Heyer is the grandmother of Regency romance, the inventor of the genre, and the queen of period-accurate research to pepper her books with the charming minutiae of the time period. I was introduced to her work by a college roommate who loaned me a copy of The Grand Sophy, and once I managed to slog through the first few chapters of period-accurate prose (no one ever said her books were light, easy reads for people in our day!) I was HOOKED. She crafts delightful characters that spring off the page and pull you into their immersive historic world. I don't know a single Regency author who doesn't have intense respect for Georgette Heyer.
I admit I borrowed heavily from Georgette Heyer's dictionary of charming Regency slang when writing the companion to A Stage for Harriet that will be published next. Green as Grass tells the story of a fashionable London socialite, and its drama is far quieter and more realistic than my first book's, with no villains beyond those everyday sorts of people who make steam come out of our nostrils.
This is one of my favorite little scenes of witty banter between our charming heroine and a (non-romantic!) friend of hers in Green as Grass, my next book from Cedar Fort (Release date TBD):
Thinking of Lady Margaret for even a moment was enough to sour her expression, so when she went to the punch table, Robert Dalton greeted her by saying, “Well, good evening, Miss Grenfeld—who’s set up your bristles?”
Louisa laughed lightly. Robert Dalton was a delightfully ineligible young bachelor of eight-and-twenty who gambled heavily, flirted freely, and made easy friends wherever he went. “It is as good to see you as ever, Mr. Dalton. Whatever leads you to believe I’m angry?”
Robert gave her such a skeptical expression she almost had to laugh again. “Tell me, then, Miss Louisa. Who is responsible for that look on your face? Need I call someone out?”
She giggled once more. “Call out a widow? I should think not!”
“Is she a wealthy, young widow? Because I just might pay her a call. None too plump in the pocket at the moment, you know.” He winked.
Her eyes sparkled with her smile. “You never seem to be, Mr. Dalton.”
He accepted the rub with a grin. “What is the latest on-dit, then, Madam? From what little I’ve heard, that Brougham newcomer seems set to make you an offer already!”
She could feel her cheeks flush, but only smiled. “I don’t know about that.” She glanced about to be sure she wouldn’t be overheard before saying, “His mother asked that I introduce him to some more eligible young ladies, and even suggested that I set my cap at her nephew, Alfred Stanley.”
His mouth fell open and he shook his head. “You cannot be serious,” he said.
“I’m afraid I am serious, Mr. Dalton,” Louisa said, taking a sip of punch.
“Alfred Stanley? Does she know who you are?”
Louisa flushed with pleasure at the implied compliment. “Far too respectable for the likes of Mr. Stanley?” she said hopefully.
“I should say so! You are a diamond of the first water! He’s a . . . a loose screw too short on blunt for the petticoat line!”
One or two older ladies looked over at him when he made this exclamation, clearly scandalized. He nodded a brief apology to them before shaking his head at Louisa. “I should lower my voice, but ‘tis a shocking outrage. What did you say to the woman?”
Louisa looked heavenward. “What could I say, Mr. Dalton? I am a young, unattached woman of no consequence in her mind, and she the widowed daughter of an earl who refuses to recognize me as a respectable young lady, let alone as someone to be emulated. It would’ve been useless to contradict her.”
Mr. Dalton shook his head. “You didn’t answer my question, though, Miss Grenfeld. Are you setting your cap at that Brougham fellow? He’s said to be full of juice and very well-born, but I’ve never seen him at Watier’s! You never really know a man until you play a game of Faro at his side.”
“Let us hope, for the sake of his fortune, that he is never seen at Watier’s,” Louisa said with a smile, her mind flashing to their friend Mr. Brummell’s embarrassing gaming debts.
Robert narrowed his eyes at her. “Fine then, Miss. You keep your secrets, and I’ll keep mine.”
She laughed at this. “When have you ever kept a secret, sir?”
He wiggled his eyebrows. “If I told you, it’d never be a secret now, would it?”
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