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The Grand Sophy (2004)

The Grand Sophy (2004)

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4.39 of 5 Votes: 7
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0099465639 (ISBN13: 9780099465638)

About book The Grand Sophy (2004)

The one thing that always puzzles me is people's tendency to compare Georgette Heyer to Jane Austen. As well compare Crime and Punishment to a John Grisham novel! I am not denying the literary merits of either genre; far from it, in fact. However, that doesn't change the fact that one is trying to compare chalk and cheese. Jane Austen's purpose in writing her novels was not merely to tell a story. In fact, the story was merely a vehicle to examine critically the mores and customs of the society of her times. In an era where women academicians and philosophers were all but unknown, Austen used the only avenue open to her to espouse her brand of social commentary - the novel. Georgette Heyer, on the other hand, wrote to entertain. Full stop. Her books are not, and were never intended by her to be, anything more than a pleasant way to pass time. That being said, in the context of the Regency romance, she is the unparalleled expert. Her knowledge of the ton or Regency high society, is unmatched by any novelist save those who actually lived in those times. Frivolous and flighty though her work may be, the authenticity of her voice cannot be denied. The Grand Sophy is my favourite Georgette Heyer book. I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of her novels, but in The Grand Sophy, she brings to bear all of the skills that are her forte. Sophy is charming and strong-willed, a force to be reckoned with. Unlike with most of our recent Regency romances, her heroines are never milk-and-water misses; I do not think I have met a single Heyer heroine who could not kick the ass of our current crop of romance heroines. Working within the boundaries of a rigid society, she manages to make her women intelligent, witty and charming. Sophy is a devious, meddlesome schemer, who manages to win our hearts, and the hero's, without ever submersing her personality. What draws me back to Heyer time and again is the sheer sense of fun that she manages to impart to each and every one of her novels. The plots are never standard, nor are the heroines or the heros. Take, for example, Gilly from The Foundling. He's no alpha man; he's a timid, weak aristocrat who still somehow manages to be adventurous and find himself and his path in life. Or Freddie from Cotillion, a dandy with no great physical prowess or good looks, who manages to get the girl of his dreams simply by being kind and reliable. These heroes are so real, so much more believable and lovable than the rich, dissolute alpha males of our contemporary historicals who manage to win the heroine simply through the hardness of their abs and the hugeness of their "manhood". Georgette Heyer's books will live on long after the Harlequin historicals fade from our memories, simply because she is superlative at what she does: making you believe in romance. Not lust, not soulmates but romance.

Adorable antics. Lovely sarcasm. A pleasure to read. It kept getting better and better! Now it's become one of my favorites.Sophy is proper and polite, yet still scheming and rebellious. I really settled into Heyer's tone much faster in this one than in Frederica. I took great joy in the characters and plot. I kept reading late into the night simply because I wanted to know what would happen next -- the best kinds of books are those in which I never know what's coming!After reading this, I officially love Heyer's regency romances better than Austen's, and I honestly think her books are more of a pleasure to read. It's a very rare thing for a book to make me laugh aloud -- but as I read this I grinned and giggled many times at the antics of these characters, loving even those bumbling fools at which we are meant to scoff. Heyer had me hooked until the very end, when I finished with another squeal of delight. Heyer develops her male characters much more than Austen, offering more of those secret hints of love, while still keeping them delightfully subtle. While Austen can drone on and on with excessive descriptions and rather dull/dry details, Heyer's characters are always lively and present, and their emotions leap off the page. Frankly, Mr. Darcy has a run for his money against Charles Rivenhall... *Be still my beating heart!*And I love the friendships that are portrayed in here as well. See how the adorable romance with the trusting Charlbury and Cecilia is developed:"Mr. Fawnhope's handsome face and engaging smile might dazzle the female eye, but Mr Fawnhope had not yet learnt the art of conveying to a lady the gratifying impression that he considered her a fragile creature, to be cherished, and in every way considered. Lord Charlbury might be constitutionally incapable of addressing her as Nymph, or of comparing bluebells unfavourably with her eyes, but Lord Charlbury would infallibly provide a cloak for her if the weather were inclement, lift her over obstacles she could well climb without assistance, and in every way convince her that in his eyes she was a precious being whom it was impossible to guard too carefully." Thank you, my friend Amy, for recommending and gifting this lovely book to me! See her more detailed review here:

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I really hate giving this 2 stars, because going down the list of my GR friends who have read it, I see that almost all of them (with the exception of Carol) gave it 4 or 5 stars. I know we all have different tastes for books, but when I veer off so decidedly from everybody else in a book that is an almost universal fan favorite among Georgette Heyer readers, I does make me question my own reading tastes. Oh well, it's not the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last.The character of Sophy was the only bright thing about this book IMO. She was independent, bright, mischevious and resourceful without being annoyingly Mary-Sue-ish. I liked her attitude and can-do spirit alot. With a better hero, I would have rated this much higher. But Charles was a dud. A dullard. An uptight prig who never thawed out, developed, or showed a passionate nature. And by passionate I'm not referring to romantic passion, but just a passion for life or a strong determined nature. For me, it just wasn't there. After worrying about the idea of two cousins getting romantically involved, that worry never came to pass.

3/5; 3 stars; B-This was my first book by this author and I enjoyed the bulk of the it. It was really very humorous and I had quite a few laughs. Unfortunately, the story was too long and Sophy became ridiculous in the end with the complexity and audacity of her Machinations. That really put me off. (view spoiler)[ when she SHOT one of the men she was matchmaking for in order to make his sweetheart feel sorry for him, I just about stopped right there. Way over the top and completely unbelievable. (hide spoiler)]
—Laura (Kyahgirl)

This is a really fun book about a complete hoyden who turns people's lives upside down. For their own good, of course.I give it four and a half stars instead of five only because there are a couple of little things that made me uncomfortable. Heyer's very good at historical accuracy, but I guess I'm comfortable in my little politically correct modern world. However, I'm also persistent when the rest of the book is so good, so I was able to set those things aside for the most part and enjoy the story.I especially love the last lines. Remembering them makes me smile even hours after I finished the book.
—Beanbag Love

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