Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Genre: Regency Romance; Romance

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How I acquired this book: I purchased it.

Book Blurb: When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm. Sophy discovers that her aunt's family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: Ceclia is in love with a poet, Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his grim fiancee, her uncle is of no use at all, and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom. By the time she's done, Sophy has commandeered Charles's horses, his household, and finally, his heart.

My Review: I love The Grand Sophy--this is the book that introduced me to the witty Georgette Heyer, who has remained a favorite author of mine ever since. This book also contains my favorite supporting character: Sophy's father, Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy.  How does he manage to be so selfish and self-absorbed and yet so engaging?

But Sophy is the heart of the book, and she's almost as much fun as her father. Her aunt, uncle and cousins stand no chance once she decides to rearrange their lives. Only her cousin Charles puts up a real fight, but he can't stop himself from falling for her. Sophy falls hard too; Charles may seem like a prig, but she soon comes to value his sense of humor, intelligence and love for his family.

Unfortunately, Heyer's antisemitism is most obvious in The Grand Sophy, which spoils some of the fun for me. I think it would spoil it even if I weren't a Jew myself. Her portrayal of the Jewish moneylender (Goldhanger) employed just about every nasty stereotype about Jews--and this was published in 1950, just a few years after the Holocaust! (In other books, she referred to "the Jews" derisively as a synonym for moneylenders. Also nasty stuff, but the scene in The Grand Sophy is worse.)

Nonetheless, I still love this book and decided to give it a five-star rating despite the antisemitism. It's still one of my favorites. (Heck, I've lost count of the number of times I've read it.)

Are you familiar with Georgette Heyer and The Grand Sophy? Did the controversial scene with Goldhanger bother you as much as it bothered me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

On Kindle: Yes. Find it at Amazon here.

Other Reviews:
Jane Austen's World

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