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Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle | [Georgette Heyer]

Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle

When Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, first meets Phoebe Marlow, he finds her dull and insipid. She thinks he is insufferably arrogant. But when a series of unforeseen events leads them to be stranded together in a lonely country inn, they are both forced to reassess their hastily formed opinions, and they begin to discover a new-found liking and respect for each other. But what Sylvester doesn’t know is that Phoebe is about to publish a novel - a novel in which all London will recognize him as the villainous ‘Count Ugolino’
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Publisher's Summary

When Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, first meets Phoebe Marlow, he finds her dull and insipid. She thinks he is insufferably arrogant. But when a series of unforeseen events leads them to be stranded together in a lonely country inn, they are both forced to reassess their hastily formed opinions, and they begin to discover a new-found liking and respect for each other. But what Sylvester doesn’t know is that Phoebe is about to publish a novel - a novel in which all London will recognize him as the villainous ‘Count Ugolino’.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©1957 Georgette Heyer (P)2013 Naxos AudioBooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (424 )
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  •  
    C. Mendez NYC 11-16-13
    C. Mendez NYC 11-16-13 Member Since 2013

    lady_akemi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally!!!"
    What did you love best about Sylvester?

    It's finally unabridged! This is one of Heyer's best. If you're new to her books, start here. remember, Heyer wrote in the early to mid 20-th century, so her books are not full of passionate sex scenes. However, if you're looking for witty, frequently hilarious dialogue, well-developed, unforgettable characters and a story full of detail that still manages never to be tedious, you'll really enjoy this novel.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters! There are a lot of them, and each one is so skillfully drawn that you'll never get confused, or find yourself wondering, "now wait, who is that again?" Some, like Tom and the governess, are lovable, and some, like Fatherby, are detestable, but each one is a literary gem. If you're familiar with Heyer's work, you'll recognize some recurring character types, but in my opinion that's part of what makes her work so excellent--you may recognize some of the elements, but the story as a whole stands out and is uniquely unforgettable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Every scene with Sylvester and Phoebe. This story is about as far as you can get from being a "boddice ripper", but there is no lack of passion between these two. Their interactions sparkle (even when Phoebe is deliberatly trying to prevent it!)


    Any additional comments?

    I suppose that some people might feel like the first few chapters drag. I disagree, because I think all those initial details help make the story richer. But even if you're not convinced at the outset, continue reading! You'll fall in love.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 01-01-14
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 01-01-14

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wicked good performance!"

    I was so glad to see "Sylvester" at last on Audio that I ordered it even tho I was unfamiliar with this narrator.

    But, as with all readings, the narrator is key to enjoyment of a listening experience. And Nicholas Rowe turns out to be VERY good at interpreting Georgette Heyer!

    "Sylvester" sparkles with humor and lots of charming characters. The hero and heroine (as with all Heyer) don't have a torrid affair, but their encounters crackle with humor and understated sexual tension. The plot isn't rocket science, but, with Georgette, you get solid historical detail and lots of just plain fun. This is one of her best, and that means the very best in historical romance.

    If you're a Heyer fan, don't miss this! If you haven't tried one of her books, "Sylvester" is a great place to start.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sidonie 11-16-13
    Sidonie 11-16-13 Member Since 2013

    Something about yourself.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wish granted. Take that sir Nugent."

    I am so squee happy that I found this book. It is one of my favorites by the grand dame Georgetter Heyer. Hello lock meet key. That is the fit of this narrator to this story. I highly recommend you buy this wonderful book. I read it and loved it and had the abridged version and sighed because I wanted the full "fotherby". Now I have it. Great story, great narration, great characters what more do you need? ( I know Arabella then I will probably embarrass myself.) Love this book. Thank you to the publisher Naxos books the updated version of this classic it was a long time coming. If the world has multiple versions of Pride and Prejudice then it is high time for Heyer.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Fort Mill, SC, United States 12-20-13
    Karen Fort Mill, SC, United States 12-20-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Love it!"
    Would you listen to Sylvester again? Why?

    I already have listened to twice- the story is sweet, characters likeable, but most of all, I love the Narrator. Nicholas Rowe is my favorite narrator that I have yet come across of the Georgette Heyer novels, although Eve Matheson is my favorite for female characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This was one of my favorite endings.


    Have you listened to any of Nicholas Rowe’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't had the pleasure of hearing any of Nicholas Rowe's performaces before.


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

    Yes


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica Southern California 12-08-13
    Erica Southern California 12-08-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Another Heyer Hit For Me"

    I listened to the abridged version and really liked it. I wanted the whole story though, so I spent a credit to get this book read by a narrator I couldn't find any other books by. So I read the reviews, which rated him very well, and dug into it right after finishing the abridged version. A credit well spent!! This narrator is fantastic and I hope to see him read more books. A wonderful story that was very fun to listen to. Funny, touching, and memorable characters with a lot of depth.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan 02-14-14
    susan 02-14-14
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    "my first Georgette Heyer book-LOVED IT!!!!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sylvester to be better than the print version?

    yes, because the naration is so well done. The characters all have distinct voices and dialects. I particularly like the voice of Sylvester.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sylvester, of course. He is just so funny and unaware how he can come off as snobbish to people but he is a really sweet man.


    What about Nicholas Rowe’s performance did you like?

    HIS VOICE!?!?!? I was disappointed to see that he doesn't narrate any more of her books. I'm just so doggone picky about who I can listen to-Davina Porter has ruined me,


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

    I wish I could have. I found myself taking the long way home and driving under the speed limit just so I could listen to the end of a chapter. My neighbors probably think I'm nuts having seen me just sitting in my car in the drive way so often.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lulu 11-21-13
    Lulu 11-21-13

    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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    "Another Heyer Hit"

    This ranks up among the best of Georgette Heyer's books. I was excited to find it finally available on Audible. As usual her characterization was great. She takes a character who has a well entrenched but totally off-base view of themselves and gradually and sweetly turns them into the character they always meant to be. The struggle Sylvester went through as he shed his preconceived ideas of himself and his flawed notions of an ideal mate and turned into a fully formed man was fascinating to read.

    Heyer's books are often dismissed derogatorily as "silly romances". I see her compared as often to Barbara Cartland as Jane Austen and nothing could be more unfair. Her characters have both flaws and depth, her plot revolves around more than two lovers finding each other and she captures a time and a place better than almost any author I have ever read. She has had a couple of "misses" in my opinion, but Sylvester isn't one of them. I recommend it.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin Brookings, SD, United States 04-06-14
    Kristin Brookings, SD, United States 04-06-14 Member Since 2012
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    "how have I not read this author?"

    Somehow came across this author on audible, and after reading some reviews gave it a shot. Oh my, so funny, different from a lot of the romances I love to listen to. Older style of novel, but the dialog is so great. Just love everything about this book, the naughty child, the stern but loving uncle, the banter is wonderful. Laughed out loud many times. Can't wait to listen to more by Georgette Heyer. And the narration, wonderful also.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-25-14
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 10-25-14 Member Since 2014

    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!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GOOD STUFF"

    If you're a true Georgette Heyer fan, you'll love this one! I listened to the abridged version of this book a couple of years ago but I enjoyed the longer one even more. Narrator Nicholas Rowe hits it out of the park with his characterization of Sylvester and the lesser cast members.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cam Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-14-14
    Cam Las Vegas, NV, United States 06-14-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Delightful"

    A joy as always to read a GH book. She is truly one of the best historical romance novel writers of her time. I love her writing since it exactly portrays the relevant times by her superb command of the English spoken those days. Others doing HS can have a good story to tell but I find that use of the modern terms woven in with historical type of English spoken at that time makes it a bit distracting to follow.
    Sylvester was an amazing book. I did not want it to end. A cleverly written book with complex characters. I only wish GH would add a bit more passion in her books. I am sure for most of her fans this is what makes her a true HR novelist since books at that time were free of passion. In my opinion, for the modern readers the addition will add to the book since people at the time were not as pure as portrayed in the books. A+++

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Sheila
    London, United Kingdom
    11/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Excellent"
    What made the experience of listening to Sylvester the most enjoyable?

    This is one of my favourite books by Georgette Heyer. I first read it years ago and the delight never fades.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sylvester?

    Too many to mention. The whole story just sparkles.


    Have you listened to any of Nicholas Rowe’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I have not heard of this narrator before but I will certainly look out him in the future. His reading was sublime, great intonation and the different characters came across very well, whether they were good, bad or just bufoonish. Recommended.


    Any additional comments?

    Werll worth a listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Maggie
    6/22/14
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    "The reading did Sylvester and Sparrow justice"
    Any additional comments?

    I bought this a while ago but was almost nervous of listening to it after another favourite book, Frederica, was spoilt for me by poor narration. I'd not heard Nicholas Rowe read before, and didn't want another disappointment. I shouldn't have worried, his reading is spot on. It's a good standard Heyer story with some nice twists around novel writing and book selling of the period, and enjoyable all through. Mr Rowe gave us a glorious ludicrous - and oddly sympathetic - Nugent Fotherby, a believable Keighley and other supporting characters, and even pulled off the difficult feat of the 6 year old Edmund. From Frederica it was clear that children are the acid test for male narrators. All his female voices worked as well and I'd buy his readings again. As to the book, what's not to like about Sylvester and Phoebe? (I prefer Sparrow, it suits her). If you know your Heyers, this is an excellent version - if you don't know your Heyers, this is a good one to start with. Can we have a fresh version of Frederica now, and an unabridged Faro's Daughter? (Please add Nicholas Rowe to the list of hoped-for readers, alongside Phyllida Nash, Sian Phillips, Daniel Philpott, Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Sarah Woodward,). Well, if you don't ask...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dilettante
    Cambridge, UK
    12/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Unsurpassed"
    What made the experience of listening to Sylvester the most enjoyable?

    I am a Heyer addict: I have all her books and most of the audio versions. This is outstanding. It's my favourite book of hers and I was really worried that the wit and fun (that are the greatest elements) wouldn't be conveyed by the narrator. In fact, this is one of the few occasions when I felt that the reading enhanced my enjoyment of the story. I can only say thank you so much, Naxos! Now please move on to Venetia and publish the unabridged version!


    What other book might you compare Sylvester to, and why?

    This is from Heyer's golden age and I can't think of another book that exactly catches her brilliant, light touch with comedy and romance. Venetia is certainly very good, as is the Grand Sophy.


    Have you listened to any of Nicholas Rowe’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to any of his other work, but I will!


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

    It made me laugh out loud!


    Any additional comments?

    A really great reading of a really great story - definitely one to treasure.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pat in England
    UK
    1/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unabridged – at last!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I love this book and I loved the audiobook which was a faithful reading full of humour and interest. The abridged version was beautifully read by Richard Armitage, but with Georgette Heyer a lot of the fun is in the detail which has to be cut to fit into five hours.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sylvester?

    The publishing of Phoebe's book with its description of Count Uggolino and the subsequent confrontation with Sylvester on the dance floor are wonderful moments, but I always love the description of expressions that cross Sylvester's face, revealing nuances in the story to the reader.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Polly
    6/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, pretty good narration"

    Sylvester is one of my favourite GHs; I love that the heroine isn't the typical pretty blue eyed damsel. The narration was pretty good, but sometimes conversation was rushed; also I'm not at all convinced by the broad West Country accent of Tom Orde - who went to a select public school and would likely have had his local accent softened quite a bit there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • marie theresa lilley
    6/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An old friend"

    What can I say, one of Georgette Heyers best! I have all her books and read this one at least annually. Thoroughly enjoyed the narration. I am now trying to collect my favourites in audiobook format. So far I cannot complain, my favourite Heyer narrator is Eve Matheson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Katharine
    United Kingdom
    5/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Witty and entertaining Heyer"

    Very enjoyable rendition of one of my favourite Georgette Heyer novels. After a slightly shaky start where I had a problem distinguishing who was speaking the narrator had a lot of fun with characters like Sir Nugent and Edmund. There were some darker moments when it was easy to believe that everything was going to go wrong in the romance but overall this is a very witty and entertaining Heyer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MF
    1/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stylish, fun and witty story telling"

    I loved this reading of Sylvester, the narration is full of expression and variation , great characterisation ,very amusing! Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P
    LINCOLN, United Kingdom
    1/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another good one"

    Another great listen. I love all Georgette Heyer's books, so they all get 5 stars from me. The narrator is excellent. I'm always impressed when accents are good ad each character has a distinctive voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christine
    Coromandel Valley, Australia
    12/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good, but not her best"

    I love Georgette Heyer, but there were a few flaws in this story. Not massive problems, but I did find Phoebe's issues with Sylvester to be somewhat unjustified much of the time. I often found myself wanting to say to her "just shut up!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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