Snowdrift and Other Stories by Georgette Heyer

I always love spending time in Georgette Heyer’s world; with duels, masked balls, elopements, high-stakes card games and lively period slang, her novels provide perfect escapism – and based on this collection, so do her short stories. Originally published as Pistols for Two in 1960, Snowdrift and Other Stories contains eleven of Heyer’s tales of Regency romance and adventure plus three additional stories not included in the earlier book.

I found these stories so enjoyable and so much fun, it was tempting to read them all at once, but instead I decided to just dip in and out, reading one or two at a time over the course of a few weeks. This was probably a good idea as many of the stories in the book are very similar, so better in smaller doses, I think! In particular, there are several that deal with young couples eloping with various family members in pursuit and a series of misunderstandings ensuing along the way – and also several involving duels, fought with either pistols or swords, and never quite going according to plan. Most of the stories have a twist or two, which are usually easy for the reader to predict, but come as a complete surprise to the characters!

I don’t want to discuss all fourteen stories here, but I can honestly say that I liked all of them – some more than others, of course. Some of my favourites included Bath Miss, in which a gentleman agrees to escort the daughter of a family friend home from school in Bath, but finds that the girl is not quite what he’d expected; The Duel, which follows a young lady who goes in search of the disreputable Lord Rotherfield to beg him not to shoot her brother; and Hazard, where a nobleman ‘wins’ a friend’s sister in a drunken game of dice and is horrified when he wakes up the next day and finds himself on the way to Gretna Green. Another which stood out, although it wasn’t one I particularly loved, was Night at the Inn. Unlike the others, which are all romances of various types, this one is more of a suspense story in which three guests arrive at a lonely inn one dark, foggy night.

As for the three extra stories – Pursuit, Runaway Match and Incident on the Bath Road (all from the 1930s, I think) – they are very entertaining too, although they suffered slightly from being placed at the end. Speaking as someone who is not usually a fan of short stories, I did really enjoy this book. I prefer her full length novels but, as I’ve said, if you just want a small dose of Heyer – or maybe if you’ve never read her before and don’t want to commit to anything longer – I would recommend giving Snowdrift a try.

Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing a copy of this book for review via NetGalley.

31 thoughts on “Snowdrift and Other Stories by Georgette Heyer

  1. Café Society says:

    I have to admit to never having read Heyer and being amazed that she was writing in1960. I suppose I have automatically assumed that she was a turn of the century writer. If I just wanted to get a taste of her work what would be a good novel to choose?

    • Helen says:

      Heyer was writing from the 1920s to the 1970s, so quite a long career! It’s difficult for me to say which of her books would be the best to start with, as I still haven’t read even half of them. The first one I read, which had been recommended to me by several people, was The Talisman Ring, and I did enjoy it enough to want to read more. My favourites so far, though, are probably The Masqueraders (a Georgian novel rather than Regency, with some wonderful dialogue) and The Quiet Gentleman, which is more of a mystery than a romance.

  2. whatmeread says:

    That’s odd. I have read Pistols for Two. It was a shortish novel about a girl who thinks her suitor isn’t polished enough, so he goes off and gets so polished that she thinks he is a fop. Was that in the book? Maybe I’m confused. I saw this on Netgalley but was worried about it being short stories. I wasn’t sure what I would like it.

    • Helen says:

      I think you would enjoy these stories. They’re not as developed as her longer novels, of course, but the plots, characters and dialogue are similar and I found them all fun to read. Maybe the other book you’re thinking of is Powder and Patch rather than Pistols for Two?

      • whatmeread says:

        Oh, yes, you’re absolutely right. But the name of Pistols sounds so familiar, I must have read it at some point. Anyway, I got the book from Netgalley. I’m about five months behind myself, though, so it’ll be a while before my review shows up. I try to give priority to my Netgalley reviews, though, and post them as soon as I can and as near to the publication date, but I think this one is already published.

  3. FictionFan says:

    Oh, you had me on a rollercoaster there! I saw the title and thought – I haven’t read this! Then you said it used to be called Pistols for Two and I thought – oh yes, I have! Then… three new stories!! Woohoo – sold! I must acquire this – sometimes a little dose of Heyer is the only thing that will brighten up a dark winter evening. Thanks for the rollercoaster ride! 😉

    • Helen says:

      It can be confusing when books are reissued under different titles, can’t it? I hadn’t read the original Pistols for Two, so all of these stories were new to me – the three extra ones are very similar to the others, really, but still fun!

  4. Caroline says:

    THis sounds delightful. I think I’ve read one or two of her novels a long while ago and definitely enjoyed them. Thanks for the tip to not read them at once.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, this is a lovely collection of stories. They all feel very similar, though, so I think reading the whole book from beginning to end would be too much.

  5. piningforthewest says:

    I’ve read quite a few of her novels and mysteries but hadn’t realised that she had also written short stories. I will give them a go. Thanks.

    • Helen says:

      If you’ve enjoyed her novels I think you’ll like her short stories too. They are very similar, with the same sort of plots and the same witty dialogue and slang.

  6. cirtnecce says:

    I love Georgette Heyer! Her books are precisely what you said, my favorite escape from madness. I will and must get a hold of this one! Thank you for a great review!

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you love her books too! I really enjoyed this collection of stories – it’s perfect if you’re in the mood for reading Heyer but don’t have time for a longer novel.

  7. Davida Chazan says:

    I’ve found that sometimes short stories can be more satisfying than novels. Mind you, not every author is suited to the format. For example, Joanne Harris’ short stories were… um… blah.

    • Helen says:

      I usually prefer novels, but yes, in some cases the short story format can be more successful. I haven’t tried any of Joanne Harris’ stories – sorry they were disappointing!

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