The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: Originally published in 1950
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 387 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
This Kindle edition is well formatted and well edited. I have several copies of The Grand Sophy in paperback, because it is one of my all-time favorite novels as a huge fan of romantic comedy. Georgette Heyer is the Grand Dame of the comic, Regency historical romance, and I just bought this Kindle edition to have a portable copy of this wonderful book. I actually read the whole thing on my iPhone using the Kindle app, even though I own a Kindle. I was out somewhere without my Kindle last week and simply downloaded it to my iPhone. Once I began reading it on my iPhone, with the Kindle app allowing me to enlarge the size of the font substantially, I found it very easy to keep reading it on my iPhone and read the whole book that way. I do dearly love Kindle ebooks! It's so handy to have access to my entire collection of Kindle books in multiple media, so I can read them wherever I am, whenever I want.
Now, for a little about the book itself:
Sophy is the daughter of a widowed diplomat and has had an extremely unconventional upbringing, traveling all over Europe during the Napoleonic wars with her wealthy, well-connected father, Sir Horace. Her father has been widowed since Sophy was five and had all the care of her, and to his way of thinking, it made no sense to raise a daughter with the irritating, "missish airs" of the sheltered women of her aristocratic background. He taught her to load a gun, clean it and shoot it with deadly accuracy, to ride even the most powerful and spirited horse as well as the most skilled horseman, and to drive a carriage "to an inch." Sir Horace has also expected Sophy to act as his hostess for the past three years, throwing parties for generals, royalty and many officers of the British military, who are titled aristocrats. All of these things taken together have amplified Sophy's innate inclination to always be helpful and set to rights any problems in the lives of the people around her--no matter how complicated. Though Sophy is only 20 years old, her attitude to everyone she meets is a that of a wise, helpful, older person, and this is exactly her approach to her relatives when Sir Horace sends her to his sister's home to have a "season" in London and make a marital match. Sophy immediately sees multiple personal problems all around her in the household of her aunt, Lady Ombersley. Her 19-year-old cousin Cecelia has fallen in love with a penniless poet and insists on marrying him, but the heavy-handed approach of her parents and brother in discouraging the match is simply driving Cecelia further into defiance. Sophy's bored younger cousins are in need of attention and entertainment and are thrilled with the exotic pets Sophie brings them, and no one but Sophy notices that Cousin Hubert, who is Sophy's age but seems much younger, is in financial difficulties. But the person who most needs Sophy's help is least aware of it. It is utterly clear to Sophy that no one but she can rein in the despotic tendencies of her 26-year-old cousin Charles, who has become the de facto head of his family after inheriting a fortune and settling his dissolute father's gaming debts. Worse, Charles has entered an unfortunate engagement with an obnoxious busybody who encourages the worst aspects of his nature.
Sophy is an extremely sympathetic character who acts in this story both as the heroine and the comic antagonist to every other character in the book. Her well-meant--and invariably successful--conniving for the betterment of the circumstances of everyone around her produces endless laugh-out-loud moments.
If you ever need cheering up, this is the book to do it.