Stephanie (Once Upon a Chapter)'s Reviews > Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
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Jul 19, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011, the-shelf-of-awesome
Read from July 15 to 19, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Originally posted at Once Upon a Chapter

Really a 4.5.

Sylvester has had a charmed life. He is a duke and has held his position well from a young age. He pays his staff well and none of his tenants have complaints. He has seen to everyone’s welfare. Sylvester doesn’t let anyone past his walls though. He is polite and fulfills his role as duke as he should. Nothing more, nothing less. He even approaches marriage as nothing more than choosing the right girl to fulfill the position of duchess. He has chosen five eligible girls who would fill the role but finds them all with one fault or another. He seeks his mother’s advice as he wants to make sure his future bride and mother will become friends. Sylvester’s mother is distressed to learn about her son’s arrogance but tells him instead that he was once engaged to a her dear friend’s daughter. Sylvester had been 8 and Phoebe just 3 days old.

Phoebe Marlow is a young woman who has lived under her step-mother’s thumb from a very young age. Lady Marlow is very strict and demands her house follow the rules that she finds proper. Anyone not in compliance finds themselves at the end of Lady Marlow’s very sharp tongue. Phoebe escapes by talking with the governess and writing fiction. When she learns the Duke of Salford means to come to Austerby to offer for her she flies into a panic. Phoebe’s first book has been accepted and is to be published in the very near future. Not only does Phoebe not have any emotional ties to Sylvester but he is the basis of her novel’s villain! Phoebe has no clue that with a few exceptions her novel is dangerously close to the truth.

Sylvester and Phoebe’s relationship is a whirlwind! Their adventure includes no less than being stranded at an end, a big misunderstanding, kidnapping and across seas adventures! It isn’t as overwhelming as it seems though. Heyer does a wonderful job with Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle. I watched Sylvester go from this man who didn’t see anything wrong with himself and how he conducted himself to this man who realizes that he isn’t complete without love.

The secondary characters do not overwhelm the story but rather add to it. Ianthe, Sylvester’s widowed sister-in-law, was drawn particularly well. I’ve never wanted to punch a character more when she was on the scene. Tom is Phoebe’s only friend and he stands by her with steadfastness. If it hadn’t been for their more sibling like relationship, Tom would have suited Phoebe wonderfully. He was such a sweetie. I think that my favorite secondary character was Edmund, Sylvester’s nephew. He won me over the instant he told a particularly awful character that “his uncle Vester would grind his bones for bread!”

This really would have been a five star book if not for two things. Phoebe drove me nuts at times. The girl was unbelievably stubborn and I wanted to shake her on more than one occasion. She did drag the story down for me a bit. The second was the ending. I don’t like the endings in books to be rushed or to abruptly end. This book did both. One minute it looked like impending disaster and after a very brief conversation bam we hit the ending. There wasn’t much description after the happy couple finally became the happy couple. I’m nosey. I’ll admit it freely, especially when it comes to characters that I care about. It would have been nice to have more details or a nice epilogue. It left me wanting more.

Sylvester is a great historical romance and it really shouldn’t be missed! This was my first Georgette Heyer novel and I look forward to reading her back list!
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Reading Progress

07/17/2011 page 222
56.0% "I'm really enjoying this book! I can't wait to see what happens when Sylvester finds out about the book. :)"

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