These Old Shades (Alistair, #1)
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These Old Shades (Alastair-Audley #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  6,779 ratings  ·  609 reviews
Under the reign of Louis XV, corruption and intrigue have been allowed to blossom in France, and Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon and proud of his soubriquet 'Satanas', flourishes as well. Then, from a dark Parisian back alley, he plucks L-on, a red-headed urchin with strangely familiar looks, just in time for his long over-due schemes of revenge on the Comte de...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2009 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published 1926)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Nov 27, 2009 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical romance and fiction
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) by: AAR Special Titles Listing
Okay, I am officially a Georgette Heyer reader now. I can see why she is touted as the best of the best when it comes to historical romance. This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I tell you, Avon is a very singular hero. I have read few books with a hero whose dialogue was so expressive, yet ironic at the same time. His wit is so sharp that it could cut diamonds. What's really interesting is that Avon is considered the worst of the worst when it comes to being a debauched rake, yet you never see h...more
I enjoyed These Old Shades. I think Heyer writes vivid, opinionated characters and she captures the Georgian period beautifully. I must admit though, I’m not sure this book is for everybody. There’s a lot of yakking. These characters talk, talk, and even more talk. Heyer doesn’t directly tell you what her characters are up to either, so you have to get to know them by what they say. Some of the dialogue is pretty hilarious, and some of it is kind of repetitive. To me this makes the characters mo...more
This is one of my favorite romance novels, ever. I am not even afraid to review it here on this pretentious book site, I love it so much. I have worn through my copy of it. It is lovely beat up and bent back to the pages of all my favorite parts. The Heyer hallmarks are all here: great characters, hilarious plot, breaking the genre rules, a somewhat effete hero (but in a manly way). The main character, Leonie, is absolutely adorable. I don't even care if others find her annoying, she makes me la...more
Update: I have it on good authority that this is an accurate representation of me while thinking of this book (or should I specify, the hero!):

By the way this book only gets better and funnier with each re-read I do! ;) Love these crazy people forever <3

{Please note that the following essay review contains spoilers}

I'm not sure that I can entirely express how much I truly love this book and how absolutely amazing it is.
I remember reading The Black Moth by the same author a while ago, and sec...more
Amy S
While I am not a tremendous Heyer fan, I do enjoy knocking them back like m&ms. That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me. So by that I mean, like m&ms they don't have a lot of substance or weight, and it really annoys me that I keep eating them, and yet I can't seem to stop.

My understanding is that this is one of her first novels. It concerns Justin, the Duke of Avon, and Leone who -- whoopsie -- turns out to be Leonie. The Duke of Avon is supposed to be a first class rake of lo...more
Maria Grazia
“Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, These Old Shades is considered to be the book that launched Heyer’s career. It features two of Heyer’s most memorable characters: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Leonie, whom he rescues from a life of ignomy and comes to love and marry”.
My review
If you meet Satanas in a dark alley in the middle of the night and you are desperately seeking escape from a wretched life of violence and harassment, maybe you’d be as happy as youn...more
Ruth Turner

*sigh* *places hand on chest to still fluttering heart* Justin Alastair hasn't lost any of his charm.

These Old Shades was the first Georgette Heyer book that I read, many, many, many years ago. It was always, and still is, my favourite.

Witty, charming, with wonderful characters that were a pleasure to revisit.
Most fandom people I've talked to either love or at least rather like this book, but it seems it's my turn to feel all "bwah?" and left out, as Punk does with The Dreyfus Affair and Siria does with Swordspoint. I hated it. I despised pretty much all the characters, other than Hugh and Rupert—Leonie was irritating, and Avon was just creepy. I know he was supposed to be "Satanas"—the devil of a man who isn't really that bad, but I found him neither enjoyably naughty nor charming; he was just kin...more
Léonie, was an imp, she went about calling people Pig-headed and stupid. (Only those who it fitted, of course.) Rupert was Avon younger brother and my! He was a prude! (Yes, yes I know the times!) But he an Léonie were hilarious together, it wouldn't have been the same without him. I completely love this book, I just know my copy will be worn to shreds, especially if I keep laughing so hard. If you want a laugh, Léonie will provide more that enough and Avon's witty combacks are not to be missed....more
This was a great story. I didn't even miss the sex. Despite being written years ago, it didn't feel the least bit dated.

Loved the hero with his bad self and his little "quizzing glass." The heroine was free and sassy, even as a servant, but I thought she could be a little air-headed at times and definitely bloodthirsty. I guess that would be a good match for a hero who was suppose to be the devil...and for someone who spent 7 years as a boy.

Some events at the end took me by surprise. (That cer...more
Justin Alistair is handsome, fashionable, and merciless. As the Duke of Avon in the mid-Eighteenth century, he has far more power and money than he really knows what to do with. An urchin's red hair catches his attention, and he buys the boy from his loutish older brother.

And thus begins the adventure of Leon, also known as Leonie, and her life with the duke. She has a sort of slavish devotion to him that is utterly inexplicable (and quite disturbs his friends), and he intends to use her to des...more
Another Heyer masterpiece! This one takes place in the Georgian era so be prepared for men in wigs, powder, and oddly worded sentences! :-)

I can’t possibly match the other quite eloquent reviews so I’ll keep this short. In keeping with the theme of the book:

Extremely hilarious!
To the point where you DO NOT want to read this in public unless you’re ready for strange looks. I’m at least assuming I got those JUST from laughing at the book in public… For now I'll assume that was the reason! :-
This is the first Georgette Heyer book I've read and I'm astonished. Astonished I had never read her before and astonished I liked it so much! Honestly, I wasn't anticipating much... I knew she was the "creator of regency romance" but I kind of figured the genre must have improved since 1926.


In fact, I realized that I have over the years read multiple blatant rip-offs of this exact novel (right down to the scene where Leonie and Fanny are arguing about pants) and none of them even come clos...more
My second Georgette Heyer! I read this trilogy out of order and read Devils Cub first but it was so fun to go back and see how his parents got together!

This book has the whole girl dressed as a boy trope but with a twist and whole lot of intrigue and conspiracy behind how the heroine came to need that disguise. All is not fully revealed until the end of the book and the slow revelation of her history was very well done.

As far as the romance goes, I had a hard time with it in the beginning. The...more
I enjoyed this, despite one or two minor annoyances:

1. The hero was referred to by any one of about eleven different names or titles randomly throughout - "Justin" "The Duke" "Alastair" "Avon" "His Grace". PICK ONE AND STICK WITH IT, HEYER.
2. Leonie was funny but a bit of a twerp, she definitely didn't act 19 and her worshipful ADORATION of Alistavonjustingraceduke got on my nerves, as did his condescending "come here and let me wipe my feet on you, my infant" attitude to her.
3. What reference...more
Miss Jane
Bah, as Leonie would say. I wrote a review and it didn't get saved for some reason.

Anyway, my reaction to this book can be summed up in one word: CREEPY! Here's why:

1. Avon buys Leon/Leonie from her brother. Ew.
2. The age difference between Avon and Leonie (20+ years) was a bit much for me. A Heyer hero is often several years older than the heroine, but 20+ years put Avon into the creepy old man category for me.
3. Avon calls Leonie "my infant" half the time, which just reinforced #2 for me. UG...more
The character of Leonie is immensely likeable (though, like Amanda in Sprig Muslin, she'd make more sense as a 15-year-old than at her stated age, which is 19). I don't quite see in her what Avon says he sees, the results of a life of terrible, constant loneliness.

Avon is more problematic. Partly it's a Georgian-culture problem -- it's hard for me to distinguish between an ordinary, irresponsible nobleman of fashion and an actual rake in the old, non-playful sense of the word. We know he kidnapp...more
One night, on his way back home, Justin Alastair, His Grace the Duke of Avon, stumbles across Léon, a poor boy who is running away from his bad brother. To save him, the Duke decides to buy him and to make him his page. But His Grace never does anything on a simple whim, he has a precise purpose which drove him to act like that. What does the Duke of Avon want from a stranger little boy who loves and worships his saviour? Things get more complicated and mysterious when Léon is forced to reveal t...more
Nov 07, 2007 Janille rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical romance
I have read just about every Georgette Heyer book there is and have loved every one of them. She writes two types of genre - historical romance and mystery books. These are old-fashioned relationship/mystery books, written true to the language and customs of their day. Well written, great research - real page turners, every one of them.

"These Old Shades" is one of my particular favorites. It has a very clever plot and dynamic, engaging, even sometimes wonderfully irritating characters (I have ye...more
This is one of Georgette Heyer's earliest novels and seems to be very popular, but I was not thrilled with it. There were glimpses of what I enjoy so much about her work, in particular some witty dialogue, but I disliked the main characters and found their relationship creepy rather than romantic. Usually I don't let modern sensibilities interfere with my enjoyment of period romances, but the condescending, paternal dynamic established in the beginning was too strong for me to overlook.

Sherwood Smith
The plot was a cliche when Heyer wrote it as a young woman (basically Cinderella, underscoring that "blood will always tell") but Heyer writes it with such wit and dash that it never really stales. I think her Georgians are slightly better than the Regency tales, with an exception or two--they are tighter paced, and the world of the mid-1700s is beautifully evoked; it was obvious in later years that Heyer had read Chesterfield's letters when she created Avon.
Christy Stewart
Very witty and funny but the writing is too formal and cold for the characters to appeal to me.

It's a personal problem. Nothing to do with you.
Jan 11, 2009 Delaina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Jane Eyre and other gothic romances
I liked this a lot more the second time I read it. "These Old Shades" is one of Heyer's Georgian (pre-Regency) works, and it's a doozy. Alastair is more than just a commanding, domineering rake--he's a devil. He needs redeeming, though he and everybody else thinks he's past it. He has no heart to speak of, and revels in it ... unless he's brooding on it's loss. Very Byronic. When a street waif in trouble literally runs into him one late night, the quixotic Devil buys him with a diamond cravat pi...more
Bah. I spoiled the big surprise in this book quite accidentally when researching something about Georgette Heyer on wikipedia while in the midst of reading the book. (Don’t worry, I won’t explicitly spoil it for you, though I notice that the description of the book on the cover and the goodreads description spoils the big surprise as well) I would have preferred to have read the big reveal via the book instead of through wikipedia.

The heroine in this book was quite weepy and overly dramatic. I c...more
Jane Stewart
A delight from the beginning. I was smiling a lot during the book. Wonderful storytelling.

Characters are so entertaining. The way Justin speaks and the things he says are so funny to me. One of his oddities is calling his younger brother Rupert (an adult) and his ward (19) “my infants.” Rupert has some hilarious action and comments. For example, someone is kidnapped, and Rupert follows on foot chasing the horse drawn vehicle. He then continues following the kidnappers doing od...more
CJ - Drop Dead Cute
Oct 29, 2009 CJ - Drop Dead Cute rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lauren willig fans, raybourn fans
I've only read two Georgette Heyer books but this is my favorite so far. It's a tale of the wicked, the innocent, the wayward and the lamb leading the wolf.

I literally just finished reading it and I don't want to go into too much for fear that I will spoil it!

I found Leonie to be a breath of fresh air as a character - and a woman at that! - in that time period. She is neither stupid nor completely innocent but she is young and hot tempered. She says what she thinks, whether she should or no, and...more
I'm a fan of romance novels, especially historical, so I tend to read quite a bit of them. I know that Georgette Heyer is sort of a legend in this subgenre, but I have never read any of her books before now. I chose to read These Old Shades because it's part of a trilogy. I thought, hey, I'll read the three books and then decide what I think of her writing. Sadly I didn't enjoy the first installment. At all.

I found the Duke of Avon to be a rather fashionable reptile with a fan (yes, you read th...more
Margaret Metz
Heyer is one of my favorite authors because she makes a fool of me. My family is constantly measuring me for those special jackets when I read her books. I laugh, talk to the characters, read sections of dialogue to myself in my idea of their accents ... I'm sure it's very entertaining (for them).

The truth is her books are very entertaining to me. The dialogue is Ah-Maze-Zing! I love it. I make my son listen to sections of it and we both laugh until we can't breathe. This book had some of the b...more
Pauline Montagna
This has always been my favourite Georgette Heyer. When I first read it as a dewy-eyed teenager, I thought the enigmatic hero and tom-boy heroine were the epitome of romantic. I picked up this book for the first time after some thirty years with some trepidation, but I was much relieved to see that it has stood the test of time.

The characters of Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Léonie have acted as templates for many future novels by Heyer herself and her followers. High born, yet raised a...more
Brenda Clough
An entirely typical Georgette Heyer novel, so if you adore all her others you should not miss this. (And if you dislike her stuff, move right along, there's nothing to see here; this is not the droid you're looking for.)
The whole book is a tissue of unlikelihoods, behavior that is hinky if analyzed in any depth, and outright authorial intervention in the plot whenever it threatens to collapse like a house of cards. Nevertheless, it is perfect. While you are reading it these problems will not opp...more
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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
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“Remind me one day to teach you how to achieve a sneer, Hugh. Yours is too pronounced, and thus but a grimace. It should be but a faint curl of the lips.” 37 likes
“His Grace was at her side, and lifted her down from the chair.
"My enfant," he said , "duchesses do not dance on chairs, nor do they call their brothers 'imbécile'."
Léonie's twinkled irrepressibly.
"I do," she said firmly.”
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