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The Foundling

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  3,262 ratings  ·  259 reviews

The shy young Duke of Sale has never known his parents. Instead, his Grace Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware or Gilly for short has endured twenty-four years of rigorous mollycoddling from his uncle and his valet. But his natural diffidence conceals a rebellious spirit. So when Gilly hears of Belinda, the beautiful foundling who appears to be blackmailing his cousin, he absco

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published November 30th 2005 by AudioGO (first published 1948)
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I'm normally quite chary of stars, and don't award full marks to anything that isn't objectively good. So, in my reviews, four stars and below are subjective, while five stars are reserved for the best of the best. I've made one exception for Frederica, and I find myself forced to make another for The Foundling.

The Foundling tells the story of the Duke of Ware, a shy, retiring boy of twenty-four who has been cosseted and coddled until he could scream. But he's so mild-mannered that he merely sub
This is a romance only in the sense that the hero is happily settled with his lady at the end of the book; really it is an adventure and, I suppose, a journey of self-discovery, although I'm sure Georgette Heyer would never use (or approve of) such a navel-gazing term.

In his travels, Gilly encounters Tom, a magnet for mischief of all kinds, Belinda, a beautiful, empty-headed girl whose virtue is teetering on a knife-edge, a brace of villains, and a host of citizens of all stripes that, as a Duk
This is really more a coming of age novel than a romance; there is a romance, of course, but it takes a distant second place to Heyer's account of how her hero, Gilly, Duke of Sale, goes adventuring, in a smartly paced plot, and frees himself from the confinement of his family and his title. The romance wasn't much (and I actually found Gilly's romantic interest rather dull), but the friendship between Gilly and his dashing cousin, Gideon, was a highlight of the book. I don't think I've read a H ...more
Jane Stewart
4 stars. Wonderful story. Problem with audiobook narrator’s breaths.

I think my favorite trope is seeing a character change - like this. Gilly was small, skinny, shy, quiet, and obedient - doing whatever his overbearing uncle and others told him to do. Even with marriage the uncle says it’s time you get engaged to Harriet, so he does. He’s 24. Gilly decides to go on a journey alone without his valet or other hired help. On that journey things happen that allow Gilly to act differently and to see
This is more adventure than romance, and bears a strong resemblance to Charity Girl, with another 'unsuitable' female in need of rescue, and handed over to a long-standing friend-come-love interest of the main male character. But most of the story is caught up in the adventures of Gilly as he kicks over the traces and goes on a mission of mercy (and meets another 'Falstaff' type, though this one theoretically intended to be more amusing).

The story works a little better than Charity Girl, but it
Gilly was born an incredibly rich duke. Far from trying to get his inheritance, his family did everything in its power to ensure that the sickly little boy would grow to manhood. However, now that Gilly's nearly of-age, their coddling and controlling is less welcome. Being pushed into an engagement with an old friend is the last straw, and Gilly takes an opportunity to flee his hangers-on and pretend to be just a gentleman. While doing so he rescues a fair but dimwitted maiden, takes on the char ...more
☆ Carol ☆
Sometimes rereads are A Very Good Thing.

I was very young when I originally read this & I didn't much care for it. The hero came across as a bit of a wuss & it was far more an adventure than a romance. Also the teenage me found Gideon more appealing than Gilly.

On rereading I now think this is one of GH's best Regencies. The storyline is skillfully done & for anyone who feels the romance was perfunctionarily done I would say (view spoiler)
Upon rereading, I am convinced “The Foundling” is among Heyer’s best novels. It has a slow start, but by the middle of the story becomes an all-out adventure story that I couldn’t put down. It is an extremely original and well thought out coming of age story: mild-mannered protagonists, charming would-be murderers, various miscreants which the hero takes under his wing. As the reader, you look back once you’re well into the story and see how everything ties together – It’s something I ve
I have a fondness for "Mr. Dash of Nowhere in Particular." Something about the description of the meek young duke, ruled over by his strong-willed, crotchety relations and servants spoke to me. I cheered for his coming-of-age transition to a man, and his adventures out in the world, his experiments at doing everything for himself. I do think the romance in this book seemed like something of an afterthought, put in at the end only because Heyer's readers are used to seeing a pat happy ending. I d ...more
The one where, thanks to wealth, power, shortness, and a sickly childhood, Gilly isn't allowed to take a step without ten people attending him, until he breaks free and goes on an adventure of his own.

As I mentioned in my notes on Sprig Muslin, these two books start off their adventures in pretty much the same way: a man, on his way to propose a marriage he isn't very enthusiastic about, finds himself saddled with a beautiful woman-child whose innocence he has to protect and a heedless schoolboy
To be honest, it was something of a chore to read this at first, but don't be deterred! Although it takes a while for the story to pick up and get interesting, the characters were charming enough to see me through the boring parts. I love that the protagonist isn't the typical swaggering, brooding hero of most Regency novels. Gilly makes you want to pinch him and gather him up in a hug, not swoon on your feet -- and that's a refreshing change.

It's difficult not to enjoy Gilly's discovery of his
While I find the nearly de rigueur top 'o the trees beauty with feathers for brains tedious, and do not find the folly of the foolish nearly as amusing as I'm supposed to, the delightful Duke of Sale makes reading all of the complicated, silly rest of The Foundling worthwhile.
This is is my first Heyer read with a male protagonist as the dominant character, and I was a little worried that it would be entirely filled with gambling, races, boxing, and other manly pursuits, which I find completely boring. It was not, however - it was a delightful adventure and character study of a realistic and endearing young gentleman. I absolutely loved the character arc that Sale passes through. His growth is subtle, but the difference by the end is tremendous, and I loved seeing him ...more
MeiLin Miranda
One of the best Heyers, full of all the usual nonsense--put-upon dukes, mistaken motives, potentially ruined reputations, strangely lovable rascals, overbearing dowagers, humorous rustics, a beautiful girl without a brain in her head, and Hessian boots. Also coats with many capes. And curricles.

I freakin' love Georgette Heyer. Many imitators, but only one of her.
Ruth Turner

Very slow to start. Not one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books, but a good read nevertheless.
Teresa Osgood
I used to shy away from books with beautiful covers, thinking they must be sappy inside. Anne of Green Gables proved me wrong. The Foundling is another such gem, a Regency novel full of humor and adventure. A pleasant young Duke tries to do something by himself, for a change. But not selfishly--he keeps trying to help more people, with surprising results. Love blossoms, as well, but incidentally to the rest of the story. The characters have wonderfully distinct voices, and the Duke isn't the onl ...more
The one where a young Duke is tired of being cosseted and decides to finally find out what life is like for plain Mr. Dash, of Nowhere in Particular.

At 24, His Grace Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware (Gilly, to his friends) is sick of everyone treating him like a child. His uncle and his entire staff fear for his life if he so much as walks outside in the evenings, always terrified he might catch cold, because after all, he was such a sickly child. So when his young cousin is being blackmailed by t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The hero of this novel, the Most Noble Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware, Duke of Sale and Marquis of Ormesby; Earl of Sale; Baron Ware of Thame; Baron Ware of Stoven; and Baron Ware of Rufford, a sickly orphan, was raised by a host of well-meaning relatives and old family retainers. He's been coddled and cosseted his whole life but now that he's on the verge of coming of full age, his uncle Lionel encourages him to make his own decisions, yet every time Gilly makes a move, he's told he should lis ...more
Another lovely reading experience, brought to you by Georgette Heyer. I think that this one is my favorite so far by her. It had all of the components of her other historical romances, but this one managed to pull them all off flawlessly. It is a slightly different story than seems typical for her books, but maybe that's why I liked it so much.
The Duke of Sale, known as Gilly to most people (his full name and titles are amusingly very long), is an orphan, raised by his uncle until he reaches his
Orphaned at a young age, the Duke of Sale, or Gilly as everyone calls him, led a sheltered life thanks to his guardian and uncle, and the servants of his household. Nearing the age of when he'll handle complete control of his estate, he doubts his abilities to stand his ground against many who want his best interest. When he finds that his cousin is being blackmailed by Belinda, a mysterious beautiful girl, Gilly takes this opportunity to escape his stifling life and straighten the misunderstand ...more
Julie Davis
I'm rereading this delightful book for the umpteenth time now that I've discovered it at Audible in audiobook form.

Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware, the Duke of Sale, known as Gilly to his friends, is a mild-mannered and kind-hearted young man. He is too kind, in fact, to snub the well meaning servants and relatives who push him around "for his own good." When a chance for independence and adventure comes in the form of helping a young relative out of a fix, Gilly jumps at the chance to be "plain
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Reading is only for the young.


I never wanted to read any Heyer slash. That should be self-explanatory, because her romances were the only real ones, with the m and f really belonging together, fitting, genuine love, affection and attraction, it made me sick to consider slashing the men, no matter how many there were, how many were attractive in every way. It still makes me sick.

But Gideon's love for his "little one", and that first scene were Gilly comes a little bit apart and a lit
Linda Lou McCall
I've been a Heyer fan ever since I read my first work by her, also the first romance novel in my 60 years of reading. Again, Heyer does not fail to deliver yet another charming and witty Regency era book. Usually she writs from the perspective of an independent woman of either noble or genteel birth. Here she gives a great account of an overly protected Duke who escapes his handlers to spend several harrowing, exciting and often dangerous days as "Mr. Dash of Nowhere In Particular". Great story!
This Heyer book isn't a "romance," per se--it's more of a coming-of-age story about a young, good-natured but over-protected Duke who slips away from the people caring for him and has a series of madcap adventures that teaches him to assert himself better. Gilly (Adolphus Gillespie) is an adorable main character: sweet and polite to a fault, empathic and kind, and it's fun to watch him get some self-esteem while not losing his better qualities. The romance part is slight but charming as well, as ...more
Jessica Howard
Not very romance-y actually, this is a novel about the young Duke of Sale's coming of age. (And getting into several very funny scrapes along the way.)
Sherwood Smith
I know many love this one, but I have never been able to finish it in the forty years I've been reading Heyers. The conversations are interminable, seeming to exist for the sake of using period slang (especially that made up by Pierce Egan) and not particularly witty to me. The plot meanders, never catching my interest; I just do not like her long-suffering heroine plots.

I wish is idea--the put-upon, mild young duke who runs away and assumes an ordinary identity and promptly finds himself in ad
Very funning book! I loved it for a light easy read while on vacation
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  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
  • With This Ring
  • Mr. Malcolm's List
  • Elyza
  • Indiscretion
  • The Fortune Hunter (Lord Rival, #2)
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • Imprudent Lady
  • Miss Lockharte's Letters
  • The Five-Minute Marriage
  • The Mésalliance
  • Lord Deverill's Secret
  • The Famous Heroine (Stapleton-Downes, #5)
  • The Duke's Wager (Bessacarr, #1)
  • Danse de la Folie
  • Brighton Road
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...

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