Venetia Lanyon, beautiful, intelligent and independent, lives in comfortable seclusion in rural Yorkshire with her precocious brother Aubrey. Her future seems safe and predictable: Either marriage to the respectable but dull Edward Yardley, or a life of peaceful spinsterhood. But when she meets the dashing, dangerous rake Lord Damerel, her well-ordered life is turned upside down, and she embarks upon a relationship with him that scandalizes and horrifies the whole community. Has she found her soul mate, or is she playing with fire?
©1958 Georgette Heyer (P)2014 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)
Hard on the heels of Naxos releasing "The Grand Sophy" and "Sylvester," two of Georgette Heyer's greatest, comes the equally wonderful "Venetia." All three books were written at the peak of Heyer's career. "Venetia" has a bit more melodrama than "Sophy" or "Sylvester," partly because of the reformed rake with a painful past that is the the hero, Lord Damerel.
All her life Venetia has heard oblique references to her "delicate position," along with veiled warnings that she must be especially protective of her reputation, "so as not to be thought to be...." At which point her well wishers generally trail off and say something like "....but I must say no more on that head," leaving Venetia puzzled, to say the least. The arrival of the charming but brooding Damerel increases these warnings to a fever pitch, for reasons that the reader will probably guess before Venetia solves the mystery.
During her lifetime Georgette Heyer was said to resent the fact that her Regency romances were so much more popular than her mysteries or her historical fiction. I agree her mysteries are underrated (particularly "Envious Casca," which I think is a minor masterpiece that Masterpiece Mystery should dramatize immediately), but, whether she agreed with the assessment or not, her Regencies are in a class by themselves. The best of them -- including Venetia -- stand head and shoulders above the pack. Enjoy!
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I gave up calling Georgette Heyer a "guilty" pleasure a long time ago. A literature major, I was taught that certain genres of writing are just inherently inferior - and one of them, of course, is Romance. Now I know that good writing is good writing, whatever the genre, and writing doesn't get any better than in "Venetia"!
The story is a fairly common one in historical romance: "good" girl heroine attracted to "bad" boy hero. But Heyer does it so well here. The characters (major and minor) sparkle with humor, wit and personality. There are even valuable lessons in tolerance and reserving judgment.
Venetia is an exceptional leading lady, full of life and heart, and I predict that anyone (even those who aren't big Romance fans) will fall in love with her, with her flawed love, with her brother, and even with those minor characters who so perfectly reflect the oddities in our fellow humans.
And no small credit goes to the wonderful Phyllida Nash, who narrates this with great energy and skill. "Venetia" has long been a favorite read; now it's also a favorite listen! Along with Audible's versions of "Sylvester" and "Sprig Muslin", this will certainly appeal to Heyer fans and would be an excellent introduction to her really superior books.
Georgette Heyer is considered the inventor of the Regency Romance, and although she wrote a wide variety of different types of novels, her comedies of manners set during the Regency period in England are among her best and the best in the field. This book has long been at or near the top of my list, the hero and heroine are both well read and intelligent and share a sense of humor, and I find their dialog to be a delight to read. And this book has more "face time" between the hero and heroine than many Heyer novels. Be prepared, Heyer wrote between 1921 and the early 1970's, and some of her assumptions seem strange to modern readers. But no modern author has been able to match her wit and insight. This book was first published in 1958 and written when she was in her prime.
Phyllida Nash does a good job of giving the listener the proper feel for the story. Well worth my credit to get at once. I am very glad that Naxos is releasing more unabridged Heyer stories. Their earlier abridged versions were not bad, but to get the most from Heyer one needs all the words, and I personally will never purchase an abridged title.
I have awaited this version for years and was delighted to see one of my favorite readers doing the honors, but this delightful story of a young woman determined to find love her own way is not Ms. Nash's best performance. Still, it is well worth having just for the story. Usually Ms. Nash creates great vocal characterizations in her readings, but this time she seems a bit tired and uninterested, which does not do the story justice.
"Another great read!"
I was so happy to see another Georgette Heyer book narrated by Phyllida Nash, thank you so much! The story is one of my favorites, too, and Phyllida Nash gives it full scope with her wonderful reading. I am eagerly waiting for the next one as I am re-listening this one again and again :).
"Finally available in unabridged format"
Yes, I would. Phyllida Nash is a joy to listen to, and Venetia is an old favourite of mine. I am near to completing my Heyer library
Phyllida Nash can make her voice so very different when describing each character that I have no particular favourite, They are all beautifully described.
The supreme female readers of Georgette Heyer's novels are Sian Phillips and Phyllida Nash, I have never been disappointed in their interpretation. Sarah Woodward also made a splendid job of The Grandy Sophy. What about publishing some of Heyer's detective stories too?
The narrator, Phyllida Nash, does a tremendous job here, pretty much a perfect piece of narration. The heroine often has a laugh in her voice, which is enchanting, and the pompous Edward is wonderfully irritating.
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