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The Toll-Gate
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The Toll-Gate

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  3,214 ratings  ·  215 reviews
His exploits were legendary…

Captain John Staple, back from the battlefront, is already bored with his quiet civilian life in the country. When he stumbles upon a mystery involving a disappearing toll-gate keeper, nothing could keep the adventure-loving captain from investigating.

But winning her will be his greatest yet…
Paperback, 313 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published 1954)
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Loved it plain and simple!

Captain John (Jack) Staple has had enough of his dull cousin and insipid fiancée, so he skips out of the engagement party and trots off to his friend Mr. Babblecombe's hunt. Only, he doesn't quite make it that far. In the pouring rain and crackling thunder he comes upon a Toll-Gate, an unattained Toll-Gate. That is, it's attended, but by a little urchin named Ben, whose father is missing and who is deathly afraid of someone.

Ever the adventurer, Captain Staple rises to t
Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
The entire time I was reading this book, for some unaccountable reason the phrase "Georgette Does Mysteries" kept running through my brain. Less alliterative than "Debbie Does Dallas," but on the other hand it's G-rated rather than X, so there's that. At any rate, I thought Heyer did a pretty good job with it. She's not Agatha Christie (let alone Tana French), but if you're in the mood for a clean, light, fun mystery and you like Regencies, you'll probably enjoy this book.

For a plot summary, I'l
Umpteenth re-read. I love this book. Nell is one of Heyers older, sensible heroines, John is steady as a rock but very nosy and delighted to stumble across mysterious and sinister goings on. Heyer is in top-form here, there are a host of memorable secondary characters, and the language is simply wonderful.

John to his mother:
"I don't mean to offer marriage to any girl who don't give me a leveller. So I daresay I shall remain a bachelor, for they don't--any of 'em! And if one did," he added thoug
Unable to endure his stuffy cousin's engagement party more than one night and tired of his mother and sister's matchmaking schemes, Captain John Staple sets out for his friend's hunting box. Much to his dismay, he gets a late start, his horse loses a shoe on the moors and he takes a wrong turn and ends up in the middle of nowhere, Derbyshire in a rain storm. Finding a toll-gate, John demands entry to the pike, hoping to spend the night in the nearest town. The gate is opened by a ten-year-old bo ...more
Fun, light mystery featuring a restless former soldier who stumbles while lost onto an odd situation concerning a missing toll-taker.
Dec 16, 2011 Estara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of books like The Scarlet Pimpernell or The Prisoner of Zenda in tone, not in plot
If you don't read this looking for a romance, but for derring-do and adventure and loads of Napoleonic era thieves cant, you'll be quite happy with your purchase ^^.

Not to say that what there is of the romance isn't as lovely as Heyer's best, but it is cut much shorter and deeply subsumed under the main plot (as a matter of fact I think the nearest relative of this book may be The Reluctant Widow, with its focus on the spy plot).

Because you have a deep dark crime story being uncovered by an ext
Olga Godim
This novel is not exactly a romance. It’s a mix of a love story and a mystery. The protagonist John Staple is a former army captain, big and amiable but extremely astute. During the Napoleonic wars, he was a dauntless officer, earning himself the nickname of Crazy Jack for his risky but invariably victorious escapades. Now retired from the army, he is chafing under the boredom of peaceful life. His mother wants him to get married and settle down (what else?). Their dialog is a perfect slice of J ...more
Yeah, that's right. I read a Regency Romance novel. It's part of the 2012 Reading Challenge that Kelsey started - I am trying to read across a variety of genres I don't normally reading, including Romance.

This is the story of a soldier in 1817. He's broad, tall, very strong and very bored by everything since the war ended. He heads out adventuring across the countryside and finds a toll-gate where a boy is tending the gate alone due to the mysterious absence of his father. Jack settles in to he
Book 67 2012 Reading Challenge--I listened to this book on tape, and as a result had the full impact of Heyer's absolutely magnificent dialog and vernacular. I can't recall any book with such incredible dialog-- so funny and masterfully witty. What makes the book excellent is the different classes of characters interacting, hence various class vernacular, and the main male protagonist plays various roles in the story from different classes. So, his dialog is a hoot as he changes from one class t ...more
John Staple, giant, is curious about a toll-gate he encounters while fleeing his cousin's dull engagement party. When he meets Nell Stornaway, giantess, he falls in love. There's murder, mayhem, clandestine weddings and more!

I LIKED THIS?? I wanted more of John and Nell flirting like buffoons, though? I always want more flirting like buffoons. ALSO THIS GOT WEIRDLY DARK AT THE END, which was in some ways necessary but also very unexpected (mostly, I'm sure, because I'm more familiar with Heyer's
☆ Ruth ☆
More action and adventure than romance in this book, but still a very enjoyable read. It does stretch the believability aspect a tad... but all her novels are written purely for entertainment, and don't attempt to be anything else.
The Silent Reader
I last read this book about 16 or 17 years ago. I couldn't recall a single thing about it, even as I read it now. It is one of Heyer's romance mysteries. I found it similar to another of her novels of this kind -- The Unknown Ajax -- perhaps because the heroes of both these stories are so alike -- blond, blue-eyed, handsome "giants" who could contrive to look stupid as they pleased, and were kind and full of laughter and good humour.

It made for a quick, light read, as do all Georgette Heyers. B
Jane Stewart
3 stars. Entertaining mystery with a hero who saves the day. I prefer stories with more romantic relationship development.

Captain John Staple has just left the military after Napoleon’s defeat. He is traveling to see a friend and comes across an unmanned toll-gate. The gatekeeper has disappeared, and his son Ben is alone and frightened. John offers to help and stays the night. The next day Nell is traveling through and needs the gate lifted. For John it is love at first sight. He de
I love Georgette Heyer's historical romance novels for their combination of colourful characters, frolicking adventures, exuberant humour, and mercurial mystery. I have many Heyer favourites including Devil's Cub, Frederica, Sylvester, These Old Shades, The Reluctant Widow and now The Toll-Gate. I think The Toll-Gate sets itself apart with more than the usual hint of romance.


It takes a lot to unnerve Captain John Staple, a man with a reputation for audacious exploits and whimsical non
Georgette Heyer: The Toll Gate

When Crazy Jack Staple, lately of Wellington's returns to civilian life after the defeat of Napoleon, he finds that there's not much to satisfy the adrenaline junkie he's become, and no woman who really interests him. Then, while escaping from his boring cousin's boring houseparty he rides into Derbyshire to visit a friend and puts up for the night at a lonely toll gate cottage when he finds the gate-keeper has left his ten year old son, Ben, alone and petrified.

Miranda Davis
I hadn't read this GH Regency, I guess because I had the idea it was more a mystery than a romance but it's romantic and fun and suspenseful. HOWEVER, I consumed this via my ears, and the unabridged version's reader had the most God-awful voicing for the hero and used that same voice for a couple of other blokes so that at times I was confused by who was saying what and when not confused I was aurally assaulted by the reader's performance.

Anyone remember Pat, the indeterminately sexed character
Another lovely Georgette Heyer novel...with a bit of a twist! A male main character! A mystery combined with likable characters and that twist of romance, this book brimmed with everything that makes Heyer so delightful. My main complaints are that every other word is slightly unreadable due to "cant phrases" and that all the characters introduced at the beginning play no role at the end. What happened to mother, uncle, and cousin? That would have been good to know.
Otherwise, very good.
In my opinion, one of Heyer's finest. "The Toll-Gate" is much more of a mystery novel than a romance, and not a bit of it is done in half measures. Of particular note: clever humor throughout, a simple but sweet romance, a wide ensemble of lively and creative characters, an action-filled plot, and dialogue that consists almost exclusively of cant. Heyer definitely had fun with this one.
Linda Baker
The Toll-Gate (1954) tells the story of Captain John Staple. "Crazy Jack" is beloved by his comrades and known for his exploits both on and off the battlefield. Back from the Peninsular Wars, he is bored with his country life and being encouraged by his family to marry. Having never met a girl who "levelled" him he is in no hurry to settle down. When he stumbles across a toll-gate with a missing gatekeeper and a frightened child, nothing will stop him from taking over the toll-gate and solving t ...more
I enjoyed the mystery and adventure and absolutely adored the hero. I have a strong preference for Heyer's more emotionally stable heroes, and Jack's tendency to fall into adventures seems to come from his insatiable curiosity rather than any self-destructive impulses. I also enjoyed Nell, though wish she was on-screen more. Watching Jack and Nell together was just lovely.

A scene from fairly early on, when Jack is trying to get Nell to tell him what's really going on:

"A quick, indignant glance
This was a very eventful novel, in which the romantic element takes a back seat to the mystery (or, rather, mysteries, for there are several of them afoot.) And yet I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I had expected to. I think it was mainly a question of language; in addition to the usual Regency drawing-room-speak, we have several impenetrable regional dialects to puzzle over, not to mention schoolboy slang (oh,yes, did I mention that there is yet another Irrepressible Urchin in a fix?) and th ...more
I am a big fan of Heyer's Regency romances, but favor primarily those told primarily from the perspective of one of her wrong female heroines. The Toll-Gate is told almost exclusively from the hero's perspective and is therefore not quite as much fun for me as, say, Frederica or The Grand Sophy. This is especially unfortunate because the heroine, Nell, seems like a character that could have ranked right up there with my other favorites had she been developed

That said, this story is a lovely, lig
Margaret Metz
This is my least favorite Heyer novel so far. I'm not certain whether it was POV (instead of being told primarily from the heroine's perspective, this is nearly entirely from the point of view of the hero) or if it was because there was a lot less romance and more of a mystery ... or if it was all the sort of class comparison that was constantly going on . . .

I really missed the witty banter that normally accompanies the more romantic novels. It isn't the romance exactly, it's the wonderful dial
I quite enjoyed the Toll Gate by Georgette Heyer. This historical fiction was more mystery than romance, and a good blend of both. There was also a fair bit of humor.
2.5 stars. I didn’t realize beforehand that this was a mystery, instead of a romance (love at first sight doesn’t count). I haven’t read any of Heyer’s other mysteries yet, but I hope some are better than this one. The writing is amusing enough, though, except for a great deal of unintelligible cant.

Captain John Stapleton is the kind of man who has adventures fall into his lap. As his brother-in-law puts it, “If I go sailing, and run into a squall, and have to swim for it, do I get picked up by
The Tollgate- Georgette Heyer
Very good story, guy comes across a toll gate to find a little boy running it, his dad had left him and run off. The main character sticks around to find out what happens and comes across thieves, murder, and a very pretty girl in the mix. It is clever and fun and had me laughing throughout most of the book. Another great book by Georgette Heyer, her books are always full of great characters and a smidgen of mystery.
Abandoned due to language issues
I wasn't as engaged by this book as Heyer's others. I didn't feel a lot of tension over the mystery or the romance.
This isn't the first time I've read this book, but the first time I've written a review. This is classic fun Georgette Heyer. She always writes the perfect mix of romance, adventure, and humor. This isn't my favorite where the love story is concerned (it just seems too fast for my tastes). The adventure and humor make it a fun read though. This was a great way to kick off my summer reading.
Mina Lobo
A fun yarn but very low on romance--I can get behind love at first sight but there was *zero* development of the heroine and hero's relationship. In fact, the heroine gets so little face time in this book she's almost an afterthought, which is supremely annoying as she's the reason the hero does almost everything he does in this story! Also, I'm accustomed to Heyer's use of the vernacular of the day for authenticity's sake, but this book was so murky with slang that the meaning behind the words ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect description 2 20 Aug 15, 2012 08:47PM  
  • Harstairs House
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  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
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Georgette Heyer was an amazingly prolific writer who created the Regency England genre of romance novels.

Georgette Heyer was an intensely private person. A best-seller all her life without the aid of publicity, she made no appearances, never gave an interview, and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point. Heyer wrote very well-researched historical fiction, fu
More about Georgette Heyer...
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“No one had ever looked at her just like that before, and it had the effect upon her of making her feel, for perhaps the first time in her life, a strong desire to lay the burden of her cares upon other shoulders. Captain Staple’s were certainly broad enough to bear them.” 6 likes
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