Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pseudonym Stella Martin

Pseudonym, Stella Martin


First published in 1923 under the title THE TRANSFORMATION OF PHILIP JETTAN, and under Heyer's pseudonym, Stella Martin.

The third book published by Georgette Heyer was Powder and Patch. My copies are a Mandarin paperback and a small hard cover, First Australian edition, 1932, published by William Heinemann, with a dust jacket

This book is the story of Philip Jettan, a very good, very irreproachable young man, who has all his life been in love with his childhood playmate, Cleone. When Cleone returns from her ladies' seminary, having acquired the polish and accomplishments necessary for a young lady about to be presented to society, she finds fault with Philip because he is not like the foppish dandies she has met in Town. Her heart may whisper his name to her, but, as the book says, "Cleone was stern with her heart, for there was much in Mr. Jettan which did not meet with her approval."  Even Philip's father wishes there were just a touch more wildness in his son. Philip is a good, steady man, who takes care of his responsibilities, has a good sense of humor, and all the best character traits. But Cleone wishes for a little more dash; and she has become accustomed to being flirted with, and Philip does not flirt -- he just says what he thinks.
On the advice of his father and uncle, Philip travels to Paris for an extended visit where he "transforms". He starts dressing, acting and speaking the part of a handsome, foppish, indolent young man of means. He even writes poetry and fights duels!! When Cleone sees him again, it is as if he is an entirely different person. But although this is what she seemingly wanted all along, for some reason she finds she doesn't like it, and wants the old Philip back.

The book is very funny, and although, being only her third published work, it is not one of her best, still she writes it with a lot of insight and her characteristic wit. Of her first three I like it the best.

Next entry: The Personal Lives

Monday, September 1, 2014

Well On Her Way

THE BLACK MOTH was well received, and a compulsive writer was born. Her second, third, fourth, and fifth novels were published by 1925 when she married, so she must have been doing a lot of writing while she was being courted by her husband-to-be.

Heyer met Ronald Rougier during Christmas of 1920. He was two years her senior. More about Rougier's background later.
Heyer went out with Rougier for five years, and they became engaged in the Spring of 1925, the year her fifth novel was published. A month following that engagement, George Heyer died suddenly of a heart attack after playing tennis with his future son-in-law. George Heyer's death, besides being a personal tragedy, was an economic disaster for the family, and Georgette became the central anchor for the famiy. Boris and Frank were only 19 and 15 at the time; Boris was working, but Frank would need to be put through school and Cambridge, and Georgette was the one who would do this.

Now she was not just writing compulsively, but because it was necessary to help take care of her family. She was already a well-established author, and when her sixth novel was published it was an instant success. These Old Shades sold 190,000 copies on publication without any publicity. It is speculated that this confirmed Heyer's belief that it wasn't necessary for her to spend a lot of time or effort on publicity, and this suited her very well. She and her husband were very private people, especially after her father's death. She was happy to be Mrs. Rougier in public and keep the author, Georgette Heyer, extremely private and secluded from the public.

Information taken from The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge.

Next Entry: Pseudonym, Stella Martin