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These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
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's review
Dec 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: gender-bender, read-in-2010, historical, era-versailles-king, era-georgian, witty-i-am-not, zzauthor-heyer-georgette
Read from April 08 to 09, 2010

Bah. I spoiled the big surprise in this book quite accidentally when researching something about Georgette Heyer on wikipedia while in the midst of reading the book. (Don’t worry, I won’t explicitly spoil it for you, though I notice that the description of the book on the cover and the goodreads description spoils the big surprise as well) I would have preferred to have read the big reveal via the book instead of through wikipedia.

The heroine in this book was quite weepy and overly dramatic. I constantly would forget that she was supposed to be at least 18 years old based on some of her behavior and how those around her treated her as a child. In her defense, she did have quite a life during her formative years, so I was able to forgive her for the estrogen-mania for the most part. Despite the melodrama, she had a very quick temper and was quite interesting in her reactions to various situations.

My biggest problem with this book, and the reason that I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 -- I really didn’t care for the heroine and her love interest as a couple. It seemed kind of smarmy to me, between the 22+ years age difference and the father/daughter type of relationship between them. Icky! It’s true, I loved Jane Eyre and her relationship with a 40-something hero, however, I didn’t feel like Jane Eyre and Rochester were in a father/daughter relationship the way I felt it in this particular novel. I would have much preferred for the heroine to be paired with Rupert instead as they were closer in age and had a flirty/fun relationship.

Even though I wasn’t crazy about the heroine/hero pairing, I loved Georgette Heyer’s witty writing. There was no boredom for me reading the story, and the characters jumped from the page with their jocular dialogue. I love that, and this is why the story still receives 4 stars from me and not a lower score.

One of my favorite bits was when the heroine asked Rupert to spar: “Will you please fight me with a sword?” And, in token Georgette Heyer style, I loved Rupert’s response: “Thunder and turf, what next? I’ll fence with you, Rogue.” Even better, I loved when Rupert went fleeing away from her while she chased him with a sword, trying to escape so he could hide. Good gender reversal type of situations. Hehehehe

I look forward to reading the sequel to this book, Devil’s Cub, as I have heard good things about it.

On a final note: I admit I am not very clever as I haven’t figured out what the title of the novel means. If you understand it, please leave me a comment as I am curious :)
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Reading Progress

04/08/2010 page 190
53.98% "1/2 way through the audiobook for this one... :)"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Rane These Old Shades is itself a sequel. Heyer's first novel The Black Moth was a melodrama and as a 'sequel' per se would not work in with the plot, she renamed many characters and made them 'shades' of their former selves for These Old Shades.

BJ Rose This poem appeared at the beginning of the book in early editions:

"…… This Age I grant (and grant with pride),
Is varied, rich, eventful:
But if you touch its weaker side,
Deplorably resentful.
Belaud it, and it takes your praise
With air of calm conviction:
Condemn it, and at once you raise
A storm of contradiction.
Whereas with these old shades of mine,
Their ways and dress delight me;
And should I trip by word or line,
They cannot well indict me……"

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