Wednesday, September 24, 2008

These Old Shades

Almost two months ago I finished reading my first Georgette Heyer's novel, These Old Shades. I've seen her name flying around a few blogs and heard she wrote some great romance/historical fiction mostly from the Regency England era as well as other eras. I think These Old Shades is from the Georgian Era...but who's counting.

And she is pretty "old school". By that I mean, These Old Shades was written in 1926. Wow! I also think her photo is lovely!

So I was intrigued. Apprently she really researched the history in her novels and she has a huge fan base. There's even a whole website devoted to her and her work.

Anyway, so when I found a copy of These Old Shades at the Mid-Manhattan Library book sale for seventy-five cents...well...obviously it was fate. That and really what quality item can you get for seventy-five cents these days.

Well, I have to say I love her writing. Oh great writing! If you've been wanting some good historical fiction, romance a la Austen-style, check out Heyer's work.

But maybe check out a different one than These Old Shades if it's your first. I've been hearing great things about her book An Infamous Army. But moving on...

Here's the synopsis from the book:

Justin Alastair, the coldhearted Duke of Avon, had revenge in mind as he plucked a flamehaired urchin off the Paris streets. For Avon suspected the truth about his delicately handsome page—that "Léon" was really Léonie and none other than the wicked Comte de Saint Vire's legitimate daughter, deprived of her heritage by the comte's dastardly desire for a male heir. The duke's plan was simple: parade Léonie in front of his enemy and have his adoring, innocent ward reclaim her birthright, destroying her true father in the process. But the duke hadn't expected Léonie's breathtaking transformation or the tender emotions she awoke—and he'd already set his dangerous scheme in motion.…

Haha...yeah. It's a bit weird. So I'm not sure how I feel about the whole older man attracted by girl who's in the disguise of a boy. I mean, there's Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and then there's just weird. So while I will definitely try another Georgette Heyer book and I love her writing style...maybe try a different one than These Old Shades. That said, Leonie was quite a character and you can't help liking her. And I did like it. But it's still weird.

And just because I like book covers I found a few alternatives than the one I have pictured above. Although I'm a bit disappointed. They are a bit boring. Well the second one is just creepy. Although the last one is kind of cool. What do you think?

Have you read a Georgette Heyer novel? Do you like her stuff? Which one would you recommend a newbie read?

Also Reviewed by:

Historical Tapestry

Bookshelves of Doom



  1. I am reading my first Heyer right now - Lady of Quality. I'm maybe 140 pages in and so far am really enjoying it. I used to read a lot of romance, so the formula isn't new, but the dialog is great. It's slow going cause I seem to need to read 8 books at once and this one lives in my purse/bag. I've heard a lot of people recommend Friday's Child (I think, I have it, but I'm not at home to check.)

  2. I listened to Friday's Child on CD while I was driving out to Cali, and it definitely kept me entertained! That was my first Heyer, but I was just sent three reissues for review (yay!): The Conquerer (which is about William the Conquerer), and then two regency ones-Lady of Faro and one other one whose title isn't coming to mind right now...

    Anyway, I definitely think of them as fluff, but well-written and well-researched fluff!

  3. Heyer has never been an author that I've considered reading even though I come across her books time and time again. Perhaps I'll have to look a little more into her!

  4. Hi,
    I'm a great fan and have almost all her books except the modern mysteries and the non-fiction historical ones (like The Conqueror/My Lord John etc.). Her books are well researched and have really independent, fiesty heroines - not typical for the era she writes in. And the humor is subtle, the language is well crafted, the story well researched - what more can one ask for? My favorites are Venetia, Arabella, The Unknown Ajax, The Toll Gate and Regency Buck. The so called Regency Romances that are turned out nowadays are so trashy - but Georgette Heyer was a pioneer of the genre.