Creator / Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer was one of the most successful romance novelists of the 20th century. Her books were famous for her intelligent comedy, the genuine sweetness of her romances and her meticulous research on the Regency period. She also wrote a few detective novels here and there, but these aren't nearly as well-known, which is a shame.

Heyer's heroes and heroines (occasionally dubbed Heyeroes and Heyeroines) tended to come in two types each:

  • Hero #1: Tall, usually dark, and definitely handsome. Almost always has a past. While highly unlikely to actually mistreat the heroine, he's not above scaring her into submission (however, as he's often dealing with Heroine #1, it's unlikely to work).
  • Hero #2: This is the consummate gentleman, who invariably comes up with the perfect response to any situation. Their usual role is to provide the heroine with an escape from any difficulties, whereas Hero #1 is frequently the cause of those difficulties.

  • Heroine #1: A lively young woman. She naturally gets herself into many a social scrape, from which the hero must rescue her, and either bounces back or feels humiliated deep down inside that he saw her in such a state.
  • Heroine #2: Overlooked and ignored, she may seem quiet. However, once the hero talks to her, or needs help, Heroine #2 comes into her own and reveals Hidden Depths.

Heyer was not above mixing and matching types, as well as subverting the expectations of her readers. In Sylvester, for example, the eponymous hero appears to be a Hero #1, whereas he's actually a Hero #2 (he merely has an unfortunate pair of eyebrows).

Heyer used a lot of tropes in various ways, so listing them by novel seems the best way to go.

Tropes present in most Heyers include:

  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: The heroes very often have acknowledged mistresses and/or "bits of muslin" in their pasts. (Truth in Television to a degree, but sometimes the information is mentioned so pointedly that it's clear the main purpose is to ensure that the reader knows the hero is sexually experienced.)
  • Asshole Victim: Always present in her whodunnits.
  • Author Appeal: Expect at least one kiss to be described as "crushing."
  • Costume Porn: Clothing will be described in loving detail. As many of her heroes are Sharp Dressed Men, the men's clothing will very likely be described in even more detail than the women's.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hero #1 almost certainly; frequently Hero #2 as well. Less common but far from unknown among the heroines; it may come up as part of Heroine #2's Hidden Depths. Given Heyer's milieu, the character is usually a Gentleman Snarker as well.
  • Happily Ever After
  • Historical-Domain Character: Her Regency and historical novels are peppered with cameo appearances by real people.

Individual works provide examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    A Blunt Instrument 

    April Lady 

    Arabella 

    Bath Tangle 

    Beauvallet 

    Behold, Here's Poison 

    The Black Moth 

    Black Sheep 

    Charity Girl 
  • Childhood Friend Romance
  • Distressed Damsel: But not the heroine herself.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Implied. Both Desford and the heroine experience the jealousy, but the epiphany part happens off-page.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: Discussed; Cherry's father says that Desford should offer to marry Cherry to save her reputation after he took her to London. Everyone who hears the idea laughs it off, as Desford went to great lengths to make sure Cherry's reputation was not damaged.
  • The Ingenue: Cherry, who is even referred to as such at one point.
  • Just Friends

    A Civil Contract 

    The Conquerer 

    The Convenient Marriage 
  • Arranged Marriage: Horatia and Rule.
  • The Baroness / Woman Scorned: Caroline Massey.
  • Best Served Cold: Lethbridge has been waiting seven years to get his revenge on Rule for foiling his attempt to elope with Rule's sister.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Viscount Winwood and company.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Lethbridge's intention for Horatia. Eventually leads to I Have You Now, My Pretty, foiled by a Tap on the Head.
  • Duel to the Death: Two, in fact, although neither ends in death.
  • Gambit Pileup: Lady Massey is out to get Rule back; Lord Lethbridge is out to compromise Horatia in order to humiliate her husband; Drelincourt wants to destroy the marriage so he won't be displaced in the succession to the Earldom; Viscount Windwood wants to protect his sister; Horatia wants to save her marriage - and Rule wants exactly the same thing. The intersection of all these plots and plans results in a confused whirlwind of duels, risque parties, kidnapping, attempted murder, highwaymen and an heirloom brooch.
  • The Gambling Addict: Several members of the Winwood family have "the fatal weakness."
  • Gem-Encrusted: Horatia buys a pair of shoes with emerald-studded heels.
  • The Highwayman: Played with. If a highwayman appears, either someone hired him for an ulterior purpose, or he's a major character in disguise.
  • I Am Not Pretty: "Horry" is certainly unconventional, with a Speech Impediment and straight, heavy eyebrows, but Rule finds her charming just the way she is.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Horatia is in love with her husband, and her husband is in love with her, but neither know it. Horatia thinks that her husband loves his former mistress Lady Caroline Massey, and thus falls into an unfortunate entanglement with Lord Lethbridge, who himself had an affair with Lady Caroline.
  • Masquerade Ball
  • MacGuffin: Everybody wants Horry's heirloom ring brooch.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: several, actually, but most notably Horatia's confession after Ranelagh.
  • Rescue Romance: How Lethbridge gets Horry's attention.
  • Signature Item Clue: Horatia loses her distinctive heirloom ring brooch at Lethbridge's home.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Horatia is this.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
    • Viscount Winwood provokes Drelincourt into challenging him to a duel by first insulting and then stamping on his hat.
    • In a more metaphorical sense, Horatia leaves Rule a defiant message before going off to Ranelagh.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Horry's Impoverished Patrician family desperately needs the match with the wealthy Earl of Rule but the beautiful elder sister is in love with another man. Horry very sensibly goes to Rule who is marrying for the bloodline not love, and asks if she won't do instead? He decides she would.
  • Zany Scheme: Any plan Horry and her brother come up with.

    The Corinthian 

    Cotillion 
  • Adorkable: Freddy.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted.
  • Betty and Veronica: Freddy is Betty and Jack is Veronica for Kitty.
  • Camp Straight: Freddy, who is not a Casanova, cares deeply about fashion, and is very fastidious about rules of proper conduct. He is considered so safe for women that men don't mind him being around their wives and Kitty uses him as her fake fiance, knowing that he won't take advantage of this and want to marry her himself. But he is certainly straight, and becomes protective of her to the point of violence, which shocks everybody he knows, and eventually falls in love with her.
  • Chaste Hero: Freddy. Often mistaken by readers as latent or closeted homosexual (see above) [1], but as a matter of fact there is no sign of his being attracted to anybody until Kitty comes along, of course. He is, because of this trope, considered so harmless, that other men don't mind him spending time with their wives.
  • Converting for Love: It's mentioned in passing that Olivia will probably have to become a Catholic to marry Camille.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Freddy may be a trifle slow, and he is neither tall or strong like his cousin Jack, but when the stronger, taller and rakish Jack calls Kitty a jade, Freddy punches him straight in the face.
  • Genius Ditz: Freddy.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Parodied: Camille makes extravagant proclamations of what he would do to save Olivia, but is surprised when practical Freddy suggests simply eloping with her. Also played subtly straight with Freddy submitting to a day of sightseeing with Kitty.
  • Gray Eyes: The extremely smart and perceptive Lord Legerwood.
  • Hands-On Approach: Freddy and Kitty dancing.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Freddy tries to do this for Kitty, despite genuine reservations about Jack beyond simple jealousy.
  • Kick the Dog: Jack blackmails Camille and insults Freddy.
  • Love at First Sight: Camille and Olivia.
  • Loving a Shadow: Kitty's realisation that she only ever loved her childhood hero, not Jack himself.
  • Masquerade Ball: Kitty has a miserable time at one of these until Freddy rescues her.
  • Operation Jealousy: Kitty tries one of these on Jack.
  • Poirot Speak: Camille.
  • Professional Gambler: Jack, Camille.
  • Reformed Rakes: Subverted: not only is Jack not planning to reform for Kitty's sake, he's actively trying to seduce a friend of hers while courting her.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Sort of: Kitty is running away from the possibility of being forced into an engagement to please her guardian, before coming up with a better plan.
  • Secret Relationship: Freddy and Kitty pretend to have one of these.
  • Wrong Guy First

    Cousin Kate 

    Detection Unlimited 

    Devil's Cub 

    False Colours 

    Faro's Daughter 

    The Foundling 

    Frederica 

    Friday's Child 
  • Alpha Bitch: Isabella could be, but most of her unpleasant moments are also her most sympathetic.
  • Beta Couple: George and Isabella.
  • The Bro Code: Essentially the reason why Sherry throws a fit at the idea of George and Hero having an affair - that, and he's in love with Hero, of course.
  • Byronic Hero: Invoked and parodied - George would love to be this.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Hero, Ferdy.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Sherry, Hero to an extent.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Isabella.
  • Duel to the Death: George is constantly spoiling for one. He gets his wish when Sherry catches him giving Hero a brotherly kiss, but neither of them dies.
  • Friendless Background: Hero seems to have only had two friends in her life prior to marrying Sherry, one of whom was him, the other being Isabella, and neither of them seem to have paid her much attention.
  • The Ingenue: Hero.
  • Kick the Dog: Revesby, first when he rejects his discarded mistress and illegitimate infant daughter and second when he arranges for Hero to get into debt.
  • Lovable Coward: Ferdy, whom Sherry can't even stay angry with when he finds out Ferdy hid his wife from him for weeks because Ferdy is so shamelessly trying to placate him.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Both Sherry and George court Isabella Milborne (along with many other men). Sherry marries Hero, who is in love with him. Hero and George find comfort in each other because they think (wrongly) that their loves are unrequited. This makes Isabella think that George is in love with Hero, and fall into a scrape with Sir Montagu Revesby. Meanwhile, Hero is courted by Mr Tarleton, which makes Sherry fall into another jealous rage.
  • Love Epiphany: When Hero runs away, Sherry has this. In fact, the whole thing was staged so he could have this.
  • Marry for Love: Isabella eventually cracks and admits that this is what she wants.
  • Masquerade Ball: Hero gets into trouble at one of these as a result of Sherry ditching her.
  • Meet Cute: While it is not their first-ever meeting, the first time Sherry and Hero meet in the book is when Sherry accidentally comes across Hero crying on a wall and proposes marriage.
  • Reformed Rakes: Part of Sherry's Character Development.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Sherry elopes with Hero in the first few chapters.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Hero, who is often remarked upon as being 'taking', once she comes out in town. This may have more to do with being happily in love with her husband, though.
  • Shrinking Violet: Hero.
  • Tsundere: Isabella.
  • The Unfavourite: Hero is this to her family, which is why she wants to run away with Sherry.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Hero.

    The Grand Sophy 
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Charles and Sophy at the very end.
  • Beta Couple: Cecilia and Charlbury, among others.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends
  • The Chessmaster: Sophy, of course.
  • Genre Savvy: Sophy's management of the Augustus/Cecilia/Charlbury triangle relies heavily on her knowledge of how Cecilia perceives the tropes involved.
  • Greedy Jew: Goldhanger, the moneylender, is very likely meant as one.
  • Licked by the Dog: Everyone thinks Charles is a domestic tyrant, but Sophy knows better...because every animal in the novel loves and trusts him, of course!
  • Locked in a Room: Subverted: Eugenia and Augustus are locked in a wood, but emerge only extremely annoyed.
  • Love at First Sight: Parodied with Cecilia and Augustus.
  • Love Dodecahedron: The Grand Sophy has a wonderfully convoluted one: Charles is engaged to Eugenia, but falls in love with Sophy, who is in turn admired by Lord Bromford. She pretends to attach Lord Charlbury to herself, in order to make Cecilia, whom Lord Charlbury loves, jealous and in order to detach her from Augustus. Augustus drops his love of Cecilia in favour of being temporarily infatuated with Sophy. Eugenia falls in love with Lord Bromford, and cuts her engagement to Charles, who then can propose to Sophy.
  • Love Epiphany: Charles seems to have one when he sees Sophy self-sacrificially tending to his very ill little sister.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Sophy shoots a friend in the arm with only the noblest of intentions.
  • Pair the Spares
  • Poirot Speak: Sancia.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Sophy and Charles.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Sophy.
  • Triang Relations: Sophy/Charles/Eugenia, Augustus/Cecilia/Charlbury, Sir Horace/Sancia/Vincent Talgarth.
  • Wrong Guy First: Cecilia and Augustus.

    The Great Roxhythe 

    An Infamous Army 

    Lady of Quality 

    The Masqueraders 

    My Lord John 

    The Nonesuch 

    No Wind of Blame 

    Penhallow 

    Pistols For Two 
  • Accidental Marriage: In "Hazard", the hero is so drunk when he wins the card game that he and the heroine are halfway to Gretna Green when he wakes up the next morning.
  • Arranged Marriage: The hero of "Hazard" is about to go through with one of these; luckily for him, he has a Runaway Fiancé.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: "Hazard".
  • Platonic Life Partners: Annabella and Tom from "Full Moon", who are very fond of each other and plan to elope only because Annabella is so horrified at the idea of marrying an old man.
  • Repetitive Name: Carlington Carlington in "Hazard". Though that's probably a typo/omitted comma.
  • Right in Front of Me: Annabella and Tom complain bitterly to a friendly stranger about the "horrid old friend" of Annabella's father whom she's expected to marry. Neither of them have ever met him, leading to predictable results.

    Powder and Patch 

    The Quiet Gentleman 
  • Cain and Abel: Theodore wants to make it look like this trope, arranging his traps for St Erth to make it look as though Martin was trying to murder his brother. Indeed, Martin's emotions about his brother are complex and he does harbour a lot of resentment against him. He doesn't actually want to murder him, though.
  • Historical In-Joke
  • I Am Not Pretty: Drusilla thinks this.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Drusilla is interested in St Erth, who along with Theodore, Martin and Viscount Alderston are all interested in Marianne, who in turn is only interested in the Viscount.
  • The Mole
  • The Unfavourite: St Erth is this to his stepmother.

    Regency Buck 
  • Agent Peacock: Rule. He is one of the dandy set, closely befriended with dandy-in-chief Beau Brummel, and Judith is convinced that all dandies are horrid sissies, only to be shocked to find them actually kind of classy, very well dressed and in the case of Rule surprisingly badass. Rule is a skilled boxer, who can knock another man out cold when it becomes necessary.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Judith really does not get on with Worth for about half the book.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Worth, who is busy being an arse to Judith's face while protecting her from fortune-hunters and her brother from murderers behind her back.
  • Meet Cute
  • Reverse Psychology: How Worth gets Judith to take the house he wants in Brighton.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss

    The Reluctant Widow 

    Royal Escape 

    Simon the Coldheart 

    The Spanish Bride 

    Sprig Muslin 

    Sylvester 
  • Arranged Marriage: Played with. Sylvester wants one, but his mother is reluctant to arrange anything for him. When he presses she confesses that she had at one point thought to maybe match him with her deceased friend's daughter. She doesn't actually arrange the thing still, Sylvester merely decides that he will see Phoebe for himself, without knowing that he had, unwittingly, insulted her when he had been introduced to her during the Season. Hilarity ensues.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Sylvester is one.
  • Brainless Beauty: Both Ianthe and Sir Nugent.
  • Break the Haughty: Sylvester, though a mild example.
  • Dark Secret: Phoebe wrote the society novel of the year, featuring an Expy of Sylvester as the villain.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Sylvester.
  • Evil Eyebrows: The thing that makes Sylvester so easily identifiable as the villain in Phoebe's novel.
  • Evil Uncle: Subverted: Sylvester is perceived to be this by everyone, but he's actually a far better Parental Figure than the boy's mother.
  • It's All About Me: Ianthe is convinced that The Lost Heir was written for the express purpose of warning her about Sylvester.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Phoebe and Tom.
  • Mouthy Kid: Edmund.
  • Not So Great Escape: Phoebe's attempt to run away from having to submit to Sylvester's courtship. She is found by him, when she and Tom meet an with an accident on the way and are trapped by the snow at an inn on the way to London.
  • The Proud Elite: Sylvester, especially at the beginning.
  • Roman à Clef: Phoebe writes one. See Dark Secret above.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Phoebe, once away from her Wicked Stepmother.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss
  • Snowed-In
  • Spirited Young Lady: Phoebe.
  • The Unfavourite: Phoebe is this to her stepmother.
  • Wardrobe Wound: Sir Nugent goes into fits when a dog bites the tassels off his boots. Earlier, he is deeply pained at having to cut a button off his coat (thinking it will placate Edmund, who is actually crying for Button, his nurse).
  • Wicked Stepmother

    The Talisman Ring 

    The Toll-Gate 

    These Old Shades 

    The Unfinished Clue 

    The Unknown Ajax 

    Venetia 
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Aubrey to an extent, although Conway is far worse despite never actually appearing.
  • Beneath the Mask: Damerel has thrown himself into the lifestyle of a rake after ruining his own reputation through a youthful mistake, but Venetia gets to see a different side of him.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Aubrey and Venetia have elements of this.
  • Byronic Hero: Damerel is this.
  • Cool Big Sis: Venetia.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Damerel.
  • Double Standard: Played with; Damerel arguably suffered more for running off with a married woman than she did.
  • Emo Teen: Oswald, who desperately wishes he was a Byronic Hero.
    "He is brooding over nameless crimes, I daresay, and only think how disheartening to have his dark thoughts mistaken for a fit of the sulks!"
  • Faking the Dead: Venetia's mother ran off with a lover and was divorced by her father; he told the children that she had died suddenly.
  • Forceful Kiss: Oswald tries this on Venetia.
  • The Ghost: Conway is often talked about, and various of his offstage actions are important to the plot, but he never appears.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Venetia, and also her mother.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Damerel sends Venetia away due to the irreparable damage that would be done to her reputation if they married.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Damarel pretends that his flirtation with Venetia had only been a pleasant game, and makes her leave, because he thinks she deserves better than him, and because of his reputation (see above).
  • Moment Killer: Every time Damerel tries to propose to Venetia, Aubrey pops up.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: Everyone, with the exception of Aubrey and Venetia – and including Damerel – thinks Damerel and Venetia will be miserable together.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: An inversion of sorts, as it is Conway's new mother-in-law who makes things miserable for Venetia when she moves in.
  • Pair the Spares: It's hinted that Edward Yardley and Clara Denny will probably marry after being rejected by Venetia and Conway, respectively.
  • Reformed Rakes: Played with more than used straight. Damerel won't seduce Venetia, but it's up to interpretation how much his way of life will change. He might just be joking about having his wife preside over an orgy...

    Why Shoot A Butler? 
  • Amateur Sleuth: Frank Amberley—the person who solves the mystery—is a barrister, although it's noted in the story that he has some experience rounding up major criminals, having helped the police at least once.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When the Big Bad tries to get away via a motorboat, Frank just happens to have a motorboat of his own ready. Justified in that he'd done some research during the previous day, and figured that would happen.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted. the police are just at sea because there are no clues to go on, and Amberley has quite a few of them... not that he tells the police most of them.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: It doesn't help that Frank is something of a troll throughout the whole book, and not just to the girl.
  • Smug Snake: Frank Amberley is this, making him something of a Designated Hero.
  • Title Drop: In the second chapter, no less!

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