Miles from anywhere, Darracott Place is presided over by irascible Lord Darracott. The recent drowning of his eldest son has done nothing to improve his temper. For now he must send for the unknown offspring of the uncle whom the family are never permitted to mention. Yet none of that beleaguered family are prepared for the arrival of the weaver’s brat and heir apparent.
©1959 Georgette Heyer (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
It is 100 years earlier than Downton but has a lot of similar themes, the inheritance of an estate, feuding family members, upstairs & downstairs characters, and of course a romance. Heyer reinvented the Regency genre in the 20th century and they are generally predictable, but she does have a distinctive hero in this one, not the usual man about town. There is a subplot that is a sort of mystery and takes up too much time.
The narration is excellent. There are many similar characters, brothers & cousins, and Philpott makes them all distinctive. Also there is a plot point around the way the main character speaks and he renders that very well.
I kept seeing one of the Hemsworth brothers as the Ajax. (Liam or Chris would be lovely) A wonderfully charming tale with the least amount of problems for the characters. Narrator does a good job.
This is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer titles, and listening to the narration by Daniel Philpott makes it just perfect.
Hugo Darracott unexpectedly becomes the heir to his grandfather, Lord Darracott. They have never met, because Hugo's father married a "weaver's daughter" and was cut off by his snobbish, irascible sire. When Hugo arrives at the estate his grandfather shares with his widowed daughter-in-law and her two almost-grown children, he realizes that they are expecting to meet with an uneducated, uncouth common working man, so he decides to give them exactly what they expect.
In reality, Hugo is a (recently sold-out) major in the army, educated at Harrow, and vastly wealthier than anyone else in the family, so he has fun impersonating a hick (or whatever the British term would be for a hick). A major plot point involves the broad Yorkshire accent that Hugo affects as part of his spoof. I found it difficult to follow when reading the book, but the audiobook was so much better.
There are lots of characters, feuding valets, and skullduggery afoot, and Daniel Philpott finds the perfect voice for everyone. It's light on romance -- really more of a comedy of manners. This is one of Heyer's best comedies, though, so I highly recommend it to Heyer fans.
As I listened, I kept thinking what a wonderful play this story would make, something that never occurred to me when reading the book.
Still not sure. I do like to 'hear' the story, though I still have to refer to the print version sometimes to look up unfamiliar phrasing or decipher British pronunciations. Also, it is still bothersome that there are no track divisions in the audio version, so that I can skip back 3 or so minutes to re-listen to some wording I didn't understand, or when I'm interrupted by my husband or a phone call.
Perhaps the Major and Claude's visit to Rye; hilarious.
Ajax (Hugo) definitely; the Major had such FUN bamboozling the family in dumbing himself down to conform to the family's expectations of his status and academic learning, and Mr. Philpott did such an excellent reading of his dialogue.
Again, Ajax, because his performance in hoaxing the family was so entertaining.
I enjoy Georgette Heyer's novels so much because they make me laugh and chuckle and giggle; there's usually a bit of danger to characters' reputations - and sometimes actual danger - and serious parts, but there's always comedic relief, which she did so VERY well.
I've listened to The Unknown Ajax several times already. It's an exceptionally entertaining - and leisurely - story with laugh-out-loud moments. There are fabulous performances by Daniel Philpott (I use the plural very consciously!). Each character is clearly defined and right on the money.
My favorite scene? Of course, it's the climactic scene, where Hugo saves Richmond and the Darracotts. It's got all the necessary ingredients--drama, suspense, and a lot of humor--and is capped by the timely and jaw-dropping arrival of "mere female" Lady Aurelia, who unexpectedly but deftly brings Hugo's clever scenario to its finale.
With Georgette Heyer, you can always expect a "perfect" man, and this is no exception--Hugo Darracott fits the bill beautifully.
Absolutely. The reader is perfect, the story is exciting and hilarious.
The 'tableau' at the end was hilarious and exciting.
His characters were easy to recognize, his dialects were spot on.
Several of the moments where you see how incredibly patient the main character is were very moving.
Highly recommended and I hope to listen to more books by both author and reader.
Slightly predicatable, but a good light read. Not Georgette Heyer at her best. Daniel Philpott gives a good performance.
I have enjoyed Georgette Heyer's books for many years, so will definitely continue with the audio versions. Daniel philpott brings the characters to life, and there is no difficulty discerning the various characters.
The final acts of the story were the best parts of the book, and showed why Georgette Heyer is so thoroughly enjoyed.
However, I found that this story really dragged along slowly from the beginning and up to the mid section, which is not the way Heyer normally writes.
His handling of Hugo's voice was well done - especially when he deliberately lapsed from well spoken to adopting the Yorkshire brogue.
No. This book was complete in itself.
I wouldn't recommend a new listener to Georgette Heyer to begin an acquaintance with this author with the Unknown Ajax.
I would suggest that either "Sprig Muslin", or "Cotillion" would be the best books to begin an acquaintance with Georgette Heyer's delightful storytelling.
It is well performed and a good story
The hero pretending to be uneducated and putting on an accent as if he was so
Made me laugh
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