The Grand Sophy stands up well on second reading, still earning a solid 4 stars. I was able to obtain an audio version of the book, which was enjoyablThe Grand Sophy stands up well on second reading, still earning a solid 4 stars. I was able to obtain an audio version of the book, which was enjoyable, although the reader was good but not great.
It's unfortunate that the derogatory depiction of the Jewish moneylender mars what would otherwise be an almost perfect book. I realize the book was written in a different time, but it's unpleasant to be confronted with those prejudicial stereotypes. Thankfully, that's a small part of the book. The rest of the story is Heyer at her comedic best....more
Notes: Has several background characters in common with The Black Moth (Gunning sisters, Walpole, etc.). Duke of Avon very likeOriginally read 11/2008.
Notes: Has several background characters in common with The Black Moth (Gunning sisters, Walpole, etc.). Duke of Avon very like Duke of Andover, including family relationships. Davenport is like Frank Fortesque in Black Moth. There was a mention of an affair in Avon's recent past similar to plot of Black Moth. Anthony and Jenny seem like the couple from The Black Moth (Jack and Di). Jenny is the lady Avon kidnapped.
I listened to this audiobook (I'd read it in print over three years ago) mainly because of a chance comment I made to my daughter. After reading The Black Moth, I told my daughter that, although the villain, Duke of Andover, was an evil person, still, there was something about him that made me wish Heyer had written a "happy ending" for him as well. My daughter Hannah then told me about the similarities between the Duke of Andover and the Duke of Avon in These Old Shades. I was amazed at how remarkably similar the background story were once I was listening to These Old Shades and was delighted to get to see "The Devil" Andover/Avon get his redemption and happy ending.
I'd also forgotten how incredibly funny this book is, and how much I love Leonie. Every character in this book is richly drawn. Definitely one of Heyer's best....more
While musing about the plot of Venetia, I thought about how similar the story is to the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. The similarities are striking enough to wonder if Heyer had the beloved fairy tale in mind when writing. In this case Beauty is in the guise of Venetia, the lovely almost-spinster, who meets the Beast, easily distinguishable as the dissolute rake, Lord Damerel.
When they first meet, Damerel quickly shows his rakish qualities. In one of the best scenes in the book, he tries to seduce Venetia, mistaking her for a village maiden instead of a lady. Venetia uses her clever wit and sharp tongue to engage Damerel in a bout of verbal sparring. In the end, he is intrigued and she is more shaken that she admits. After this, Venetia wisely avoids Damerel. But fate intervenes when her brother Aubrey is injured near Damerel’s estate and is taken to his house to recover. Thrown together, both parties realize they have found something special – a friend. Damerel sets out to woo Venetia until he realizes he truly does love her, and refuses to risk her social ruin by wedding her.
Frustrated with Damerel’s newly recovered ethics and driven to distraction by the sudden appearance of her absent brother’s wife and tyrannical mother-in-law, Venetia quickly accepts an invitation to stay with her aunt and uncle in London. The rest of the book weaves a tale of family secrets uncovered, meddling relatives, and finally, a way around the obstacles.
Venetia, like Beauty before her, is a strong character. She is a female with agency and is ultimately in control of herself and her life. She is perhaps Heyer’s strongest female lead. She is clever, witty, straightforward and open-hearted. In contrast, Damerel, while also clever, has seen too much of the hurt in the world and is one of Heyer’s darkest heroes. He is truly a dissolute libertine, living for his own pleasures and caring nothing of society or its rules. This is who Venetia falls in love with and accepts, as Beauty accepted the Beast even as he remained a Beast. Like the Beast, redemption can only begin for Damerel once he accepts that someone as fine as Venetia can love him.
This wonderful story, including all the rich dialogue and beautiful prose, is made all the better by the narrative skills of Phyllida Nash. Every character sounds convincing and individual. She handles male voices equally well as she handles the female voices. Her tone and inflections perfectly fit the mood of the book. While listening to anything read by Phyllida Nash, the listener forgets there is a narrator and is completely drawn into the world of the novel. I am extremely happy to see this book rereleased in the U.S. with the original narrator, instead of being rerecorded with someone new.
Venetia has well earned the reputation as one of Goergette Heyer’s best Regency Romances. The book is full of the sexual tension, clever repartee, and wonderful storytelling. Highly recommended....more
Originally read October 8, 2008. Listened on audio January 10, 2012.
One of the few books by Georgette Heyer that I preferred in print. I generally likeOriginally read October 8, 2008. Listened on audio January 10, 2012.
One of the few books by Georgette Heyer that I preferred in print. I generally like Flo Gibson, the narrator of Regency Buck, but didn't so much for this book. Listening to the book also highlighted the fact that Heyer spends a great deal of time showing off her research in this book, with detailed accounts of buildings, furnishings, colors, clothing, curricle driving, etc. I've listened to a dozen books by Georgette Heyer, and this is the first time I've felt her to be more interested in the time period and setting than in the story itself. ;-)
I still enjoyed the book immensely, however, and no doubt many people will enjoy the careful descriptions more than I. Her writing is always superior, and even the plentiful details of sumptuous rooms and stylish clothes didn't diminish my listening pleasure by much....more
Every time I think I've found my favorite narrator, I find another one just a good. Eve Matheson does a wonderful job on this audio version of GeorgetEvery time I think I've found my favorite narrator, I find another one just a good. Eve Matheson does a wonderful job on this audio version of Georgette Heyer's Lady of Quality. She does a superlative job with the voices. I love listening to Heyer's books on audio in part because of the way the language flows: the accents and the vocabulary are such a nice change..odd, funny, sometimes challenging and often beautiful. I love to lose myself in the time and place, as well. Maybe Heyer didn't get all the details perfect, or all the speech patterns correct. But this is fiction, and the strange phrases, and archaic sentence structures, as well as the old-fashioned ideas and manners, takes me to another place. The romance in Lady of Quality is typical Heyer in some ways, but it also differs by taking up a little time over the declarations of love than some of her novels. I liked that....more
Georgette Heyer is the author I go to, in book form or audio, when I need something well-written, with beautiful prose and a vocabulary that stimulateGeorgette Heyer is the author I go to, in book form or audio, when I need something well-written, with beautiful prose and a vocabulary that stimulates the brain. I also enjoy her humor. In The Reluctant Widow, we see a slightly different side of Heyer's humor, at times sarcastic and definitely understated. The Reluctant Widow could be better classified a mystery than a romance, but the characters are still delightful, and the ending is satisfyingly sweet.As always, Cornelius Garret does an exemplary job with the narration, especially the voice of the always imperturbable Lord Carlyon....more