The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer

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It's tough for most Georgette Heyer fans to choose their favorite of her novels*, but I think it's telling that The Grand Sophy is her first book to get a big-budget movie adaptation. (Allegedly, although I'm not getting my hopes up.) The Grand Sophy is a lively, witty, unabashedly good time, and perfectly encapsulates Heyer's appeal.

Originally published in 1950, The Grand Sophy is a Regency-era romance featuring an indomitable young heroine, Sophy Stanton-Lacy, who has been raised by a fond but erratic father. When he is assigned a diplomatic mission in South America, Sophy's father decides to drop her off with relatives, the well-connected Ombersley family, who will introduce her to London society. Lady Ombersley is quite willing to give her unknown niece a helping hand—but neither she, nor Sophy's cousins, have any idea how to handle the utterly unconventional girl who shows up on their doorstep.

Apart from a few period-typical but distressing racist stereotypes (a greedy Jewish moneylender and a lazy Spanish noblewoman, both of which are played for laughs), The Grand Sophy is pretty much the ideal introduction to Heyer's books. It's a celebration of what the author did best: strong, intelligent heroines, hilarious supporting characters, and an love story based on a plausible, well-developed attraction. Plus, the final scene is an absolute delight—a screwball comedy in miniature, set in a decrepit country house. I keep reminding myself not to get too excited about the possibility of a Grand Sophy movie adaptation (because there are no guarantees), but the novel features more than enough humor, action, and romance to justify the feature-film treatment.

*Well, not me. #TeamCotillion all the way.
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Posted by: Julianka

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