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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  13,087 ratings  ·  1,087 reviews
When the news went out that Sylvester Rayne, the elegant, impeccable Duke of Salford, was seeking a wife, all England was aflutter! Lord Sylvester is a polished bachelor who has stringent requirements for his future wife -- she must be well-born, intelligent, elegant and attractive. And of course she must be able to present herself well in high society. But when he is ...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published April 23rd 2004 by Harlequin (first published 1957)
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Oaktrees It has very, very little to do with P&P! You're right that the summary here makes them sound similar, but Sylvester & Phoebe are wholly unlike…moreIt has very, very little to do with P&P! You're right that the summary here makes them sound similar, but Sylvester & Phoebe are wholly unlike Lizzy & Darcy both in personality and in their relation to each other, and the plots are nothing alike.(less)

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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,087 ratings  ·  1,087 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final update: upping my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars on reread. Definitely worth the extra star, if only for Sylvester’s little nephew totally cracking me up several times. He’s a scene-stealer!

Update: Rereading in May 2019 with the GH group. I'm hoping that this will be one of those GH books that I find much more charming on reread! (It does happen!)

Take one somewhat arrogant, self-assured duke with very distinctive slanted eyebrows:
(I'm thinking Zachary Quinto as Spock, minus the ears. And
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
Confession: I needed a little pick-me-up, so I had finished this novel before the Georgette Fans Group started their reread.

A lot of really interesting things struck me this time & reminded me why this is still a 5 read for me.

Original plot idea.
Great secondary characters. Even if they only appear briefly in the story, I remember them.
The hero shows character development, but doesn't turn into a completely different person. Total reformation of the man you love is never a healthy
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After many, many years of reading her books I still cannot fault Georgette Heyer as the best writer of Regency fiction. Some of her books are marginally better than others but they are all good and I always read (reread) them when I feel that I need a treat!
Sylvester is one of my favourites. It actually starts off rather slowly but once our main characters arrive at the inn (most of Miss Heyer's best action takes place in wayside inns) the pace picks up. I actually sat and read from this point
Rebecca May
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was the third novel of Georgette Heyer’s that I found, again under the guise of an audio-book narrated by Richard Armitage. I have extolled all of Richard Armitage’s many virtues as a narrator in previous reviews, and I shall continue to do so until someone gets sick of it and tells me to shut the hell up… and maybe not even then. As usual his reading was perfectly paced, pleasant to listen to, and his vocal range deeply impressive. What I particularly enjoyed in this one was the fact that ...more
Kim Kaso
This book has a special place in my heart as it always reminds me of my mother's laughter. I remember coming up the stairs listening to her laugh while she was reading in bed. I lent her Sylvester to read, I had read many GH novels with my best friend, but we did not think to lend them to our mothers until we got older. For a time, they were ours, no adults welcome. But by HS, my mom and I were trading books back and forth, & Sylvester was her first. How it made her laugh, and now that she ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have read this before, love the fact that she is a secret authoress whose very first book has landed her in trouble. Love Sylvester, his devotion to his mother, and his aloofness.

Just listened to it as an audiobook because it was narrated by RICHARD ARMITAGE. YES, MR. THORNTON! And he was great, and I want him to do more!
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
This time, I listened to the eAudio from Hoopla. I own the Sourcebooks dead tree edition and later bought the kindle edition at a steep price reduction.

Pre-GR, I discovered Georgette Heyer and this was the very first of her books that I read. I reamember that breathily hyperventilated, panted and was extraordinarily exhilarated as I read this. It was THAT good the first time I read this book and the pages turned themselves. This book, unlike others of Georgette Heyer's that are my favorites, I
Three and a half stars, rounded up. I had mixed feelings about Sylvester. I thought the plot dragged a bit in some spots and got a bit overwrought in others, but the two lead characters carried the book for me, and on balance I've begun to think this might be one of Heyer's most psychologically astute romances.

While I normally find it hard to warm up to Heyer's arrogant nobleman protagonists, I actually started to like Sylvester right from the moment on page three when he sees the 'small
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-hist, library
Living La Vida Loca.

Alrighty, so this starts off with the trapped heroine Phoebe and then proceeds...some of it's reasonable and some is just a ride on the crazy train. Boy does she meet some interesting people on this ride.

Phoebe is headstrong and rather indiscreet while communicating (lacks a filter) is rightfully chaffing at the bit and when it all looks horrible she flees. Trust me, I've been in the chew your leg off to get away situation and I'm sympathetic. All for the idea. Alas, the
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sylvester reminded me again why I consider Georgette Heyer's novels the high water mark in regency romance. If I wasn't lost in the story, I would be taking notes!
Heyer gives us Sylvester, a handsome, self-important duke and Phoebe, a wispy girl oppressed by a martinet step mother, who 'didn't take'. It's a vastly enjoyable pairing, though not especially unusual. It's the writing and the characterization that lift these two above the rest.
Unlike so many contemporary romance writers, Heyer
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jaff, i-own-it, 2019-jaff
This book is SUCH fun! And the CHARACTERS! Lots of authors do a great job of defining the hero and heroine and maybe a few other major characters, but Georgette Heyer pays attention to all the secondary and minor characters, too.

So we have the aloof, serious Duke of Salford, Sylvester Rayne, a fair-minded man who lost a part of himself when his twin brother Harry died. And we have the unconventional, impulsive Phoebe Marlowe, daughter of Lord Marlowe and barely tolerated stepdaughter of his
Sherwood Smith
Up until about the two-thirds mark, this was a favorite among the Heyers: the novel-writing heroine, a bit of a geek, Sylvester who looks wicked but isn't, and a host of great side characters.

But it tips over the line (for me) with too much humiliation of the heroine, and too much bitter bickering, something I can get fed up with real fast in what is supposed to be a light romance.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, regency
4.5 stars. What a wonderful writer Georgette Heyer was. This book was first published in 1957, but is still fresh, amusing and moving. It doesn't feel dated, except I suppose that many HRs these days are a lot more explicit in the sensuality level and the inclusion of sex scenes. But you don't even notice the lack of this as you read this lively and charming book.

The story centres around Sylvester, Duke of Salford, who appears to have everything. One of society's most desirable bachelors. He is
Apr 12, 2012 rated it liked it
::sigh:: I feel like I'm probably in the minority on this book. I started out loving it and wound up really hating it, so I gave it a three.

The problem, I guess was that it just felt too one-sided to me. Okay, Sylvester's snobby and indifferent to people he doesn't care about so it's good for him to get smacked in the face with his flaws. Either from the mouth of the originally (to me) likable heroine or from her pen as the anonymous author of a trashy novel that casts him as the villain.

Jacob Proffitt
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Latest re-read (listen) with my daughter on our commutes. Still a favorite and the scene when he goes to his mother in the end? Yeah, that's my favorite Heyer scene, ever. (view spoiler). The last third still drags a bit for me, but that's because I'm so familiar with the story now that I can't wait to get to that favorite scene...
Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, was an oh-so-proper gentleman. Snooty, condescending and proud. Yet there was a kernel of strong feelings buried deep within him. The few people he loved -his mother, his brother, Harry, and his nephew, Edward- he loved fiercely.

Phoebe Marlow was my kind of heroine. With no beauty to take advantage, she had nineteen years that molded her. She was a kind individual and plain-spoken. She rooted for the underdog and I found her personality refreshing.

Sammy Loves Books
“The charm of your society, my Sparrow, lies in not knowing what you will say next – though one rapidly learns to expect the worst!”


"She blurts out whatever may come into her head; she tumbles from one outrageous escapade into another; she's happier grooming horses and hobnobbing with stable-hands than going to parties; she's impertinent; you daren't catch her eye for fear she should start to giggle; she hasn't any accomplishments; I never saw anyone with less dignity; she's
Melissa McShane
UPDATE 7/15/17: Listened to this as an audiobook read by Nicholas Rowe and thoroughly enjoyed it. His interpretation of Sir Nugent Fotherby is hilarious.

UPDATE 3/13/14: I really do like Sylvester as a character and love that the book really is about him and his growth as a person. It fascinates me that he can be arrogant without realizing he is, because he's been taught arrogance means behaving with hauteur toward people lesser than him. His ultimate realization that he loves Phoebe and may have
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who has enjoyed Pride and Prejudge, but wants a new angle on it

For some reason my brain isn't functioning well enough to give a synopsis, thankfully others have already done so, so I needn't.

Phoebe is one of my favorite heroines, she's just as charming as Arabella, (who's shy too), Sophy, with her incorrigible ways, and Heyer's laugh-out-loud whit. Sylvester could not have found his match better in Phoebe, who he endearingly called "Sparrow". I like the secondary characters, Tom especially because he is similar to Freddy in Cotillion only we get
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
I'm in a Georgette Heyer reading phase currently. So yes this is another book by her, my 3rd one this week. I'll likely take a break to catch up on a few other books I need to get read but will definitely come back to Heyer's novels soon as there are still over a dozen of her books I want to read.

This one has an entertaining storyline. Sylvester is painted to be a wicked uncle but nothing could be further from the truth. Phoebe never intends to marry and certainly would never consider the
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sylvester Rayne, the Duke of Salford has everything he could possibly want. He had a happy childhood with loving parents and a twin brother and inherited everything upon his father's death. His late brother left him a young heir and a silly sister-in-law to care for and his invalid mother depends on him. With his sister-in-law about to wed a nodcock, his mother needs a woman to socialize with and his nephew Edmund needs a mother. Sylvester's mother is horrified to discover he has a list of ...more
Absolutely adored the audiobook by Richard Armitage!
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sylvester, Duke of Salford, cannot believe that anyone might not want to marry him. It is one of basic premises in this story. The greatest problem Sylvester has is that nobody has ever talked back or found fault in anything he has done. I spent part the book wanting him to be rebuffed and another being annoyed by Phoebe.
Sylvester mocks a fairy tale prince, but turns into one the moment he sees someone needs help.

They don't meet right away in the book. The first two or three chapters are
Georgette Heyer (pronounced like Hair, I finally learned) has gifted me with so many happy hours in Regency England. Love her! And bravo to narrator Richard Armitage, who -- in *most* scenes -- made this abridged audio almost BETTER than the book. No mean feat. I'd give him an A- (see performance quibbles midway below).

I was able to listen to a section of my friend's unabridged audio version, performed by Nicholas Rowe. I jumped to the end, to compare the final chapters. Wow. The story is so
I have found a new swoon-worthy voice to listen to. Richard Armitage is wonderful. I was a bit worried, as I am a GH fan from my teen years and have favourites that are like old friends. You do not mess with them. And I enjoyed this audio book immensely. All the secondary characters were perfect, the hero, Sylvester, was divine and Phoebe charming.

I know this is a little P&P in plot, but it has that hilarious twist, (view spoiler)
2019 Review
Absolutely delightful! This book is rapidly making its way up my favorite Heyer list. Though I have to pause and wonder why. I do not love Sylvester, and Phoebe can be a bit of a wet noodle. But the plot itself is funny, romantic, and full of quirky, memorable character. Very charming.

2018 Review
I forgot about this book!! Not forgot in that I forgot it existed, but forgot about the plot and the characters. It was quite delightful re-reading it with almost no memory of what happens
Clare Cannon
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Though Sylvester is more odious than Mr Darcy and Phoebe more critical than Elizabeth Bennett; though I so often wanted to bang their heads together, to make them listen instead of bickering back and forth; though they strike each other into mirth at the most inappropriate moments; and though a great deal of effort will be necessary to keep them together, not to say prevent their strangling each other; in spite of all this—or perhaps because of it—Sylvester and Phoebe are one of my favourite ...more
Ruth Turner
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: georgette-heyer

Not one of my favourites. Beautifully written, as with all her books, and although I liked Sylvester, I didn't much care for Phoebe, and I didn't really feel the attraction between them.

Heyer has a talent for creating wonderful, memorable characters and in this book it was Tom, Sir Nugent and young Edmund. The conversations between these three cracked me up, and the inappropriate slang words that Edmund kept dropping into the conversations made me laugh out loud.

A good read, just not a great
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Because I did not recognize the title, I distance ordered this lending of Sylvester from my library system. But once I got it, I did realize I had read it, despite not having the title come to mind. Probably read this one about 40 or more years ago.

So- I did reread it.

And although I did enjoy the read, I found this one is definitely not in my group of favorite Heyer.

This one bears strong resemblance to the Pride and Prejudice juxtaposition. Intelligent and independent female miss, older logical
pink pills and paper
You know you love a book, when you finish reading it for the second time, and full-heartedly believe that won't be the last time you read it.
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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. Rougier later became a barrister and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance
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“Oh, yes, she's unusual!" he said bitterly. "She blurts out whatever may come into her head; she tumbles from one outrageous escapade into another; she's happier grooming horses and hobnobbing with stable-hands than going to parties; she's impertinent; you daren't catch her eye for fear she should start to giggle; she hasn't any accomplishments; I never saw anyone with less dignity; she's abominable, and damnably hot at hand, frank to a fault, and – a darling!” 77 likes
“The charm of your society, my Sparrow, lies in not knowing what you will say next – though one rapidly learns to expect the worst!” 33 likes
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