Captain John Staple’s exploits in the Peninsula had earned him the sobriquet Crazy Jack amongst his fellows in the Dragoon Guards. Now home from Waterloo, life in peacetime is rather dull for the adventure-loving captain. But when he finds himself lost at an unmanned toll-house in the Pennines, his soldiering days suddenly pale away beside an adventure - and romance - of a lifetime.
©1954 Georgette Heyer (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I LOVE GEORGETTE HEYER!!!!! And this is a really fun book!!! Mystery, laughs, & romance! Daniel Hill is ... (disagreeing somewhat with a previous reviewer) ... a fairly good reader who goes over the top sometimes, and when he goes over the top he makes the character that he is reading sound like an asthmatic that is trying to shout while having an asthma attack. Luckily, this happens less and less as the story progresses. I was able to get past this issue pretty easily. (And if he sounds familiar ... he played the obnoxious Harvey Nigel Baines in the BBC's '90s sit-com "Waiting for God".)
This classic Georgette Heyer is sparkling! I have bought all of the unabridged Heyer books, and have listened to them more that once. I am impressed with the quality of the narrators of her books, and Daniel Hill is no exception. I think the lively dialogue and period idioms challenge the narrators. Hill amused me as much as Heyer with his lively performance.
I have read and re-read these books since I was a child and they are all wonderful! Please don't fob us off with abridged versions though - two of my favorites, Venetia and Slyvester are only here in an abridged versions, and there is no point in even trying to listen to them if they do not contain every beautiful word and cant phrase!
Have you ever wanted an Audible book and it finally showed up? You are so excited! BUT, then you hear to the WORST voice you have ever listened to!!!
I will listen to this again,(because I LOVE the book) but Audible PLEASE don't have Daniel Hill narrate anymore Georgette Heyer books.
His normal voice is pleasant...his characters are horrible.
I love Audible...I don't have the time anymore to sit down and read. I listen as I am working on a project. Thank you so much for the wonderful books you have.
Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.
Not the book for you if you enjoy a 'will he, will she' romance. This is an adventure amongst blokes( including a highwayman with a heart of gold) salted with enough local idiom to make you scream for mercy. The narrator makes a good fist of it and the hero is a good'un but I don't think Ms Heyer would have rated this as one of her finest.
Narrative makes the world go round.
For the most part, I'm really enjoying the Heyer novels available on Audible. I can suspend my disbelief and 21st century sensibilites and sympathecially enter the universe she creates --For me, she shatters this otherwise moral universe in this and in "Devil's Cub" with a casual, flippant attitude towards violence --- Too bad, because 90% of this one is prime Heyer - more her mystery mode than romance, though.
If you are a casual Heyer reader, I'd suggest choosing another of her novels. If you don't agree with my "violence" objection, the narration, while OK, is not up to par with most of the others and her usual plot elements are better woven in several others.
Georgette Heyer's most enjoyable romances are always the ones with a mystery entwined in the story. The mystery in The Toll-Gate is particularly well constructed, and it is both historically based and very comprehensible to the modern reader.
Daniel Hill does a very good job of keeping the voices distinct, and the reading is fluent and easy to listen to. The novel is full of extraordinary characters, and Hill's reading captures them well
The story is classic Georgette Heyer with a little less romance than usual and a little more adventure. The narration on the other hand was horrible. I try to be charitable because it is a hard job to narrate characters that many people know and love but he made the main character, John, sound like a pirate or criminal. It was disconcerting considering John is educated and comes from a good family. He actually did a better job with the females than the males.
I read most of Georgette Heyer's romantic novels when in my late teens and early twenties. They're almost all light hearted fun, with some seriously funny bits thrown in. This one doesn't have as much hilarity as some, but it is an excellently crafted story of adventure and romance in regency England.
The first time I listened to this book, I was a little bewildered. For a romance novel, the romance seemed a bit skimpy. It can be summarized thusly: You're tall?...I'm tall!!! We're both tall. Let's get married. With a second listen I could see that the true romance of this story was the adventure and that it is the secondary characters who bring the story to life. Daniel Hill is memorable as he puts life into each of the different characters so you feel like you know them.
"An excellently read version"
I have always enjoyed this book but usually 'skipped' the bits I did not understand! The reader gives an excellent rendition of the story and, for the first time for me, brings to life the rich clever narrative of 18th Century broad Yorkshire mixed with thieves cant, I think! I enjoyed the audible version so much that I have passed it on to my 80 year old Mum who has also given it a delighted thumbs up and now wishes me to download more for her! A slightly different Georgette Heyer Regency Romance but very enjoyable.
"More action, less manners - but vintage Heyer"
Having devoured the Heyer paperbacks in my teens I'm now, years later, devouring the audio versions and this one was a delight. Daniel Hill's voice is very familiar to anyone who watched Waiting for God and I wondered if that would spoil it, but not at all. He read it excellently with very clearly defined characters all of whom were brought to to life convincingly, even the few women. This is a more male cast than normal though. The only voice which was not as I'd heard it in my head was Crazy Jack himself but I soon accepted the audio version. Georgette Heyer didn't write action novels, but this one is about as close as she gets. Murder, betrayal, Bow Street Runners, high drama - more like the style of The Unknown Ajax, The Reluctant Widow and The Talisman Ring than her drawing room comedies of manners. If you enjoyed those, I think you'll enjoy this. I actually got more out of this version than when I read the book and will listen to it again in a year or so, so very glad I downloaded it.
"The Toll Gate"
Wonderfully interpreted by Daniel Hill. I've loved The Regency series of books since my childhood, and I was not disappointed in this excellent version.
I've read this book many times and love it. I've already listened to two excellent audio versions of other Heyer favourites (The Talisman Ring and The Reluctant Widow) so I was really looking forward to this, but was disappointed. It's really very patchy. At times it sounds as if the narrator had never seen the book before he recorded it and isn't paying it very much attention. All too often he launches into a sentence as if it were heading in one direction, but it finishes somewhere else entirely, so his intonation is all wrong. Some of the voices he gives to the characters are very good, but John Staple, who has more to say than anyone else, sounds as if he's giving a speech rather than holding a conversation most of the time. It's really very odd. The fight in the cavern towards the end is read rather like a racing commentary. I almost gave up in irritation several times. If you don't know the story well, you may not be bothered by these things. If you do - be warned.
The overall Heyer story. However, I found the narrator's voice quite grating and the range of characters' voices were not up to the usual standard of narrators such as Phyllida Nash.
His voice does not have the timbre that I mentally associate with Georgette Heyer books.
Bowling along at a tremendous pace The Toll Gate introduces us to a host of characters including an orphan, highwayman, bow street runner, ex captain of the dragoon guards and dandy. Any woman of more than average height like myself will warm to the heroine and swoon happily as she is swept up by a man that she can truly look up to! Daniel Hill reads in a 'boys own' style which suits the story admirably laying on the melodrama as the grand finale in the cavern is reached. Great literature it may not but a thoroughly enjoyable listen it most certainly is.
I listened to this having not read it since the early 1990s and thoroughly enjoyed it again. It was well read and the characters were easy to follow. The story is of its time, ie innocent, no sex scenes, but it made very easy listening and made a long boring job go much faster.
I wish I'd read all the reviews before purchasing this book. Having listened to other Georgette Heyer books, which I enjoyed, and having read this one several times I cast caution to the wind and bought it without having done so. Sadly this version was a dissapointment. Like one of the previous reviews I found the voices given to the characters to be very odd, Captain Staple, described as a giant of a man, has a slightly thin, nasal voice more suited to a much smaller man, probably a fop or a dandy to boot. Several times it seemed as though the narrator began a sentance as one character then suddenly realised he had the wrong person and had to change voice. Also the habit of over emotional drama given to some areas of conversation became very irritating (almost everything said by Ben), as was the tendancy for a sentance or conversation to begin in one place and end elsewhere, resulting in some frankly bizarre intonation, the narrator being obviously unfamiliar with the book.
"Adventure and Romance"
Good paced story, kept listener's attention. Excellent narrator, wide variety of voices, all credible.
The mixture of romance and adventure, the broad range of characters.
When John first meets Nell.
Overall a really good story that holds your attention, first chapter does not quite sit with rest of book.
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