Tasmia's Reviews > Sylvester

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
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This has always been one of my favourite Heyers, probably because of its play with writing and writers - its metafictional gestures. It's also exquisitely funny, at least once you're primed to understand the vocabulary by reading less satirical Heyers. I think there's something kind of magical in this novel because though I can never pin down the whys and whens of how Phoebe and Sylvester fall for each other, I can sense the progression of them falling in love, battling with it, and achieving it, and it's deliciously intense. Possibly this has mostly to do with that amazing ballroom scene - but more likely it's the intended effect of Heyer's always understated but supremely expressive style. She creates the love story in your head more than on the page, and for me at least, that happens more thoroughly and viscerally in this novel than most of her others.

If you can get your hands on the audio version narrated by Richard Armitage, do! It's abridged and cuts out some of my absolute favourite conversations and plot details, as well as being a bit choppy in its streamlining of the story, but Armitage voicing Sylvester helps bring the story to life in a special way. It's also fun to hear his voices for the ladies, for the contrast if nothing else :) 13 March/12

Here are some visual aids for the leads of this novel!

Sylvester - Richard Armitage (of course) (just imagine the eyebrows more dramatically): "...though not above medium height he was well-proportioned, with good shoulders, a pair of shapely legs, and a countenance sufficiently pleasing to make the epithet handsome, frequently bestowed on it, not altogether ridiculous. In a lesser man the oddity of eyes set with the suspicion of a slant under flying black brows might have been accounted a blemish; in the Duke of Salford they were naturally held to lend distinction"

richard armitage photo: Richard Armitage ra2promolg.jpg

Or in period (though not Regency) costume as Mr. John Thornton in North & South:

john thornton photo: peppin's RA58-1.jpg

Phoebe - Keira Knightley (imagine grey eyes and less glam and darker brown hair to go with the nickname "sparrow") - "Phoebe...needed to overcome the disadvantages of a thin, wiry figure, a brown complexion, and no more beauty than could be found in a pair of clear grey eyes, which could certainly twinkle with mischief, but which more frequently held a look of scared apprehension"

keira knightley photo: Keira Knightley keira2931280x800.jpg

Or in period costume as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice - and with a book, which would've been Phoebe's favourite thing until she met Sylvester ;)

elizabeth bennet photo: Pride and Prejudice - Eliza pride20and20prejudice20220.jpg

These aren't casting suggestions, just visual aids. But if only they'd film that scene at the Castlereagh's ball...! ;)

Sept/13
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