by Georgette Heyer
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:Justin Alastair, Duke of Avon, is called 'Satanas' by enemy and friend alike. In the aristocratic circles of London and Louis XV's he has a reputation as a debauched rake.
Late one evening, the Duke stumbles across Leon, a red headed urchin fleeing a certain beating at his brother's hands. On a whim, Avon buys the boy and makes him his page. But it soon becomes clear that Leon is not what he seems...
When the grubby Leon turns out to be the enchanting Leonie, the Duke is not prepared for the breathtaking transformation or the tender emotions she awakens in him, or the unconditional love she has for the man who saved her.
Review:I find most of Heyer's romances to be enchanting reads and this book was no exception! The fun of her historical romances are in the characters, and the Duke of Avon is suitably droll and clever enough to be completely captivating. Leonie is an interesting heroine - boyish, innocent, and irrepressible - she is completely refreshing as a character because there is so much humor in how clearly and simply she sees things. And in how everyone around her has to work so hard to be proper. I found it interesting how youthful and childlike she comes off on the page, and yet her romance with the much older Duke is actually very sweet and well done. It's easy to see how well they complement each other.
The plot of the novel is mostly interesting for the unraveling of Leonie's past, of figuring out the Duke's motivations, and the way that Leonie upsets the status quo for everyone. The side characters were all so colorful and entertaining themselves - especially the Duke's siblings Fanny and Rupert. There is such a sense of cheerfulness and fun throughout this whole story - in these characters and in their wit and outlook, that augmented my enjoyment of this story. I was really impressed with how easy it was to get to know and love these characters.
This is a charming read with absolutely wonderful characterizations, vivid historical details and an interesting glimpse into the proprieties of the time. I would characterize this as Jane Austen lite, with more fun and a greater sense of the romantic. I highly recommend this to anyone looking to read a great Regency romance.