Caris's Reviews > The Talisman Ring

The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer
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's review
Mar 25, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: romance, 2010
Recommended to Caris by: rbrs
Recommended for: little old ladies
Read from March 09 to 25, 2010

Mon Dieu, in-fuckin'-deed.

The experience of weight lifting off my shoulders that I experienced during the last few pages is difficult for me to express. But I'll try. Imagine Andre the Giant, complete with a scantily clad woman on each arm, on my shoulders. Imagine his big ass cracking my poor, thin bones to a powder that is quickly reabsorbed by my body, leaving me with no shoulders at all and just a big fuckin' guy sitting in the mush on top of my rib cage. And then, for some reason or another, he's gone. Poof.

Sweet relief.

The witch is dead.

Moving on...

My complaints about this book are many, so I think I'd like to start with what I actually enjoyed. As a big fan of witty banter, these characters kept me entertained for several minutes. There were places where I laughed aloud and others where I sat back and genuinely appreciated Heyer's skill. Her dialogue is downright clever. The writing as a whole wasn't too bad either. But there was a point where I found myself cursing the book's construction. The text is too soundly built, like a two bedroom, one bath with an HOA.

I disliked this book for more subtle reasons than I am used to. It didn't do anything bad. But that, I think, was precisely the reason I couldn't enjoy it. I like my books a little bad. I want them to be daring, even if it means they come across a bit slapdash. But Heyer didn't dare. In fact, she didn't even think about daring. She has given me a book to recommend to little old ladies who want a love story without all the cursing and sex.

I was surprised at the near absence of sex, what with this being a romance and all. Oh, wait. Was this a romance? I'm not convinced. It was romantic, to be sure, but I wouldn't call it a romance. I am willing to acknowledge the possibility that I don't understand the mechanics of the genre, but I think this book has been unfairly classified. If you ask me, it's an adventure story, plain and simple. There's fighting and horses and murder and a little bit of flirting.

But no one gets banged. No hair flows in the wind. No men wear loose fitting tops unbuttoned to the navel. And no one gets banged.

So I'm saying, firmly, that this was not a romance.

Now, on with it being a regular book...

It was boring. Sooooo boring. If it hadn't been for the innuendo embedded in the text, I would have likely fallen asleep. Everybody just talks and talks and talks about nothing of any pressing importance. Tolstoy, he's a talky fellow, but you get the feeling that it's going somewhere (even if, sometimes, it is boring). It seemed that all the talking was just there for the sake of its cleverness. This, unfortunately, turned the best thing about the book into something unbearable. Hence the reason for Andre.

That said, I've officially read me a romance (even though I don't consider it to really be one). Am I looking forward to the next one? Nope. Am I going to read it anyway? Yep.

Because that's just the kind of guy I am.

*cue wind and horse*

The kind of man who isn't afraid to read romances.

*cue long blond wig*

Or review them.

*cue comely redhead*

Give me some sugar, baby.
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Reading Progress

03/13/2010 page 106
39.55% "Elizabeth, am I wrong in thinking that Eustacie reads like a parody of Emma Woodhouse?"
03/16/2010 page 122
45.52% "Getting bored." 2 comments
03/17/2010 page 151
56.34% "It appears that someone has bled in my book." 10 comments
03/19/2010 page 204
76.12% "I fear I may swoon." 4 comments
03/23/2010 page 224
83.58% "Ludovic is priming his pistols." 9 comments
03/24/2010 page 238
88.81% "The cat's properly in the cream-pot now."
03/24/2010 page 250
93.28% "Now Ludovic's ejaculated."

Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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Caris No comment...yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Caris Okay...

I find myself amused and not for the reasons I thought I would. I'm finding the dialogue between Tristram and Eustacie to be rather clever, not unbearably silly. It's kind of like The Princess Bride.

I am going to have a bit of trouble with the character names, though. I can see that now. So far, there's Tristram and Basil, which are both names that carry certain characteristics in my mind. So, I'm hopeful at this point.

Caris That makes two of us.

Caris Thanks, Elizabeth. Your encouragement helped immensely. And, odds are, I will be calling upon it again very, very soon.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Give me some sugar, baby.

Fuck YES! Anytime we can get a little Ash into the mix, I am all there.

See, I think this is a total romance novel, but I'm beginning to think there this pervasive myth among men that romance novels are just some kind of agar to grow sex scenes in (and grow it does in Pleasuring the Pirate - avast!) Great review!

Eh?Eh! But no one gets banged. No hair flows in the wind. No men wear loose fitting tops unbuttoned to the navel. And no one gets banged.

Hah! I have the same view of Romance. I hope you pull out the boomstick for PtP.

Eh?Eh! The myth pervades men and Eh!.

Caris What is a romance novel then? There's obviously something more than the inclusion of romance. I assumed it was bangin'. I was apparently wrong. For the love of god, will someone please take me and Eh! to school?

Caris Oh, and uh...

Hail to the king, baby.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

please inform me why D.H. Lawrence isn't considered a romance novelist?

Use of the word "cunt"? j/k

See, I've had a glass of wine or two, so I can't argue effectively about whether happy endings are necessary, but I think they are. R & I got in a huge argument about the wikipedia page about romance novels:

partially because of the inclusion of stuff like Pride & Prejudice and Romeo & Juliet - all other considerations aside, these fictions are too old - the romance novel is a modern idiom. (It's like classing Frankenstein as a scifi novel - accurate on some level, but totally missing the point.)

Anyhoo, I'll work on my arguments and get back to you. After my next glass of wine, of course. :)

Eh?Eh! 4) Oodles of banging?
5) Some elements of either saying no while beckoning to come hither, or incredibly lusty but loyal to one?

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)


Phew. That's the drinking talking. I'm going to start giggling and hugging soon, so before I do, just this: doesn't the romance sequel deal with the kids/friends of the folk from the first one, and the original couple has blissed out in dream land? There's no divorce in romance land, unless it's some kind of remarriage comedy, non?

message 13: by Caris (last edited Mar 25, 2010 09:59PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Caris So, does that make Nick Hornby a romance author? He's "cunt" free and fits reasonings 1-4.

Does there have to be a sequel?

message 14: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Caris wrote: "So, does that make Nick Hornby a romance author? He's "cunt" free and fits reasonings 1-4."

Who was the person who linked to the Nicholas Sparks piece about 'I'm not a ROMANCE novelist, I'm a FICTION author! My books are shelved in FICTION!'? It was hilarious.

message 15: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Caris wrote: "What is a romance novel then? There's obviously something more than the inclusion of romance. I assumed it was bangin'. I was apparently wrong."

How does Hawthorne define romance? I forgot. Doesn't Byatt quote it?

message 16: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Ceridwen wrote: "(It's like classing Frankenstein as a scifi novel - accurate on some level, but totally missing the point.) "

YES. THANK YOU. (ha ha this is like the old was-Jesus-a-Christian debate people used to get into at college)

Miriam I think for something to be a romance the relationship has to be the center of the story AND there has to be a HEA. There does not have to be bangin'. When htis was published explicit sex would have been the exception. In fact, even today quite a few romances do not have sex. I think the emphasis on the sexxoring in romances is a male strategy to dismiss them as "girl porn."

Caris With that in mind, how could The Talisman Ring be a romance? I don't think any relationship was the center of the story.

message 19: by Caris (last edited Mar 26, 2010 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Caris I dunno. I thought they took a backseat to the whole clearing Ludovic's name thing. I mean, relationships provide the underlying groundwork for most stories. There was nothing about the ones presented, other than brief periods at the beginning and end, that suggested they were anything out of the ordinary. If the bulk of the story is talking about stuff, why isn't the book about talking about stuff (as opposed to being a romance)? You know, talking as a genre.

In fact, if pressed, that's what I'd tell someone this book was about.

Caris I agree with you that they're the best part of the book. They are, by far, the most interesting characters. I'm very willing to to intentionally lob the ball out of bounds here. I'm sure you're right. As with any book I have difficulty maintaining interest in, I glazed over many of the details. Sarah and Tristram flirted throughout and I knew they were going to get together, but it didn't seem integral to the plot.

I'm experiencing this inner turmoil that's centered on my definition of romance. This group, and this book in particular, has made me question some generalities I have long accepted, but hasn't given me anything to replace them with. I might have to read a truckload before I'll be satisfied.

message 21: by kristin (new)

kristin Don't fool yourself - your dainty ribs don't stand a chance.

Also, I agree that there should be banging. And comely redheads, if possible. Otherwise it can hardly be considered romance.

Caris Well, then.

Elizabeth asked if you found the index/middle finger thing appealing. I have no idea what that means, but it is in reference to Pleasuring the Pirate.

Eh?Eh! Caris, are you Mr. Kristin???

Kristen, I can't quite remember where that part is located in PtP, but do you remember the restaurant scene at the beginning of the movie Don Juan DeMarco with Johnny Depp? The hand stuff. Yeah.

Eh?Eh! The scene is avail on youtube!

message 25: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Give Heyer cred for when she wrote the tome. :-)

message 26: by kristin (new)

kristin Anything concerning particular fingers escapes my memory, but I'll take another look. What I immediately remember is copious "cupping" and a phrase that is the equivalent of a uterus waving hello. I'd say the details are strange at times.

message 27: by Caris (last edited Mar 26, 2010 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Caris Yeah, I'm Mr. Kristin.

And I have given her all the cred she deserves. Being old timey doesn't mean you have to be boring.

message 28: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Heyer created the genre of Regency Romance Novels. She only died in 1974, which rather surprised me as she was born in 1902.

Dorothy No one gets banged? But, Caris, that is the very DEFINITION of Romance with a capital R! Modern romantic novels may have couples going at it like rabbits, but in the classic Romance genre, sex is simply not allowed - if it happens at all, it is discreetly veiled behind closed doors.

Louise Culmer a romantic novel published in 1936 is obviously not going to contain sex scenes. i can't believe anyone would actually expect it to. This is one of the silliest reviews i have ever read.

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