- Audio CD
- Publisher: Blackstone Pub; Unabridged edition (6 August 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1094012076
- ISBN-13: 978-1094012070
- Boxed-product Weight: 236 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
The Spanish Bride: Library Edition
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About the Author
Georgette Heyer (1902-1974) is one of the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists, the creator of the Regency genre of romance fiction. Her first novel, The Black Moth, published in 1921, was written at the age of fifteen to amuse her convalescent brother; her last was My Lord John. She also wrote eleven detective stories.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
HOWEVER if you, like me, have read every Georgette Heyer book (yes, I have!) AND are interested in her really excellent HISTORICAL "narratives" (such as "The Conqueror" and the combined fictional romance/true story of Waterloo: "An Infamous Army", wherein she tells true history but must call it a novel), you will love this book.
According to Jane Aiken Hodge's definitive biography, "The Private World of Georgette Heyer" (long out of print and available now HERE in trade PB), this book is based in the memoirs of Capt. Harry Smith of the famous 95th Rifle Brigade, the only "foot regiment" to have "modern" Baker rifles and the first to wear "camouflage" colored uniforms.
While not an easy read, it is of interest to any wanting to know more about the Peninsular War and what it was like to be in Wellington's Army. It is not surprising that few if any books exist that delve into that world as Harry Smith's memoirs and this book do, as it was dull stuff compared to romantic fiction. But it is real and accurate, as is the Waterloo narrative in "An Infamous Army", which is told from the viewpoint of a fictional character whio was in the thickest of the action. (Noted historian Christopher Hibbert once called it "The best told narrative of the battles of Waterloo I have ever read" or words to that effect.)
If you want to get "into" the world of the Peninsular War, you will have to read this book. It is a great resource for would-be authors who cannot find a copy of Capt. Smith's memoirs.
This story is indeed true, though "Heyer-ized". Harry Smith did indeed rescue Juana from the marauding and victorious British troops after the devastating and bloody siege of Badajoz and marry her. The marauding lasted three days until Wellington began hanging the offenders. Wellington never approved of "revenging" the dead British troops, but the siege lasted so long and the victory cost so much that there was no stopping the men short of killing them, which many officers like Harry Smith did.
Juana did "follow the drum" with Harry throughout the rest of the Peninsular War and Waterloo. Other nonfiction biographies and write-ups of the period usually mention his memoirs as reference material. Harry and Juana were very well known and liked by troops from all regiments and of all ranks.
Harry Smith was very unusual; he made the Army his career as he had no other and he was not of the aristocracy. But he was in the right place; at a time when "rising through the ranks" was not possible without wealth (as officers were usually "commissioned", that is, they bought their rank), he eventually rose to Brigadier General rank. The 95th was really the only regiment where this was possible. In other regiments, he might have remained a sergeant his entire career.
Serious Wellington, Regency and Heyer fans must have this book in their collection. Again, not everyone will like it.
The Spanish Bride is a departure from the usual format of the Heyer regency romance but this is a welcome departure. The book is the story of an improbable romance that is based on reality and backed by an impeccable body of research; the reader is truly taken on a historic journey. Readers of An Infamous Army will be familiar with Ms Heyer's stunning detail of the Battle of Waterloo, deservedly used as reference material by scholars. I found the descriptions of the Spanish campaign in the Spanish Bride to be equally excellent, with the often tragic details lightened by the thread of this wonderful romance woven throughout.