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These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

These Old Shades (original 1926; edition 2009)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,723584,111 (4.11)260
Title:These Old Shades
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Sourcebooks Casablanca (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:TBR pile (books to read or re-read), Wishlist (books to purchase or swap)
Tags:Adult, historical fiction, Regency, romance

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These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer (1926)



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Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
This is not usually a book I would choose to read, I generally steer clear of romances. But that is what is so great about a book club. It introduces you to genres out of your usual reading zone.

I found the beginning of the book rather slow and tedious and there is not much in the way of a plot at all. However, Heyer won me over when I read the chapter "The Indignation of Mr Manvers" and found myself laughing out loud. From that moment on "These Old Shades" was a joy to read with dazzling dialouge and way OTT characters. I am glad I spent the time on this novel. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
One of Heyer's earliest books, this features the arrogant Duke of Avon and the page he adopts on a whim. Lots of excitement, though it takes a while to get going and there are rather too many minor characters for my tastes.

But, overall, enjoyable. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
One word for this book: "Awww. . ." ( )
  TheEditrix | Jan 13, 2016 |
The first in the Alistair series, and very entertaining. This novel is the story of the romance of the parents of the Devil's Cub. The Duke of Avon is a fascinating character and he does a great deal of plotting and planning, much of it most unnecessary, and which eventually made future his wife and mother-in-law miserable, proving that revenge is a terrible thing. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Dec 25, 2015 |
I really liked the humour in “These Old Shades”. I’ve observed several times how certain readers compare Georgette Heyer to Jane Austen, but to me she echoes P. G. Wodehouse with her “light” approach and witty dialogue.

And this tome is dialogue-heavy, which I prefer to extensive paragraphs of description, or condensed narrative explanations.

I was close to giving this enjoyable tale five stars, but several minor gripes dissuaded me from doing so. First, I dislike the amount of untranslated French in the text. Besides, many times the reader knows the characters are talking in this language, thus to suddenly insert a French word or phrase is senseless.

Second, there was repetition of certain information. For instance, the reader witnesses a scene featuring two characters, only to have the events of the scene referred to again in some detail when another character appears. I guess the author wanted to show her other character(s) reactions, but personally I feel there’s no need to take up so much time in this way.

Finally, there was little in the way of suspense. It’s easy to work out most of the main storylines and certain characters’ fate early on.

Apart from the points mentioned above this book is great fun. The dialogue is brilliant, the characters are entertaining, and I spent most of my time smiling if not laughing. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Apr 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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A gentleman was strolling down a side street in Paris, on his way back from the house of one Madame de Verchoureux.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0373835590, Mass Market Paperback)

A gentleman was strolling down a side street in Paris, on his way back from the house of one Madame de Verchoureux. He walked mincingly, for the red heels of his shoes were very high. A long purple cloak, rose-lined, hung from his shoulders and was allowed to fall carelessly back from his dress, revealing a full-skirted coat of purple satin, heavily laced with gold; a waistcoat of flowered silk; faultless small clothes; and a lavish sprinkling of jewels on his cravat and breast.
The gentleman in question is Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, known by friends and enemies alike as Satanas--the devil. On this particular evening, the dangerous rake crosses paths with Léon, a red-headed youth of low birth who is fleeing a certain beating at his brutal brother's hands. On a whim, Avon buys the boy and makes him his page. It soon becomes clear, however, that Léon is not what he seems, and that Avon has an ulterior motive for bringing him into his household. Set in pre-Revolutionary France, These Old Shades follows a twisting course as young Léon (or is it Léonie?) is swept up in a dangerous mystery: how to account for the page's amazing resemblance to the sinister Compte de Saint Vire, for example; and why will this man go to any lengths to get the youth in his power?

Georgette Heyer's historical romances tend to fall into two different camps: later novels such as Cotillion, False Colours, and Sylvester feature larger-than-life comic characters and romantic pairings more akin to Beatrice and Benedick than Hero and Claudio. Earlier works such as These Old Shades, however, tend to be darker, tinged with mystery and overshadowed by very real menace. What both types share is Heyer's fine storytelling and encyclopedic knowledge of Regency mores and manners--her books are the next best thing to a time machine. These Old Shades's greatest asset, however, is the charming Léonie: beautiful, brave, and loyal to a fault, with a fondness for swordplay and pistols and a delightfully incomplete grasp of the English language. Heyer herself was so fond of this character that she featured her in two more novels, Devil's Cub and An Infamous Army. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:57 -0400)

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Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, "These Old Shades" features two of Heyer's most memorable characters: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Leonie, whom he rescues from a life of ignominy and comes to love and marry.

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