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The Foundling

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  2,676 ratings  ·  203 reviews

One of readers', librarians' and booksellers' most frequently requested Heyers, The Foundling features Gilly, the seventh Duke of Sale.

A diffident young man of 24 years, easily pushed around by his overprotective uncle and the retinue of devoted family retainers who won't let him lift a finger for himself, the Duke sometimes wishes he could be a commoner. One day he decide

Published 1948 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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
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
Ruth Turner

Very slow to start. Not one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books, but a good read nevertheless.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Wherein the ingenue is a duke.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
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...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think what I enjoyed most about Heyer's The Foundling is that it’s such an oddity. It’s a Regency novel that’s neither a romance nor a mystery. I suppose it’s somewhat a coming-of-age plot, but for the most part it’s simply a story of historical adventure. The irregularities don’t end there. The hero, Gilly, is the last man you would expect to be a young duke. He’s kind-hearted, conscientious, wants to marry for love, and is initially somewhat diffident. And yet - since he is one of Heyer’s cr...more
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...more
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
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...more
I should have been asleep hours ago, but this one took such a delightful series of twists that I was completely drawn into it and lost all track of time. This surprised me, because halfway through I was sure this was going to be an almost direct copy of the Charity Girl plot.

Well, it was. But SO much better, I'll have to amend that review to note this one should be substituted every time. A much wider cast of characters complicate the plot delighfully and the occasional bouts of cant dialogue a...more
This may be the nuttiest Heyer book I've read yet! Unlike Heyer's more "traditional" Regency romances, The Foundling invites the reader along on a whirlwind (and quite ridiculous) journey in which our hero (who previously had not identified as such) runs away from his life of privilege and finds himself. (Caveat: Gilly's issues definitely qualify as luxury problems, but are rendered by Heyer as humorous diversions for willing readers.)

I will read it again.
Gilly, the meek Duke of Sale, decides to temporarily ditch his nagging household in exchange for a few days of peace as an anonymous Everyman. Instead, he spends his holiday foiling blackmailers, escaping kidnappers, and rescuing two feckless children.

Gilly makes an amazingly sweet protagonist. His adventures are rollicking, and his broadly drawn household provides the signature Heyer humor. The one false note is probably Belinda, the eponymous foundling, who is less a character and more a punch...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.
Jun 12, 2010 Ruth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: regency lovers
Like all her books, this one is a gem. It's not a romance, just a teeny-tiny bit towards the end. But at times, it's laugh-out loud funny. Sort of made me think of an Oscar Wilde play with its witticisms.
"The Foundling" is a Regency romance, though it was really more of a coming-of-age adventure. While the beginning had some funny moments, the story didn't really get interesting (and funny) until Gilly "escaped" his protective servants and relatives and started his adventure.

The story had an interesting mix of characters. While some of the characters initially seem similar to those in her other novels, their reactions to events and their adventures were very different. I was never sure of exactl...more
☆ Ruth ☆
A slightly more convoluted plot than her usual romances. I found the central characters likeable and her simple but witty style of writing is always a pleasure to read.
A good story with action, villains one actually worries about, and surprisingly little actual romance, which I found a nice change. I quite enjoyed this one.
Brenda Margriet
I've decided I like GH's books with the alpha-males the best. In this one, the hero is a young man who became a Duke even before he was born, as his father died. Then his mother giving birth to him. He is a sickly child, and so has reached the age of 24 being cossetted and coddled. Amazingly enough, he is not spoiled, and in fact he is so nice that all his servants love him. It is driving him crazy, so he finally decides to take a stand.

The biggest issue I had was that the instigating factor in...more
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
Jane (PS)
I have to say I was disappointed in this book. My expectations of Heyer are pretty high. In my mind her books are 5 stars but this just didn't meet her normal standard. It was more 3.5 stars - I enjoyed it, but can't say I really liked or loved it.

The beginning dragged out too much. There was an over emphasis on the smothering of Gilly (and Harriet) - irritatingly so. I felt Heyer was banging the reader over the head trying to emphasise the problem.

Descriptions of scenes, characters or the char...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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