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The Quiet Gentleman
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Group Reads > The Quiet Gentleman Group Read December 2015 Spoilers thread

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Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4119 comments Mod
Final thoughts? Any spoilery comments? Put them here!


message 2: by Elza (new) - added it

Elza (emr1) | 296 comments I have to agree with Howard's comments on the Ch. 11-22 thread:
This had little humor and little romance.
And she had (as she has had in other novels), a high class person getting away with what normal people would be hanged for.

but wanted to address them here:

I like Drusilla so much. She is one of my favorite GH heroines and reminds me strongly of Jenny from A Civil Contract. I wish that GH had showed more of how Gervase's opinion of her changed from "a little squab of a female" to "a woman in a million." It is presented as a fait accompli without the reader really knowing how it happened.

And really, attempted murder -- let's just move him to Jamaica. A poacher would very likely have been transported. Both are removed from the country but with very different outcomes on the other end!

Here's something I'm pondering. To whom does the title refer? Theo, or Gervase, or both?


message 3: by Louise (last edited Dec 02, 2015 08:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise Culmer I think we do see how Gervase becomes attracted to Drusilla's personality. He comes to appreciate her common sense and resourcefulness, and her direct way of expressing herself. I do think it would have been a bit better though if she had been a bit more attractive physically - Heyer overdid her lack of attraction I think.
re: the way Theo is treated, it does seem a bit far fetched that Gervase would be willing to let him off, and even more far fetched that Martin would go along with it. However, as Gervase points out, there is no proof, and Theo would very likely be acquitted. And then he would be at large, better to have him out of the way in Jamaica.
I don't agree about it having little humour though, i think it's very funny.


message 4: by Elza (new) - added it

Elza (emr1) | 296 comments I don't think it completely lacks humor, but it is not as light-hearted, certainly, as many of her other Regencies. There are amusing characters but overall the storyline is quite serious.

And I must ask, why is Mr. Clowne even in this book? I had hoped that his name indicated he might provide some Mr. Collins-esque humor, but he is an nonentity for all intents and purposes.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 361 comments I've read Mr. Clowne's name several times in the first 5 or 6 chapters and I still have no idea who he is. Granted, I'm sure that's my fault for not reading quite carefully enough when he was first introduced, but it does go to show what a non-entity he is, as Elza comments.


Jackie | 1197 comments I think the title refers to Gervase, no question. Martin and his step Mother (I know they call it Mother in Law in the book) both underestimate him as does Theo because he is "quiet" - doesn't flaunt his brains/bravado etc.


message 7: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Elza wrote: "Here's something I'm pondering. To whom does the title refer? Theo, or Gervase, or both?"

The same thought occurred to me on this reading. I remember the outcome but am remaining quiet to keep from spoiling it for my husband.

Mr. Clowne seems to be the family chaplain, possibly a dependent who knows which side his bread is buttered on and maintains a low profile for that reason. I didn't remember him from my earlier reading and, listening to the book now on audio, wasn't sure I was hearing his name correctly. Evidently I was!

BTW, has most of the group finished the read? If not, certain comments above seem perilously close to being spoilers!



Louise Culmer MaryC wrote: "Elza wrote: "Here's something I'm pondering. To whom does the title refer? Theo, or Gervase, or both?"

The same thought occurred to me on this reading. I remember the outcome but am remaining quie..."


well, this thread is called 'Spoilers' so i assume it's okay to have them on here.


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 361 comments I finished in a rush last night--things got exciting and I couldn't put it down. :)

So, the mystery: I knew it couldn't be Martin, but for a long time I was at a total loss to think who it was. I totally bought into Heyer's misdirection with Theo's character for the longest time. Then she introduced Martin's faithful servant and I though, aha! that's it! But I soon decided that would be a cheat; the servant wasn't a big enough character to be the villain. Process of elimination finally led me to Theo. :)

Not up to the level of Agatha Christie's mysteries, but not a bad one, and the witty dialogue and characters make it well worth while.


message 10: by HJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

HJ | 948 comments Elza wrote: "Here's something I'm pondering. To whom does the title refer? Theo, or Gervase, or both? ..."

Exactly what I've been considering! At one point GH has the grooms thinking that Gervase was "a quiet gentleman, like his cousin" (in contrast to Martin). I think she means both of them, but if I had to choose I'd think she meant Theo. Gervase is not actually that self-effacing, but Theo quietly gets on with being a baddie.


message 11: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Oh, OK then, Louise.


message 12: by HJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

HJ | 948 comments I think Drusilla is actually more attractive than is suggested by some comments. She's not a beauty like Marianne, but she has fine eyes and a good complexion, and nice hair -- dare I say it, like Elizabeth Bennet?

We do see her and Gervase talking quite a bit, but we really don't get any hint that he's even fond of her, let alone in love with her. I do find the romance unconvincing, which is one reason why I tend to think of this book as primarily a mystery, with the romance included because it had to be.


Louise Culmer HJ wrote: "I think Drusilla is actually more attractive than is suggested by some comments. She's not a beauty like Marianne, but she has fine eyes and a good complexion, and nice hair -- dare I say it, like ..."

i like the way gervase becomes more interested in drusilla as he gets to know her, he obviously enjoys her direct way of speaking, and she shows resourcefulness. the way she manages to persuade him to tolerate the presence of the horrible table decoration is really funny. gervase will certainly never be bored married to Drusilla.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1272 comments Louise wrote, “the way she manages to persuade him to tolerate the presence of the horrible table decoration is really funny.”

That’s exactly when I started thinking they might make a good couple! She manages him so well. And just plotwise, I think she makes a nice foil to all the drama and resentments among the Frants.


Howard Brazee Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "I've read Mr. Clowne's name several times in the first 5 or 6 chapters and I still have no idea who he is. Granted, I'm sure that's my fault for not reading quite carefully enough when he was first..."

I'm not good with names, and when we start going with various titles and names for the same character, I get confused. As in (which one is Lucy again?).


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 361 comments And was Lucy seriously a nickname for Lucius back in the day? Because that took me aback every time I read it. :D


message 17: by Elliot (last edited Dec 03, 2015 05:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elliot Jackson | 275 comments OK, may I just say that in addition to feeling like Theo gets shoehorned into a Villain role that is entirely ill-fitting to him, that I really dislike the turn in Chapters 13-14 to blaming Marianne for the fact that Martin is a jerk to her, and forces a duel on 'Lucy'? (and yes, good God...I have to come to the conclusion that that is something of a tongue-in-cheek nickname). I just find the whole "oh, she led him on" thing very distasteful. Doesn't matter whether she "led him on" or not - if the boy can't control himself, that's HIS problem, not hers, and I am disappointed in both Drusilla and Gervase for expressing such victim-blaming sentiments. I really wish to think better of both their good judgements. So there!


message 18: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Dec 03, 2015 07:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 361 comments Elliot wrote: "OK, may I just say that in addition to feeling like Theo gets shoehorned into a Villain role that is entirely ill-fitting to him, that I really dislike the turn in Chapters 13-14 to blaming Mariann..."

I completely agree with your comment re Theo. Square peg, meet round hole. There should have been a few more very subtle hints that Theo had villain potential. At the end Gervase was talking about how he thought Stanyon had become an obsession and a madness for Theo, I was all, wait, what? There was no real foundation laid for that, other than Theo being a very capable caretaker of the estate.

I see your point re victim-blaming with the Marianne thing, but that was how people generally thought back then, and probably in 1950 as well, so I let it slide mentally. It's not like the characters were excusing Martin's behavior in forcing his kisses on her; they're just saying that he had had reason to think that she liked him.


Louise Culmer Elliot wrote: "OK, may I just say that in addition to feeling like Theo gets shoehorned into a Villain role that is entirely ill-fitting to him, that I really dislike the turn in Chapters 13-14 to blaming Mariann..."

marianne is a bit of an airhead, a very beautiful girl who likes flirting, but someone as intense as Martin takes it too seriously. I don't think Martin is absolved from blame, but Marianne must have had some idea of the affect she could have on him. She seems to have given him some reason to think that she really liked him.


Howard Brazee Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "I've read Mr. Clowne's name several times in the first 5 or 6 chapters and I still have no idea who he is. Granted, I'm sure that's my fault for not reading quite carefully enough when he was first..."

It doesn't meet the standards of humor that I expect from a Heyer romance. It's closer to being a Heyer mystery.


message 21: by Louise (last edited Dec 03, 2015 09:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise Culmer Howard wrote: "Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "I've read Mr. Clowne's name several times in the first 5 or 6 chapters and I still have no idea who he is. Granted, I'm sure that's my fault for not reading quite caref..."

i think it's hilarious. much funnier than some of the others. The whole Morville family are great comic characters. some of hers I don't find very funny - Venetia for instance, and Frederica, but this one i think is very amusing.


message 22: by Louise (last edited Dec 03, 2015 09:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise Culmer HJ wrote: "I think Drusilla is actually more attractive than is suggested by some comments. She's not a beauty like Marianne, but she has fine eyes and a good complexion, and nice hair -- dare I say it, like ..."

Elizabeth bennet though is generally described as being less beautiful than jane, but still attractive. mr collins chooses her as the object of his matriominal intentions when he is told jane is spoken for 'second in age and in beauty' i think it says. Drusilla seems to be rated rather lower in looks, though she seens to grow on gervase as time goes on.


Howard Brazee I wonder how plump of an actress we would cast as Drusilla for a modern filming of The Quiet Man.


Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments Howard wrote: "I wonder how plump of an actress we would cast as Drusilla for a modern filming of The Quiet Man."

The chosen actress would probably have to gain some weight! Many have done so for a really good role.


Howard Brazee Jacquie wrote: "Howard wrote: "I wonder how plump of an actress we would cast as Drusilla for a modern filming of The Quiet Man."

The chosen actress would probably have to gain some weight! Many have done so for ..."


Yes - but in this case she needs to be an attractive plump romantic young person - and Hollywood doesn't really understand that. (Remember Bridget Jones' Diary).


message 26: by Elliot (last edited Dec 04, 2015 08:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elliot Jackson | 275 comments Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽ wrote: "Elliot wrote: "OK, may I just say that in addition to feeling like Theo gets shoehorned into a Villain role that is entirely ill-fitting to him, that I really dislike the turn in Chapters 13-14 to ..."

Oh, yeah...I think the problem is, as I may have mentioned, that I actually like Theo a bit better than Gervase! Maybe it's just that I can relate to the "competent, overlooked poorer cousin" better than the "handsome unflappable Earl". (or maybe I just have a thing for smooth villains...) And there seems like such a strong sense of mutual affection and regard between the characters, it's really a tiny little heartbreak for me...I honestly don't know whether to see my "wait, what?! Nooo!" reaction to the Big Reveal as a sign of real strength or real weakness in GH's characterization!

And as for the Marianne thing...yeah, it's true that throughout history it's been considered perfectly OK to blame women for stirring up men's "uncontrollable impulses"...and yeah, she is kind of an airhead...I still find the She Was Asking For It mentality grating, even if it is a Reflection of the Times...


message 27: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Yes, it seems that girls were expected to be QUITE innocent (think of Hero/Kitten and our speculations about whether she and Sherry had even consummated their marriage)and yet to know instinctively the dangers of being alone with a man.


message 28: by MaryC (last edited Dec 04, 2015 06:48PM) (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Re Theo, and then Drusilla, it seems to me on this second reading that there ARE some tiny hints along the way that Theo isn't quite the epitome of quiet dependability that he appears to be. Notice that he turns up very quickly after Gervase is nicked by Martin's unblunted epee. We're evidently meant to think at the time that Martin may have removed the button in order to wound Gervase, but with hindsight we can see that Theo could just as easily have done so. In any case, doesn't the denouement give us a new, slightly shivery perspective on the title? (BTW, has anyone here read Dorothy Dunnett's The Game of Kings?)

Now, Drusilla. Are we ever told that she's actually plump--all over? Or is she only busty? Does she have a short neck, or am I thinking of Jenny Chawleigh? For that matter, was plumpness a detraction 200 years ago? I do remember that Elizabeth Bennett was slim, because, near the end of P&P, when she and Jane are urgently called in while they're out walking and they run to the house, Elizabeth, being the lighter of the two, gets there first. Inference: Jane was curvier?


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1272 comments I’m pretty sure the earl mentions a short neck in his initial description of Drusilla.


message 30: by Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ (last edited Dec 04, 2015 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 361 comments It's possible I may have read it wrong, but I understood that the button on the end of the foil came off accidentally while Martin and Gervase were fencing, and no fault was involved.

Rereading the initial description of Drusilla from Gervase's point of view, she's described as having a plump bosom and short neck, but otherwise having a "trim" figure. So no, I don't think she's a plus-size girl.

And yes, A Game of Kings is a marvelous book, although it gave my brain cells more exercise than they've been given by any book I've read in recent memory!


message 31: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Kaso | 503 comments I love the Lymond Chronicles, but she does give you a work out. I spent a lot of time looking quotations up at our college library and translating quotations. Happily, I'd taken Latin and Spanish in high school, and had French dictionary and grammar at home. When I reread the whole series a couple of years back, I discovered companion volumes were written that have all the poetic, literary, and historical references in the Lymond Chronicles & the Niccolo series, for those of us not fortunate enough to be graduates of the Oxbridge ilk. I thoroughly enjoyed Niccolo, but Francis Crawford of Lymond holds my heart. I gave my best friend the newly published first edition hardcover of Checkmate as soon as I finished it, never dreaming she would take it on her honeymoon. Her groom was not best pleased that she spent so much time with Francis.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1272 comments Have you read Dorothy Dunnett’s modern-day Dolly series? They go down a little easier than the Lymond Chronicles, but all her work is delightful!


message 33: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Kaso | 503 comments Yes, read them way back when. Very fun.


message 34: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments I gave up on the Dolly series after the first two and am working my way through Niccolo, but oh, Lymond! I couldn't put those books down! Of course, since for my first 27 years my name was the same as that of the bad girl in Mansfield Park, I can claim him (and her) as kin.

But the reason I mentioned The Game of Kings is a character others who have read it may remember--Andrew "Dandy" Hunter. Remind you of anyone?


message 35: by Elliot (last edited Dec 04, 2015 07:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elliot Jackson | 275 comments Dorothy Dunnett. perpetually on my personal Mt. To-Be-Read...

And so we come to the end of The Quiet Gentleman, and I am shaking my head, saying...Georgette (may I call you Georgette?) - Georgette, I love you with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but this book...is...Not Your Best Work.

How can the components be so good, and the end result so unsatisfying? I feel like I've been given a Liver and Onions Rocky Road Sundae - I love all the individual bits, but they are...um...not so great mashed up together. Compelling characters, nice mixture of social comedy and tragedy...but, just...WHAT?

See, I just don't accept Theo as a villain. Or Miss Morville as the romantic interest for the Earl of St. Erth. I am Not Convinced. I could buy one, or two, persons resenting Gervase for his very existence, for one reason or another, but...Every Single Person in his family? When they don't even know him? Is there something in the water at Stanyon? It just seems...over the top. Unconvincing. Unless he really were a raging jerk, and they could all creditably hate him, but he's not, and again, they hardly even know him anyway.

So many great characters, such Austenesque writing...and you throw it all away on an unconvincing mystery, and an even more unconvincing HEA!

But, because you are Made of Awesome, even at your worst - your worst being still so much better than most people's best - you have given me an idea. Georgette...in your honor...very humbly...

The Even Quieter Gentleman:

In which Theo Frant and Drusilla Morville, who have been complacently deemed Destined (or, rather, Good Enough) for each other, of course not seeing it that way themselves, both being resolutely set on getting their hearts thoroughly broken by love interests beyond their touch - namely, Miss Bolderwood and Gervase, respectively - at length discover solace in each other's company, and finally, love, in the wake of Gervase's engagement to Miss Bolderwood.

The kicker, of course, is that Gervase at length comes to regret what he might have had in Drusilla, because Marianne ends up being a disappointment to him (I have to report that Theo, being initially crushed by not getting his first crush, ends up *very* much in love with his Drusilla, however much he may argue with her efforts to end slave labor in Jamaica).


Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ | 361 comments I like that plot outline very much, Elliot! What becomes of Martin?


Elliot Jackson | 275 comments Oh, well - Martin really DOES try to kill Gervase. He's the one who gets sent to Jamaica. ; )


Ifurita | 27 comments The reason every single person resents Gervase is because his father very obviously fostered it. He seems to have taken out his grudge against his first wife on Gervase and taught his family that this was okay. It obviously doesn't hurt that their own self-interest is involved. The Frants do seem to have a tendency to be self-absorbed. I don't believe Theo actively hated Gervase; he is just obsessed with his goal and regards him as an obstacle, which is probably why he manages so well with the I'm-your-only-friend-here act.
I really enjoyed the romance, subtle though it is. Gervase is smart enough to realize that Marianne, though generally a nice girl, is a bit airheaded. I enjoy the way he gradually comes to appreciate the unconventional Drusilla, who may not have the traditional kind of charm but possesses a shrewd intelligence. Once the murder attempts start I think he really comes to see her good qualities.


Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1272 comments You gotta write that version, Elliot!


message 40: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments It seems to me that Gervase has already begun to see Drusilla's value, in a tiny way at least, even before she comes to his rescue after he falls off Cloud. And when a man regains consciousness with his head in a woman's lap, how could something NOT stir in him?


message 41: by Louise (last edited Dec 04, 2015 08:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise Culmer Elliot wrote: "Dorothy Dunnett. perpetually on my personal Mt. To-Be-Read...

And so we come to the end of The Quiet Gentleman, and I am shaking my head, saying...Georgette (may I call you Georgette?) - Georgette..."


gervase is too intelligent to be amused for long by someone like Marianne. i think he and Drusilla are a good match. heyer's heroes always marry the right girl. Theo will probably get a jamaican planter's daughter. martin will fall for some other girl, probably several of them before he finally settles down. And Martin being the villain would be really disappointing - too obvious.


message 42: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Kaso | 503 comments Just so Theo's planter's daughter is not named Bertha Mason...


message 43: by HJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

HJ | 948 comments Ifurita wrote: "The reason every single person resents Gervase is because his father very obviously fostered it. He seems to have taken out his grudge against his first wife on Gervase and taught his family that t..."

I think this is the point. None of them (apart from Theo) have actually met Gervase, since he'd hardly been to Stanyon for years. Hating "him" wasn't personal. As for Theo, we have to remember his father (bad) and his early upbringing (awful), so whether one believes in nature or nurture he was at risk. And then even once he's rescued by his uncle he's constantly made to feel the difference in his status (e.g. not sent to Eton with the others). Meanwhile he and Martin and being poisoned by everything said about Gervase.

What I have always found a little unbelievable about the book is that Gervase, and Lucius for that matter, as eldest sons, went into the army. It really was dangerous being in the Peninsula War (disease etc. as well as actual fighting), and I'd always understood that the eldest sons tended not to go into the army for that reason.


message 44: by HJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

HJ | 948 comments Kim wrote: "Just so Theo's planter's daughter is not named Bertha Mason..."

Good point!


message 45: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Kaso | 503 comments It could be Gervase chose to go into the Army to get away from the family, and no one objected because they hoped Fate or the French would rid the family of him. They all seemed to be passive-aggressively thinking along those lines, and seem to be quite miffed that he survived.


Elliot Jackson | 275 comments HJ wrote: "Ifurita wrote: "The reason every single person resents Gervase is because his father very obviously fostered it. He seems to have taken out his grudge against his first wife on Gervase and taught h..."

all excellent points - Sir Conway, too, goes into the army as the eldest son, and I always wondered about that!


message 47: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Kim wrote: "Just so Theo's planter's daughter is not named Bertha Mason..."

Tee hee! Kim, have you read Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea? And then Ruth Rendell's The Minotaur? If you haven't, I recommend them, and definitely in that order. You'll see why.


message 48: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Kaso | 503 comments Have read Wide Sargasso Sea, and saw the film as well. Will check out Ruth Rendell. I read Jane Eyre for the first time in sixth grade, have read it numerous times since. Read a version by Sharon Shin, I believe, in which she was an android governess in the future. I've seen every film version that I can lay my hands on, many times over, it is 1 of my "go-to" antidotes for the blues. (Another antidote is anything by Jane Austen, the family steers clear when I am immersed in the Colin Firth P&P as they know I am involved in heavy duty cheering up). Jane in films is rarely plain enough to fit the descriptions of her, and Rochester is rarely lacking in the good looks category, but I love them all the same. A personal favorite is the first one I saw, George C. Scott was wonderful of a tad long in the tooth at the time. The score by a young John Williams haunted me long after and I was so happy to be able to buy it on CD and for my iPod.


message 49: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Kaso | 503 comments If a tad long in the tooth...predictive text got me again.


message 50: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments How did George C. Scott handle the accent? I've seen only three films of Jane Eyre--the old Joan Fontaine-Orson Welles one, and two much more recent versions, in which the only actors I recognized were Joan Plowright and Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax. I found that last fact slightly amusing and touching, imagining Judi Dench reasoning that, if Joan Plowright could make something of that role, so could she. (The thought of major stars in supporting roles leads me to think about the Kenneth Branagh Hamlet, which must have cost a fortune to make!)

Anyway, I think you'll enjoy the Minotaur and probably get something out of it that the author of every review I read evidently missed. :)


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