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The Foundling

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  4,225 Ratings  ·  356 Reviews
"What happens when a many-titled Duke decides to play hookey from his suffociaating dignity..."—Kirkus Reviews

The Duke of Sale is out to prove himself

The shy, young Duke of Sale has never known his parents. Instead, his Grace Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware, Gilly for short, has endured twenty-four years of rigorous mollycoddling from his uncle and valet. But his natural di
ebook, 448 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published 1948)
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4.75 stars, just short of being a top favourite!

Dear friends, readers, and fellow Georgette Heyer lovers,

I am really, really surprised at the low popularity of The Foundling amongst the Heyerites. I don't recall anybody ever featuring this wonderful gem of a book in their top favourite Heyer reads. In fact, I barely recall anyone even recommending it! Perhaps y'all need to go read it again.

"'I am glad you think I have countenance, dear Gilly. I want only to be worthy of you.'
'To be worthy of me!
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
The Foundling is more a coming-of-age story than a romance. The Duke really needed to learn to 'assert himself' and after managing to slip away from all those people who care for him, he does exactly that.

I loved most of it. The moment Harriet hears about Belinda not so much. It was uncomfortable to read. That is the only thing that ruined otherwise a great story for me.

There are too many things that happen here to list them all. Overall, I liked it.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm normally quite chary of stars, and don't award full marks to anything that isn't objectively good. So, in my reviews, four stars and below are subjective, while five stars are reserved for the best of the best. I've made one exception for Frederica, and I find myself forced to make another for The Foundling.

The Foundling tells the story of the Duke of Ware, a shy, retiring boy of twenty-four who has been cosseted and coddled until he could scream. But he's so mild-mannered that he merely sub
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The very first Georgette Heyer I have read at the coaxing recommendation of my wife who I believe is in some secret underground Georgette Heyer fan club. In a few short words I would say The Foundling is a fast paced, witty, humorous, well written book that I enjoyed very much. Georgette Heyer writes each character of this large cast so they are instantly recognizable. Most of the characters are over the top, but that is the fun of this novel. The unbelievable situations and turns in the plot ar ...more
Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕
Sometimes rereads are A Very Good Thing.

I was very young when I originally read this & I didn't much care for it. The hero came across as a bit of a wuss & it was far more an adventure than a romance. Also the teenage me found Gideon more appealing than Gilly.

On rereading I now think this is one of GH's best Regencies. The story line is skillfully done & for anyone who feels the romance was perfunctionally done I would say (view spoiler)
This is a romance only in the sense that the hero is happily settled with his lady at the end of the book; really it is an adventure and, I suppose, a journey of self-discovery, although I'm sure Georgette Heyer would never use (or approve of) such a navel-gazing term.

In his travels, Gilly encounters Tom, a magnet for mischief of all kinds, Belinda, a beautiful, empty-headed girl whose virtue is teetering on a knife-edge, a brace of villains, and a host of citizens of all stripes that, as a Duk
What an adventure! ;-)

This novel was totally Heyer-ish. Witty, enjoyable. It had my attention from the start to the end. Simply splendid. Heyer showed here her best pen, why she was so good writer of amusing and loved books.

There lacked only a romance. The main hero had his heroine, but their interactions were a little at the beginning and then at the end. But I can easily forgive her this lack because the story was so engrossing that a romance wasn't necessary.

I agree with Anne: I typically ten
This is really more a coming of age novel than a romance; there is a romance, of course, but it takes a distant second place to Heyer's account of how her hero, Gilly, Duke of Sale, goes adventuring, in a smartly paced plot, and frees himself from the confinement of his family and his title. The romance wasn't much (and I actually found Gilly's romantic interest rather dull), but the friendship between Gilly and his dashing cousin, Gideon, was a highlight of the book. I don't think I've read a H ...more
Emilia Barnes
This is a fun one to re-read. With every new approach I gain new sympathy for Gilly, and there's always great satisfaction when he grows some ovaries in the end, and stops letting people boss him around so much.
Tiffany Reisz
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was adorable. Just adorable. I was so proud of Gilly. Heyer paints a wonderful sweet and believable portrait of a young man treated like a child all his life and yet still finds he has the heart of a man, and a good man too. My only complaint was that it dragged a bit. Could have been 50 pages shorter and I would have liked more scenes with the lovely Lady Harriet, but all in all, a wonderful read.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute/funny book. Wasn't really a romance book, it was a book about finding who you are and gaining independence.

You gotta love Gilly, he's a Duke who wants to be a nobody. While hanging out with his friend, he realizes that his friend is being scammed 50,000 pounds for writing letters to a girl he had become infatuated with. Seeing that this is ridiculous and wanting to help out his friend, he takes it upon himself to get back the letters and clear up this issue without letting it be
This is more adventure than romance, and bears a strong resemblance to Charity Girl, with another 'unsuitable' female in need of rescue, and handed over to a long-standing friend-come-love interest of the main male character. But most of the story is caught up in the adventures of Gilly as he kicks over the traces and goes on a mission of mercy (and meets another 'Falstaff' type, though this one theoretically intended to be more amusing).

The story works a little better than Charity Girl, but it
Gilly was born an incredibly rich duke. Far from trying to get his inheritance, his family did everything in its power to ensure that the sickly little boy would grow to manhood. However, now that Gilly's nearly of-age, their coddling and controlling is less welcome. Being pushed into an engagement with an old friend is the last straw, and Gilly takes an opportunity to flee his hangers-on and pretend to be just a gentleman. While doing so he rescues a fair but dimwitted maiden, takes on the char ...more
Sherwood Smith
I know many love this one, but I have never been able to finish it in the forty years I've been reading Heyers. The conversations are interminable, seeming to exist for the sake of using period slang (especially that made up by Pierce Egan) and not particularly witty to me. The plot meanders, never catching my interest; I just do not like her long-suffering heroine plots.

I wish is idea--the put-upon, mild young duke who runs away and assumes an ordinary identity and promptly finds himself in ad
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clean
Upon rereading, I am convinced “The Foundling” is among Heyer’s best novels. It has a slow start, but by the middle of the story becomes an all-out adventure story that I couldn’t put down. It is an extremely original and well thought out coming of age story: mild-mannered protagonists, charming would-be murderers, various miscreants which the hero takes under his wing. As the reader, you look back once you’re well into the story and see how everything ties together – It’s something I ve
I have a fondness for "Mr. Dash of Nowhere in Particular." Something about the description of the meek young duke, ruled over by his strong-willed, crotchety relations and servants spoke to me. I cheered for his coming-of-age transition to a man, and his adventures out in the world, his experiments at doing everything for himself. I do think the romance in this book seemed like something of an afterthought, put in at the end only because Heyer's readers are used to seeing a pat happy ending. I d ...more
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is is my first Heyer read with a male protagonist as the dominant character, and I was a little worried that it would be entirely filled with gambling, races, boxing, and other manly pursuits, which I find completely boring. It was not, however - it was a delightful adventure and character study of a realistic and endearing young gentleman. I absolutely loved the character arc that Sale passes through. His growth is subtle, but the difference by the end is tremendous, and I loved seeing him ...more
Ana Rînceanu
My 21st Georgette Heyer

This is not a romance, but a coming of age story. An okay, but not a remarkable one.

Our hero: Gillespie "Gilly" Ware, Duke of Sale and Marquis of Ormesby; Earl of Sale; Baron Ware of Thame; Baron Ware of Stoven; and Baron Ware of Rufford. Orpahned at a young age and raised by the staff, he lives a sequestered life because everyone is terrified he will get sick and die. It's a sad thing to see a duke unable to stand up for himself in front of his uncle or the staff. So he r
Pauline Ross
The seventh book in my attempt to reread all Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances in chronological sequence. This one was published in 1948, and it’s a cracker. The Duke of Sale, a posthumous son and heir, has been cosseted from birth, every aspect of his life dictated by his guardian and uncle, and an array of loyal and devoted retainers. When he was a sickly child, this was appropriate, but now, at twenty-four, he’s chafing at the bit. He dutifully proposes to Lady Harriet Presteigne, his uncle’ ...more
The hero of this novel, the Most Noble Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware, Duke of Sale and Marquis of Ormesby; Earl of Sale; Baron Ware of Thame; Baron Ware of Stoven; and Baron Ware of Rufford, a sickly orphan, was raised by a host of well-meaning relatives and old family retainers. He's been coddled and cosseted his whole life but now that he's on the verge of coming of full age, his uncle Lionel encourages him to make his own decisions, yet every time Gilly makes a move, he's told he should lis ...more
Oct 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
The one where, thanks to wealth, power, shortness, and a sickly childhood, Gilly isn't allowed to take a step without ten people attending him, until he breaks free and goes on an adventure of his own.

As I mentioned in my notes on Sprig Muslin, these two books start off their adventures in pretty much the same way: a man, on his way to propose a marriage he isn't very enthusiastic about, finds himself saddled with a beautiful woman-child whose innocence he has to protect and a heedless schoolboy
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regency
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
While I love Heyer's Regency Romances, I may actually love this slight departure - her delightful bildungsroman - even more. I'm not sure why, but I don't think I loved it as much the first time I read it, but I just reread it and if you don't love his Grace, the Duke of Sale, you have the hardest heart, because he and his adventure are utterly delightful and I read it with the biggest smile on my face. I love the contrast between himself and his dashing "big cousin," Captain Gideon Ware - who w ...more
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars

One of the few Heyer novels which is told from a male perspective throughout. Adolphus 'Gilly' Ware the 7th Duke of Sale is the most unassuming and diffident man imaginable. Adored by all who know him, he was a sickly child and, although now fully grown, he is still protected and pampered by all around him. Finally driven to rebellion Gilly heads off on a wild adventure to save his younger cousin from a breach of promise lawsuit and ends up embroiling himself in one catastrophe after
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, it was something of a chore to read this at first, but don't be deterred! Although it takes a while for the story to pick up and get interesting, the characters were charming enough to see me through the boring parts. I love that the protagonist isn't the typical swaggering, brooding hero of most Regency novels. Gilly makes you want to pinch him and gather him up in a hug, not swoon on your feet -- and that's a refreshing change.

It's difficult not to enjoy Gilly's discovery of his
MeiLin Miranda
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best Heyers, full of all the usual nonsense--put-upon dukes, mistaken motives, potentially ruined reputations, strangely lovable rascals, overbearing dowagers, humorous rustics, a beautiful girl without a brain in her head, and Hessian boots. Also coats with many capes. And curricles.

I freakin' love Georgette Heyer. Many imitators, but only one of her.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I find the nearly de rigueur top 'o the trees beauty with feathers for brains tedious, and do not find the folly of the foolish nearly as amusing as I'm supposed to, the delightful Duke of Sale makes reading all of the complicated, silly rest of The Foundling worthwhile.
Ruth Turner

Very slow to start. Not one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books, but a good read nevertheless.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I have a new favorite Georgette Heyer book. This was just the right mix of fun with a smidgen of romance. Delightful.

Conundrum though: Which Heyer to read next?!
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Wherein the ingenue is a duke.
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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...
“If I must consort with rogues [...] I own I like them to be in the grand manner.” 4 likes
“I like very few people nowadays; in fact, the number of persons whom I cordially dislike increases almost hourly.” 1 likes
More quotes…