Ranking (a few of) Georgette Heyer’s Heroes

Okay, after the previous post ranking Jane Austen’s heroes, how about giving some thought to those featured in Georgette Heyer’s novels? The only flaw in this plan is that I haven’t read nearly all of them, even if you restrict yourself to the Regencies.

But hey, why let that stop me? Here then, is a temporary and no doubt soon-to-be-outdated ranking of a mere eight of Georgette Heyer’s heroes:

8. Powder and Patch — Philip Jettan

Philip is kind of a loser, if you ask me. Most of Heyer’s male leads start off confident in who they are. Not Philip. Reinterpreting himself as a fop to please a girl? Please.

7. The Grand Sophy — Charles Rivenhall

Charles is kind of a jerk. He may learn better, but it doesn’t speak well for him that Sophy had to sort out everyone’s problems because Charles couldn’t and didn’t.

6. Devil’s Cub — the Marquis of Vidal

Vidal is awfully casual about shooting people. Sure, he was drunk at the time, but still. And abducting women . . . seriously, Vidal? Good thing his dad appeared to sort things out, or who knows what would have happened?

5. Arabella — Mr Beaumaris

Everything’s a light joke to Mr. Beaumaris. He’s bored, he’s cynical, and he plays games. I like him anyway, but no one but Heyer could have pulled him off.

4. Frederica — the Marquis of Alverstoke

Alverstroke isn’t particularly admirable when he meets Frederica, but he sure does allow her and her siblings to impose, in a way that clearly suggests he’s a nicer person than is immediately apparent. I like the relationship that he allows to develop between himself and Frederica’s brother.

3. The Corinthian — Sir Richard Wyndham

Oh for heaven’s sake, Richard. Why on Earth were you planning to marry that woman and let her family leech off you in the first place? Just too bored to be bother saying no? What was WRONG with you?

On the other hand, Richard improved instantly when he met Pen and this turned into one of my favorites of Heyer’s books.

2. False Colours — Kit Fancot

The idiocy of the situation isn’t Kit’s fault. Every step of the way, his decisions seem reasonable. He’s just trying — responsibly and soberly — to sort things out for his spendthrift but charming mother and his possibly slightly impulsive brother.

a) Cotillion — Freddy Standen

Even when I read the rest of Heyer’s books, I doubt anybody is going to take Freddy’s place at the top of the list. I love his calm, easy-going nature and his perfect aplomb in every possible social circumstance. And the way he thinks of things and never drops a stitch. And that punch he landed on Jack when it counted didn’t hurt either.

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13 thoughts on “Ranking (a few of) Georgette Heyer’s Heroes”

  1. I also favor Freddy from Cotillion, along with Adam from A Civil Contract , and Gareth from … oh, what was it.. Sprig Muslin I think. He’s like Kit Fanshawe trying to keep the idiot(s) out of trouble.

    Although I also have a recollected fondness for Gilly of The Foundling . He is smothered by people who love him, and makes a break for it, running into the titular foundling along the way. He does not marry her.

  2. Definitely Freddy is #1.

    And I have to say I’d rank Gareth pretty highly as far as tolerance goes — he get shot by an idiot and his first response is “Don’t blame him?” Myself, I’d probably say something unprintable first, then forgive him.

    But I have to put in a vote to Tristram from The Talisman Ring. At the beginning of the story I didn’t like him very much, but by the time I got to the end of the story I was cheering him on. I think that story’s my favorite Heyer in terms of the way the relationship between the hero and heroine develops through banter.

  3. I’ve enjoyed all of Heyer’s romances, especially how varied all the relationships are, but let me add The Toll-Gate, The Unknown Ajax, and The Masqueraders to the list of books with competent heros. Maybe also The Nonesuch, Black Sheep, and Lady of Quality. I want to say they’re all easy going too, but I haven’t re-read them recently so I can’t say for sure.

    I’ll just go reread Sprig Muslin and False Colours now.

  4. Good timing: I just started rereading The Unknown Ajax yesterday, needing a comfort reread. I too enjoyed almost all these romances, and agree that the higher ranked ones and those mentioned by Mona and Elaine rank high for me too. It’s been too long since I read them to be able to add more; I think I’ll extend my comfort rereading to the top ten or so on my shelf, as long as my shoulder is sore.

  5. I’ll definitely prioritize Sprig Muslin — which I have on my TBR pile right now anyway — and The Masqueraders — which ditto.

  6. Kathryn McConaughy

    Definitely the large gentleman from the Masqueraders! And the hero of The Quiet Gentleman.

  7. I agree with Freddy, and also with Gilly of “The Foundling.” I had to seek that one out to reread after too long. I think it would be close to a tie for them.

  8. Jane Hotchkiss

    My three absolutely-most-favorite Heyers are The Unknown Ajax, Frederica, & Sprig Muslin. Ajax comes in first place because of the last 56 pages, in which Hugo’s managing competence is oh-so-aptly demonstrated.

  9. SOLD! On The Unknown Ajax and The Foundling. I picked them up right this minute because I believe I feel an urge coming on to read a couple really good Heyer Regencies.

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