©2002 Georgette Heyer; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I have been indulging myself with a return to Georgette Heyer's delicious novels, favorites in my high school and early college days. These Old Shades had tremendous appeal for me then, and I still enjoyed it this time around. Not as much, however, as the perhaps less romantic, but wittier sparring of the more equally matched couples in her later novels. Unfortunately, Cornelius Garrett's narration greatly diminished my enjoyment. I was most disappointed with Avon's portrayal as a querulous old man, and Lady Fanny as a shrill nincompoop. Several other characterizations seemed irritatingly over the top...the histrionics were heavy-handed and detracted from the humor. I was wishing for the subtlety and light touch of Phyllida Nash or Sian Phillips.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
I'd been hearing about what a wonderful experience it is to read Georgette Heyer's novels ever since I joined an online reading group several years ago. Perfectly researched with great period details, and a great comfort reading experience is mostly what I gleaned from the various comments and reviews I'd read. I must say I agree. As it happened, I was very much in the mood for something comforting and not too demanding either intellectually or emotionally on the day I picked this book up, as I had just moments before decided to abandon a very difficult novel, as I didn't see the point of continuing to emotionally torture myself in the name of literary proficiency. I already had another Heyer novel in the listening stacks, but that day I was determined to find both the storyline and the narrator that most appealed my momentary whims, which is how I came to choose Heyer's third among her Georgian and Regency novels. The book blurb on this site, short and to the point appealed to me, and from the first 11 minutes of the novel, available on the audio sample, I decided this would do the trick very well (though in retrospect, I don't know why Cornelius Garrett made the Duke sound like an old man, when he's only 40). As can be expected, there are beautiful and lavish details of costume, an interesting cast of characters with comical quirks, a deep intrigue, and plenty of romance (although Romance is usually a genre is steer clear from). No, this is not a work of great literary merit, but it's well written, has a great plot, and it's so much fun... who cares?
No, probably not, because of the performance. The Duke of Avon is a smooth, calm man, as written by Heyer. He is read as a strident, foppish dandy. Did the narrator read the book before starting?
This is a lovely book, one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books. Definitely worth a read, but don't let this version (audio) put you off.
Great writing and lots of laughs. Character development was believable and by the end I loved them all. One reviewer said the duke sounded like he was 60 instead of in his 40s. I concur and am grateful of the warning. However, Leonie, Rupert, Fanny ... in other words, everyone else was spot on, so Cornelius Garrett did an awesome job giving everyone their distinctive voice. If you are still on the fence about purchasing this book, give it a try. If you don't like it, you can return it. That sort of guarantee has me giving books I would not ordinarily look at twice a chance. Thank you, Audible. Please complete the library with the rest of Georgette Heyer's books.
Rewards the intelligent reader
Heyer's original inspiration as a novelist came from tales she set in the eighteenth century. Later she went on to the Regency. If you want to read her at her best, read the fiction from the period that first inspired her.
Over half of the characters are French, yet there was not a French accent to be heard. Leon/Leonie was raised in France with French parents - she, her brother, and the majority of the servants would not have had English accents, even if they did know English. The story starts in France, moves to England, and then moves back to France. Mr. Garrett got the accents right if these characters had been English, but they are not. He has a very pleasant voice, and the reading was well-paced.
This was the first Georgette Heyer book I read in 1971, in junior high. She became my favorite author and the standard by which every other Regency novel was judged. I have read all of her Regency novels many times. This and "Devil's Cub" remain my favorites.But for the lack of French accents where needed, I enjoyed this audiobook very much. If it were re-recorded with the appropriate accents, I would replace it.
I would listen again although my only dislike of this production is the voice that the narrator chooses for the lead character, the Duke of Avon. It's a little too foppish and feminine for my tastes.
It's not so much a favorite character but the wonderful interaction between all the characters.
I would take Leonie because she would tell it like it is but still be kind.
I'm a Heyer fan since I started reading her books many years ago. This is the first audio book of her works to which I've listened so it's hard to say how much of my enjoyment is derived from the production and how much from Heyer's work that I know so well.
Elaine H Hammon
I would listen to this story again and perhaps more. It is very well read besides being a fastinating story.
I liked the characterizations developed so well by Georgette Heyer. Each person was distinctive and so well developed. You felt you knew them each well by the end of the story. The reader dramatized each character in such a way that you could see them in your mind as they spoke.
I think perhaps it was when Leon became Leonie".
It would be a a toss up between Leonie' and Rupert. Wouldn't it be fun to take them out together?
I can recommend any of Georgette Heyer's novels. I have read most if not all of them at least once.
It has a great story. It has more twists and turns than most Heyer stories. If it had been read by a younger man I might have liked it even more. (like Philpotts perhaps)
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