Trin's Reviews > These Old Shades

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
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Aug 26, 07

bookshelves: historicalfiction, romance, english-lit, genderfuck
Read in August, 2007

Most fandom people I've talked to either love or at least rather like this book, but it seems it's my turn to feel all "bwah?" and left out, as Punk does with The Dreyfus Affair and Siria does with Swordspoint. I hated it. I despised pretty much all the characters, other than Hugh and Rupert—Leonie was irritating, and Avon was just creepy. I know he was supposed to be "Satanas"—the devil of a man who isn't really that bad, but I found him neither enjoyably naughty nor charming; he was just kind of slimy. The idea of him and Leonie being together really skeeved me out, not because of the age difference—I actually like an age difference, when it's done well—but because of the power dynamic, I guess. All the power was Avon's, both practically and emotionally, and throughout the whole book Leonie was worshipful of him and he condescending towards her. Ew. I also didn't see the slash at all; Hugh was one of the few nice characters, as I said, so I guess it could be construed that he put up with Avon because he was in love with him, but Avon didn't seem particularly gay to me—he was just an 18th Century dude who lived in France and was a bit of a vain ass. The overall package was not appealing, and neither was this book, which is too bad, because I really enjoyed the only other Heyer I've read, The Masqueraders.

Before I read These Old Shades, I was planning to read The Grand Sophy soon, but now I'm not so sure; Shades turned me off, and I also heard that Sophy has a really ugly Jewish stereotype in it. Those of you who've read it: what do you think?
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Brownbetty (last edited Aug 27, 2007 11:04AM) (new) - added it

Brownbetty I'm a fan of Heyer, but yes, you might want to avoid The Grand Sophy. If you're willing to try other Heyer, I recommend Sylvester or The Unknown Ajax.


Siria These Old Shades is definitely either love it or hate it. I liked it, but I still have the niggling desire to punch Leonie in the head every time I think about her. Avoid the sequel to it, The Devil's Cub, which features a leading man who combines the worst features of both his parents.

Sophy is probably my favourite Heyer heroine--she's outspoken and forthright, but not in the incredibly irritating way that Leonie is. The scene with the Jewish moneylender is very ugly, though; I can't imagine that you'd be able to get through it. Maybe try Frederica instead?


message 3: by Res (new) - rated it 2 stars

Res I enjoyed The Grand Sophy very much, but that evil Jewish moneylender was, yes, a big problem.

I second the recs for The Unknown Ajax and Frederica. I also liked Sprig Muslin a lot; the very young idiotic girl is played for laughs in that one.


Reeve Do you still have a copy of this book you're wanting to get rid of? I might be interested, if so. Thanks.


message 5: by Trin (new) - rated it 1 star

Trin I'm afraid I've already given mine away. Have you tried BookMooch? That's where I both got and got rid of my copy.


Reeve Never heard of that site. I'll look there - thanks for the info!


message 7: by Jzcotter03 (new)

Jzcotter03 You might try "Arabella", which is another of Heyer's novels. I really enjoyed it and there weren't any offensive stereotypes.


Shirley Thanks for the recommendations. I'm mostly done with These Old Shades and want to smack Leonie over the head also. She/he's so annoying! I really loved Frederica, and I chose Shades next because it had such a high rating. Glad for suggestions on sifting through other Heyer titles.


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