their books. Ngaio Marsh wrote a book that astonished me with its casual racism. And it was published in Jessica Thompson: Mary Roberts Rinehart, too, and the Nancy Drew books, although those were apparently sanitized in later re-issues. I hate that scene as much as you, Sarah, and it always pulls me out of the story. Thank you for the honest review, Sarah. The problem as I see it is that the affection for Heyer gives tacit approval for her attitudes and suggests that other authors of a more enlightened??
Thank you, Sarah. I have not read another of her books since. The persecution of the Jews in WWII did not effect a miraculous transformation in the way people thought. It took time, as these things always do. And racial prejudice was alive and kicking — even more so in the US, but it was rampant in the UK, too. Prejudice is still there now. It does seem ridiculous to condemn a wonderful author like Heyer for an attitude that was common at the time. Dickens, Fielding, Shakespeare — refuse to have anything to do with them as well?
Of course, at the age of 13, I knew precisely two Jewish people, my dentist and my piano teacher. Both lovely people, highly skilled in their fields. So I guess the antisemitism sailed past my teenaged head. And in retrospect, of course.
But never underestimate the pig headed ignorance of the past. The hero was Polish. We were Polish. The mysteries were twisty and fun. I loved it. And thanks for that, NBC. I guess, in , no one had explained to me what a backhanded compliment that was. This is a really tough question. However, some other people think characters like Jim were revolutionary for the time period. Racism in America is part of history and needs to be preserved in order to remind the horrors of the past and the need to strive towards a better tomorrow. Books like Huckleberry Finn serve as a teaching moment, but it is routinely on the annual list of books people try to ban from libraries.
As far as the antisemitism, I think it is a bit of a cop-out to claim that Heyer was simply a product of her time. Therefore, we have to say that Heyer was antisemitic and not just blame it on the era in which she was raised. We are all responsible for our actions and beliefs, whether or not they are widely accepted.
BTW, I am a librarian at a theology library, and we have many antisemitic and anti-Islamic texts in our extensive reformation collection. We need to preserve this history as well as the foundations of protestantism. I like Heyer, but her novels are often a little mean-spirited, bigotry aside.
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Could there be a worse time to write something like that? You know, I was researching origins of anti-Semitic stereotypes in fiction while I was writing this review, and the portrayal of the goblins was brought up as exactly as you referenced it — so stereotypical it was like Jar-Jar Binks, only with banking. It was the awkward, shabby and unskilled way in which the character was used, and that it highlighted everything else that was flawed in my opinion. Is that really the best you could come up with? And this is, after all, my opinion. This book was spoiled for me due to the reasons I articulated.
Yes there are many authors out there that are misogynist, racist, or have questionable political views be it in their works or personally and we all have the choice if we want to read them or pass. This way we can be comfortable with why we continue to read said authors. Personally, when I read romance, I am not looking for racism, abuse, or hard core topics. There are other authors I can turn to for that. Very helpful review! Bigotry is a bit of a pet peeve for me.
I am so annoyed with Sarah B. I live in L. Have you read The Help? Racism abound. What about the misogyny in so many romance novels, not mention date rape. The Grand Sophy is a wonderful book that should not be judged by a small incident with a very nasty man. My family left Europe in the 19th century and settled in London. Coin and gem dealers who were undoubtable a bit dodgy.
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