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Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: These Old Shades

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
These Old Shades
by Georgette Heyer
Historical Romance
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.


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.

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  1. I've been meaning to read Georgette Heyer for YEARS. I love Jane Austen and Regency romance so I've wanted to try out Heyer. I even purchased some ebooks whenever they are on sale. But I'm not really sure where to start. There are so much. What book would you recommend I start with?

  2. I started with some of the audiobooks read by Richard Armitage (as one should!) Venetia was really good I remember. I also recommend reading this one as I think it shows the best of Heyer. Actually I haven't read too many of her books, so I don't know what a bad Heyer novel looks like yet! :)

  3. Wait, wait, wait - RIchard Armitage narrates some of her books! Oh my gosh sign me up right now? I adore him. I was sort of rooting for him in Robin Hood even though he was a baddie. He's also the only reason I would see the Hobbit movies. He's one sexy dwarf.

  4. YES! And it's very distracting but entirely worth it to hear him read Heyer's books! :) You know, I have not really gotten a chance to watch Robin Hood which is awful because I know I would love it, and Richard is just the type of character I would root for. :D And I love him in The Hobbit movies, but have to say - I wish he didn't have that crazy beard covering that marvelous face. :D

  5. Oh has she? Then yes, definitely give her a try, it must be a sign! :)

  6. I've actually never heard of this book (or author) before, but already I have marked it to read on Goodreads and am SUPER excited about the prospect! I'll be seeing if my library has it very soon! It sounds really wonderful and Leonie sounds like a character I would simply adore, and the romance she has with the Duke is most intriguing. Fantastic review!

  7. Oh fantastic! Heyer writes some really great Regency romance (and interesting cozy mysteries as well) so I hope you will enjoy this book! I love how romantic and funny her romances are. :)

  8. I haven't read anything of Heyer's but I feel like she's popping up all over the place this week. She sounds like an author I should get too!