Bonnie's Reviews > These Old Shades

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: historical-fiction, chick-lit-by-any-other-name
Read in May, 2011

I wanted to like this. I really, really did. My friend Susan loves Heyer. And, really, Heyer sounds like the Thinking Woman’s Regency Romance Writer and who wouldn’t want to love that?

The plot sounded good: the rakish Duke of Avon buys a boy from his abusive brother. The boy intrigues Avon because he has the same distinct coloring as Avon’s sworn enemy. Avon makes the boy his page and uses him to play a deeper game against his enemy. The boy, of course, turns out to be a girl and her innocence, devotion and joie de vivre inspire love in the devilish Duke of Avon.

But…I just couldn’t bring myself to like it. I got bored. I got creeped out by Avon repeating that he bought Léonie and owned her “body and soul” (though he doesn’t say this when she’s in girl mode, thank goodness). I also got creeped out by Léonie’s blind devotion to Avon before he really deserved it. She was spirited, but had the wide-eyed idealism and naïvité of a child (despite the fact that she was eighteen and had led a harsh life) which made her feelings for Avon feel more like a rampant crush than a serious romance.

I still really want to like Heyer, so I’ll give her another try. But she just might be one of those authors that I’ll never truly enjoy even though I want to (see Woolf, Virginia).

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan Bonnie, I told you not to start with this one! I didn't feel romance in These Old Shades until the second time I read it, and even then I thought that perhaps it would have been better for Avon's younger brother to end up with Léonie.

Try a Regency one instead of a Georgian (they're a little more about manners and a little less about shooting, plus Heyer was more mature when she wrote the Regency ones). The Nonesuch is a good example, as is Sylvester, The Grand Sophy, Arabella and Frederica. You need a double romance plot, and These Old Shades only has the central romance.

Bonnie I must have forgotten your good advice. Sad news bears. I think my next one will be The Grand Sophy.That one sounds good.

message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan Yay! I approve.

And it's totally okay if you turn out to not be a Heyer fan. She likes long frothy sentences, and it's a stylistic choice not everyone likes.

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