This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer

The Toll-Gate (1954)

by Georgette Heyer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1353310,996 (3.91)136



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 136 mentions

English (32)  German (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Ex-cavalry man Captain John Staple is on a boring visit to the Earl of Saltash (the head of his family) to meet the Earl's fiancee. Leaving early, he proposes to ride to visit a friend in the Shires before returning home. He finds life in England rather boring after the excitement of military life on campaign, and doesn't like peace-time soldiering so he has sold out. Riding cross-country he loses his way and becomes weather-bound, eventually reaching a toll-gate in the Peak District he is surprised to find it manned by a young lad who is terrified. Taking pity on the lad, he stays the night, finding the child's father went off a couple of nights ago and has not returned. While considering what to do, he meets the local Squire's granddaughter and falls in love at first sight.

Staying at the toll-gate in order to court Miss Nell, he uncovers several mysteries: the highwayman who stables his mare at the toll-gate to visit Miss Nell's nurse, Miss Nell's cousin (the heir) who is visiting for the first time in years accompanied by an unpleasant customer and his equally unpleasant servants, the Squire himself who is slowly dying following a stroke, the stranger stopping at the local inn who is keenly interested in the local area, why Ben is terrified if he's left alone at night, and lastly exactly what happened to the gate-keeper.

Less high-society than most of Heyer's romances, and more set in the gentry and respectable yeomanry, this is a favourite of mine. Deftly tying up the loose ends, Captain Staple marries Miss Nell in the Squire's presence and finds out what skulduggery is going on in the area.
  Maddz | Jul 12, 2018 |
While I enjoyed reading this book, I found it to be somewhat slow going. Captain John Staple was very entertaining, but I felt like I never got a particularly good feel for Miss Nell. Certainly their relationship came about rather faster than I really think is possible, but that's likely as not a reflection of the genre.

The mystery (or rather, mysteries) within the book was interesting, but I did get a bit frustrated when it seemed like certain facts were being withheld from the reader in order to increase the mystery. There was enough to piece things together at the end, but during the process of the story I felt as though I was being led about. ( )
  shadrachanki | Jun 8, 2018 |
I might be biased because I just listened to The Grand Sophy, which is my favorite Heyer, but The Toll-Gate didn't live up to my expectations. The hero and heroine were likable enough, and their romance was nice, though rushed and not as well developed as others. But, The Toll-Gate is more mystery than romance, and one where the who is never in question, only the what and how. It all came together well enough, and the climactic scene was truly nail-biting, but I'm not reading a Heyer Regency for mystery, but the romance.

My biggest problem was with the talking. There was too much wondering and questioning and postulating and speculating about the resolution of the mystery, which is a weakness of many a mystery and is easily skimmable. Then there's the slang. Almost the entire dialogue is written in Regency vernacular. Heyer has her little slang phrases that make it into every novel (numerous times) but there were snatches of dialogue in The Toll-Gate where she strung four or five slang phrases to create a sentence that was absolutely incomprehensible. This book was populated with more of the working class, which explains her choice, but there is a fine line between writing era appropriate dialogue and confusing your reader. Heyer went with confusion.

The Toll-Gate isn't terrible, but of her Regency Romances I wouldn't recommend it first. ( )
  MelissaLenhardt | Mar 11, 2018 |
John Staple, a captain in the Dragoon Guards, is recently discharged after the Battle of Waterloo. He faces a boring civilian life and restlessly travels until he discovers a mystery at a remote toll gate. The story is amusing and rollicking with enough chicanery to be entertaining. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Sep 24, 2017 |
This Regency romance by Georgette Heyer employs a great deal of “flash-patter” slang, which apparently actually originated in Derbyshire, a county in the East Midlands of England and the setting for this novel. [There is an interesting history of how flash patter arose in An Analytic Dictionary of the English Etymology: An Introduction by Anatoly Liberman.] Heyer provides no glossary for this slang, but it’s easy enough to get the gist of the dialogue. I also remembered some from the books by Lyndsay Faye set in 19th Century New York, where flash patter was the street argot of the era, especially because Faye did include a glossary with her books.

This story is also unusual in that the focus is on the hero rather than the heroine. Twenty-nine-year-old Captain John (called Jack) Staple is tall, handsome, genial, and honorable. He was a Captain in the Dragoon Guards, but now is mustered out and is at loose ends, and loathe to be bored by the strictures of formal society. He is also bored by women who have no spirit and no interests broader than advancing in society, and so he has remained unmarried. But that is all about to change.

Jack, riding off to visit his best friend, gets a bit lost, and ends up staying at a toll-gate house manned only by ten-year-old Ben Brean, acting for his father, who has gone missing. Ben is scared, and Jack agrees to stay and help out, as much for a lark as anything. But before long he is called to take a toll from 26-year-old local Nell Stornaway, clearly as independent as possible for a woman to be at that time, and with no care for propriety. They are both tall, but Jack is taller. It’s love at first sight.

So Jack decides to stay longer, and soon gets embroiled in “an excellent adventure” related to the disappearance of Ben’s father, that is not, however, without mortal peril for Jack. There are some fun side plots involving the humorous character of Jeremy Chirk, who is a highway robber but a good man, and who is in love with Nell’s former nursemaid Rose. There is also the delightful character of Nell’s grandfather, and the rather less savory characters of Nell's cousin Henry and his friend Coates. But they are all entertaining, each in his own way.

Jack devises a way to fix everything aright - that is, unless he is killed.

Evaluation: This book, like others I have read by Heyer, is very fun, and reminiscent of the “screwball comedy/romances” of old movies. My only quibble with this book is that Jack’s declaration of love for Nell was so swift I thought he was having another of his larks. Besides being heralded as the true source of "Regency Romances", Heyer should definitely receive notice for making "InstaLove" a plot feature as well. ( )
  nbmars | May 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dodd, ChristinaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, DanielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
The sixth Earl of Saltash glanced round the immense dining-table, and was conscious of a glow of satisfaction.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
His great adventures were legendary... Captain John Staple's exploits in the Peninsula and Waterloo had earned him the sobriquet Crazy Jack amongst his fellows in the Dragoon Guards. Back from the battlefront, he is planning to settle down after a brave military career, and searches for the ideal bride to complement his earldom. But life in peacetime is rather dull for the adventure-loving Captain, who had enjoyed active service too much ever to settle for a life of humdrum respectability. When he finds himself mired on the moors--on a dark and stormy night, no less!--John hardly expects to find a young, frightened boy who's been left alone to tend a toll gatehouse. He has stumble upon a mystery involving the boy's disappearing father, the toll-gate keeper, nothing could keep he from investigating.

Undercover as the new keeper of the turnpike toll-house in the Pennines, John investigates the suspicious disappearance, he begins to unravel a far more complex mystery. But the post of gate-keeper appeared to offer certain unexpected and agreeable diversions. The plot thickens when he finds orphaned Nell Stornaway, granddaughter of Sir Peter Stornaway, squire of the village. The enigmatic lady, an outspoken beauty who is an unwitting pawn in a treacherous scheme. Soon he learns that rescuing her from her unsavory relatives makes even the most ferocious cavalry charge look like a particularly tame hand of loo. And he discovers that she is the only woman who can to tame John's reckless spirit. Could Nell loves John, before his true identity is discovered? Between hiding his true identity from Nell and the arrival in the neighborhood of some distinctly shady characters, Captain Staple finds himself embarked on the adventure-and romance-of a lifetime and espite he finds himself lost and benighted, his soldiering days suddenly pale away. And winning her will be his greatest yet...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099476363, Paperback)

Captain John Staple’s exploits in the Peninsula had earned him the sobriquet Crazy Jack among his fellow Dragoons. Now home from Waterloo, life is rather dull. But when he finds himself lost and benighted at an unmanned toll-house in the Pennines, his soldiering exploits pale away besides an adventure — and romance — of a lifetime.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Captain Staple's exploits in the Peninsula had earned him the sobriquet Crazy Jack amongst his fellows in the Dragoon Guards. Now home from Waterloo, life in peacetime is rather dull for the adventure-loving Captain.

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.91)
0.5 1
1 1
2 8
2.5 4
3 56
3.5 25
4 100
4.5 13
5 65

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 136,357,762 books! | Top bar: Always visible