I try to avoid abridged books. But I was in the mood for a good narrator, and chose this book solely because it was done by Richard Armitage. I loved how seductive he was in the book Venetia. Unfortunately Sylvester did not have any sensual or seductive scenes, but I still enjoyed the narration.
As to the story, I was surprised, delighted, and smiled many times. It reminded me sadly of how not enough of todays’ authors can do what Heyer does. She draws and shows her characters so full and interesting.
To create conflict authors sometimes have characters do things that go against a character’s normal motivation. That’s tricky. If not well done it’s annoying. Heyer does it well. Here are examples of Heyer doing unexpected things and justifying it.
When Sylvester first met Phoebe he was rude. He found Phoebe plain looking and dull. The dullness was because she was accompanied by her difficult stepmother. Phoebe’s unbecoming clothes were also due to the stepmother. Months later Phoebe’s stepmother told her that Sylvester was coming to their home to offer marriage for her. Phoebe’s reaction was to run off and stay elsewhere to avoid this. Sylvester had no intention of offering marriage. The stepmother was wrong. But when Sylvester heard that Phoebe ran off rather than be with him, he decided he wanted vengeance because his self esteem was injured. So he decides to make Phoebe desire him, and then he will reject her.
Later when Sylvester sees Phoebe so forlorn about something yet trying to put on a brave smile, Sylvester did something nice for her. He did it “on impulse” which didn’t fit his vengeance motivation of the moment. But I bought it because he was reacting to the emotion on her face - like seeing a hurt puppy.
Sylvester knew that Phoebe’s grandmother would not welcome Phoebe. When Phoebe asked Sylvester if the grandmother would welcome her, he said yes. Sylvester was being ornery to both Phoebe and the grandmother. He enjoyed the idea of annoying the grandmother. Actually it was a surprise later when the grandmother welcomed Phoebe, because the grandmother had been bored recently.
So you have orneriness and surprising interactions. It was fun rather than slapstickish.
Why not 5 stars?
I wanted more romance at the end - more showing how their feelings developed. But I never get enough of that from Heyer. Also, this was abridged. It’s maybe a third the length of a regular novel.
Genre: historical romance
Absolutely! Georgette Heyer tells a fantastic story with thoroughly entertaining characters and an engaging plot. Richard Armitage's narration brings the characters to life, providing easily discernible voices and infusing the dialogue with the humor characteristic of vintage Regency romances. This is an altogether delightful listening experience.
I think Sylvester can be loosely compared to Pride and Prejudice in a few respects. The hero and heroine each form unflattering initial opinions of one another and the misunderstanding continues until the last few pages of the book. Sylvester is similar to Mr. Darcy in that he takes it upon himself to help Phoebe out of the a number of difficult circumstances. Both books also have a few very memorable supporting characters (Mr. Collins, Miss Bingley, Tom Ord, Ianthe) who provide comic relief as well as foils for their respective counterparts.
I think my favorite scene is when Phoebe meets Sylvester's mother and discovers more about his character and true feelings for her.
I loved who the narrator was. It was a little funny to hear him speak out the female character voices, but a definite pleasure to hear his warm voice giving life to one of Ms. Heyer's favorite heroes.
The fact that it gives your heart a tug when I listen to the story instead of reading it.
Sylvester and his mother. Simply cheeky and adorable.
Have to admit that I bought this because Richard Armitage is the narrator. He does a masterful performance of the rolls in this novel. He does women's voices so well that one forgets all of the voices are being performed by one person. The novel is fine also and I have purchased other Heyer books as I like the genre. This one and the other that RA did will always be my favorites. I wish he would do more audio.
OK, I admit it. I bought this audiobook solely because it is narrated by Richard Armitage. I just had to find out if he was a good narrator. And he was very good. Not as great as Colin Firth who hit everything spot on (and who is my favorite actor narrator) but Armitage was pretty darn close. My only complaint with Armitage was that all the older ladies sounded like they were on their deathbeds and I could never tell if they were about to die or not.
As for the story itself, it was pretty good too. For years people have been telling me that I need to read Georgette Heyer but she's one of those writers that I just hadn't got around to yet. This story in particular is a regency romance but it is a lot like Pride & Prejudice. It had the same feel to it. The main girl disliked the guy because he was arrogant and the guy disliked the girl for the same reasons Mr. Darcy disliked Elizabeth Bennett. It was quick witted and hilarious. I will definitely be picking up more of her stories.
Richard Armitage brings these characters to life with his many wonderful and varied voices. He gives each one a distinct personality which draws the reader into the book. I cannot say not enough about this talented man. I purchased this book solely for his narration and was not disappointed.
I'm discovering that audio books are a new lifestyle for me now that I'm always on the go. Don't get me wrong though, I still love a good book in hand!
Having the story narrated by Richard Armitage was the best decision ever. His English accent and flavorful portrayal of the characters brought the story to life for me.
Sylvester was my favorite character. Usually these stories highlight the faults and trials of the heroine and it was refreshing to have a male more at the heart of the story. A flawed hero .
The scene at the first Inn was my favorite.
YES. Seriously because of the narrator and partly because I was curious how it was going to end.
History student with VERY eclectic tastes. Too busy to actually sit down and read most of the time so audiobooks have saved my sanity.
I enjoyed this story for the most part. I didn't realize it was an abridged version until I had finished it and came on here to rate it. This made perfect sense to me because there are a few points where the story seems to jump forward and character relationships seem to have really moved along in a very short time. This doesn't really hurt the story in my opinion, but it was noticeable. Also, why would you not get Armitage to read the full version? The more Armitage you have the better it is.
Yes, yes, I know...it's abridged. I think most everyone could agree that an unabridged version would have provided more color and nuance. What the story missed in content, however, was more than made up for in the skillful narration.
I have always enjoyed the acting talents of Richard Armitage but this is the first time I've listened to his narration. The man is totally a one-man-show! His vocal characterizations are well-rounded and highly entertaining, bringing the characters wholly to life.
All in all, even with quite a bit of the story ending up on the cutting room floor, I found this to be an engaging listen...particularly for the price!