She was born August 16, 1902 in Wimbledon, England and published her first novel at the age of 19.
Although she is mostly known for her Regency novels, she also wrote several Georgian period novels, one biography of William the Conqueror, one set during the reign of Charles II, four Post-World War I novels (contemporary to her life) and eleven mysteries.
As I said, though, she is probably best known for her Regency period novels --the Comedy of Manners-type works, and witty romances. I do appreciate and enjoy Jane Austen, but while Jane Austen wrote about the time in which she was living, Heyer wrote from in-depth research and her love of the period; and it shows. She is appreciated for the interesting wit, humor, and absurdities of her characters, her twisting plots, colorful use of Regency cant, and her knowledge of the customs, culture, political landscape, and class distinctions of the period.
I have been a huge fan of Heyer since about 1980. I had obtained a few of her books over the years, but in 2005 seriously started building a collection of her work, mostly buying from Ebay and Amazon, but also making finds at flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales. I now have almost a complete collection.** Of her 55 books I have at least one copy, and sometimes more, of 53 of them.*** This is a pretty good website for anyone who likes Heyer.
Georgette's grandfather was Russian, and the name "Heyer" was originally pronounced, as most people pronounce it today, as "high-er". But during World War I the family changed the pronunciation to sound less German, and it was pronounced to sound like "hair". Georgette herself pronounced it that way. But it is very hard for me to do so. I didn't know about the war-years' pronunciation change when I first became a fan, so when I found out that she herself pronounced it to rhyme with "fair" I tried to do so. But it automatically comes to my mind or out of my mouth as rhyming with "flyer". I'm trying, though. Note* Updated 7/22/2014, I now automatically pronounce the name to rhyme with "hair." It only took me a few years. :)
Georgette was the eldest of three children. Her brothers were Boris and Frank. Her father, George Heyer, was a teacher at King's College School.
Note** This past Saturday (Oct. 13, 2007) I got a copy of Pastel that I'd won on Ebay. So now I have at least one copy of all but one of her books.
Note*** As of yesterday, February 25, 2008 I have a complete collection. I now have at least one of all 55 of her titles.
Next entry: My list of Heyers