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The Toll-Gate

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,511 Ratings  ·  321 Reviews
His exploits were legendary…

Captain John Staple, back from the battlefront, is already bored with his quiet civilian life in the country. When he stumbles upon a mystery involving a disappearing toll-gate keeper, nothing could keep the adventure-loving captain from investigating.

But winning her will be his greatest yet…
Paperback, 313 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published 1954)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Non-Georgette Heyer fans may not be aware that she wrote several mysteries (both historical and contemporary) as well as her more widely known and beloved Georgian and Regency romances. I certainly wasn't, before I read this book. I don't think I'll ever love any of her mysteries the way I do some of her romantic comedies, but this was still an enjoyable read.

Captain John (Jack) Staples has returned from the Napoleonic Wars and is trying to readjust to civilian life, which is boring him to tears
Christmas☆ Carol!☆
What a way to start the year! A five * reread from my favourite author!

This is one of GH's books that I like more as an older reader.

"Crazy Jack " Staple is bored with civilian life - and even more bored with the deadly dull family party he has been invited to! Making the flimsiest of excuses, he leaves the party days early - and becomes hopelessly lost. Happening on a toll-gate in a lonely part of Derbyshire, he finds it "manned" only by a scared 11 year old. This is enough for Jack,who is alwa
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes an Adventure
Recommended to Tweety by: QNPoohBear
Loved it plain and simple!

Captain John (Jack) Staple has had enough of his dull cousin and insipid fiancée, so he skips out of the engagement party and trots off to his friend Mr. Babblecombe's hunt. Only, he doesn't quite make it that far. In the pouring rain and crackling thunder he comes upon a Toll-Gate, an unattained Toll-Gate. That is, it's attended, but by a little urchin named Ben, whose father is missing and who is deathly afraid of someone.

Ever the adventurer, Captain Staple rises to t
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
Georgette Heyer Group January 2016 BOTM

This is not my first read of this book, but instead, it's an old friend and favorite.

Georgette Heyer departs from what romance readers can expect by crafting a HR where the story told is completely from the hero's POV rather than that of the heroine for a refreshing change.

A very thrilling and interesting mystery takes up the better part of the story and here also, GH includes a wide array of colorful supporting characters from the "lower orders" that I qu
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

This was wonderful.

I think I've just found another Heyer favourite. There is absolutely nothing to dislike here. I really liked it. I mean, there are villains you are supposed to dislike and want them dead and stuff, but that's part of the story. I can't possibly do it and its character justice, but the main reason I loved it this much is Captain John Staple.
This is one of those stories where Heyer didn't take her sweet time to introduce everyone.

There is something for everyone. There's a p
Unable to endure his stuffy cousin's engagement party more than one night and tired of his mother and sister's matchmaking schemes, Captain John Staple sets out for his friend's hunting box. Much to his dismay, he gets a late start, his horse loses a shoe on the moors and he takes a wrong turn and ends up in the middle of nowhere, Derbyshire in a rain storm. Finding a toll-gate, John demands entry to the pike, hoping to spend the night in the nearest town. The gate is opened by a ten-year-old bo ...more
Umpteenth re-read. I love this book. Nell is one of Heyers older, sensible heroines, and John is steady as a rock but very nosy and delighted to stumble across mysterious and sinister goings on. Heyer is in top-form here, there are a host of memorable secondary characters, and the language is simply wonderful.

John to his mother:
"I don't mean to offer marriage to any girl who don't give me a leveller. So I daresay I shall remain a bachelor, for they don't--any of 'em! And if one did," he added t
Seema Khan
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Toll Gate was an interesting read and my rating is hovering somewhere between 3.75* to 4* for this Georgette Heyer work, the reasons for which I shall elaborate further in my review below.

The best feature of this book for me is it's outstanding characterisation, which is typical Heyer, with an incredulous hero, equally matched heroine, a strong and inexorable grandfather, an amazingly natural urchin and a good natured highwayman ever ready to take offense. And that is what pushed my rating f
Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ}
This is one of the few Heyers I didn't actually read back during my Heyer phase in 09-11. I think I wasn't as interested because it sported a mature pair - Captain John Staple (29) and Miss Helen (Nell) Stornaway (26). Still picking it up now when I just felt like reading more Heyer, it's actually just as good as the others! Of course it is, it's Georgette Heyer!

John is a champ, he's an oddball and can always be found doing random things, such as becoming the gatekeeper of a toll gate when he ar
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery
I don’t normally get along with cases of instantaneous love, but some authors can make me go along with it. Heyer is one of them, and this mystery/romance works well. Both the male and female lead are capable and likeable, and they treat each other with respect (unlike in, say, Faro’s Daughter). All in all, it’s an appealing combination, and Heyer shows off her research in her use of thieves’ cant and dialect. If your favourite Heyer novels tend to be the ones with mysterious highwaymen, caprici ...more
Abigail Bok
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Within the seemingly narrow category of Regency romances written by Georgette Heyer there is a surprising amount of variety. It’s not just the unique characters of the hero and heroine, and the ways different courtships play out; in some cases, the “romance” per se is a relatively minor part of the plot and the novel might almost be in another genre altogether. The Toll-Gate is in the latter group, being more of an adventure novel with a romantic side-plot. This isn’t a criticism in my book; I l ...more
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Fun, light mystery featuring a restless former soldier who stumbles while lost onto an odd situation concerning a missing toll-taker.
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of books like The Scarlet Pimpernell or The Prisoner of Zenda in tone, not in plot
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 ext
While I like the audio, I think I prefer the ebook, for this book, but it's important to read slowly enough to catch all the nuances
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara by: Andrea
My first Heyer, who is someone I keep seeing good things written about. My first reaction was that she reminded me of Phyllis Whitney's very light romances that I read when I was 13-14 and loved. The thing is, I am not thirteen any longer and I like my romance with a bit more bite. Heyer has a delightful sense of humor, so you can read her characters with a soft chuckle and little seriousness, which is her salvation, in this novel at least.

What I did love was the setting she chose, the historica
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Georgette Heyer's secondary characters are better written than most people's primary characters. I think that is what makes her such an amazing author. She is able to make even a character with only a little bit of time on the page seem like a real person. Even though the story was about Nell and Jack I was just interested in what happened to everyone else at the end also.

A wonderful mystery with just the right amount of romance thrown in.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Much as I love Georgette Heyer, the mystery is predictable and boring so please don't expect too much from that. The romance tho is as swoon-worthy as ever!

I don't think Georgette Heyer is capable of writing bad romance.

I don't know if it's just me or it's really getting easier to understand regency slang. 😂
Olga Godim
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georgette-heyer
This novel is not exactly a romance. It’s a mix of a love story and a mystery. The protagonist John Staple is a former army captain, big and amiable but extremely astute. During the Napoleonic wars, he was a dauntless officer, earning himself the nickname of Crazy Jack for his risky but invariably victorious escapades. Now retired from the army, he is chafing under the boredom of peaceful life. His mother wants him to get married and settle down (what else?). Their dialog is a perfect slice of J ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 67 2012 Reading Challenge--I listened to this book on tape, and as a result had the full impact of Heyer's absolutely magnificent dialog and vernacular. I can't recall any book with such incredible dialog-- so funny and masterfully witty. What makes the book excellent is the different classes of characters interacting, hence various class vernacular, and the main male protagonist plays various roles in the story from different classes. So, his dialog is a hoot as he changes from one class t ...more
Another of the more adventure than romance stories, this involves the massive Captain John Staple finding a toll-gate where the man responsible has vanished and left behind only his young and frightenened lad. This mystery intrigues him, but he decides to stay in the area after falling in love-at-first-sight with a young woman known in the area as "The Squire" because she has been managing her ailing grandfather's estates.

As a romance this is fairly bland. The basis of the romance is simply matc
Ana Rînceanu
My 24th Georgette Heyer

Jack Staple returns from the war and finds civilian life boring so he decides to have an adventure after discovering a toll-gate where a frightened 11-year-old lad is acting as toll collector in the absence of his father. He soon meets the spirited Nell Stornaway and they fall in love at first sight. Cue dead body, stolen treasure and masked villains.

The romance is nice given how the couple have a lot in common and are immediately comfortable and happy with each other. Bot
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly atypical for a romance, the emphasis here is more on Jack, his adorably adventuresome temperament, and the mystery in which he finds himself embroiled, and very much less on the development of the romance between the two leads. I do adore Jack and Nell as a couple, and quite honestly I'd love to read more books about them. The love-at-first-sight aspect might not sit well with some readers, though I think it works for these two: Jack isn't the type to take it slow or question his first im ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
Yeah, that's right. I read a Regency Romance novel. It's part of the 2012 Reading Challenge that Kelsey started - I am trying to read across a variety of genres I don't normally reading, including Romance.

This is the story of a soldier in 1817. He's broad, tall, very strong and very bored by everything since the war ended. He heads out adventuring across the countryside and finds a toll-gate where a boy is tending the gate alone due to the mysterious absence of his father. Jack settles in to he
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
John Staple, giant, is curious about a toll-gate he encounters while fleeing his cousin's dull engagement party. When he meets Nell Stornaway, giantess, he falls in love. There's murder, mayhem, clandestine weddings and more!

I LIKED THIS?? I wanted more of John and Nell flirting like buffoons, though? I always want more flirting like buffoons. ALSO THIS GOT WEIRDLY DARK AT THE END, which was in some ways necessary but also very unexpected (mostly, I'm sure, because I'm more familiar with Heyer's
Lynne Tull
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, regency
How entertaining. I was really amazed Ms. Heyer's ability to write 345 pages of English country 'cant'. Some of the words I really could not decipher, but most of the time I figured them out. There was a little filler, but I stuck with it. I had to concentrate on the dialog; otherwise, I would have missed an important clue. I liked all of the characters and as always loved the ending. All lose ends were neatly tied up. Always recommend Georgette Heyer books.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georgette-heyer
Another lovely Georgette Heyer novel...with a bit of a twist! A male main character! A mystery combined with likable characters and that twist of romance, this book brimmed with everything that makes Heyer so delightful. My main complaints are that every other word is slightly unreadable due to "cant phrases" and that all the characters introduced at the beginning play no role at the end. What happened to mother, uncle, and cousin? That would have been good to know.
Otherwise, very good.
More action and adventure than romance in this book, but still a very enjoyable read. It does stretch the believability aspect a tad... but all her novels are written purely for entertainment, and don't attempt to be anything else.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Regency romance by Georgette Heyer employs a great deal of “flash-patter” slang, which apparently actually originated in Derbyshire, a county in the East Midlands of England and the setting for this novel. [There is an interesting history of how flash patter arose in An Analytic Dictionary of the English Etymology: An Introduction by Anatoly Liberman.] Heyer provides no glossary for this slang, but it’s easy enough to get the gist of the dialogue. I also remembered some from the books by Ly ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I love Georgette Heyer's historical romance novels for their combination of colourful characters, frolicking adventures, exuberant humour, and mercurial mystery. I have many Heyer favourites including Devil's Cub, Frederica, Sylvester, These Old Shades, The Reluctant Widow and now The Toll-Gate. I think The Toll-Gate sets itself apart with more than the usual hint of romance.


It takes a lot to unnerve Captain John Staple, a man with a reputation for audacious exploits and whimsical non
Jane Stewart
3 stars. Entertaining mystery with a hero who saves the day. I prefer stories with more romantic relationship development.

Captain John Staple has just left the military after Napoleon’s defeat. He is traveling to see a friend and comes across an unmanned toll-gate. The gatekeeper has disappeared, and his son Ben is alone and frightened. John offers to help and stays the night. The next day Nell is traveling through and needs the gate lifted. For John it is love at first sight. He de
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Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...
“No one had ever looked at her just like that before, and it had the effect upon her of making her feel, for perhaps the first time in her life, a strong desire to lay the burden of her cares upon other shoulders. Captain Staple’s were certainly broad enough to bear them.” 10 likes
“So off had gone John to the wars again. But he had not remained for long in the position of a humble volunteer. Colonel Clifton, commanding the 1st Regiment of Dragoons, no sooner heard that Crazy Jack was back then he enrolled him as an extra aide-de-camp.” 2 likes
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