Crista's Reviews > These Old Shades

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
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's review
May 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, reformed-rake, regency, series
Read in July, 2009

I have been a romance novel junkie for just about as long as I can remember. After reading what seems like thousands of romance novels, I decided to finally go back to the the queen/martriarch/legendary Regency author Georgette Heyer and finally read one of her books. These Old Shades, Devil's Cub, The Grand Sophy, and Venetia were all said to be some of her best, so I picked up These Old Shades first. I have to be honest, it took me a long time to get through this book...(almost a week) which is very unlike me. Because it failed to "captivate" me as 5 star books do, I had to knock off at least 1 star, but overall I enjoyed it and feel good about giving it a 4 star review.

Here's what I loved:
1. Justin, The Duke of Avon, was the BEST part of this book. This in some ways is definitely a "reformed rake" sort of story. Justin is not a "nice guy" at the beginning. He is ruthless and mean, seeking revenge against his enemies and not caring who he hurts to accomplish his task. As the story progresses...the reader starts to see a subtle and gradual change in the "icy layers" of the Duke's heart. He comes to care for his "Leon" and even moreso his "Leonie". I loved Justin's dry sense of humor...
2. The dialogue. This is fiction at it's best. Heyer's ability with the written word is extraordinary. The way she uses words to convey feelings subtly and conversations makes you feel like you're in the room. I felt like I knew these people. Remarkable.
3. Leonie's devotion to Justin and her BELIEF in his goodness was so sweet. I really believed that there was no one else for her except for Justin (necessary for a good romance!)
4. Leonie's relationship with Justin's brother.

Here's what I didn't:
1. The age difference sort of bothered me (I know, I know, I know)...this is a regency, and Heyer stays true to the time (what was acceptable...). It still was hard. She was his page for heaven's sake!
2. The villain was truly evil. I would've like to have seen more in the development of Leonie and Justin's relationship and less of the "mystery" surrounding Leonie's family. Just personnal preference.

Overall a Classic and I can see why!
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