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4.7 out of 5 stars143
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on 11 December 2006
VENETIA has the distinction of being the last Georgette Heyer I read before I had to settle for rereads. And while it is a novel that has all the Heyer trademarks of quality -- a good story, memorable and well developed characters, and a truly sparkling and witty prose style -- it is also somewhat different from most of her other novels, in that, as another reviewer on (bookjunkiereviews) has put it, in that the novel's heroine, Venetia Lanyon, has a rather realistic yet sunny approach to life.

The storyline for VENETIA is simplicity itself: the very beautiful, intelligent and sunny natured Venetia Lanyon had long resigned to herself to spinsterhood -- afterall here she was, at the ripe age of twenty-five, living in the country, running her brother Conway's estate, while he was off playing at being a soldier, keeping house for her sickly but brilliant younger brother, Aubrey, and with two improbable country swains as suitors. Enter the roguish Lord Dameral: neighbour of the Lanyons, this rakish and jaded aristocrat is surely the very last person anyone would expect sheltered and virtuous Venetia to become good friends with. But this is exactly what happens much to the consternation of those who love Venetia...

This is a very "grown-up" kind of novel, about the relationship between two adults of very different upbringings and two very different temperaments, from friendship and a sincere admiration to something more (in fact as several other reviewers have already mentioned, the attraction between Venetia and Demeral fairly sizzles and yet there is not one sexually explicit scene! goodness!!). Georgette Heyer does a fantastic job of charting this blossoming relationship from its incipience to the painful parting to the satisfying and triumphant end. And while I'm ashamed to own that I didn't enjoy this charming novel as it so fully deserved all those years ago, I'm happy to relate that I have enjoyed VENETIA, more and more with each subsequent read, ever since. I've read a great many romance novels, but I don't think that I've ever read anything quite so romantically satisfying as VENETIA.
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on 2 March 2007
I started reading Georgette Heyer novels when I was off school with some lurgy or other. My mum suggested I try one of her Heyers as I was too miserable to bother with anything else. I was none too keen, being a thoroughly modern girl, and heartily despising `romances'. What a revelation! To call these novels romances is a slur on Heyer's unmatched skill as a writer of brilliantly sparkling dialogue, and effortless descriptions of particular times and places. And they are so funny! My mum said then that she was envious that I had only just started and had so many yet to read for the first time. And I know what she meant. I enjoy re-reading them very much, but do envy any of you who are just starting out. It's a close-run thing with so many great ones to choose from - and I've read nearly all of them several times - but this is my favourite at the moment, and it gets better each time you read it. I won't repeat what everyone else said in it's praise, except to agree, and say that I cry over it again every time. But I must put in a word for Mrs Scorrier, who outstrips all other Heyer nasty characters in nastiness. You will want to boo and hiss her at every entrance!
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VINE VOICEon 11 April 2010
It has been a long time since I read a Georgette Heyer novel, written in the 1950's but set in the Regency period the language style is a curious mix of the past. Venetia, our heroine, is a lively, independent woman despite an over-protected upbringing in the countryside of Yorkshire. She lives with her younger brother and, following the death of her father, runs the family estate until her elder brother can return from the Napoleonic War. At twenty-five she has two unsuitable suitors seeking her hand; a boy and a bore. Then she meets Lord Damerel; a handsome, older man whose reputation as a libertine makes him totally unsuitable husband-material! An interesting friendship begins.
Richard Armitage does have a distinctive voice; deep, well-annunicated but mainly classless with a slight northern accent and it is very, very easy to listen to. I've recently listened to a couple of other well-known actors reading books. One seemed to think all he had to do was read the book - wrong! He also read too fast. Another was well-paced and adjusted his voice for each character but his female characters were too shrill. Mr Armitage reads at an easy, extremely listeningable pace and his characterisation, both male and female, are so good you forget that it just one man's voice you are listening to.
At over 4 hours this was meant to last a week in my car, instead I just spent an enjoyable Sunday morning listening to it. If this man's voice was chocolate it would outsell Cadburys and Galaxy combined!
Buy and enjoy.
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on 23 January 2001
Georgette Heyer fans who have not yet read Venetia must rectify this situation immediately! Venetia is one of her most likeable heroines: she is mature, beautiful in face and manner, lovingly protective towards her dog Flurry and brother Aubrey .. and has never been in love. So her friends in the neighbourhood are understandably concerned when Damerel, a notorious rake, decides to visit his property and puts a new smile into Venetia's eyes. Not being the cliched type of heroine who seeks to reform her rake, Venetia offers him the kind of friendship and understanding that the worthy members of society had denied him. But then Damerel's chivalreous motives get in the way and he decides to end the autumn romance. It is left up to Ventia to look into her past to find how to determine her future. Thoroughly enjoyable and heart-warming.
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'A fox got in amongst the hens last night, and ravished our best layer,' remarked Miss Lanyon.

Venetia Lanyon's opening remark to her inattentive brother presages her meeting with the 'wicked baron', Lord Damerel, a Rochester type character who almost ravishes her at their first meeting until they fall into banter, quoting Shakespeare and finally becoming great friends. Venetia and Damerel have both friendship and a strong sexual attraction with no sex scenes needed to feel the heat. Venetia takes a very modern approach to winning her man. She says she will 'build a willow cabin' at his gate...and it's not the weather for it.

Georgette Heyer is a guilty pleasure of mine. The reprinting of the books in their attractive covers reminded me of happy hours in my teens and I've enjoyed reading them again. In fact I'm eking them out for when my mood needs a lift. As someone has said she has sadly had many pale imitators - including all those sad Austen prequels and sequels. Only Georgette Heyer has the talent to carry off these love stories, full of wit and great language. She is a 'non pareil' and 'diamond of the first water' in her Regency romance writing.

Those who love her writing are in good company. A S Byatt wrote an article in 1969 entitled "Georgette Heyer Is a Better Writer Than You Think", in which she described the author as "a superlatively good writer" and admitted to having been a "secret illegal member of two circulating libraries" to get her stash of Heyers as a teenager. Her sister Margaret Drabble has also famously said that she owes Heyer many happy hours.

Read and enjoy
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on 10 January 2003
Venetia has lived all her life in the fastness of her fathers manor just outside York. After the death of her mother, then father she was left to bring up her younger, lame brother while she waited for her older brother to resign his commission. Facing the fact that she would probably never find love she had committed herself to her brother's welfare and spinsterhood.
Then Lord Damerel arrives in the neighbourhood bringing with him rumour and scandal. Chance meetings with the rake and known gamester bring Venetia's beauty and wit to his attention.
Heyer once again draws a beautiful picture of these two lovers dancing around to the niceties of this glorious historical period. Humour lurks in every page but before we reach our favourite conclusion we are presented with an idiotically noble rake who only now decides to do the right thing. It's only Venetia's discovery of her own family's scandalous past that leads us to a classic Heyer end. Fabulous stuff.
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on 19 August 1999
Heyer is absolutely the Queen of Regency romances, and Venetia is, as far as I'm concerned, her best. An independent woman determined to resist her two insistent suitors and take good care of her younger borther; she meets her new neighbour, Damerel, the most notorious rake in England. At first he is tempted to seduce her, but later becomes protective towards her. Then, when her older brother marries and she is forced to leave her home for London, she thinks she will never see Damerel again. Desperate measures are called for...
This is not a typical Regency; Venetia is not a blushing debutante, and Damerel is not a dandified town gentleman. But the characters are delightfully appealing and Damerel is such a wonderful, down-to-earth hero! Read it, re-read it, treasure it for ever. I do.
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on 5 July 2011
I know that there are all sorts of reviews out there as to why each and every Georgette Heyer is their favourite. Ok - so, cards on the table: Venetia is mine.

It's not really to do with the plot, because compared to some other Heyer novels, it has to be said it is a little slight. There are no major twists and turns. What really makes it for me is the characterisation and dialogue of the main protanganists.

We have as the 2 main characters(although there are lots of great others in this story, especially Venetia's other suitors!):

- Venetia Lanyon - very intelligent, slightly mature ie 24/5 yrs old, innocent and unexperienced in ton society but fully expecting to live her life in the country as a spinster, as a sentient female, and very happy about it.

- Lord Damerel - very intelligent, definitely mature, definitely experienced in many more ways than one, as is suggested, but not totally quantified (as is never quantified in a Heyer story!), other than being a 'rake'.

What gets me about this story is that after they first meet, they find themselves in each other's presence for various reasons and very quickly really like and understand each other. They become true friends and really care about each other as, for want of a better word, 'soul mates'. The dialogue between them is a true joy. I'm not sure I've ever experienced that in another Heyer novel. Venetia might be conveyed as somewhat inexperienced in the ways of the world, but she's certainly not stupid (or idiotish :)) as you will find out.

What happens after that is perhaps the main part of the story....

And that, Heyer friends (and new readers), is why Venetia is my favourite Heyer novel. Take the time to read it, it's fab!
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on 7 October 2004
One of the most disreputable of Heyer's heroes but also one of the most engaging. Not much plot but the usual wonderful dialogue and eye for detail. The developing relationship between Venetia and Damerel is totally believable. Although nothing explicit as usual with Heyer their relationship is one of the most sensual and emotionally moving of any of her protagonists.
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on 7 April 2010
I was looking forward to hearing this story after Richard Armitage's first Georgette Heyer - Sylvester - and found it even more delightful. It's a lovely gentle story with romance against the odds and such a relaxing thing.

Richard Armitage captures the gentle humour nicely, and his elderly-female voices are wonderful. Damerel is gentle and smouldering - fabulous.

It's obvious even to someone like me who hasn't as yet read the book, that there are chunks missing, which is somewhat frustrating. But Richard Armitage is reading it, so who cares?!

I've so enjoyed Georgette Heyer's writing from just these two audiobooks, that I will definitely now read the novels to fill in the gaps. And I'm delighted to see that Naxos are releasing a 3rd GH/RA recording - The Convenient Marriage - due out early August.
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