4.5 stars If you ever wanted to see a Regency era heroine really take charge of her life, you ll probably love The Grand Sophy Sophia Stanton Lacy, better known as Sophy, is dropped on her aunt s family by her globe trotting father, who asks his sister, Lady Ombersley, to watch over his poor little Sophy.Enter Sophy, 5 9 , independent minded and brimming with confidence.Sophy quickly figures out all of the dysfunctions in the Ombersley family, including a father with a gambling addiction, a passive mother, a daughter who throws over the perfectly nice, eligible lord she s supposed to marry in favor of a swoony, absent minded poet, and a younger son who s managed to get himself into some deep trouble And the older son, Charles, who has taken over control of the family and its finances to try to pull everything together, and in the process has lost his sense of humor, turned into a domestic tyrant of sorts, and managed to get himself engaged to a vindictive, overly proper woman, Eugenia Wraxton.It s a good thing Sophy is a take charge and fix it kind of person.Also luckily, Sophy is intelligent and has a great sense of humor It s a sheer pleasure to watch her take on Charles.He said stiffly Since you have brought up Miss Wraxton s name, I shall be much obliged to you, cousin, if you will refrain from telling my sisters that she has a face like a horse But, Charles, no blame attaches to Miss Wraxton She cannot help it, and that, I assure you, I have always pointed out to your sisters I consider Miss Wraxton s countenance particularly well bred Yes, indeed, but you have quite misunderstood the matter I meant a particularly well bred horse You meant, as I am perfectly aware, to belittle Miss Wraxton No, no I am very fond of horses Sophy said earnestly.Jane Austen s Emma should take a clue from Sophy Emma tries to manage everyone s lives, especially their romances, and is usually wrong Sophy who, in fairness, is much cosmopolitan than Emma pretty much always succeeds at managing everyone s lives Luckily for everyone involved, she s also pretty much always right, with one notable exception that ends up turning out right anyway, because the universe clearly loves Sophy.I really didn t mean to swallow this book whole in one day, but once I got going I couldn t stop And when Heyer pulls all the main characters together at the end for one of those absurd farcical scenes she does so well, it was comedy heaven.This would be a 5 star book, easy, but unfortunately there s a really problematic minor subplot, right in the middle of the book, that involves a stereotypical greasy, evil Jewish moneylender the name Goldhanger and his Semitic nose are your textual clues It lasts for about 5 pages, max I ve looked at different ways of rationalizing this those were different times it s just one character and not necessarily the author s commentary on all Jews but I can t get comfortable with it Nor do I think I should this was published in 1950, post WWII, by which time people generally and Georgette Heyer specifically should have known better This one scene will ruin the entire book for some people If you can rationalize it or ignore it or skip over it, knowing that Sophy prevails in their brief encounter this is otherwise a completely delightful book If you can t, that s totally understandable I understand the racial descriptions have been removed from some editions of the book, like Agatha Christie s And Then There Were None, which seems to me a happy answer to this problem.Because really, Sophy s a great character and, that one scene excluded, this is one of Heyer s best novels I would love to hang out with Sophy we could braid each other s hair and she could fix all my problems. She was by far too tall nose and mouth were both too large, and a pair of expressive gray eyes could scarcely be held to atone entirely for these defects Only you could not forget Sophy, even though you could not recall the shape of her face, or the colour of her eyes I for one will not forget the unstoppable and vivacious Sophy Stanton Lacy anytime soon A truly entertaining Regency Romance with one of the most delightful and dynamic heroines you could ever hope to encounter from this time period, The Grand Sophy is the perfect book when you need a break from your denser and darker reads It is fast paced, clever and often humorous.When Sophy s father, Sir Horace, is summoned to Brazil on business, he entrusts her care as well as the search for an appropriate marriage match to his sister s family When Sophy arrives at the Ombersley doorstep complete with dog, parrot and monkey, she instantly creates a sensation While the Ombersleys learn that Sophy is indeed unconventional, Sophy discovers that aunt, uncle and cousins are perhaps a bit dysfunctional From cousin Cecilia who pines for a flighty poet much to the dismay of her family, to Lady Ombersley whose vinegars and fainting couch are always close at hand, to the often absent and oblivious Lord Ombersley, to cousin Horace with his concealed gambling debts and to cousin Charles himself, the true and exacting master of the household, Sophy will have her hands full Sophy and Charles immediately butt heads and Sophy proves herself an impressive match for this unyielding gentleman When Sophy tries to sort out and influence the various relationships and love matches, the household is further shaken up The insipid and meddling Eugenia Wraxton, betrothed to Charles, is an excellent counterbalance to Sophy s high spiritedness Eugenia says of Sophy,It is a pity that men will laugh when her liveliness betrays her into saying what cannot be thought becoming It brings her too much into notice, and that, I fancy, is the root of the evilIn regards to Eugenia and Charles, Sophyfelt it a pity that so promising a young man should be cast away on one who would make it her business to encourage all the disagreeable features of his character Throw in some reckless riding, a showy and decidedly unfeminine at least by the standards of the day carriage, an elegant pistol, a variety of other colorful characters, a scheme to set everyone straight in the world of romance, and you will find that Georgette Heyer most assuredly concocted a very pleasurable and wholesome adventure This is my third Heyer read and I have plenty downloaded to my kindle for those days when I want something light, witty, and engaging I highly recommend trying one of her books if any of those qualities appeal to you. Buddy Read w the wonderful, Candi Phrynne.Once again, my goodreads friends and in groups have gotten me to read a book that I thought I would never like and guess what I loved it Lady Ombersley s brother, Sir Horace decides to leave his daughter, Sophy with them while he is away Sophy usually goes with him when he travels the world, but on this occasion he needs her to stay with her aunt and uncle and all of the cousins What a joy Sophy was to a most droll household The eldest brother, Charles was so tiresome in the beginning He didn t seem to want to let any of the women have any kind of fun or do anything for that matter Charles is also engaged to the horrible, Miss Wraxton, I wanted to drop kick her off the roof They both seemed made for each other, at least in the beginning And then SOPHY arrives I thought she was going to give her aunt a heart attack You see Sophy has been brought up very differently then most girls She arrives with her beautiful horse Salamanca, Tina her little Italian Greyhound and Jacko the monkey she brought for the children that she rescued I think she had a bird too I just loved her Sophy is a force to be reckoned with, she sets out to turn everything right for as many people as she can She works on her cousin, Cecy, who is being stupid in her choice of men She helps her cousin Hubert who is in a bit of a gambling situation himself There are several things she does and she doesn t take no lip from Charles She puts him in his place so many times I loved it so much Sophy is such fun She asked her aunt where bank was so she could go get her finances in order Well this just about made the woman in the family fall over, not to mention Charles No one ever heard of a woman going into a bank And then Charles is taking Sophy to the back because that s how she rolls They got into a little arguement when Sophy was asking Charles where she could buy her own phaeton and horses and he was livid, saying women don t drive their own phaetons Blah blah and blah Well she showed him After her business in the bank, where she had Charles wait in the phaeton, they stopped off on an errand for Charles She waits in the phaeton with the groom I knew exactly what she was going to do when she takes off one glove and lets it fly over to the ground She talks the groom into going over to get it and this is what happens next Tell your master that it is too chilly to keep the horses standing Sophy called after him I will tool the curricle round the streets for a few minutes, and come back to take him up when he is ready The groom, who was stooping to pick up the glove, nearly fell over, so swiftly did the spin round He had an excellent view of Miss Stanton Lacy Sophy driving at a smart pace up the street He made a gallant but belated attempt to catch the curricle, but it swept round a corner just as the wind blew his hat off, and sent it blowing down the street.Needless to say that Charles was furious when she got back I laughed and laughed Since Charles wouldn t tell here where to buy a good phaeton and horses she asked another gentleman she met when she was out at the park with some of the family riding horses Of course they had a fit because Sophy was racing Salamanca around and women just don t do that in the park lol Sophy ended up getting some horses a man was selling that supposedly everyone wanted, but she got there first And she ended up getting her own phaeton that was considered a sporting one and not one for a lady This is how I picture it since it s supposed to be 5 feet high, which is my height It s like those monster trucks, the monster phaeton lol Once again I loved how many family members Sophy helps in this book and I loved the many times she put Charles and Miss Wraxton in their places about things He said through shut teeth I think I told you once before, cousin, that we did very well here before you came to upset all of our comfort Yes, you did, and what you meant, Charles, was that until I came no one dared to flout you You should be grateful to me or at any rate, Miss Wraxton should, for I am sure you would have made an odious husband before I came to stay with your Mama She even goes to see an moneylender to help out the other cousin I mentioned And oh my goodness She is not afraid of him or cares less for what he says When he dares to try to threaten her she just pulls and gun and demands what she came for, says she will give him the money owed, or she can go to the cops or just shoot him Either way and she gets what she comes for Sophy had me laughing or smiling through most of the book She is someone I would love to know in my real life I loved her and I loved this book Another little gem found in the wonderful world of books and book friends And yes, Sophy finds love herself at the very end MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List I thought the book was delightful witty, bright, deeply hilarious and then we ran into a very stereotypical description of a Jewish Moneylender I do realize that Heyer was reflecting attitudes of the time, but did the moneylender have to be quite so odious On one hand, he is a nasty character and nasty characters often don t have a good personal hygiene On other hand, the description hits point by point a racial stereotype used for many years to fuel persecution of the Jewish race It is quite possible that there were loan sharks in England who had greasy hair and hooked noses and some of them could have been Jewish or English or Cornish or French or whatever , but as a writer, I believe you have a certain responsibility not to further those racial stereotypes In other words, if you write something a Nazi would approve of, you have to be prepared that the majority of your readership will loathe it and they would be right to do so Why would one want to contribute to hate mongering Unfortunately, this description colored the entire book for me The I think about it, the less I am able to concentrate on the substance of the story.Russia is famous for its atrocities against Jews It is our cultural inheritance and it is an inheritance that must be remembered and not swept under the rug, because those who forget history are doomed to repeat it We own the 1821 Pogrom and the Odessa riots, and while none of the people who participated in them are alive today, we, as their descendants, have the duty to make sure we don t go down that road again Every nationality has those dark spots of their history that are too painful to forget the Holocaust, the rape of Nanking, the Trail of Tears, the Interment Camps of Japanese Americans, the Opium Wars, and so on As a human being, I can t really overlook Heyer s portrayal of the money lender as a filthy Jew Because really that s what she wrote Culturally and morally I can t accept it Yes, an author should be sensitive to the time period in which her characters exist It wouldn t be out of a question for English ton to show a marked prejudice against Jews simply because it would have been historically accurate But would the author have to reinforce a negative stereotype Why not make him suave or handsome or charming Why not use this opportunity to make a point yes, he is a Jewish money lender in Regency London, and the heroine is surprised by how well dressed he is, but how well he speaks, and how professionally he carries himself, and her prejudice is shaken I had the same reaction to that scene as I do to some of early Disney cartoons.Heyer wrote about a historical period of which she was not a contemporary It is very difficult for me to support any notion of authenticity when it creates this much damage You know, the first time I ve read the encounter, the fact that the money lender was Jewish completely flew over my head I just read it as a description of a particularly unpleasant person It was only when the money lender was later identified as a Jew in the narrative, the significance of the description sunk in If you say man with greasy hair and hooked nose I don t automatically think Jewish sterotype That s not a connection my brain makes That s my silver lining here in 1950 s, people would ve read this description and said, Aha in 2011 I ve read this description and it didn t hit home right away It is my sincerest hope that when my children read it, it will completely fly over their heads It would never occur to them to associate that description with any particular nationality unless it was pointed out I think that s a sign of our cultural progress.So sigh F from me. A Regency Romance What What Ah, but this was nothing very stuffy, indeed Sophy was the model extrovert, a clever and busy and downright machiavellian girl Do you like characters with so much agency that they pop right off the page Sophy is your girl.Of course, that also means that she s pretty much a terror for all the stuffed shirts around her, and between getting in the way and deciding to help her relations find marriage, while all the while being the unwitting subject of the same dastardly plot.How will this comedy turn out Truly, the pacing is good, the plot is pretty Shakespearian, and the stuffed shirts get stuffed.It was pretty fun Mind you, I do love a bit of romance fluff every now and again and this was light and churlish and sometimes even devious, but it is also pure popcorn fiction.I m glad to have read it, but it s not generally the kind of thing I read, or at least, the setting isn t The storied plots are pretty universal, though, and there were plenty of chuckles in store for me Here s to broadening my horizon One of Georgette s best loved Regencies it is impossible to read it any other way than as the story is told breakneck the smile never left my face While Sophy stays true to the period, in a lot of ways she is a far modern heroine it simply doesn t occur to her she can t be independent or that she doesn t know what is best for her cousins the Rivenhalls when she is sent to stay with them.The whole family reminds me of the Von Trapps in a Sound of Music, with Charles Rivenhall having Captain Von Trapp s autocracy his father Lord Ombersley his distance there is a gaggle of adorable young children teens Lord Ombersley would be a good candidate for Most Irresponsible Father in a Georgette Heyer Novel His fecklessness means that Charles has taken over the family reins has become old before his time To ease his load, he becomes engaged to the serious deadly dull Eugenia, not recognising the mean spirit hidden behind the correct Society manners.Clearly Sophy can t let this sad state of affairs continue mayhem follows, till everyone gets their happy ending A wonderful caste of characters that I have fallen in love with A minor quibble is that one of the younger children Theodore disappears from the book or else is merged with another son Hubert But Heyer had a lot of strands going in this book so that is understandable.Less forgiveable is the anti Semitism, baffling since Heyer herself is believed to have some Jewish blood I still prefer to read uncensored just accept my literary idol did have feet of clay.With this edition a typo in Chapter 8 The cover is a little insipid no way could that girl be the sparkling Sophy Let s say they are Cecy Charlbury This one that I grew up with is far better Outrage there are rumours of a Grand Sophy film in the works Before you break out the champagne read this link I m hoping this is a wind up, but not mentioning Heyer s name calling the book a bodice ripper aren t good signs Edit 4 8 15 I ve heard from Jen Koestler another member of the Georgette Heyer fans group has heard from scriptwriter Olivia Hetreed The bodice ripping Jane Bond idea was discarded years ago Hetreed writes that she is a lifelong fan of GH will hopefully produce something true to the spirit of this book.Edit Quite a coincidence last read almost three years ago Still no sign of the promised movie Sigh.My previous review still stands I ll just add that I have a far better opinion of Charles this time With that father, no wonder he has become bad tempered autocratic The Grand Sophy, my first Georgette Heyer, is a very entertaining book about a complete hoyden who turns people s lives upside down The vivacious, unconventional and head strong Sophy is a delightful heroine She comes to stay at her aunt when her diplomatic father has to sail away to Brazil, of all places She soons detects many problems that the family is struggling with, and decides to intervene For their own good, of course The Grand Sophy is the perfect read when you need a lull from denser, darker ones It is fast paced, clever and funny Perfect brain candy Enjoy When The Redoubtable Sir Horace Stanton Lacy Is Ordered To South America On Business, He Leaves His Only Daughter Sophia With His Sister, Elizabeth Rivenhall, In Berkeley Square Newly Arrived From Her Tour Of The Continent, Sophy Invites Herself Into The Circle Of Her Relatives When Lady Ombersley Agrees To Take In Her Young Niece, No One Expects Sophy, Who Sweeps In And Immediately Takes The Ton By Storm Beautiful, Gay, Impulsive, Shockingly Direct, Sophy Sweeps Into Elegant London Society And Scatters Conventions And Traditions Before Her Like Wisps In A Windstorm Resourceful, Adventurous And Utterly Indefatigable, Sophy Is Hardly The Mild Mannered Girl That The Rivenhalls Expect When They Agree To Take Her In Kind Hearted Aunt Lizzy Is Shocked, And Her Arrogant Stern Cousin Charles Rivenhall, The Ombersley Heir, Vows To Rid His Family Of Her Meddlesome Ways By Marrying Her OffBut Vibrant And Irrepressible Sophy Was No Stranger To Managing Delicate Situations After All, She D Been Keeping Opportunistic Females Away From Her Widowed Father For Years Staying With Her Relatives Could Be Her Biggest Challenge Yet But Sophy Discovers That Her Aunt S Family Is In Desperate Need Of Her Talent For Setting Everything Right Her Aunt S Husband Is Of No Use At All, Her Ruthlessly Handsome Cousin Charles Has Tyrannical Tendencies That Are Being Aggravated By His Pedantic Bluestocking Fiancee Eugenia Wraxton Her Lovely Cousin Cecelia Is Smitten With An Utterly Unsuitable Suitor, A Beautiful But Feather Brained Poet Her Cousin Herbert Is In Dire Financial Straits And Has Fallen Foul Of A Money Lender And The Younger Children Are In Desperate Need Of Some Fun And Freedom, And Sophy S Arrived Just In Time To Save Them All With Her Inimitable Mixture Of Exuberance And Grace, Sophy Becomes The Mainstay Of Her Hilariously Bedeviled Family, As A Horsewoman, Social Leader And Above All, As An Ingenious Match Maker Using Her Signature Unorthodox Methods, Sophy Sets Out To Solve All Of Their Problems By The Time She S Done, Sophy Has Commandeered Household And Charles S Horses, But She Finds Herself Increasingly Drawn To Her Eldest Cousin Could It Be That The Grand Sophy Had Finally Met Her Match Can She Really Be Falling In Love With Him, And He With Her And What Of His Betrothal To Grim Eugenia I think this has surpassed These Old Shades as my favourite of the Heyers that I ve read The hero isn t as much fun as Avon is, but the heroine, Sophy, far surpasses Leonie Sophy is, admittedly, forward, bold, and out spoken enough that she could have become as irritating to me as Leonie is but I think Heyer handled Sophy with far skill than she did Leonie no great surprise, perhaps, since there s a gap of about three decades between the two books and she s instead a very joyful character, and great fun to read about.I think it s also superior to ToS in that, like Jane Austen, Heyer has realised by this time that her strength lies in writing novels in which, well, not very much happens at all Whereas ToS is crammed full of kidnaps and mistaken identities and cross dressing, long lost noblewomen, The Grand Sophy s plot is composed of nothing exciting than a case of the mumps, and the resolution of a number of admittedly somewhat tangled marriage plots Its function is really to allow Heyer to write about the marvellous array of wits, rakes, eccentrics, snobs, dandies and heroines that populate the pages of her novels, and to let her show off the subtle, witty dialogue at which she excels Definitely some of the best historical fiction out there, whether romantic or not. Having recently reread another of Heyer s books, I found I just had to dig this one out as well, slightly dusty, from the depths of one of my book cases Sophy has always been one of my favourite heroines and again she did not disappoint From the moment the Grand Sophy makes her magnificent entrance you know you are in for a fun ride Heyer wrote many excellent and charming characters in her time but this young lady is one of the best Her enthusiasm for life and her determination that everyone around her should be happy too makes her a joy to be around.Heyer s other great skill was in writing entertaining dialogue and much of it in this book is laugh aloud funny I found myself quoting bits of it aloud to anyone who would listen So I am a Georgette Heyer fan and for me she can do no wrong However I am sure that anyone who enjoys a light, historical, innocent romance would like this book too.
The Black Moth.In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer Rougier later became a barrister and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.Heyer was an intensely private person who remained a best selling author all her life without the aid of publicity She made no appearances, never gave an interview and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point She wrote one novel using the pseudonym Stella Martin.Her Georgian and Regencies romances were inspired by
- 328 pages
- The Grand Sophy
- Georgette Heyer
- 24 March 2019 Georgette Heyer