The honourable Christopher Fancot, on leave from the Diplomatic Service in the summer of 1817, is startled to find his entrancing but incorrigibly extravagant mother on the brink of financial and social ruin - and more than alarmed that his identical twin, Evelyn, Earl of Denville, has disappeared without trace.
Christopher, or Kit, the respectable brother, is forced into an outrageous masquerade by his wayward family's tangled affairs. But in the face of Evelyn's continued absence, even Kit's ingenuity is stretched to the limit.
©1963 Georgette Heyer; ©2014 Audible, Inc.
Phyllida Nash's excellent performance lets the quirky, likeable characters sparkle in this wonderful, witty comedy.
After a few calm pages that let us find our balance, Kit learns that his mother and brother are teetering on the brink of crisis. After that, it's unexpected turns and convolutions all the way to the end.
The story would be amusing and thoroughly satisfying even if you've never heard of Regency England. But having more background lets you appreciate its breadth and depth of authenticity.
If this were a movie, it would get a whole bundle of Oscar nominations: screenplay, leading and supporting character performances, costumes, setting, cinematography, and direction. It all seems light and effortless, but wow, it's a delightful masterpiece.
I've been reading Georgette Heyer's regencies for years - some of the books many times. "False Colours" has never been one of my favorites.
That said, this is still so much better than most romances. The age-old plot of twins being mistaken for each other is used effectively. There's sparkle and wit in the characters and some question as to how the whole thing will be resolved. Even secondary Heyer makes for a diverting and enjoyable listen!
I think Phyllida Nash is a wonderful narrator for Georgette Heyer.
Phyllida Nash is my favorite reader for Georgette Heyer books. Heyer builds her stories with sparkling dialog, and Nash is spot on with all voices. As with many Heyer book's this one relies on situational comedy, and Nash has unfailingly perfect timing in her reading that makes the most of the comedy. I had read this book in print, and I will say that Nash's performance makes it even better.
As the story unfolds, I was reminded of Shakespeare's comedies and some Wooster/Jeeves misunderstandings, but even when Heyer's characters are silly, she draws them with so much affection, they don't come off as completely ridiculous.
Georgette Heyer's story about one twin taking the place of another was tons of fun. Heyer really knows how to draw a character.
The moment I enjoyed most in the book was when Kit Fancot, the twin who was forced to step into his brother's shoes, creates a scheme to untangle the tangle the deception caused.
The performance was superb as is usual with Phylida Nash. I don't know how one voice can portray numerous characters, male and female, but she pulls it off.
The main characters: the cool Kit, his lovely mother and smart Cressy, his beloved. They are wonderfully portrayed, complex human beings that go through several transformations in their feelings and relationships as the novel progresses.
First, the setup: serious Kit poses as his rakish twin brother, Evelyn, who is nowhere to be found and must appear at a family function to save his upcoming nuptials. The hoax turns out to be much more complicated than originally envisioned, making for a thoroughly enjoyable plot. Also I greatly enjoyed the description of an English manor house in the early 19th century, the food, the clothing and the general setting. It's full of interesting detail that brings an old story into the present.
I listened to and enjoyed the Black Moth.
I'm looking forward to more books by Georgette Heyer, a novelist I feel fortunate to have discovered.
Engaging, engrossing, amusing
The element of suspense, will Kit succeed in rescuing his twin and solving his family's problems? Will the lovers find a way out of the embrolio? Not one but two charming men to contemplate in this engaging conspiracy.
I enjoy Phyllida Nash's reading but she excels in this story. One can feel the characters come to life with her skilful acting of the different roles and the excellent characterisation she creates. I loved the way she brought the banter between the twins to life.
Kit Fancot is a thoroughly entrancing hero who combines intelligence and good humour with patience and sensitivity but his mother Lady Denville with her sublime ability to rationalise problems away and her delightful insouciance and charm must be the most memorable character in this delightful story.
This is one of Georgette Heyer's best novels with a strong storyline and engaging characters. The element of suspense adds to the romance and provides a strong focus as the story unfolds. As usual, the author's historical knowledge creates an authentic setting for this amusing tale of deception.
I have loved Georgette Heyer for over 50 years and have been reading and re-reading her and this is typical of her sparkling comedy of manners stories.
Loved Phyllida Nash's interpretation of the various characters - she brought them beautifully to life.
Omigod this book was SO FUN. It was just pure delight and put a smile on my face more than once. Which felt a bit silly because I was listening to an audiobook, usually on public transport, and sitting there grinning like a fool to myself. But I didn't care because it was awesome. What could be more fun that twins switch places?
Oh right, hot twins switching places. In Regency England. And having to pretend to be engaged. And actually falling in love. And all the many complications such a situation entails. You see, Lord Denville disappears, which is not necessarily something for his family to worry about, coz he's like that, except he's supposed to meet his new fiance's family. It's a marriage of convenience on both sides but it's important because his mother is badly in debt and he needs to get married to get his inheritance and help her out. Luckily, his twin Kit, who lives overseas, has a bad feeling in his gut and shows up just in time to pretend to be his brother for one night for the important dinner. Except one night turns into weeks when his brother's fiance's grandmother invites herself and her grandaughter to stay with Kit-as-Denville and his mother at their house in the country. Hilarity ensues.
But, importantly, this story isn't mere farce, thanks largely to the touching and genuine-feeling relationships. Kit is devoted to his brother and mother - indeed it's the only reason he allows himself to be dragged into the kerfuffle to begin with - and both are equally devoted to him. There is so much endearing affection in every interaction between the three, but especially between Kit and his mother, as it's their relationship that is at the centre of much of the book. I also really liked the openness and communicative nature of Kit's developing relationship with Cressy, false identity notwithstanding. There was a delightful chemistry between them and it was all very charming. Even Kit's relationships with his devoted-but-blunt servants were heartwarming.
Phyllida Nash was a great narrator, with an engaging voice, distinct and natural-sounding characters and easy pace. However, perhaps because I'm not overly familiar with Heyer's writing, having only read a couple of her works years ago, I did struggle with the language a bit. While it being an audiobook helped somewhat with understanding the tone, it did have the downside of not really being able to stop and look up a work or phrase when I needed to (otherwise I would have been doing so constantly). A few times I was a bit confused and had to relisten, and eventually I did look up a Heyer glossary which helped a little. But I didn't really mind relistening, anyway - in fact, I quite enjoyed it. That's how much fun it was. Even without fully comprehending everything, I adored this story, and definitely want to read - or listen to - more of Heyer's work.
I have listened to a number of Heyer books. This one seems really heavy on expository talk, and light on action or events. The narrator or characters are tell us about background information and off stage events, and that seems to make up the bulk of the book.
This book attempted to be charming and period-based... it ended up being ridiculous and shallow, with obnoxious characters that you long to kill off.
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