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The Grand Sophy Paperback – 7 Mar 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Paperback, 7 Mar 1991
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Product details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (7 Mar. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099426145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099426141
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,034,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Claire Wille has exactly the right touch in her reading of The Grand Sophy, which is Regency romance at its very best. When Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy, bound for South America, asks his sister to take in his daughter 'little Sophy', Lady Ombersley agrees only to discover that her niece stands 5 9 tall, is both great fun and incredibly chic, and is destined to become the belle of every ball she attends. Her cousins soon adore her except for the eldest, Charles, burdened by the debts his reckless father had left him with. He is betrothed to the dull and humourless Eugenia, and of course he disapproves of Sophy... Full of witty dialogue, delightful family feeling and heart-racing romance just the thing for a rainy September evening! --Kati Nicholl, Daily Express

Regency romances poured from Georgette Heyer for more than 40 years, and The Grand Sophy is one of the most sparkling. In 1815 the Rivenhalls take in their niece, not expecting high-spirited Sophy who has danced at the Duchess of Richmond's ball in Brussels and is a mean hand at driving a phaeton fast through London. Her stern cousin Charles reprimands her as she constantly pushes the boundaries of convention. But could her enormous charm be ensnaring him? Beautifully read. --The Oldie

This [The Grand Sophy] is read sparklingly by the narrator, who gives every character a distinct sound. A cheering piece of entertainment for a rainy day. Naxos have several other Heyer adaptations available. - --Mastoor Khan, Epoch Times

Sophy arrives at the Rivenhall household with a monkey. She is not the shy, retiring girl that her cousins had been led to expect. She s exuberant, clever and resourceful and quickly sets the household on its ear. If it isn't publicly racing horses, it s setting up assignations for her cousin and her unsuitable beau or rescuing another cousin from a loan shark. And she does it all with a cheerful determination that makes this story a winner 60 years after its publication. Although it begins with an interminably dull conversation between Sophy's father and aunt, once Sophy enters the picture, Clare Wille is in her element. Her Sophy brings sunshine to the stage merely by her presence in the scene. Her joyful disposition and quick mind means she sees a solution to every problem, even, and perhaps especially, when that solution will drive her cousin Charles past the end of his reason. Wille shows off [her] vocal range with Spanish Marquessas; every age of person and station in life, including a very memorable gentleman with a cold; and all the time Sophy with a smile in her voice. The hilarious courtship of her cousin Charles, which requires eliminating his current prune-faced fiancée, is what makes Heyer the grand master of Regency Romance. Recommended for all fiction collections. featured in SoundCommentary's 'Best Audiobooks of 2011' list - --Jodi Israel, SoundCommentary

This is a fine performance by Clare Wille, reading a sensitive abridgement of The Grand Sophy. The generously built pistol-packing Sophy is many people's favourite Georgette Heyer character; certainly her ingenious ways of getting out of apparently disastrous situations is unequalled. This is the fifth of the uniformly fine Naxos abridgements of Heyer; there is also an interview with Wille on the Naxos website that gives intriguing insights into the art of narration. --Christina Hardyment, The Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

A heart-quickening tale of Regency romance b one of our best-known and most beloved historical novelists of all time. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The abridged version of this brilliant book, one of Heyer's best, loses a lot of the story's panache and vivacity. Some picturesque characters and their story lines are virtually omitted altogether. What a shame. I was really disappointed.
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sophy Stanton-Lacey is staying with her aunt and uncle - Lord and Lady Ombersley - at their house in Berkeley Square. Sophy horrifies and delights them by arriving accompanied by a horse, Salamanca, a parrot and a monkey, not to speak of her greyhound, Tina. The parrot and the monkey are for the children of the household. It is a household in a sorry state.

Charles, the oldest son, is betrothed to a lady who seems lacking in the slightest sense of humour; Cecilia has fallen in love with an impoverished poet and Hubert, a younger son, is deep in debt. Sophy vows to sort everyone out and find a husband for herself as well.

Full of amusing incidents and fascinating characters this is one of Georgette Heyer's liveliest Regency romances and one of the most delightful. It is interesting to see the effect the energetic Sophy has on the rather depressed household especially when she decides to organise a ball for four hundred guests without her hostess knowing exactly how many people are coming.

This is one of my favourite novels probably because nothing defeats the redoubtable Sophy. I love the humour and the way the characters interact especially the way the apparently stuffy Charles soon starts to reveal a much lighter side to his character. If you haven't tried Georgette Heyer before then this would be an excellent place to start.
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Format: Paperback
Perhaps one of the most delightful of Ms. Heyer’s Regncy Romances, The Grand Sophy is a treat from beginning to end.
If Mr. Charles Rivenhall could have foreseen the havoc his cousin Sophia (Sophy to friends) would wreck in his life he would never have allowed his mother to invite her for a visit. Or would he?
For Sophy is as irresistible as she is incorrigible. From the moment she steps into this sombre household she sees that they are all sadly in need of her help. Beautiful Cecilia is pining away in her love for a poet; poor Herbert is in the clutches of a moneylender and Charles himself is betrothed to the most depressing female imaginable. But Sophy is nothing if not resourceful. With wit and charm as her only weapons, she sets out to sort out the family’s problems, and in the process finds her true love as well.
Heyer’s brilliant wit and intelligent humour make her work stand head and shoulders above the rest. Avoiding the usual clichés of this genre, she endows her heroines with as much brain as beauty and an independence of spirit that makes them so much fun to read about.
If you feel romance novels should be explicitly passionate, Heyer may not be for you. But if a comedy of manners, with engaging characters, hilarious dialogue and between-the-lines romance is your cup of tea, The Grand Sophy is just the book for you
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Format: Paperback
First published in 1950, The Grand Sophy contains one of Georgette Heyer's most endearingly outrageous heroines. In this newly released reissue by Sourcebooks, you are in for a rollicking good time through Regency era London with Miss Sophia Stanton-Lacy. As one of her many male admirers proclaims, "By all that is wonderful, it's the Grand Sophy!" Too true.

A diplomat's daughter, Sophy has traveled the Continent with her widowed father Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy following the British army in their pursuit of Napoleon during the Peninsular War. Two years have passed since the Monster of Elba was finally defeated and Sir Horace's duties now take him abroad to South America. He feels it is time for Sophy to marry, and who better than to present his motherless daughter to London society than his amiable sister, Lady Ombersley. But, will her eldest son Charles approve? Things in her dysfunctional family are so oddly arranged. Her indifferent husband Bernard Rivenhall, Lord Ombersley has run through his fortune, and now relies on his eldest son Charles, who inherited another estate, to pay his debts and finance his household. Charles, known for his ill temper and tight pocketbook, is engaged to equally priggish young woman, Miss Eugenia Wraxton, whose rigid grasp on social stricture is at odds with everyone who she deigns to look down her very long equine nose at. Lady Ombersley's beautiful young daughter Cecilia should marry the very eligible and wealthy Lord Charlbury, but prefers instead the handsome poet Augustus Fawnhope whose odds at fame and fortune are slim as his picking a Derby winner. Her second son Hurbert, whose moods sway with the tides of his debt, is ensconced with dubious money-lenders and in need of extraction. They all live a dull life according to Charles's autocratic commands.
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By Seren Ade HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story of an unusually self-possessed young lady, who spent her childhood following her widowed diplomat father around the globe, sent to stay with her aunt's family to make her come-out is my all-time favourite Georgette Heyer novel.

No one is prepared for a young woman with quite so much self-command and organisational zeal as Miss Stanton-Lacy. Least of all, her rather disapproving older cousin.

This isn't one of Heyer's `bigger' plots. There's no major historical event impacting directly upon the plot and characters (as, e.g. 'An Infamous Army'), nor any particularly large-scale drama. Instead, this is a more private, family-centred novel that relies more upon a delicious blend of character and wit combined with Heyer's impeccable understanding of the language and mores of her chosen time period.

There's plenty of well-paced humour (often at the expense of pompous beaux, condescending fiancées, and a rather splendidly idle Spanish lady), but the pivotal character is our unconventional yet always likeable heroine, who contrives to rescue her family from the consequences of their various errors in judgment. Miss Stanton-Lacy is certainly not afraid of using highly unorthodox methods to achieve her ends.

The Grand Sophy indeed!
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