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
It is true that I know only what I have read in books. But I have read a great many books. ("Venetia" by Georgette Heyer)
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.
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.
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.
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!
The very highest quality mind candy. Smart, funny, subtle, a heroine with a mind of her own.
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.
Georgette Heyer is so authentic. They are not just romance novels, she manages to take one back into the Georgian England of the aristocracy and she dwells on the more pleasurable side of life. Though we do get a little insight into the true nature of life, with arranged marriages in this story.
The interplay between hero and heroine, and the audaciousness of Sophy as she pushed the social boundaries. I was intrigued by Georgette Heyer's imagination as she weaved the plots in this story.
The end scene of course, when Charles and Sophy finally got together.
It made me laugh and it made me feel happy as I plunged into the roller coaster of partings and coming together of Charles and Sophy.
It provided what I need at this moment in my life, a journey of escapism as my job can deal with the more harrowing side of life, so I look to escape when I relax. But escapism which doesn't insult my intelligence and Georgette Heyer for me - fits the bill.
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.
"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
"Just what I'd hoped for"
Among the top ten
Sophie, of course
I was very pleasantly surprised at Sarah Woodward's interpretation of this very old favourite of mine. Excellently read and interpreted.
Made me laugh, as it always has done when I have read it in the past
This book has been a long time coming to an unabridged audio version, and could have been disastrous, In fact it was splendid.
"really entertaining,well written escapism"
yes brilliantly performed and loved Sophy and The Claxton family
Its very like a lot of the best and funniest chick lit such as Sophie Kinsella's book mixed with the wit and social commentary of Jane Austen
yes yes yes
I cant believe I never read Heyer before and am delighted that there are so many more waiting for me. The performance of the different characters by the reader was amazing
This is one of my favourite books by Georgette Heyer, and I was wary of a narrator new to me. But she did an excellent job - her Sophy was just right, as was her Miss Wraxton.
I think there has been a slight editing of the money-lender scene which causes problems for many readers, although I haven't checked it word for word. Just a few words omitted or changed, from memory.
This is one my favourite Georgette Heyer books and I have been waiting a long time for an unabridged version. It is a romp from start to finish and should be a really lively read, sadly it was let down by the narrator who at no time imparted any of the excitement or feelings of the characters.
However, no time is ill-spent by listening to the wonderful Grand Sophy
The interaction between the characters who so wonderfully written by Heyer. The leads are perfect and the relationships are vividly presented.
Some distinction between the characters, changes in inflection and a more postive performance. I do feel that another, better narrator would have made a vast difference. I now prefer the abdriged version by Claire Willie
Such a shame that I could only give an overall 3.
"The Grand Sophy unabridged at last"
Thank you so much Audible for producing an unabridged The Grand Sophy. It is quite the best of Georgette Heyer's books. I have been waiting long and far for this, having searched the internet as well as Audible
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