REVIEW: Snowdrift and Other Stories by Georgette Heyer
The Queen of Regency romance, Georgette Heyer shines in this sparkling collection of fourteen short stories. This re-issue of Pistols for Two features three stories written in the 1930s that were not featured in the original anthology and have been known only to scholars, as well as a Foreword by Heyer’s official biographer, Jennifer Kloester. Each of the stories—new and old—in this delightful collection brims with Heyer’s characteristic wit and colorful characters. Heyer brings to life the romance, intrigue, shenanigans, gallantry, villainy and grace of the Regency period.
This is a collection of several of Heyer’s short stories already published in “Pistols for Two” along with three other tales. The new ones are “Runaway Match,” “Incident on the Bath Road” and “Pursuit.” None are new discoveries to the Heyer canon but all are delightful. Well, I take that back – one is more a chilling tale of mystery with a hint of a slight romance.
The heroines here seem to fall into two categories: the slightly older and more mature governess and the very young ingénue who appears to immediately charm her hero with her spirit and hijinks. Personally I prefer the former and I can’t help but wonder if fifteen years down the road these heroes who fall at a glance for the more high maintenance female are still going to be happy fishing her out of trouble. True these heroines don’t seem the type to go in for the swooning vapors or hysterical spasms their mothers sometimes resort to but they are also not easy goers.
Our heroes are for the most part older (ancient in the initial opinion of some of the younger heroines) and more mature, usually aristocrats and always Corinthians of whom the haut ton is in awe. Their cravats are Works of Art, their handling of the ribbons for their matched blooded cattle induce gasps of envy in the young bucks and their Hessians are polished to a mirror shine. Often they start out – and to be honest – finish a bit high handed but they are honorable and Gentlemen to the core.
Most of the stories are road romances with various couples either headed for Gretna or after those who are headed for Gretna. Bath is the destination in a few stories and a spanking curricle the vehicle of choice. The stories abound with ingratiating landlords, cold ostlers and postilions and many caped greatcoats. Heyer seemed to return to many of the plot outlines for her longer novels and I’m sure readers will see the beginnings of many of them.
I would recommend that the stories not be consumed all at once as a sameness begins to show after a while. Rather they are delightful little bonbons to intersperse with other romance genres or books when you just need a little something special. B+