Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Monday, February 1, 2010

Historical Book Review: Beauvallet, by Georgette Heyer

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading one of Georgette Heyer’s magnificent works, Beauvallet. The title itself rolls off your tongue and promises an escape, something exciting and romantic. Originally published in 1929, Beauvallet was been reprinted by Sourcebooks Casablanca in the USA, this pas January!

About the book…

A swashbuckling tale set in the second half of the 16th century, when Elizabeth was on the throne and the Spanish Armada ruled the waves. Sir Nicholas Beauvallet, pirate and nobleman, captures a Spanish galleon and discovers a lovely lady on board. Chivalrous to the core, he woos and wins her heart, then returns her and her father to their homeland, vowing to come after her—even though there's a price on his head and discovery of his identity will mean certain death. In the midst of much adventure, Beauvallet masquerades as a Frenchman, is betrayed, and must fight his way to freedom while stealing the lady willingly away…

About the author, from Sourcebooks…

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, published when she was 19, was an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency novels, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

History Undressed Review…

Heyer has been dubbed the Queen of Regency, which she very well is, but this story takes place in Elizabethan times. I think this calls for another title to be bestowed on our beloved late author--Ms. Georgette Heyer, is also the Queen of Elizabethan romance. I must say thank you to Sourcebooks, for bringing Heyer back into the limelight. I’d never read one of her books before, and am now a major fan, swallowing up her literary treats as fast as I can get my hands on them.

From the very first sentence-- “The deck was a shambles.” -- the reader is pulled into the story. Heyer is magnificent in her hooks, but not just the opening and ending hooks, but the very middle. Her work bounces off the page in a lively piece that is reminiscent of Shakespeare and other great historical writers. She has been likened to Jane Austen, which I can see as well.

The dialogue is witty, fun, exciting. The characters are well thought out and unique. As a history lover, I was impressed by Ms. Heyer’s research. The book is chock full of real-life history, including those larger than life real privateers like Drake and Raleigh. Her scenery descriptions and the way she captures the true essence of the characters was a marvel to me. The heroine, Dona Dominica was a woman ahead of her time. She stoically and valiantly thwarted the evil machinations of her cousin and aunt, all while staying steadfast to her true love. Sir Nicholas Beauvallet was so well created and imbedded in the history, I actually did a search to see if he existed in real-life. Sadly, he was all made up, but a hero I fell in love with nonetheless, and a book I recommend to all of you! If you love adventure, romance, intrigue, betrayal, love and history all rolled into one, Beauvallet, has it!

And let’s face it--who doesn’t love a daring pirate hero willing to risk life and limb for his feisty heroine?

Buy link

Product ISBN: 9781402219511

Reprint by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication Date: January 2010

I highly recommend visiting this site, with all sorts of fun information on Ms. Heyer, her work and historical eras she wrote in: http://www.georgette-heyer.com/


Donna said...

I had just posted elsewhere about how much I have read -- and loved -- this book! I just read it again in January, for about the fourteenth time. And it's still fresh and enjoyable every single time.

This was probably one of the first romances I'd read where the characters didn't have a lot of angst between them, and it was so refreshing. I like his determination, and his endless good cheer. I love how she essentially fell in love with him because he was so enchanted with HER. LOL Such a great book.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I've only read one Georgette Heyer but I have Arabella which I hope to read once I'm done with the book, and now I will add this one to the pile as well.

Eliza Knight said...

Donna, I found it to be a very refreshing love story also, lots of adventure and fun! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Eliza Knight said...

Elizabeth let me know what you think of Arabella! I can't wait to read that one next!

Lucy said...

Love your review! I will be reading this one in the coming weeks and now, after reading your review, I can't wait! I'm reading Powder and Patch right now -and it's hillarious! Thanks:)