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The Unknown Ajax

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  5,716 Ratings  ·  409 Reviews
"Wonderful entertainment from first page to last."—Chicago Sunday Tribune

A past dispute . . .

When the irascible Lord Darracott’s eldest son dies unexpectedly, the noble family must accept their estranged Yorkshire cousin as heir apparent. They are convinced he will prove to be a sadly vulgar person, but nothing could have prepared the beleaguered family for the arrival o
ebook, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published 1959)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I've got to go 5 stars with this one. The Darracotts are bickering, dysfunctional family, governed by a tyrannical, irascible grandfather, Lord Darracott. They are forced to welcome the new heir to the family, Major Hugh (Hugo) Darracott from Yorkshire. They all expect him to be a low-class, uneducated and unsophisticated person, especially when he turns out to be a giant of a man with an innocent-looking face and a deceptively placid disposition, and Hugo decides to oblige them by exaggerating ...more
This is the weakest Heyer I've read. I can see why it's not one of the well known ones. Frankly, it's boring! There's way too much dialect (something that I find tends to get in the way in some of her other works as well), and nothing much actually happens. Even the action at the end isn't action. There's some smuggling potential, but that all happens off the stage. There certainly isn't enough going on to justify the hero and heroine deciding they love each other. They just decide it.

I really
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

I'm reet glad this Heyer is finished. Happen I didn't care for Hugo, the family Darracott or this story at all. Greatly wished this was one of Heyer's whodunnits, so that Lord Darracott could be murdered and Inspector Hemingway could arrive and solve the case, but alas this was just one sloooooooow and boring regency with little excitement, humor, romance or basically anything I've come to expect from Heyer.

While it gets high ratings from most of my GR friends (and
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

The only reason why I am shelving this as romance is that none of the other genres would work either. At least it has some romance in it.

If I decided to go back and read Heyer I didn't enjoy as much as, say, The Grand Sophy or Frederica, this one would be on the list. While the writing is (no surprise there) good, it didn't grab my attention as I expected it would.

There is one thing that didn't really sit well with me. (view spoiler)
4 1/2

Another fun Heyer!

This is a dysfunctional family who gets put to rights by a "weaver's brat" aka Hugo. Major Hugo. None of the family particularly likes each other and no one is pleased to have the Major the heir to Lord Darracott's dwindling fortune. Especially as Hugo is a Yorkshire yokel who doesn't know the right of things. They are sure they can teach him how to be a gentleman. Big and dull witted looking, Hugo slowly takes them all by storm, even Anthea who was determined not to lik
Lady Wesley
Oct 22, 2013 Lady Wesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lady Wesley by: Miranda Davis
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer titles, and listening to the narration by Daniel Philpott makes it just perfect.

Hugo Darracott unexpectedly becomes the heir to his grandfather, Lord Darracott. They have never met, because Hugo's father married a "weaver's daughter" and was cut off by his snobbish, irascible sire. When Hugo arrives at the estate his grandfather shares with his widowed daughter-in-law and her two almost-grown children, he realizes that they are expecting to meet with a
This is my second review in AudioGals' Month of Audio Favourites, and I've given it an A+ for narration and B+ for content.

I haven’t read The Unknown Ajax in years, but it was one of the first of Ms. Heyer’s novels I purchased in audio and I remember being utterly delighted by it, thinking that the story came to life in a way I hadn’t experienced when reading the book. Daniel Philpott’s performance is nothing short of perfect and, re-listening to it in order to write this review, I couldn’t help
Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕
If possible I enjoyed this rollicking tale even more on this umpteenth reread!

Like in many of her later books, GH is experimenting more with the genre. The unlikeable Vincent is very similar to some of GH's earlier heroes (the Duke of Avon comes to mind) & our hero, Hugo is on the surface a buffoon, but we the readers are subtlely made aware that he is more than that, as we watch him seeing how much he can get his haughty relatives to swallow! Richmond is also a more complex character than y
Hugo is an army Major who is a grandson of Lord Darracott. Darracott's family have never met (or even heard) of Hugo, owing to Hugo's father being cast off for marrying a commoner. But when a couple of unfortunate deaths leaves Hugo heir to the title, he is summoned to meet the family.

Yorkshire born, Hugo is an imperturbable and sharp-minded man, who hides much of his competence behind a tendency to play the yokel, and his own affable nature. The story lets us watch his family almost as a whole
Edward Hoornaert
IMO, this is one of Heyer's better books--if not the very best of the lot. Hugo is a marvellous character, so self-assured that when he becomes the heir to a barony, he plays along (and with!) his new-found family's low opinion of him as yokel from Yorkshire. His understated sense of humor appeals to me a lot.

The secondary characters really help to bring this book to life. Many of them start out to be stock Heyer characters--the fop, the arrogant and uncaring Corinthian, the aloof daughter of an
Aug 13, 2011 apple rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
And thus begins my quasi-impressionable wandering into the dark and sinister underbelly of regency romance. If you would oblige my most reverential presumption...IMHO “the Unknown Ajax” is more of a regency comedy especially in those hilarious scenes involving butlers’ catfight. There’s some cute tactically-placed banterings between the Major and Anthea but damn and balderdash! I want more!

Vincent Darracott would make a perfect arrogant yet occasionally endearing leading man in a spin-off..I tot
Olga Godim
Jan 26, 2012 Olga Godim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georgette-heyer
Although this book is a bit slow, it’s mostly funny: a light enjoyable read. Before I talk about the plot, I’d like to sketch the family tree of the Darracotts, the family at the center of the novel. The old Lord Darracott is an octogenarian patriarch and a veritable tyrant of the family. His oldest son and heir drowned recently, together with his own son. The second son, Hugh, has been dead for years, but before he died, Hugh committed a misalliance: he married a Yorkshire weaver’s daughter and ...more
Apr 20, 2014 kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Darracott family, holed up in the family estate in Sussex/Kent, tolerate the tantrums of old Lord Darracott by keeping their heads down. Until the misplaced heir--Hugo, the son of a weaver's daughter!--is summoned so that Lord Darracott can bring him up to snuff. The innocent gentlle Yorkshire giant throws everything and everyone for a loop, including his sassy, pretty cousin Anthea...

(Yes, they're cousins.)

1. The fact that Hugo is more than what he seems is first discovered by Anthea. She s
Miranda Davis
Not one of her best known Regency romances, but it's grown on me over the years. What's not to love about Georgette Heyer presenting a tall, strapping, mischeivous hero who inherits a noble title and estate and condescending relatives annoyed by his presence in their lives? The family's supercilious attitude toward Major Darracott's background (noble father and common Yorkshire 'weaver's' daughter) brings out the huge hero's impish humor which expresses itself in a broad Yorkshire accent, seemin ...more
Aayesha Khatri
This book was, hands down, one of the most funniest books I've ever read in my life. I was giggling, sniggering, chuckling and snorting throughout the beginning of the story. (Why not the end? I'll come to that later.) Hugo was one heck of a character *snaps knee, laughing butt off* I don't think I've ever come across a hero like that, ever. Trust Heyer to come up with the best. She is truly such an awe-inspiring author, I love her.

The problem is, it kind of fell flat for me in the last third. M
Ana Rînceanu
My 28th Georgette Heyer

Estranged heir of Darracott Place, Major Hugo Darracott is about to meet his estended family for the first time: his grandfather, Lord Darracott; his uncle, Matthew, a politician, his wife, Lady Aurelia and their sons Vincent and Claud; and his uncle Rupert's widow Elvira and her children Anthea and Richmond.

Our hero has a sense of humor and when his aristocratic relatives think him to be an idiot, he pretends to be one. Anthea doesn't fall for it, but this only serves to
This is perhaps more of a family story than a romance, though of course it does contain a romantic plotline. The eldest son of the autocratic, elderly Lord Darracott has died, and Lord Darracott must summon the new heir -- the unknown son of Darracott's rebellious second son, who married against his father's wishes and died years ago. Hugo Darracott's entry into his new family is a challenge for everyone, but particularly his cousin Anthea, who Lord Darracott is determined will marry Hugo.

The f
Barb in Maryland
Just finished a re-read of this and I have to say it isn't one of my favorites or one of her best.

The blurb gives a good idea of the basic story, so I won't try a re-cap.

On the plus side--Hugo is a delight and has a wicked sense of humor. Anthea is fine, too, as his love interest. The rest of the characters are a mix of typical Heyer stock characters; except for Vincent, who is nicely done and approaches being a fully fleshed-out person.

However, the book felt padded. A lot of the same ground was
Brenda Clough
Dec 31, 2013 Brenda Clough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, what a grand book. In the usual way of Heyer Regencies the author has a firm thumb on the scales of the plot, so that all will work out. The final tangle of injured brothers and smugglers combating revenuers is unlikely but enchanting. This is perfect comfort reading. When real life just gets too ugly it is Heyer all the way.
Pamela Shropshire
The Darracott family of Kent & Sussex, are the very definition of a dysfunctional family. Old Lord Darracott despises all his sons, but actually disowned one for marrying a "weaver's daughter.

The players assembled at Darracott Place are: Lord Darracott; Mrs. Elvira Darracott, his daughter-in-law, and her two children, Anthea, daughter, and Richmond, son; Matthew, son of old Lord Darracott, his wife, Mrs. Aurelia Darracott, Vincent and Claud, their two sons, and the assorted servants.

Lord Da
Dec 10, 2011 Estara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Estara by: one of my favourite Heyers
Yes, this works for me in English just as well as in German - having read the original now I have to say incredible KUDOS to the original translator into German for getting Hugo's Yorkshire cant an equivalent dialect treatment without which the story wouldn't work - for that matter Heyer uses so many outdated metaphors and images that I do wonder how they explained those to the translator and what he/she had to do to research the German equivalent of regency speak, heh.

Sartorias says in her revi
Feb 20, 2010 Madeline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who need a break
Recommended to Madeline by: Aya
1. Um, I TOTALLY LOVED THIS BOOK. It's funny in a very self-aware way, with a beautifully convincing and completely charming love story. Seriously, the Anthea/Hugo love story is amazing. I was completely invested in it, cheering them on and cooing over them. The last time that happened (which I guess wasn't too long ago, whatever) was in the movie Veer-Zaara. That's right: this romance is on par with a Sufi-inspired plea for reuniting India and Pakistan. (Although, I can't deny that The Unknown ...more
Jamie Collins
Re-read December 2016
The quarrelsome Darracott family is united only by their collective suffering under a tyrannical, parsimonious grandfather; but when he summons everyone home to greet his heir, they join each other in dread of this newcomer: the offspring of a degraded branch of the family. They fully expect a bumpkin who chews with his mouth open, and when the enormous Hugo arrives, with his guileless appearance, the most vicious cousin Vincent dubs him Ajax, and he and cousin Anthea spend
Jul 01, 2012 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I could hardly add any better review of this book than the many Goodreads readers who rate it at 4 or 5 stars. However, for my friends who are interested in what I am reading, I'll say I rank this one among the top favorites in the Heyer books I've consumed so far. I suppose I'll have to go back once I've read all of her books, to make a ranked list. I have enjoyed all so far, but some a great deal more than others.

The appeal of this one is the main character, Hugo, and how, as one reviewer says
An irascible baronet's eldest son and grandson die in an accident, and the whole household is thrown into an uproar when it comes out that the next heir is not the baronet's last living son, but the (previously unknown) issue of the second eldest son. No one has ever met Major Hugo Darracott; all they know is that he's the child of a misalliance and was in the army. The whole Darracott family descends upon the ancestral home to meet him, and are horrified but not surprised to find that he's slow ...more
I have had much fun. It is more family comedy than romance. There are different characters, some witty, some silly, some are bossy and so on. Add to this plot twists and a good idea for an engaging story and you will have a good piece of Heyer's work. I see here elements from her other books. It is one of these her books which have some sociological and psychological analysis of society and human.

I would prefer a little more romance, more "sparrings" between hero and heroine but clearly, in this
Feb 02, 2016 Elinor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Georgette Heyer, and enjoyed this novel in which the romantic hero is close in age to the heroine (not always the case in Heyer's romances), is a gentle giant of a man (also somewhat unusual), and speaks with a broad Yorkshire accent! No wonder the heroine is bewildered. Very entertaining.
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 Alexis Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Things have come to a pretty pass at Darracott Place. Following the unexpected death of Lord Darracott's eldest son and grandson in 1817, the family is horrified to learn that the title and the (admittedly ill-funded and rather run-down) estate will pass to a previously unknown cousin, Hugo--a Darracott, in a manner of speaking, but also a former soldier, and the son of a Yorkshire weaver's daughter. Still, Lord Darracott hasn't given up completely. He's counting on his spinster granddaughter An ...more
May 17, 2016 Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the death of his eldest son and grandson in an accident, irascible Lord Darracott springs on his shocked family the news that his heir is now a grandson none of them knew existed—the offspring of a son disinherited years before for marrying beneath his station. The Darracotts, dismayed at visions of a coarse, uneducated rustic taking his place in the family, betray these expectations only too plainly when the heir arrives...but fortunately Major Hugo Darracott is blessed with a quiet but p ...more
Aug 02, 2014 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A five star story and a 10 star audio experience. The extraordinary narration by Daniel Phipott brings this clever, funny, witty tale to life.

Major Hugo Darracott is summoned to Darracott House by his controlling, autocratic, manipulative grandfather. The old man has always known of his grandson's existence, although the rest of this dysfunctional family do not. His son married against his wishes to a poor common Yorkshire weaver's daughter.....or maybe, unbeknown to him, not so poor or so commo
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  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
  • Indiscretion
  • Knave's Wager
  • Harstairs House
  • Mr. Malcolm's List
  • The Five-Minute Marriage
  • The Fortune Hunter (Lord Rival, #2)
  • Lady Elizabeth's Comet (Clanross, #1)
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  • Imprudent Lady
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • Danse de la Folie
  • The Parfit Knight (Rockliffe, #1)
  • Fallen Angel
  • Miss Lockharte's Letters
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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“Does it ever occur to you, Mama, that my grandfather is a lunatic?” 14 likes
“I'm not talking nonsense, lass. I'd give you the whole of the moon if I could, and throw in the stars for good measure,' he said, taking her hand, and kissing it. 'You couldn't be content with less?” 6 likes
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