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; stern Cousin Charles and his humorless fiancée Eugenia are disapproving.
With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace Sophy soon sets about endearing herself to her family, but finds herself increasingly drawn to her cousin. Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to Eugenia?
©1950 Georgette Heyer (P)2013 Naxos AudioBooks
Good writing has ... a balance and a rhythm. You can feel that much better when it's read aloud. --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken
If Georgette Heyer's many fans were to vote for their favorite Heyer heroine/novel, I predict "The Grand Sophy" would win. Naxos did a nice job on the abridgment that has been on Audible for two years (and which I quickly ponied up a credit for), but it was … abridged.
Now we get the entire book, and it is good. I enjoyed Clare Wille's narration of the abridgment -- she also reads the unabridged versions of "Cotillion" and "A Civil Contract," both well worth listening to -- but Sarah Woodward's rendition is equally good, and now all my favorite scenes are here, not on the cutting room floor.
Sophia Stanton-Lacy is the daughter of a British diplomat who has spent her teenage years traveling the Continent with her widower father as the Napoleonic wars wound down. Now Sir Horace is off to Brazil and leaves the 21-year-old Sophy in London with his sister and her numerous offspring. The household's eldest son is strait-laced Charles, who has recently (1) inherited a large fortune from a distant relative and (2) become engaged to the Honourable and egregiously proper Eugenia Wraxton.
Sophy is sparkling, spontaneous, self-sufficient, and as Charles disapprovingly observes, “on easy terms with every rattle who ever wore a red coat." Not hard to see where the romance will go, especially keeping in mind that first-cousin alliances were common among the “quality” right up through the early twentieth century.
Besides the protagonists -- and Sophy and Charles are among Heyer's most delightful and memorable -- several other characters also have romances underway or underfoot, and the machinations are tangled, funny, and occasionally bittersweet. Sophy's interactions with her large brood of cousins add marvelous depth to this classic novel. All will be well that ends well, so set aside the dreary dystopians and the vapid vampires and enjoy a romp through the Regency.
All the familiar elements of a good Heyer Regency are here - the star-crossed lovers, the stern but good-natured Charles, the humourless Eugenia, the ineffectual Lady Ombersly, and, of course, the Grand Sophy, a resourceful young women brought up by her father, Sir Horace, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. The final climax of the story is perfect Heyer. Funny, convoluted, and perfectly in keeping with the characters.
The reader is Sarah Woodward and she does an excellent job. Highly recommended.
I loved this book. The narration was excellent, and the development of the attraction between the two protagonists worked perfectly for me. It ranks as one of my top three favorite Heyer books.
Sarah Woodward delivers an excellent performance, especially in Sophy. I can picture a young Katharine Hepburn in the role, bold and brave, undaunted by being female in a male dominated society. Witty and fun, certainly squeeky clean.
There is a also a PDF attached with a nice discussion of Heyer and her work.
Love love love this book, the dialog is fabulous. How can you not love 'the grand Sophy'. I don't remember a book when I've laughed out loud so much. Sophy is everything I would want to have been, if I had been born in that era. She takes the town by storm. Her schemes are so funny I could just see her mind working. The narration was great also. I am hooked on these older books by Heyer and will be looking for more.
Indeed I would and have done so. I enjoyed it so much the first time that I looked forward to meeting these characters again.
Sophia is such a tremendous character. She leaps from the pages with her intelligence, humor, compassion and generous heart.
Woodward was simply marvelous. I have listened to a great many narrated books and her performance is very high on the list. I believe she captured Sophia's and Charles' personalities to perfection.
Oh, this is a very funny book. The dialogue is great bringing on smiles and laughter.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
You can't argue with "The Grand Sophy". Here is one of Georgette Heyer's most memorable heroines, full of courage, charisma and feeling.
The "minor" characters are so essential in these books, which (it must be admitted) have pretty thin plots. No fear, Sophy and those around her make for rich entertainment. Not a lot of hot romance, but mayhem and comedy aplenty. I love the way Sarah Woodward voices these eccentric characters, male and female. She is an excellent narrator - so very important in the enjoyment of Heyer's books.
This book was written in 1950, at the height of the author's powers. How I wish that she had refrained from the cringe-worthy stereotypes which make a (thankfully short) episode in "Sophy" uncomfortable to listen to. I know she is writing about Regency England, where such perceptions were commonplace, but, by 1950, she should have known better than to have dwelt on them.
Aside from that, "The Grand Sophy" remains one of the best of Georgette Heyer, and therefore very entertaiing indeed! In the mood for light, well written diversion, and with a great narrator like Woodward, the listener can't go wrong with Sophy!
Yes, because I enjoy the story, characters, and dialogue.
I thought she did better toward the end, but in general I found her timing rather strange and the characters almost indistinguishable.
The Grand Sophy is my favorite Georgette Heyer book, however this narration doesn't do it justice. During the narration I was constantly distracted by Sarah Woodward swallowing, clearing her throat etc. Also, the volume of the narration fluctuated as well. I will not get another narration by Ms Woodward.
During the narration I was constantly distracted by Sarah Woodward swallowing, clearing her throat etc
One of my favorites from one of my all time favorite authors. Thank you Audible for getting it unabridged.
Some of Georgette Heyer's books are better than others, but they are all good and worth reading over and over. Finding them on Audible and revisiting them yet again with someone else' voice has been so fun! If you haven't read her books before, do yourself a favor.
I have been waiting such a long time for this to be made into an Audible book but the narrator does a very poor job - does not understand the humour, or conjure the characters. They should have gone to Phyllida Nash who is a beautiful reader.
"An old favourite bought to life"
Back in the dark ages when I was 12 or 13, I discovered and devoured Georgette Heyer's Regency novels. My half century old paperbacks are more than well worn and now I'm working through my favourites in audiobooks, rapidly finding some narrators are better than others.
Sarah Woodward is one of the good ones. Miss Wraxton, Augustus Fawnhope and Lord Bromford are the comedy foils to Sophie, and it might be tempting to ham them up. Sarah doesn't. She absolutely nails them, and I'd certainly buy any others she reads.
"I had hoped for more"
Personally I didn't like the narrator at all. I love the story and I was expecting to enjoy the audiobook but didn't bother to listen to the end - the narrator's way of reading the various characters annoyed me so much.
"Couldn't stop listening"
Yes, very entertaining
Sophy of course!
Great character voices so you knew who was speaking
All of it
One of my fav GH's
A skilled reader and one oft favourite Georgette Heyers. Funny and enduring.
I highly recommend this delightful and satisfying read.
"Laugh out loud Georgian style"
Georgette Heyer such a talent. Not only does she get the settings and the strictness of the period spot on, she has such great characters and The Grand Sophy is one of the best. It's not comedy all the way, there is a lot of serious plot running through the whole book, but if you like historical love stories Georgette Heyer is the writer for you
"Wonderfully spirited and fun"
This is a classic GH, with a sparky and spirited heroine. The reader is excellent but her tummy rumbling / gurgling is clearly audible throughout and it's slightly off putting!
"Excellent version of a favourite read"
I have already: it has often been a "comfort blanket" read when I don't want to have to concentrate too much. That doesn't mean the story is too shallow but it is easy going. I like the idea of having someone read ME a story and Sarah Woodward's interpretation of the characters is very good.
It has to be Sophy because she is so much the person I would like to be- she has quick wit and intelligence , is brave and has a kind heart.
The arrival at the manor of Eugenia, Cecilia and Lord Bromford in the pouring rain when Cecy left Bromford on the doorstep.
Yes but I try to read it at one sitting too!
Listening to a narrators interpretation of voices you already have in your head can be off-putting for example I hated Cornelius Garret's "Duke of Avon " in These Old Shades, however I also find that listening to a book can highlight things I missed when reading it.
"Narrator not as bad as I expected"
Love the humour & great cast of characters. I'd have Sophy to stay in any century.
The Talisman Ring without a mystery. Sarah Thane is as game a bird as Sophy.
Any which included cousin Charles & Sophy - especially the end of the story.
I will always prefer Phillida Nash's narration - her impeccable timing, smile filled voice and ability to render the male characters obviously male makes her recordings my favourites whichever story she narrates.
What great fun!
First Sarah Woodward book I've listened too... with some trepidation after reading a bad review. However, I think she did very well, and if not my favourite narrator, I certainly loved her array of character voices.
I laughed out loud on quite a few occasions.
This was always a fav book of my sisters and mothers.... and having listened to it now, perhaps I have to admit that I may have skipped too quickly over bits when I read it myself.
A really good listen!
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