Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Foundling” as Want to Read:
The Foundling
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Foundling

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  3,686 Ratings  ·  301 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Foundling, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Foundling

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
4.75 stars, just short of being a top favourite!

Dear friends, readers, and fellow Georgette Heyer lovers,

I am really, really surprised at the low popularity of The Foundling amongst the Heyerites. I don't recall anybody ever featuring this wonderful gem of a book in their top favourite Heyer reads. In fact, I barely recall anyone even recommending it! Perhaps y'all need to go read it again.

"'I am glad you think I have countenance, dear Gilly. I want only to be worthy of you.'
'To be worthy of me!
Dec 01, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
 Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛
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)
Tiffany Reisz
Jan 05, 2016 Tiffany Reisz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was adorable. Just adorable. I was so proud of Gilly. Heyer paints a wonderful sweet and believable portrait of a young man treated like a child all his life and yet still finds he has the heart of a man, and a good man too. My only complaint was that it dragged a bit. Could have been 50 pages shorter and I would have liked more scenes with the lovely Lady Harriet, but all in all, a wonderful read.
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
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
Oct 20, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clean
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
Jun 02, 2009 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 21, 2014 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regency
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 02, 2009 Res rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
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
Apr 22, 2015 Mikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 04, 2015 P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 06, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Similar to her other plots (like The Corinthian) but with more emphasis on the hero. Lots of fun! I already can't wait to re-read it
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
MeiLin Miranda
Apr 10, 2011 MeiLin Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 08, 2015 Teresa Osgood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Wherein the ingenue is a duke.
My first book by Georgette Heyer, who is supposed to be the mother of all historical fiction/historical romance. And this is supposed to be one of her best. I enjoyed it, though it took a full 36% before I started to! That's a long time to slog through a book before you start connecting with it; I'm surprised I stuck with it, actually. Maybe I was confused by the title because the reader doesn't actually meet "the foundling" until well into the book; I don't remember exactly, but I don't think s ...more
Nov 29, 2015 SamuraiKitty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, historical
I wouldn't necessarily call this Heyer novel a romance. There really isn't any. I haven't read "The Foundling" in years, and I mean years! Probably last read it in high school. What this story really is, is a coming of adulthood story about 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. Or just Gilly to his family and friends. Gilly is 24 years old; he's been sickly most of hi ...more
Nov 14, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 24, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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
Jan 10, 2011 Asma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 05, 2014 Julie Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Fortune Hunter (Lord Rival, #2)
  • Miss Lockharte's Letters
  • Danse de la Folie
  • Indiscretion
  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
  • Incognito
  • Imprudent Lady
  • With This Ring
  • Elyza
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • The Five-Minute Marriage
  • Lord Roworth's Reward (Rothschild Trilogy, #2)
  • The Mésalliance
  • Lady Elizabeth's Comet (Clanross, #1)
  • The Best Intentions (Country House Party, #2)
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...

Share This Book

“If I must consort with rogues [...] I own I like them to be in the grand manner.” 3 likes
More quotes…