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I first read Georgette Heyer's novels over 30 years ago and I wish this book had been around then. It makes interesting reading for anyone interested in social history as well as fans of Heyer's novels. There are chapters on famous people of the era, newspapers and magazines, clothes, shops and books read as well as food eaten and social etiquette.

Most of the information is referenced to one or more of Heyer's Regency novels. The only down side as far as I am concerned is that it only covers the Regency novels and some of my particular favourites were set in the eighteenth century, but as a companion to the Regency novels alone this is excellent.

The book contains a historical timeline of events from the start of the Georgian era to the end of the Regency - which is useful. There are also brief plot summaries of the 26 Regency novels. I found the book revived happy memories of reading Georgette Heyer's novels and I have gone back to re-reading them all with pleasure. It is written in an accessible style and is very enjoyable to read - I recommend it.
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on 7 February 2008
Readers of Regency literature should be delighted to find this informative and well-written book newly available in paperback. Jennifer Kloester has really delved into the heart of the upper echelons of society during the Regency period and her book provides a substantive, yet easy-to-read, account of many different aspects of Regency culture.

Aimed at Heyer fans, with constant references back to characters in Georgette Heyer novels, it's also going to appeal to Austen fans and general readers alike. I found it fascinating to read about the different layers in upper class society and the finer points of etiquette and moral standards. I'd always wondered what the differences were between fops and bucks and dandys, and I had never had any idea at all of what a nonpareil was! It's interesting too to read about the details of the London Season - the most fashionable places to be seen, who would be invited to what, and in particular to read about the most exclusive establishment of Almack's and the highly sought after vouchers for visiting there.

You'll find a wealth of easily accessible information packed into these pages and it's sure to help enhance the enjoyment of all Regency novels, not just Georgette Heyer's. One very small gripe would be that there are the odd occasions in the book where I would have liked a footnote or reference to where the information had come from. An impressively researched and readable reference book.
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on 2 July 2006
As the patroness of two online discussion lists, Janeites, for Jane Austen Fans, and the Georgette Heyer discussion list, I am just the audience who Kloester's is aiming at with this book, and I have to say she absolutely hit the mark! This is an extraodinary book and one which I will be happily recommending.

I get questions all the time from people who want to write Regency novels and are looking for a good overall book to guide them, and from others who want to know more about the REgency and Georgian world which Heyer inhabited for her unique Drawing Room romantic/comedies. Generally I give them an outline of a series of books which they could read which will give them some background, but there has never been a truly comprehensive book which is both academic, readable, spefcific to the period and general enough to cover everything but still give a confident grasp of detail. This book finally does and well done to Kloester for acheiving that.

Her chapter summaries at the start give you a very good idea of the information covered so you are able to go to what you want immediately - chapters include Up and down the social ladder, Town and country, Man's world, Gentle Sex, on the town, Pleasure haunts, Fashionable resorts, Getting about, What to Wear, Shopping, Eat, Drink and be merry, Sporting life, Business and the military, whos who in the Regency includes extremely useful appendixes such as glossary of cant terms, newspapers and magazines, book in heyer, timeline, reading about REgency, where to go next and so forth with some excellent references for easy access - I was also flattered to find my own website in the www addresses so thanks for that too Jennifer.

I was surprised to see a reviewer saying that there was no new information in this. I strongly contest this. Kloester has done more than simply rehash old information, she has provided some new insights for me (I never knew for instance that Rotten Row) was originally Rue de Roi - or street of the King - but she has used her extensive knowledge of Heyer novels to reference items in the REgency.

This is not the sort of book where you can find analysis of Heyer's novels one by one - Hodge's excellent work, the Private World of Georgette Heyer which has just been reissued is definitely the book for that. However you can read about REgency life in here with reference to Heyer's novels.

I would highly recommend this to all Regency fans, those who wish to write a novel, and those who simply wish to understand more in one handy reference book. This is an excellent jumping off point for further reading, but it is also an extremely good book for any fans of the REgency knowledgeable or otherwise. I will definitely be reading anything else Kloester publishes!

A Woodley
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on 11 February 2006
Caution: The Regency World of Georgette Heyer will make you want to reread Georgette Heyer -- in particular Friday's Child and Regency Buck. It is the ideal present for someone who loves Georgette Heyer and is interested in the world she created and the world of the Regency. All manner of things are explained and a very useful guide to cant is included.
An excellent addition to guides about the Regency.
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on 24 February 2014
Disappointing as the author seems to have used Heyer's novels as though they are themselves historical sources, instead of going back to original archives, periodicals, and of course Jane Austen's novels as Georgette Heyer herself did.

There are plenty of contemporary illustrations available, for instance in Ackermann's Repository, which could have given accurate and diverse pictures of life in Regency England; instead, this book is illustrated with poor-quality line-drawings with no reference to source material so that the reader cannot know whether they are copied, traced or just imagined.

This isn't a work of scholarship. It might be useful as a collation of information derived from other reference books, but most of this would be available on the internet. I donated my copy to the church fete.
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on 3 November 2005
An incredibly detailed work that must sit alongside not only the reader of Georgette Heyer's Regency novels but anyone interested the Regency period. What a wonderfully detailed account of all facets of life in this short but rich social period!
This compendium contains a wealth of information that will answer any query the reader might have regarding life in the Regency period - from clothes and accessories; sports; people; medical treatments; transport and much, much more. The information is very quick and easy to access via the appropriate chapters and the comprehensive index. The author's informative and entertaining style of writing is complemented by Graeme Tavendale's superbly detailed illustrations.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 February 2012
This is mostly just a note to point out something no one else yet seems to have done: that the last eight items in the list of coins on page 279 are incorrect. It should read follows:

A groat = 4d.
Thruppence = 3d.
Tuppence = 2d.
A penny = 4 farthings
A ha'penny = ½ penny
A farthing = ¼ penny

Since I'm here, I might as well say that I thought both the praise and the criticism of the other reviews justified: the book does rely too much on Miss Heyer's material. It would be more helpful if the examples given were historical figures, rather than her characters.

But the book also contains a lot of useful information hard to find in one place elsewhere.

Oh, and the illustrations do suck. Was it impossible for the publishers to license reproductions of contemporary paintings?

On balance, I think I prefer Georgette Heyer's Regency England by Teresa Chris (despite the bizarre errors with the names of Miss Heyer's characters). But it's out of print; and as I write, the second-hand prices are becoming grotesque. You could still try the library.
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VINE VOICEon 30 July 2012
Definitely a book for dipping into rather than reading cover to cover as I did. It will be a useful reference book for me from now on, however.

It covers essential material about social life and manners of the upper set during the Regency period, but has very little to say about the lower orders. To be fair, Jennifer Kloester does point this out at the beginning of the book.

Where clothing, pastimes and shopping are concerned it is an absolute goldmine and it is full of information about gender roles and expectations, though this can become a little tedious to read. After all, if you read Heyer much of this information can be gleaned from her stories without being made explicit.

The appendices are especially fun if you want to start reusing some prime Regency phraseology or learn who the key figures in society and literature were.

The allusions to Heyer's novels are really only useful if you have read them all and know them in detail and so might be tedious for the general reader (but then maybe you wouldn't buy this book if you were a general reader). It is still worth having a look at for interest's sake, though maybe not for in depth historical research.
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on 28 February 2011
This is an excellent reference book and a most enjoyable read for any Heyer fan. If, like me, you have ever read 'Arabella' and wondered what a 'cestus' is, or have skimmed over unfamiliar phrases such as 'boxing the watch' then this book is very enlightening in these and many other instances. The author's list-style presentation of her research provides a wealth of background information and an overview of daily life as portrayed in the Heyer books. I also gained a clearer knowledge of the individuals within the Royal family; other notable figures of the day and the historical events referred to by Heyer.

The author has clearly done a lot of research and this shows, for example, in the description of White's Club (p268) when she refers to specific bets actually placed in the betting book by Beau Brummell. In agreement with other reviews, I would have liked more of this type of historical information throughout to flesh out the author's assertion of fact along with references and quotes from contemporary sources. In addition, a few colour plates of illustrations would also have been helpful.

That aside, for a reader with a general interest in the Regency era this is probably a good starting point. However, for anyone with a specific interest in the work of Georgette Heyer then Jennifer Kloester's book ticks most of the boxes. It increased both my knowledge of the era and my respect for the depth of Heyer's research. I will be very happy to keep this book on my shelf for reference.
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on 29 January 2006
I'd expected a "scholarship for the layman" work, but the author appears merely to have culled much of the content from Heyer's novels. There's no bibliography, and I found the illustrations -- all line drawings by the same artist (and I use the term loosely)-- coarsely drawn. The best part of the book was the cover. Don't buy this without looking through it first. I returned the book to the seller and asked for my money back.
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