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These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

These Old Shades (original 1926; edition 2009)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,679534,253 (4.12)254
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 52 (next | show all)
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 |
These Old Shades is a delicious tale of revenge served cold and fiery young page, who is not at all as he seems. The Duke of Avon is winding his way through the streets of Paris at night, when he runs into a striking young man with red hair. intrigued for his own reasons, the Duke buys the boy from his elder brother an makes him his page (it's the 1750s, so people did things like that). Although it's obvious to all that he has something up his sleeve, even the Duke is surprised by what actually transpires.

A fun, early Heyer set in an unusual time period. For Heyer devotees and neophytes alike. ( )
  inge87 | Sep 22, 2014 |
This is a very cute book. While I don't generally hold with books that have the whole "girl disguised as a boy" motif (I think girls look ~more feminine dressed as boys, not less), I was able to suspend disbelief and enjoy this book anyway - partially because she didn't have Justin fooled for more than a couple of minutes anyway. While I also have friends who would argue that familial similarities are not close enough to see someone out of the blue and identify them, I had no trouble accepting this - in Leonie's case, her eyes and hair were unique enough that they could possibly be identifiable. This book was a joy to read. While Leonie's hero worship of Justin gets a bit old at times, I admire her spunk Justin is a fantastic character - rakish, thoroughly lacking in morals (so it seems), and eventually redeemed by Leonie's innocence and adoration...a truly enjoyable read. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
Fun. Justin was quite unpleasant to read at the beginning, but he got better (I can see him sneering at the notion!). It's completely unlikely, of course - a nine-year-old being taken for a boy is possible, not a nineteen-year-old. But ignoring that, it's a lot of fun - escapades and mysteries and abductions and old enmities being cured - or otherwise resolved. Yes, it's clearly linked to The Black Moth - and clearly not that story. Merivale isn't John, and never made a living (however casually) as a highwayman. I'd like to see this version, actually - see the differences. But the general events are clear, and not crucial to this story anyway. The romance is a very important thread, but it's well-buried in the adventure until nearly the end. I don't actually like Leonie - at least, in real life, I think she'd drive me nuts. She's cute in the story, though. A very enjoyable fluff read. More please. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Aug 6, 2014 |
Rather plotty for a Heyer novel. Kinda twisted, but undeniably entertaining.

I see people all over the internet freakin' out about the depravity Justin "Satanas" Alistair, but to me he really didn't seem all that dastardly. I mean, the 1750s were crazy times. I think.

You know what was weird was how the peasant-born, aristocrat-raised child had these deep innate longings to be a farmer, whereas his counterpart was somehow magically delicate and graceful and whatever. That was oddly convenient. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
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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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