Estara's Reviews > The Toll-Gate

The Toll-Gate by Georgette Heyer
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Dec 16, 11

bookshelves: re-read, read-in-2011, ebook
Recommended for: fans of books like The Scarlet Pimpernell or The Prisoner of Zenda in tone, not in plot
Read from December 11 to 14, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 10?

If you don't read this looking for a romance, but for derring-do and adventure and loads of Napoleonic era thieves cant, you'll be quite happy with your purchase ^^.

Not to say that what there is of the romance isn't as lovely as Heyer's best, but it is cut much shorter and deeply subsumed under the main plot (as a matter of fact I think the nearest relative of this book may be The Reluctant Widow, with its focus on the spy plot).

Because you have a deep dark crime story being uncovered by an extremely daring former army captain (if you've read The Spanish Bride: This is what I imagine Heyer's version of Harry Smith would be like if he had not married Juana, but sold out after the war and gone back to England at loose ends) called John Staple.

He's another of Heyer's Big Men but while The Unknown Ajax is also a former army officer, he's a much calmer and deliberate person. Both men share a very irreverent sense of humour. The interactions with Ben, Chirk or the bow street runner are grin-worthy. When talking to Rose or Joseph or the butler and valet at Kellands you can see the care he takes to address their worries about their lady without becoming chummy. The scene where he lays Nell's grandfather's worries to rest is truly moving; not to mention that Heyer is able to make this formerly active man felled by a stroke really come alive in the two or three scenes where he is actually shown.

(view spoiler)Aside: I think Judith Tarr would agree that the horse writing in this book is very realistic.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Sho (new) - added it

Sho I think I haven't read this yet! I have to check it out.


Estara Reading it in English really made me aware of the incredible usage of cant. It's like reading another language and interpreting the emotions off the description around it.

And yesterday saw another Heyer review, but at DA: http://dearauthor.com/ebooks/review-f...


Katharine Kimbriel I really enjoyed Toll Gate, and enjoyed your enjoyment of it! The dear author site was interesting -- you're right, Emily should write that up, it was a good review. I liked Kit much better than his twin, and his mom was wonderful, as was Sir Bonamy. I always wondered if she carefully cut back his portions to work a little weight off him, but he was so dazzled by her he didn't care.


Estara Katharine wrote: "I really enjoyed Toll Gate, and enjoyed your enjoyment of it! [...] I always wondered if she carefully cut back his portions to work a little weight off him, but he was so dazzled by her he didn't care."

Thank you ^^.

Yes, Kit was my favourite twin, too. And I BET you're right about Sir Bonamy and Lady Denville, especially since she was widowed before and she genuinely likes him.


Jessica I read this based on your review and really enjoyed it, so thanks! Also, completely agree on how you described the hero and the believability of the courtship.


Estara Phew - considering how non-objective my reviews often are, I'm glad it worked for you ^^. Then again Georgette Heyer is a classic for a reason ^^.


Jessica Ha. Well, I guess maybe we have the same subjective responses... or Heyer is just that good! ^^


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