Georgette Heyer

Illustrated by Sally Dunne

Introduced by Stephen Fry

Binding design by Jessica Hische

Stephen Fry’s exclusive introduction to this new Folio Society edition lavishes praise on Georgette Heyer’s meticulously researched and deliciously entertaining Regency Romance, Venetia.

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‘Heyer’s novels are delicious: meticulously researched, deftly plotted and hugely romantic, but never sentimental’
  1. Guardian

Georgette Heyer is one of the world’s best-known and best-selling writers of historical romance, and Venetia is the perfect introduction to her work. This edition celebrates Heyer’s witty and clever Regency society novel with a dazzling new introduction by advocate Stephen Fry and six gloriously imagined and insightful illustrations by Sally Dunne. Lettering artist Jessica Hische completes the edition with a beautiful gold-blocked binding design that exudes both the glamour and formality of the period.

While Miss Venetia Lanyon has been whiling away her uneventful but perfectly agreeable life in Yorkshire, her elusive neighbour Jasper Damerel has kept tongues wagging with rumours of his playboy lifestyle. When the dashing cad returns to his estate, Venetia’s head is turned from her two interminable suitors, but she’s more than a match for Damerel’s wily affections and sharp mind.

Bound in cloth blocked with lettering by Jessica Hische

Set in Aria Text

376 pages

Frontispiece plus 5 full page colour illustrations by Sally Dunne

Printed slipcase with an illustration by Sally Dunne

9½˝  x 6¼˝ 

‘She is as effective as Patrick O’Brian at depicting the same times but shamefully not as celebrated, because she wrote about women in drawing rooms, not men at war’
  1. Guardian

For anyone discovering Georgette Heyer for the first time, Stephen Fry’s compelling new introduction expounds on the appeal and importance of her novels. With contemporary writers such as Philippa Gregory and Julia Quinn citing Heyer as an inspiration, she remains not only a pioneer of the Romance genre but also one of the most enduring and influential of historical novelists. This stunning Folio edition is a celebration of Heyer’s literary status and includes six illustrations that portray the characters with incredible sensitivity. Sally Dunne reimagined Christie’s post-war London in our recent edition of Crooked House and the talented artist once again captures the nuances of the narrative, incorporating exquisite period detail, telling glances and body language to accompany the story.

‘An outstanding storyteller’
  1. The Times Literary Supplement

English novelist Georgette Heyer was a stickler for research and from the first page of this accomplished novel, readers are immersed in the cant, clothing and culture of high society Britain in the short but eminently eventful Regency period. From eating nuncheon to belittling chicken nabobs and pea-geese, the period detail and dialogue are pinpoint accurate, so much so that, according to Stephen Fry, ‘an early nineteenth-century reader could pick up this book, Venetia, and consume it as if it were a creation of their time’. However, Heyer’s phenomenal popularity arises from her ability to elevate historical romance to the realm of literary fiction, placing her novels alongside those of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. Subtly subversive, Heyer empowers her protagonist while entertaining her readers, and this brilliantly observed society drama is a must-read for fans of the genre and the era.

‘Heyer was one of the great protagonists of the historical novel’
  1. Philippa Gregory

Georgette Heyer was born in Wimbledon in 1902. She wrote her first novel The Black Moth for her younger brother Boris and, following her father’s encouragement, it was published in 1921 when Heyer was still just nineteen. She went on to write over 50 novels and became best-known for her historical fiction, including Regency Buck (1935), The Grand Sophy (1950), Venetia (1958) and Frederica (1965). Heyer died in London in 1974.

Sally Dunne graduated from the Cambridge School of Art, Angela Ruskin University with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration and began her professional career by winning the Student of the Year V&A Illustration Awards 2020. Folio Art Director Sheri Gee was a member of the judging panel and was so impressed with Sally’s work that she commissioned her to illustrate the Folio edition of Crooked House (2021). Sally lives in Ireland and draws inspiration from her surroundings. She enjoys working with a combination of pastel and coloured pencil as well as painting with watercolour.

Stephen Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director and all-round national treasure. In addition to his numerous film and television credits, he has written four novels, an introduction to poetry, The Ode Less Travelled (2005), and three volumes of his bestselling autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot (1997), The Fry Chronicles (2010) and More Fool Me (2014). Most recently, he has written a series of books retelling the Greek myths: Mythos (2017), Heroes (2019) and Troy (2021).

Jessica Hische is a lettering artist and New York Times best-selling author. Since 2009 she has operated a one-woman design, lettering and illustration studio working for clients such as Wes Anderson, the United States Postal Service, Tiffany & Co. and Apple. Her work has been featured in numerous design and illustration annuals worldwide and she was named a Print magazine New Visual Artist, one of Forbes’s ‘30 under 30’ in Art and Design, an ADC Young Gun and a ‘Person to Watch’ by Graphic Design USA. Her latest book, Tomorrow I’ll be Kind (2020), is published by Penguin Workshop.


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