REVIEW of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, by Jennifer Kloester

When reading Georgette Heyer’s books, you can sometimes find the story so enjoyable and full of levity that it seems like you’re reading “fluff”, not serious historical fiction. But Heyer was a meticulous researcher using actual places, persons, foods, furnishings, and turns-of-phrase from the Regency period. I didn’t realize just how detailed Heyer’s books are until I read Georgette Heyer’s Regency World: the definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period.

In this book, Jennifer Kloester explains all the different aspects of the Regency period in either narrative or encyclopedia fashion, using examples from Georgette Heyer’s novels to add piquancy to her prose. She talks about the different levels of society, the floor plans of houses, the roles of men and women, styles of clothing, and a host of other topics. The book conveys a vast amount of historical information–and astounds you with how much information Georgette Heyer managed to convey–but hardly ever falls into the trap of tediousness.

As the subtitle of the book proclaims, this book would definitely be of interest to all fans of either Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen. Although Kloester’s book is written in a popular style (e.g. without footnotes), I can see how it would also be a useful handbook for authors doing research in this period. In fact, one historical fiction author told me just the other day that this book is “the Bible” when it comes to writing Regencies.

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