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These Old Shades | [Georgette Heyer]

These Old Shades

Society believes the worst of Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon who is clearly proud of his Sobriquet, Satanas. It is he who buys Leon body and soul from a scoundrel in a Paris backstreet.
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Publisher's Summary

Society believes the worst of Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon who is clearly proud of his Sobriquet, Satanas. It is he who buys Leon body and soul from a scoundrel in a Paris backstreet.

©2002 Georgette Heyer; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (441 )
5 star
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4.6 (303 )
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4.2 (299 )
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  •  
    A 06-14-10
    A 06-14-10 Member Since 2013

    No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on BookLikes. Audible Member since 2002!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My second favorite Georgette"

    These Old Shades is so good and so well emblazoned in my memory that even a lousy narrator cannot ruin it. I have lost count of how many times I have read the book since I first read it when I was a teenager. Having it on my pod makes it even easier to reread.

    Avon is the most roguish of GH's heroes and Leonie is his foil. The sparks fly as in no other GH except maybe Devils Cub and the Masqueraders (which i am still waiting to see here). Even an iffy reader cannot ruin the magic.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jinjer 03-27-09
    Jinjer 03-27-09
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    "Excellent!"

    Almost all of Georgette Heyer books are excellent, and this one is no exception. The storyline holds your interest and the characters are captivating. The narrator is first-rate, providing different voices for the characters in a natural way. I was very pleased overall.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin Texas 10-03-12
    Kristin Texas 10-03-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Always a favorite"

    This has always been one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books. I'm always worried about listening to a favorite because I already have the character's voices in my head. Cornelius Garrett did a good job. I thought Leone should have had a stronger French accent but overall I liked it. Great story!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lulu 06-07-12
    Lulu 06-07-12

    I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Perfect Marraige of Book and Narrator"

    Georgette Heyer books have been narrated by some of the best narrators around. Cornelius Garrett is not a narrator that can narrate a wide range of books. His unique voice limits the options. But on this book, he is perfect. He captures the idiosyncratic main character perfectly and his vocalization of the secondary characters, especially those included to provide humor are spot-on.

    This also a great tale. There really aren't any heroes and no one is too much a villain that you despise them. It is really the story of two lonely misfits who finally find each other and then almost blow it. I loved it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Sunderland, MA, United States 09-18-11
    Carol Sunderland, MA, United States 09-18-11 Member Since 2015

    Classical history buff. Love books, ballet, and basketball.

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    "Loved It"

    I enjoy most of Georgette Heyer's books, but really *loved* this one. The Duke of Avon is perhaps Heyer's most memorable character (she must have thought so too, since she resurrected him from a slightly different incarnation that appears in her first-ever book, "The Black Moth," and then brought him back for a sequel--I think the only time she ever did that--in "Devil's Cub.")

    I was swept up in this one from the beginning. Love the narration, the story, and the hero(s), and really love Leonie, our heroine (who also shows up again in Devil's Cub). Ending is somewhat surprising given Heyer's usually lighthearted approach, but all works together for the best.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 09-18-11
    Carol Massachusetts 09-18-11

    Good writing has ... a balance and a rhythm. You can feel that much better when it's read aloud. --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved It"

    I enjoy most of Georgette Heyer's books, but really *loved* this one. The Duke of Avon is perhaps Heyer's most memorable character (she must have thought so too, since she resurrected him from a slightly different incarnation that appears in her first-ever book, "The Black Moth," and then brought him back for a sequel--I think the only time she ever did that--in "Devil's Cub.")

    I was swept up in this one from the beginning. Love the narration, the story, and the hero(s), and really love Leonie, our heroine (who also shows up again in Devil's Cub). Ending is somewhat surprising given Heyer's usually lighthearted approach, but all works together for the best.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian 11-28-09
    Marian 11-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator got it wrong"

    I love this book and would give it five stars but for the narrator. I always imagined Justin's voice would be a silky, bored drawl. This nasally whine is very off-putting and unromantic. I felt that the narrator doesn't get that this is a romance. Who wants to hear the hero whine?

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Macksville, Australia 12-13-10
    Amazon Customer Macksville, Australia 12-13-10
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    "Classic Heyer.... poor narration"

    A classic "Georgette Heyer" which has been let down in the audible format by the strange reading of the Duke of Avon character..... the narrator, to my mind, does not catch the nuances of this character at all..... which is a shame as the book is excellent..... The follow up book of "Devil's Cub" is narrated in a much improved style and is highly recommended.... I do hope my favourite of Heyer's Regency romances...i.e. "The Grand Sophy" soon makes it into the "available list" of Audible.com

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie abingdon, MD, USA 10-17-09
    Leslie abingdon, MD, USA 10-17-09 Member Since 2009
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    "What a Disappointment!"

    I first read this book back in the 60s; I was very excited by the prospect of being able to enjoy the tale once again - only this time by listening to it being read. However, the actor who narrated the book is TERRIBLE. He is so bad in fact that I couldn't even finish listening to the story. Very disappointing.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roseanna Lubbock, TX, United States 01-24-13
    Roseanna Lubbock, TX, United States 01-24-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Justin is an actor"
    What made the experience of listening to These Old Shades the most enjoyable?

    I really enjoyed the reader's performance. He was amazingly consistent in his characterizations of the 'cast of thousands.' This book was one that I have listened to many times. Multiple listens have allowed me to create a movie in my mind that is very well paced.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I really liked Justin best. He initially was presented as an elegant sissy, but his actions proved he was a formidible foe. He was intensely loyal.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene in the Abbey when he found Leonie after she ran away was my favorite.


    If you could take any character from These Old Shades out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would like to talk to Justin over dinner to ask him why he adopted such outlandish affectations in social settings.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader/actor was remarkable. I know others found his performance distracting but I think they were wanting a "reader" rather than a "performer." This is one of my favorite Heyer novels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Mrs
    10/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Absolutely AWFUL!"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Anyone who has read and loves this book will be appalled by the totally inappropriate voice given to the main character (the Duke of Avon) by the narrator. Other reviews have remarked on this too. I wish I had not wasted my money. Someone else suggested it should be rerecorded by Michael Drew who narrated the sequel brilliantly. I agree. I listened to the first chapter then turned it off and if I could totally delete it and get a refund I would.


    What other book might you compare These Old Shades to, and why?

    Devil's Cub, the sequel. That's a good reading!


    Would you be willing to try another one of Cornelius Garrett’s performances?

    Absolutely not, especially if he is reading Georgette Heyer.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I DO LOVE this book. I have reread it time after time. But this audio version is DIRE!!


    Any additional comments?

    For goodness sake, get another recording of this done. One in which the narration reflects the story. I can't understand how a narrator or those doing the recording could get it so wrong! Garrett bellows a line of dialogue that ends "said the Duke softly". How can you do that if you are narrating properly?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Kitty
    6/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Lovely story but distracting narration"
    What did you like best about These Old Shades? What did you like least?

    The story is lovely and one of Georgette Heyer's best.it's a lovely bit of romantic escapism. The accuracy of the regency politics, personalities and fashions brings the story to life.


    What didn’t you like about Cornelius Garrett’s performance?

    Most of his narration was lively and engaging, unfortunately the voice he gives the lead character is distracting as he makes him some sleazy and creepy which doesn't fit with the character at all.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. REP
    Midlands, UK.
    7/29/12
    Overall
    "Enjoyable, but..."

    This is one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books, slightly let down for me by the narrator - I just HATED how he pronounced "Leonie".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephanie
    Belper, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
    2/28/09
    Overall
    "My Favorite"

    I first read These Old Shades when I was a very young teenager and have been in love with Justin ever since. It is funny, poignant and oh, so heart-stoppingly romantic. Decades later, it still makes me feel fourteen again whenever I read it. Why then, do I only give it 4 stars instead of 5. Because the reader is so awful. He reads this and The Devil's Cub, the story about Justin and Leonie's son and he makes both so dreary. Please, please, please will someone get them re-recorded?

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • F
    SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom
    8/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb story"
    What did you like most about These Old Shades?

    How Justin's hard & world-weary character blossomed as a result of him doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, and his gentleness towards his ward who then became his love. I also enjoyed his relationships with Hugh & then Anthony & Armand.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I really enjoyed the way that GH made Justin so incredibly wise & patient in order to get his quarry. I also thought that his tenderness towards Leonie was touching. I thought the penultimate chapter in Anjou was charming.


    What about Cornelius Garrett’s performance did you like?

    Really excellent. I thought the way he narrated Justin's measured, all-knowing voice was perfect. I initially struggled with his voice sounding like a 60 year old (rather than a young man of 40) but I guess the age of 40 in the regency period was considered middle-aged/old. I loved Leonie, and the way he portrayed her in an impish way & I laughed out loud each time Rupert had a line or two, as he was so funny.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to Devil's Cub first, and having enjoyed it so much, went 'back' to read TOS. I intend to re-listen to Devil's Cub, but I didn't enjoy Justin's voice in Devil's Cub, the reader had him as a man with nasal issues, and Leonie voice was less impish (though in all fairness she would have aged 24 years), and my memory of poor Fanny was as Lady Bracknell. I wish Cornelius Garrett would have read Devil's Cub too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maggie
    5/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mixed reviews! I thought it was excellent"
    Any additional comments?

    Seems I'm out of step with the majority of reviewers on this one, firstly because this book has never ranked amongst my Heyer favourites. I always thought it too stylised, without enough of the humour of the later comedies of manners. I was determined to plough through it though, so I could follow the Alastair / Taverner mini saga through all 4 to the finish with the brilliant An Infamous Army.

    I enjoyed this spoken version far more than reading the book, and felt Cornelius Garrett's narration was good. Lots of comments on here saying others disliked the way he voiced Justin. From the outset I felt quite the opposite - a smooth impersonation, not of Alan Rickman as someone else requested, but pure Edward Fox in full sardonic mode. For me, that worked.

    On one thing I do agree with everyone else though - Devil's Cub is much more fun. Having enjoyed These Old Shades more than I expected, I'm really looking forward to that.

    ps - lots of requests on here for fresh narrations. Audible, if you are recording more, please find someone to re-read an all time favourite, Frederica. The existing one is so dire I returned it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jan
    Crawley, United Kingdom
    2/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story but regrettable narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would recommend this but would warn about the standard of the narration


    What was one of the most memorable moments of These Old Shades?

    I already knew the story so this is difficult to answer because I found that the narrator completely misread the character and voice of the Duke if Avon.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The main protagonist is described as " sinister" and is understood to be powerful and vengeful, however the voice he was given was as an old man and it is difficult to believe in him as "Satanas" or as passionately in love with and desirable to a much younger person such as Leonie


    Any additional comments?

    Get the book re- recorded by Julian Rhind-Tutt

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    Stanford-in-the-Vale, United Kingdom
    11/23/09
    Overall
    "These Old Shades"

    Excellently read!

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Ray
    WORTHING, United Kingdom
    8/13/11
    Overall
    "wonderful"

    How diverse our opinions are on the narration of this wonderful book. For me C. Garrett brings the characters to life and I was very happy to listen to his interpretation of same

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Teresa Cooper
    1/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long live Georgette Heyer's books. "

    What can I say. A very fine book well narrated by Cornelius Garrett. G.H is the mistress of history (and crime) bring the life characters who live like as it was in the chosen era. I wish there was a wider range of G.H's work. But a good listen.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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