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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Georgette Heyer - Pistols for Two

I'm a big fan of Georgette Heyer's mysteries and romances.  I think she's truly one of the masters of a genre she largely pioneered, Regency romance not written by authors living in Regency Britain.  Her Regency romance novels sparkle with wit, romance, and fun, while, as far as I can tell, remaining true to the historical context (as much it is possible for a "contemporary" author - she wrote from the 1920s to the early 1970s) .

Pistols for Two, a compilation of eleven of her Regency-era short stories, mostly romances, doesn't disappoint.  She effectively distills into the short story format what she does in her novels, no easy feat. Heyer is amazingly economic and effective, effortlessly establishing the characters and their dilemma from the get-go - then bringing the story to its delightful happy ending. Many of the stories are elements of what shows up in her novels, with the same themes, plots, and characters types, and I suspect that they may have been precursors to later novels.  Although these elements are familiar to any reader of Heyer's novels, the stories remain fresh and thoroughly enjoyable in their own right. 

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