[asa book]0099465639[/asa] Many fine writers of romance list The Grand Sophy as one of their favorite novels, and as it was recently re-issued, I finally picked it up. It's also my first venture into the world of Georgette Heyer. I have been meaning to read her books for years, I have no idea what kept me so long.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most amusing love stories I've read in a long time. The characters are priceless, the plotting without flaw. It's a first class romance, which means simply this: you know right away that in spite of all obstacles, Sophy will end up with Charles. What you don't know is, how that will come about. Much in the same way you know Elizabeth Bennett will end up with Fitzwilliam Darcy: the fun is in getting there, and Heyer takes you on a wild ride.

I think Sophy must rank up there with Elizabeth Bennett in terms of sheer memorable characterization. She is the kind of woman who refuses to stay on the page, who climbs out and follows you around long after you've put the book down. And who could mind? We could all use a Sophy to liven up our days and make order out of chaos.

And still, there's a problem I just can't get over: Heyer's love affair with the exclamation point. I hate 'em. Always have. In fact I wrote a small poem about my distaste for exclamation marks.

It's true that these books were written fifty years ago and literary styles change, but I had the hardest time getting past this punctuation issue. In fact, I counted twenty five of the little buggers on one page. It's really too bad, because otherwise the dialog is clever and revealing. I think if they re-issued it (yet again) but deleted 99.9% of the exclamation points, I would have loved this without reservation.