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The Toll-Gate

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,150 ratings  ·  375 reviews
His great adventures were legendary... Captain John Staple's exploits in the Peninsula and Waterloo had earned him the sobriquet Crazy Jack amongst his fellows in the Dragoon Guards. Back from the battlefront, he is planning to settle down after a brave military career, and searches for the ideal bride to complement his earldom. But life in peacetime is rather dull for the ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 6th 2005 by Arrow (first published 1954)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,150 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Georgette Heyer wrote several mysteries (both historical and contemporary) as well as her more widely known and beloved Georgian and Regency romances. 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. He takes off on horseback to visit an old friend out in the country, but manag
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
What a coincidence! This book was my first read of 2016 & is now my first read of 2019.

I don't think I have much to add to add to my first review other than to add more praise to GH's portrayal of Ben - one of my favourite Heyer boys. But the whole read is very entertaining.
mark monday
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not much I can say about this ripping yarn. how does one go about explaining "practically perfect in every way"? oh Mary if you won't I can't.
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The romance was established very early in the story and then the mystery took over. Also, the audio wasn’t great on this one!
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
This time around, I listened to the Audible edition. This book is among my favorites by MS Heyer, but the audio edition is a lot of fun as well. A first rate listening experience. Now I know that “Stogumber” is really pronounced “Stojumber.”

Georgette Heyer Group January 2016 BOTM

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.
—and I own the Sourcebooks and
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this book again. Yes, the romance did seem to be a secondary story but the mystery was great and very well done. I really liked Jerry Chirk. A great character. I was actually very slow starting off this book, but after I read, 'If the Captain was a tallow-faced twiddle-poop, mounted on a pair o' cat-sticks, I dare say he'd need a snirp like you to pad his calves out, and finify him', I was well on my way. Heyer had such a way with words and she was an extremely wit ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it

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
14 Feb 2019

I LOVE THIS BOOK! That is all ...

20 Feb 2019

6 Days later ... and after reading 'Bath Tangle' ... I still love this book soooo much! I am thinking of reading it again, right now!

I believe that Jack's character is reminiscent of Captain Charles Audley from 'An Infamous Army'. Not just in the military sense, but as a well rounded and mature hero who knows what he wants and goes after it. I have never been one for the insta-love trope, but it really works in both books and Heyer is maste
Seema Khan
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
4.85 stars - mild pg13 (“clean” secular regency – see below)

January 2019 – This is my fourth re-read of this book. It’s been at least 6-10 years since the last time I read it and I must say that I think I enjoyed it even more than before. This one is more adventure and mystery than romance, but it’s just enough of each to keep your interest. The common dialect, or thieves cant, is thick in this book but it’s always written in context so you can figure out meanings for words which you otherwise w
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
I liked John and Nell, also Ben, Rose, Chirk.

I felt cozy and amused during reading.

I loved the idea of toll-gates at the beginning of XIX century. It was very interesting how it worked.

The adventure/mystery was nicely invented too.

It was rather fast reading.

But... I can't tell it was one of my favorite Heyer's novels. I am not sure why. Perhaps, because the romance was just ok. Perhaps, because I wasn't much gripped by the mystery (although I could see its value). Perhaps, I wasn't in a mood for
Questo è l'undicesimo libro di questa prolifica autrice che leggo: vi torno regolarmente perché, nonostante le occasionali cadute, in genere non manca mai di fornire intrattenimento garbato e leggero.
Heyer si specializzò in due filoni: i gialli (alla Agatha Christie) e i romanzi rosa storici (ambientati soprattutto in epoca Regency). Dei gialli non mi interessa nulla, mentre le sue "commedie romantiche" sono caratterizzate da trame vivaci, divertenti, prive di eccessi drammatici e passionali, pe
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
Abigail Bok
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
2018 Review
So. Much. Regency. Slang.
At first I felt triumphant because I was able to piece my way through the confusion but then I just felt exasperated. It is enough to make your head spin!

2014 Review
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 "
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Susan in Perthshire
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think it’s 20 years since I last read this one and I had forgotten what a rattling good yarn it was. I loved everything about it except the cant, (more of which later).
I love the intimacy of the location and the characters. A small number of key people who are much more representative than her usual cast of aristocrats. The working class figures from Peter’s valet to Chirk and Rose are well drawn and as important to the story as Nell and John.
John and Nell are one Heyer’s best couples in ter
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
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
Marguerite Kaye
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another re-read for the hundredth time. This is a much gentler romance, and more derring do than is usual for later Heyers, so if you are new to her and want 'purer' romance then don't start with this one. I enjoyed it however, even though yet again I knew every bit of the plot, and it's one of her books that really showcases the secondary characters - I loved Gabriel Stogumber (fab name)m the Bow Street Runner in particular. A bit heavy-handed with the cant at times, but a great read.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. 😂
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very enjoyable adventure, a great light read. I would have liked to have given it 4.5
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  • Harstairs House
  • Elyza
  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
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  • Miss Billings Treads the Boards
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
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  • The Phantom Lover
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  • The Long Masquerade
  • Snowdrops and Scandalbroth
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.

“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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