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My Lord John

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  983 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Deposed by Henry Bolingbroke, Richard II has died mysteriously. Bolingbroke has become Henry IV and must now consolidate his hold on the throne and country, threatened by a host of enemies -- the French, Welsh rebels, Scottish raiders, and most dangerously by his own vassals. His third son, John, Duke of Bedford, grew to manhood fighting for his father on the Northern Marc ...more
Published January 1st 2001 by Isis (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30)
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I really wanted to like this one; I mean, I'm now pretty interested in this period of history, and it's Georgette Heyer. It's really nothing like her Regency romances, but that I expected: it's a piece of work she approached very seriously, and intended to be her most important work. It's a pity that it's so densely written, so overstuffed with all she knew, that it's very, very slow going. In a sense, I ended up approaching it the same way I do Norse sagas: just read it and soak it up, without ...more
Sep 16, 2010 Darla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the saddest book. Sad because she wanted to finish this so much and had worked on it for years. Sad because her histories were so much more important to her than her Regencies. Sad because she never gave an interview and never understood how much joy her books brought (and bring) to so many people. Sad because it is unfinished and un-edited and missing so much of HER. I have read it but would not recommend it. It will just make you sad...
Nov 04, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-crossing
My Lord John was Heyer's last novel, and is actually unfinished, with the manuscript ending right in the middle of a sentence. She had planned on writing the life story of Lord John, Duke of Bedford, son of King Henry IV and younger brother to King Henry V, but this book ends right before the death of his father. It covers his life from childhood through to 1413, when he was in his early twenties. Heyer did an enormous amount of research to write this book, and this becomes very obvious througho ...more
2.5 stars

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about this era so I spent more time on google than reading and thank goodness for character list! But it’s so annoying and confusing when you can’t call someone the same name the whole time. I mean there’s half dozen Henry/Harry, John, Richard, Hugh, Thomas… No need confusing the reader by calling the person sometimes by their given name and other time by their title.

It was also quite slow to read. Heyer has tried writing how people spoke at the f
Nov 28, 2010 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval-fict
I somewhat enjoyed this book about John, Duke of Bedford and younger brother of the man who would become Henry V, especially in the beginning, but found the story dragging toward the end. I particularly enjoyed the interactions of the young John with his grandfather, John of Gaunt. This added another dimension to the man who was the hero of the classic Katherine by Anya Seton.

This book was Heyer's last and she died before completing it. In fact, the manuscript leaves off mid-sentence and the es
Really 3.5 stars.

I knew going into this book that it was an unfinished manuscript but was disappointed to find it was barely half finished. It's obvious that Heyer intended to chronicle his entire life and this goes only from babyhood to his early twenties (which is about half his life as he died at 46) and certainly doesn't include the most interesting bits. John, Duke of Bedford really came into his own under Henry V and later Henry VI but this book finishes even before Henry IV has died. The
Forsooth! Did the lordlings swiggle their jive cruck forward with algers? Was it slithy and did the wabe gyre and gymbal? Yes, this is the book where Georgette Heyer basically channels the 12th century edition of Urban Dictionary and you the reader get to puzzle it out! Also, there is genealogy. Oh my GAWD is there ever genealogy and it's confusing as hell. Which is all a way of saying that this is a really far cry from Heyer's best book but, let's face it, her worst book is still so much better ...more
Sherwood Smith
Jul 13, 2009 Sherwood Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-novel
This was supposed to be her grand master work, but it's clear why it never was finished. The characters are as stiff as her other medievals. Miles and miles of research show--but there is utterly no life, and further, no insight. I don't think Heyer ever understood the medieval paradigm; she loathed religion, and like it or not, Europe was Catholic in medieval times.

One may as well read a good modern biography of the Roses families, or a non-fiction text. They're bound to have more life.
Apr 27, 2009 Marie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The Blurb "Set in the last days of the reign of Richard II, just before Henry V succeeded him to the throne, the eponymous hero is Henry's brother, John, Duke of Bedford. Heyer brings the medieval world to life, creating a panoramic view of a royal family's intricacies, intrigues and sibling rivalries, along with the everyday lives of the servants, clerics, and vassals in their charge."

That blurb is significant to remember as you read this. It is quite true regarding the details that Heyer retel
May 16, 2017 Deb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow...I got through this book with serious skimming. There were just too many names and relationships to follow. I had my DETAILED English monarchy family tree with me and started following the story with the cousins, uncles, etc etc. But, it was just too much. However, I will remember this title and "do the project" in the winter when I have more time and boredom to follow and trace it all out.

Believe me, the detail about the characters is intense: John of Gaunt (Heyer used all of his differen
May 15, 2017 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Left unfinished at her death, Georgette Heyer's husband and son chose to published it as it is: a meticulously researched historical account of the rise of the House of Lancaster, the Plantagenets. It focuses on John, whose brother eventually became Henry V. John outlived him, and was, apparently, a much better politican. Beginning in their childhood, Heyer brings the brothers to life as they grow up in wealth and privilege, see their father crowned King of England, and take on heavy responsibil ...more
Georgette Heyer sadly died before this novel was completed and what remains is less than half finished. The Lord John of the title was John, later Duke of Bedford, the son of Henry of Bolingbroke, who usurped the throne of his cousin Richard II, and the brother of Henry V, he of Agincourt fame.

Georgette Heyer's novel takes us from John’s childhood through to 1413. This means that effectively the major events of John’s life are not documented. We do not see the death of King Henry IV (1413), or
Melinda Ross
Jun 10, 2011 Melinda Ross rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelved
Ok, so this book was really not what I expected when I put it on hold at the library. Instead of a regency romance it was a historical novel set in England between 1390 and 1413. The problem was that it had way too many details and no real plot to move it. The author put in a list of characters at the beginning--it was 3 1/2 pages long. I had that marked because she actually used all those characters--and they are real people. Then the there was the family tree in the back--also marked. Those tw ...more
Phil Syphe
Before reading this novel I expected to rate it 4 or even 5 stars, as I am aware of the author's talent, and I'm interested in the period (late 1300s/early 1400s), yet it's proved a real disappointment.

One of Ms Heyer's greatest strengths is her dialogue, but this book is dominated by a dull third person narrative, and most of the dialogue lacks the author's usual wit and is weighed down further by an overuse of archaic vocabulary.

I accept that it's good to be authentic, but here the reader - e
Suzanne Vrieze
Jul 09, 2013 Suzanne Vrieze rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I disliked this book because it wants to do too much. It gives way too much background information and introduces too many characters. As a result you're constantly looking at the information given about the families in the beginning or at the family tree at the back only to discover that the person who is introduced in the story is not in included in those pages. Not only does the book introduce too many characters the author has made some mistakes about how the characters are linked. In the pr ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love history, especially English history. This is a story of young princes who come of age. Their father is King Henry IV. The story opens in the reign of Richard II, not a very good king, who is deposed by his cousin who becomes Henry IV. The story follows the princes upbringing and how they are sent, at early ages, to different parts of the kingdom to keep the country together. They are fighting on the boarders of Wales, Scotland and in Ireland, all the while meeting with treachery from with ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Lia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a VERY long time to finish this book, relative to it's length. This was mostly due to the rather dense style and obscure language. The book is written entirely in medieval language, which while comprehensible is a bit like reading Shakespeare; it takes some getting used to. It's also difficult to remember who is who in relation to everyone else as they all have several titles (which change occasionally) and practically everyone is named John, Richard, Henry, or Joan (which is hardly H ...more
This book was disappointing for me. The life of John (to me) is very interesting and I find him to be a fascinating character, however this book did not do him justice. It rambled a lot off story explaining unnecessary historical facts and read more like a biography than fiction. Her thick use of Medieval English, particularly at the beginning, was challenging to get through and did not help the flow of the storyline. Though I would say that part was educational if you are looking to brush up on ...more
Tessa Mckay
I am afraid that though the author seems to have done extensive research and obviously loved her subject, this reads more like a lesson in history and genealogy than historical fiction. Perhaps this is due to the fact that she did not get to finish or revise it as she would have liked before her? Most of the pages are given over to historical detail of personages and events of the time, and even when one does find a smattering of dialogue, it is usually a only a character's recitation of some bi ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is redolent of her earlier works. I love Georgette Heyers novels but this one will not go in my to be re-read pile. I can appreciate the amount of research and effort that went into writing this novel but it is a very slow read with a lot of characters that you need to keep a track of as you work your way through it. I guess the telling word in the last sentence is the word work. There is not just the plethora of characters to attend to but also the language to get your head around. I ...more
Kalinya Parker-Pryce
I reviewed this, the last of Georgette Heyer's works (and the book she was most passionate about writing) to wrap up the Beau Monde's Regency Turns 80 celebrations - a year of celebrating Georgette Heyer's stories which led to the establishment of the Regency romance sub-genre we enjoy today.

My Lord John, while not a Regency, and certainly not a romance, is a good read for anyone wanting to delve into the times of John of Gaunt and one of his young kin, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, th
Feb 28, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admire Georgette Heyer very much, and her research staggers the mind, but reading her historical novels is just plain work. The language is very authentic, which mean it is full of long-extinct vocabulary, so rather than constantly referring to the glossary in the back of the book I found myself being content to 'guess' at some of the situations. Trying to keep track of scores of royal that at various times go by different names and title is also very exhausting. I think I much prefer her rege ...more
Nov 25, 2012 Jaime rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This "biographical fiction" about John, Duke of Bedford (son of Henry IV), was actually an unfinished manuscript, and was intended to be the first installment of a trilogy. Unfortunately, Heyer died before the work could be completed. What remains is most of a meticulously researched, densely detailed account of the Lancastrian branch of the Plantagenet dynasty during the turn of the 15th century. The book may not appeal greatly to readers who don't already have a fair grasp of the people and pe ...more
Feb 26, 2011 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
John, Duke of Bedford, is certainly a character worth reading about - faithful to his brother Henry V, foe of Joan of Arc, husband to Jacquetta (mother of Elizabeth Wydville later to become wife to Edward IV). However, this book is neither interesting nor captivating. Georgette did not manage to elevate John above a one-dimensional character, and unfortunately, she died while writing the book, so it finishes abruptly. I will read more about the Duke of Bedford but would not recommend this story.
Aug 21, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how good this book was. It was projected to be a trilogy, but the author died before she could complete it. The story takes place around the time of Richard II and Henry IV and is centered around the early years of John Duke of Bedford, Henry IV's 3rd son and Henry V's brother. It was surprisingly well researched and, not at all surprising for Georgette Heyer, gives a real sense of what life must have been like for these boys as they grew to young men. Every character is fully ...more
Dec 07, 2008 Beverly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've read almost all of Georgette Heyer's books and love most of them but this was a really tough read. It's set a great deal earlier than the regency books and that may be part of the problem. The vocabulary is difficult and there are more minor characters than Heyer usually uses which made it impossible for me to keep track of them. The main plot line concerning John is interesting. If you read this book, keep a notebook of who's who to make it easier.
Nov 06, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heyer considered this her "serious" novel. I don't think it's as well written as The Conqueror, which is also serious by comparison with some of her hilarious Regency romps. There are too many characters to keep up with for one thing, and the plot takes a while to become engaging. As the story develops however I do care what happens to the main character, John, and I wish Heyer had found time to finish this book/series before she died.
May 06, 2015 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggle through this mostly because I couldn't keep track of the Johns, Richards, Thomases, Henrys, Humphreys, etc. Seriously, they seemed to all name their children the same names! But I loved the language of the book as well as the goodness of John who became the Duke of Bedford, who was the central character. A warning to any who choose to pick this up, Ms. Heyer was planning a three book series, but died before she even finished this first book and it ends mid-sentence.
I really wanted to like this book, as it is Heyer's final book, and was apparently her beloved project of serious historical fiction. Unfortunately, I found the language to absolutely impenetrable. Normally, I find her ear for local accents to be unerring and charming, but I could make head nor tail of what her characters were saying. I couldn't even tell you who "Lord John" is. Perhaps I'll try it again later when I'm not in a Mommy fog.
Sep 23, 2009 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has four parts, and Georgette Heyer passed away before finishing the last section. There is a historical note at the end to tell you what happened to the characters. I enjoyed the Heyer witticisms, but got bogged down a little in the long historical summaries between them. Not my favorite Heyer book, but it was okay.
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Around the World ...: Discussion for My Lord John 1 13 Jan 15, 2016 07:57PM  
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
  • The Lute Player
  • The Marriage of Meggotta
  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
  • The Star of Lancaster (Plantagenet Saga, #11)
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Hugh and Bess: A Love Story
  • Crown in Candlelight
  • Practice to Deceive (The Golden Chronicles, #1)
  • Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens
  • Illuminations of the Heart (Poitevin Hearts, #2)
  • Gildenford (Norman Quartet, #1)
  • Siren Song (Siren Song, #1)
  • The Dark Rose (The Morland Dynasty, #2)
  • The Conquest
  • Queen of Shadows: A Novel of Isabella, Wife of King Edward II
  • Within the Fetterlock
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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