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The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

The Unknown Ajax (original 1959; edition 2011)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,130417,254 (4.04)157
Title:The Unknown Ajax
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Cornerstone Digital (2011), Edition: New edition, Kindle Edition, 377 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle

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The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer (1959)



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The only reason why I am shelving this as romance is that none of the other genres would work either. At least it has some romance in it.

If I decided to go back and read Heyer I didn't enjoy as much as, say, The Grand Sophy or Frederica, this one would be on the list. While the writing is (no surprise there) good, it didn't grab my attention as I expected it would.

There is one thing that didn't really sit well with me. I can understand when characters make a fool of some evil person, but to do that to a man who is only doing his job while being insulted and mocked by the Darracotts was a bit too much. I know the man was a bit annoying, but we know he was right all along about young Richmond. It doesn't matter why Richmond did what he did. My point is, Richmond did what he was suspected of.

I expected to love this book. My biggest problem is that there is no main thread in it. You just follow people around from scene to scene, you read how they insult Hugo or each other, then you get romance dropped on your head out of the blue (and it doesn't play any role in the book), and all that culminates in one long scene in the end where Hugo manages to deal with a family problem.

Hugo is a likeable character. Most of the others take their sweet time to show they are something more. And they definitely are. Still, if I had to choose my favourite, it would be Vincent. He reminds me of all those almost unredeemable protagonists from other books. My second choice would be Vincent's mother.
Now when I think about it, the characters are what's keeping this book not to fall apart since there is nothing else to do it; no main theme to carry it through to the end.

( )
  Aneris | Aug 12, 2016 |
After the heir to the barony of Darracott and his son are drowned in a yachting accident, it is assumed by Matthew Darracott that he and his own sons are next in the succession---until Lord Darracott reveals the existence of another heir. Many years earlier, Lord Darracott disowned his second son, Hugh, after he made what his father considered a disastrous and shameful marriage, to the daughter of a mere weaver; now, the child of that marriage must inherit the title and the entailed estates, since all of Lord Darracott's efforts to cut him out of the succession have failed. Revealing this to his dismayed family, Lord Darracott adds that the young man, Major Hugo Darracott, is shortly expected, and that since he cannot be rid of him, he intends to "lick him into shape": a plan that involves marrying him off to his cousin Anthea, much to her indignation. Knowing that Hugo was raised by his mother and grandfather after the early death of his father, the Darracotts are, consciously or unconsciously, expecting the "weaver's brat" of whom Lord Darracott speaks with such loathing---and at first it seems that this is exactly what they've got, as Hugo appals his relatives over dinner with his broad Yorkshire accent and other signs of his lack of education and breeding. It is only the sharp-eyed Anthea and the detached Lady Aurelia Darracott who begin to suspect that the new heir has a wicked sense of humour... This 1959 novel by Georgette Heyer is not one of her better-known books, but it should be, as it is certainly amongst her best: a fabulous blending of suspense, humour, and lightly-handled romance. Hugo, six-feet-five and of a bulk to go with his height, is one of Heyer's big, quiet heroes---but as is usually the case, the externals are misleading, with Hugo's seeming simplicity concealing a sharp intelligence, a generous nature and an indomitable will---and yes, a wicked sense of humour, too. Projecting at first a guilelessness that amounts to stupidity, Hugo amuses himself by living down to his family's worst expectations (prompting his hostile cousin Vincent to quote Shakespeare's Troilus And Cressida at him, hence the novel's title) while he tries to come to terms with his new situation and his grandfather's plans for him; none of which he has any intention of going along with, should they not suit him; although, as it happens, he finds himself not averse to the idea of marriage with Anthea... The Unknown Ajax is a cleverly plotted book, and it climaxes in a wonderfully sustained and nerve-wracking set-piece, as the Darracotts must put aside their differences and come together to protect from the consequences of his own recklessness Anthea's young brother, Richmond, who has involved himself with a gang of smugglers, and fallen foul of the district's determined new Excise Officer. One of Heyer's strongest points as a writer is her creation of unforgettable supporting characters, and she outdoes herself here with her handling of Lady Aurelia Darracott, Hugo's aunt-by-marriage: an almost oppressively well-bred and well-behaved woman---but one who, in the family's time of crisis, suddenly shows that she, too, has some unsuspected and quite startling depths. Well indeed may Hugo comment to Anthea, "I don't say I wouldn't liefer have made up to my Aunt Aurelia---" By the end of The Unknown Ajax, I'm sure there won't be many readers who don't feel like making up to her...
3 vote lyzard | Aug 10, 2016 |
fabulous pricking of prejudice and family dynamics ( )
  Helenliz | May 30, 2016 |
A grumpy Lord Darracott is forced to acknowledge as his heir his grandson, who was born to his eldest son after he was disinherited. None of the Darracotts are inclined to expect much of the “weaver’s brat” from Yorkshire and Hugo doesn’t do much to try to improve their impressions of him. Of course, he’s not what he seems and heaping helpings of crow are choked down by the end of the book along with the requisite happy-ever-after romantic conclusion. ( )
  rosalita | May 12, 2016 |
Heyer's books are always a good read, and this is one of her best, in my opinion. ( )
  AlisonClifford | Apr 25, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniel PhilpottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Silence had reigned over the dining-room since his lordship, midway through the first course, had harshly commanded his widowed daughter-in-law to spare him anymore Steward's room gossip.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099474360, Paperback)

The family of the irascible Lord Darracott are unprepared for the arrival of the weaver’s brat and heir apparent to Darracott Place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

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Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by irascible Lord Darracott. The recent drowning of his eldest son has done nothing to improve his temper. For now he must send for the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family are never permitted to mention. Yet none of that beleaguered family are prepared for the arrival of the weaver's brat and heir apparent.… (more)

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