©1951 Georgette Heyer; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I've loved Georgette Heyer's books since I first ran into them in London in the mid-60s. I still love them, and reread the ones I bought in the 60s and 70s. Some of those copies are getting quite worn! Ms Heyer's books are not demanding, not stirring, nor prickly for the conscience. They are simply good fun.
The Quiet Gentleman is one of my favorites, maybe because the heroine isn't beautiful, ultra-talented, or otherwise daunting. Mostly, it's just a book with characters I'd love to count as friends.
My review has 4 stars rather than 5 because I found the "voices" not what I expected. I suppose I "know" the voices already and no reader would quite have the right tone. I mean no disparagement - the book was very well read - I just don't think the narrator quite caught the characters.
I buy Heyer's comedies whenever Audible adds them. I hope they soon add more of her mature, best books: Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Sylvester, The Unknown Ajax, Cotillion, False Colours . . .).
That said, try Devil's Cub (good-humored dashing romance), Sprig Muslin (light-hearted comedy), or A Civil Contract (surprising twists that reverse stereotypes and expectations) before this one. Frankly, they're better books, and Michael Drew, Sian Phillips, and Phyllida Nash each give far better readings Cornelius Garrett does with The Quiet Gentleman.
Garrett's reading here is uninspired, and his shrilly over-the-top characterization of the stepmother makes the recording hard to listen to. Heyer's world is fun despite these flaws; the other recordings are just much better places to start.
Another great Heyer romance, though unusual because the main character is male, unlike most of her works. I really enjoy Heyer's talent for creating characters who are intelligent, dryly humorous, and kind to everyone, whether servants or peers (even to those selfish individuals who don't really deserve it). I also especially like it when a female character who isn't traditionally beautiful or a giddy girl just out of the schoolroom is able to find happiness with a man who values her above the frippery around him. Therefore, this novel was exactly to my taste. Some of the above qualities reminded me of SPRIG MUSLIN and A CIVIL CONTRACT, so if you liked those books, then you will probably enjoy those of this one, too.
I felt that the narrator did a wonderful job, despite what some other reviewers have written. Each character sounded distinct from the others, and the proper inflections for what Heyer wrote were correctly performed (meaning, that I didn't notice Garrett ever saying a passage without irony when it was obviously meant to be ironic, for example). I didn't find any female voices to be grating myself; if, for example, the stepmother seemed to some listeners to be voiced unpleasantly, that seemed fitting because she was a very selfish and unlikeable character. I think that all of the voices fit their characters, personally. His voice for the main character reminded me a little of the one he used for the Duke in THESE OLD SHADES, but I had no problem with that because I enjoyed both characters and could see some similarities in common.
One thing that surprised me was that I figured out a twist in the plot very early on, and normally, I'm not someone who does so, for the most part. However, this is the ninth Heyer novel that I've listened to, so maybe I just have figured out some of how her mind worked by now.
I hope that Audible offers more and more Heyer titles, since there are many not yet available on audio.
Love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance books.
For anyone who likes historical romance, you have to give Georgette Heyer a try. Her books are so well written and so accurate to the period, they are easy to get caught up in and hard to put down.
This one is not her typically romance and most of the plot is dedicated to the mystery of who is trying to kill The Earl of St Erth. But the book is so well written and the characters so well developed, that you are quickly engrossed in the story. What I lover about her books is that all of the characters seem so real and their actions and motivations are believable. The stories, on the surface, seem simple, with her stout, level headed, and even tempered main characters, but then you realize subtle mini dramas that play as the backdrops for her stories are masterfully blended to create a final product that is dramatic, vivid and intriguing.
Only bad thing is the books end too soon...today I am spoiled by epilogues.
One other note to the reader/listener, most know, but some do not: these books were written in the 1920s and 1930s so you are not going to get the overt sexual references that you read in most romance books, if that is what you are looking for in a romance novel, Heyer may not be for you, bu if you like historical romance, you should try one of her books...I recommend Frederica to start.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Oh, this book is such fun! I have long been a fan of Georgette Heyer and her Regency books, but it has been a further joy to discover some of them at Audible.
Georgette Heyer is in a class high above most other historical romance writers. She was genuinely a student of the Regency period in Britain, so her details of manner, fashion, and culture always ring true.
Even better, Heyer had a genius for creating charming and witty characters and language. Her books overflow with entertaining and unforgettable secondary characters as well as with interesting and not-always-the-same heroes and heroines.
"The Quiet Gentleman" is a case in point. Here, our leading lady is an unusual choice: she has intelligence, common sense, and feeling rather than outstanding beauty. The hero has a sense of humor, and there's a very funny stepmother. As much mystery as romance novel, "The Quiet Gentleman" is a light, entertaining, and very enjoyable listen.
I usually prefer women narrating Heyer, but, here, Cornelius Garrett does a fine job.
My only disappointment is that there are so few Heyer offerings at Audible!
When I was a teen I read many of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances and fell in love with her feisty female characters. As an adult I rediscovered Heyer and came to appreciate the range of her characters, the precision of her timing, and her deft hand with dialog. Now I am rediscovering Heyer in audio format and I have been delighted to find several of her books I hadn't yet read. The Quiet Gentleman is one I had not previously read.
I was a bit surprised the book was read by a man, since I thought of her books as primarily appealing to women, but once I got into the story I recognized how appropriate the choice was to have a male reader. Cornelius Garrett did a good job of bringing the characters off the printed page, easily distinguishing each character with a unique accent and manner of speaking, and providing the women with a creditable voice. I often marvel at various readers' abilities to speak for someone of the opposite sex without sounding silly. Heyer's books are built on dialog, so a good reader is essential.
The Quiet Gentleman is one of Heyer's more Austen-like books - its pacing provides a gradual unfolding of the characters as they are revealed through their daily interactions. But several of the characters and the situations provide the delightful satire of manners that I've come to expect in a Georgette Heyer book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this first reintroduction to Georgette Heyer's books and am looking forward to starting the next on my list.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
This is the last of 23 Georgette Heyer books that I've bought here in less than 90 days. I've never read a romance novel in over 55 years as an avid reader but got hooked after falling upon "Frederica" when I couldn't find any available "real" history books to listen to. Impressed by Heyer's mastery of all things from the Regency period, along with detailed characters, I soon got over my aversion to "chick-lit". The narrator here is excellent, adding much to the story with his varied character voices. What makes this a stand-out is that it's more of a mystery story than the regular romance fare, with great suspense and plot twists. (Two of my other favorites are "Behold, Here's Poison" and "The Unfinished Clue", both mysteries. My least fave is "The Nonesuch"). Nobody can create a period gentleman's attention to his clothing like Georgette Heyer! As with all of her books, Heyer's ending here is predictable but only as it relates to who's going to fall in love. I just hate that, for me, it is the last book currently offered on here. I look forward to other titles soon. While waiting, I'll save some money - because, if there were more, I'd be buying them!
This book is slow to develop, but steadily picks up steam. A stellar performance by Garrett.
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books so far! The plot thickens with twists and turns, I was glued to my ipod until I finished it, and I love how she surprises me at the end! Sprig Muslin was great too, and I can't wait for more!
I was extremely disappointed in the narration of this book. The narrator was so bad I couldn't even make it through the first 4 chapters. His tone was abrasive, especially for the female characters. It was truly a disappointment.
I'm not at all sure I would recommend this book because of the awful performance!
Miss Morville - I love her straightness and how she doesn't care one jot about how people think of her. I like that a lot!
His voice is not always pleasant to listen to, but the worst thing is his pronounciation. Unless these things have been researched and found to be as he does pronounce some of the words in this book, in which case he will be correct, of course. But when playing 'fiches' from the French become 'fish' in English, I don't see how a 'valet' is suddenly pronounced in the French(-ish) manner, sounding 'valay'. Same goes for the 'landaulet' and what is it with 'grimace'? He says 'grimACE', stressing the latter part of the word. The way he pronounces 'Sal Volatile' sounds something like 'Sal VolAtiLAY' - very strange. Also, he forgets commas, so I have had to listen several times to a number of sentences because I couldn't work them out until I put in the commas myself and then suddenly they made sense. He does not seem to appreciate the story much in general, and gives a rather deprecating performance. No, I do not like this performance at all.
No - not with this voice.
It might be absolutely wonderful when read by someone who appreciates the story, understands it better and knows how to pronounce his English!
"A delight to return to"
It's a long time since I read this book before, in fact I didn't recall it was set in Lincolnshire, where I now live, so I was able to recognise place names (and occasionally wince at the narrator's mispronunciations).
The romance itself is delightfully quiet and Georgette Heyer initially attempts to mislead the reader about the heroine. I don't think that's a spoiler as other reviews give her away, but it does show the author's skilful craft.
The book starts quite gently, but by mid-point the drama intensifies and we can swoon over the thought of a handsome wounded hero.
There is great comedy as well, particularly with the dowager's complete self-centredness. The one point where the narration was not completely up to scratch was her voice. It was too much like a man who has dressed as a woman for a play - think of the headmistress in the St Trinian's films. As her son is in his early twenties it seems unlikely she would yet be fifty, but she sounded much older. On the other hand Heyer herself seems to think of her as elderly so might have approved of this characterisation.
This has certainly made me look out the other Heyers which I have put aside for a few years.
"A little disappointing ..."
I was a little disappointed with this reading of "The Quiet Gentleman" which is one of my favourite GH novels. I felt the narrator made most of the men sound like male characters in a Wodehouse book!
But horror of all horrors, to pronounce the ancient seat of the Earls of Rutland as 'bel voir' in the french manner is unforgiveable! The correct pronunciation is 'beaver', and has been for centuries. A little research could have prevented this basic error.
"Ruined by narrator"
The story is good with a wide range of (potentially) interesting characters but the irritating and 'over the top' reading and unnecessarily loud narration makes them almost indistinguishable. Do all the characters (except Miss Morville & the Earl) really need to shout at each other all the time? Equally irritating is the mis-pronounciation of words such as 'valet' 'phaeton' and the names of houses, estates and families. This is a historical novel - written with humour - but not treated seriously or researched properly.
When I decided to return it to Audible. The first time I have done so. I know I will never listen to this recording again.
Phillida Nash? Eve Matheson? Almost anyone could do it better with more understanding.
Yes. please re-record. Heyer fans tend to collect the books (myself included) and this is a very good story. A shame not to be able to keep it.
This is a great book to listen to! A culture built with gossip, is mixed with petty etiquette and the overuse of language. Genius!
"Excellent - thoroughly enjoyed this one."
This was never in my Heyer 1st division as a book, but now I've listened to this I'm not sure why. It isn't one of her frothy comedies, but a more low key comedy of manners than usual, with attempted murder as an underlying strand. Doesn't mean it isn't witty, with a wonderfully awful Dowager Countess who, in Cornelius Garrett's hands, one expects any minute to intone "a hand-bag?" a la Edith Evans ( ok, I do know that's Wilde). I agree with a previous reviewer that it's a jarring note to hear the Belvoir pronounced as it is written, but only 3 or so times and not nearly enough to detract from an excellent reading. All the characters very distinct and he even pulls off the difficult feat of making all the women's voices work. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Not as keen on the reader as I am on the book, I found St Erth too drawl-y. It may be reasonably accurate for the period, but it put me out of sympathy with him.
It all got a bit too tempestuous as well, especially where Martin was concerned. However, Heyer makes excellent bedtime listening even when it's not your favourite reader. She set the standard for Regency romances and most others are pale by comparison.
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