These are the 10 Heyer novels I love the most, however, just in alphabetical order since it was hard enough to pick only ten and there’s no way I’d be able to narrow it down any further.
This was the first Heyer hero that I truly fell for. Arabella is determined to take Mr. Beaumaris down a peg–by pretending to be a great heiress under the assumption that she will never meet him again. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) Arabella meets Mr. Beaumaris once again in London, and the dance between them begins. Mr. Beaumaris knows very well that she’s not a heiress at all…
Since I was not a big fan of The Grand Sophy the first time I read it, this was the second book I read by her and the one that solidified my love for Heyer. I was definitely invested in Kitty Charing’s choice between her two cousins, Jack and Freddy since I hated Jack with a passion and I determined that if Kitty chose Jack I would swear off Georgette Heyer forever. But really, it was a start of an odyssey.
I hear that a lot of Heyer’s fans don’t like this one and I’m not sure why since I find the characters in this book to be the most complex. Its probably the one with the plot line that makes the most sense while being the most creepy of her work. The character of Kate’s cousin, Torquil, is a mentally ill man whom his mother (Kate’s half-aunt, in fact) hopes to marry him off to Kate in the hopes Kate can control him (and stop the estate from falling in the hands of their other cousin, Mr. Phillip Broome, should Torquil die). Unfortunately for her half-aunt, Kate and Mr. Broome discover the plot.
Since Vidal is definitely… not a chivalrous suitor to say the least, I definitely think this is the most controversial of Heyer’s work and probably where abusive romance became mainstream, which makes it a difficult book to recommend no matter how much I personally love it. So I do admit that the book is problematic, but there is just something about the book overall that I find so swoon worthy. I guess this is my weakness when it comes to Heyer.
For a long time I think this was my favorite novel by Heyer (now I’d be hard pressed to choose…) since Frederica was an older girl compared to a lot of Heyer’s other works (since then though, I’ve learned she does more work with some older ladies, but this remains my favorite of that group) since I’m older as well and without a romance myself and therefore identify with Frederica more than the other heroines. Not to mention, Alverstoke is a fantastic hero and rates pretty high in my list of swoon worthy heroes.
The Grand Sophy
This was actually the first book I read by her and I don’t remember being very impressed with it at the time. On a re-read this year however, I decided that I was insane and this book was absolutely amazing! Sophy is adorable and infuriating all the same and Charles is not quite the immense bore that I remember. Plus the final scene is all that one would wish it to be no matter how tangled the plot lines get, Heyer always wraps them up in a neat little bow.
Waldo is another one of Heyer’s heroes that are positively swoon worthy. I often wonder if this is the book where the philanthropic hero trope in regency romances comes from. You have to admit that its hard to find a modern regency romance writer that has not featured a philanthropic hero in one of their books. If Waldo is where that started, then everyone else pales in comparison. Waldo’s charity runs in the line of orphans, which is how he meets our heroine, Miss Trent, who is acting as a companion and governess to the children of one of the matrons in the neighborhood of the estate that he inherits and intends to use to house his orphans. Waldo then has to set about the task of convincing Miss Trent that its perfectly okay for him to marry a mere governess.
The Quiet Gentleman
I think this is an underrated Heyer work, I don’t see it mentioned much on lists like these, possibly because Gervase is kind of a boring hero compared to some others. But I rather like him for being so kind and gentle as opposed to the steel that you find in the rest of her heroes, pretty much across the board. Plus this is one of the books where the heroine truly gets to save the hero and there’s no more capable heroine than the practical Miss Morville.
This is another one of Heyer’s work that fans seem to not like as much as I think they should. I think this is just a difference of opinion, however, I think people don’t like Judith’s immaturity or they don’t like that Worth tries to boss her around because the infuriating girl keeps acting without propriety. Mostly this book is a mystery with Worth knowing all the answers–but unable to convince Judith of the truth and taking drastic but exciting measures.
If you want a tortured rake, this is the book for you. Venetia has been warned off from Damerel, an infamous rake said to hold orgies and other terrible, terrible things. He falls in with Venetia after mistaking her for a maid and kissing her in his orchard, and then they become best of friends. Venetia and Damerel are definitely my favorite Heyer couple.
Honorable Mentions: The Talisman Ring, April Lady, Charity Girl, Black Sheep, The Convenient Marriage and The Unknown Ajax.