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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.

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Moira
  • esperance, Australia
  • 11-12-12

My Favourite Georgette Heyer Book

Would you consider the audio edition of These Old Shades to be better than the print version?

yes

Who was your favorite character and why?

Justin, Duke of Avon

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

very well

If you could rename These Old Shades, what would you call it?

No its a perfect name

Any additional comments?

The same characters appear again in Devils Cub and An Infamous Army at different times in history a personal favourite of mine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Professor Higgins meets Anastasia

This is my second exposure to a Georgette Heyer book I had not previous read in print. I was glad to have encountered it in audio format because Cornelius Garrett produced a wonderfully complex Duke of Avon, which enriched the tale beyond the story itself. It was a much darker tale than the lighthearted comedy of manners and spirited romances I associate with Georgette Heyer, but it still had its moments of playful dialog.

As it unfolded, the story called to mind elements from many icons of literature and film: The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Count of Monte Cristo, Pygmalion, and Anastasia. Plots within plots, subterfuge, revenge, and dissolute behavior not usually found in Georgette Heyer drawing rooms. It was engrossing and I have thought about it since finishing the book. But it was not quite as much fun as her usual comedy of manners and a bit more predictable than a serious mystery. Still it was a satisfying listen with such a good reader bringing it to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • L
  • Westlake Village, CA, United States
  • 02-19-12

Vintage Georgette Heyer

Would you consider the audio edition of These Old Shades to be better than the print version?

I feel the book is better than this audio version. I did hear an early recording of this story with a different narrator and much preferred the earlier version. The voices were more believable (for the characters).

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

I'd compare them with any other Georgette Heyer tale. There's humor and there is some insight into earlier times and customs. I don't see them as completely accurate for the times but they do provide some sense of the upper class social scenes for the late 18th (this book) & early 19th centuries in England and France.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Cornelius Garrett?

I wouldn't go out of my way to find one - but given a different story he might be great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of my favorites

I was online to purchase Devil's Cub, being almost through with this one. I had complained about the narrator to someone, just today, as just not having gotten the character main character's character down. I too, think that Avon should be a bit softer, more menacing, more dangerous. The inflections were good, but would have been better suited to a red-faced squire. Be that as it may, the rest of the narration was just fine, and I am please to have this book in my audio library in addition to my regular library. Actually, I have been a fan of Georgette Heyer for years, and do own all of her works in book form. I will review Devil's Cub when I've finished it. The rest I will add, going back to Powder and Patch, slowly, in original copyright order.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

If only...

The narration of this book was excellent overall but WHY did he choose the VERY annoying whine for the main character? I almost quit after half an hour because I didn't think I could tolerate the voice but stuck with it and he does back off a bit on the tone.

So, if you like Heyer- stick with it. Except for the choice in vocals for the main male- the rest is very well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • James
  • Granbury, TX, USA
  • 03-29-10

***CONTRARY REVIEW -- LOVE THE READER ****

I almost didn't get this because people didn't like the reader -- glad I didn't listen. LOVE the reader. He made each person alive, distinct! The story was the BEST of Georgette Heyer! I laughed, I cried (just a touch), it moved me! DEFINITELY listen!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Story excellent - Narrator not!

I grew up with Georgette Heyer and was delighted to find this in audio. The story is just as delightful as I remember. However, what was narrator thinking with his voice of the main character? Very disappointing rendition of this character. I almost stopped several times. For those who never read this story, pick up the book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous narration

Good period writing that has inspired many successors to profit from Heyer's research. The reader really threw himself into the narrative, with impressive results. An extremely satisfying listen.

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Heyer's Best Novel

This story was so good that Barbara Cartland borrowed the plot for her own story.

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  • Kl Love
  • 10-14-15

One of Heyer's most charming stories

Where does These Old Shades rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of Heyer's cleverest and most charming stories. Like all her work, it is a comedy of manners that succeeds in being a little bit more thanks to the quality of the writing and characterisation. This, set in mid-19th century France, contains many amusing details of dress and manners of 'society', which give colour to the story but always remain subordinate to the plot.

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

This is a 'Cinderella' story, with some enjoyable twists of plot and rollicking levels of action; and like many of her books, it contains a great deal of clever humour.

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

The greatest problem with the audio book is the reader. Cornelius Garrett speaks well, and has a pleasant voice, but is entirely wrong for Heyer. He has really only two inflections: a ponderous declamation that sounds like Edward Fox playing a butler, and a tittering falsetto that makes all the female characters sound like caricatures; and he uses these two without variation throughout the whole book. Luckily I know the book from having read it, so I was able to see through the reader and enjoy the words and images again, but I would definitely not get another book of this genre read by him.

I think Cornelius Garrett might be magnificent reading something like Bertie Wooster or Dickens, but the delicacy and subtlety of Heyer's character entirely fail to come through.

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  • Louize
  • 09-26-15

Appalling

The first Georgette Heyer book I ever read, totally annihilated by the worst narration I have ever heard. He obviously didn't read a single description of the characters and how they spoke. Really is the most appallingly badly read book. What a shame to ruin such a good story. I just hope you never ever use this man again.

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  • F
  • 08-07-15

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.

  • Overall
  • Ray
  • 08-13-11

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

  • Overall
  • Alison
  • 11-23-09

These Old Shades

Excellently read!

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • janSO
  • 02-27-17

excellent,

What did you like most about These Old Shades?

I have always loved this book . The guy who reads it is excellent, . He makes it so funny in parts ( Rupert . ) that I wasshaking with laughter.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Leonie.

What about Cornelius Garrett’s performance did you like?

He makes Rupert funny,you like him,even though you are glad he never marries,(next 3 books ). He makes him sound like the prince in Black Adder. Satanus is compelling. just like he sounds in my head.The ladies are hysterical,possibly a lady should have read them.

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

I have listened to it straight through, then the best bits 5 or 6 times.

Any additional comments?

I have all the Heyer books, I look forward to listening to her murder books

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jay Bee
  • 01-27-17

Even better than I remembered.

Would you listen to These Old Shades again? Why?

Yes I'd certainly listen again, just as I read and re read the book. It gives a real feel of being among the ton (which I wouldn't have been) with descriptions of clothing, balls transport, pastimes etc.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All of them, especially due to the excellent narration skills of Mr Garrett. If I MUST choose, then Leon/ Leonie and her monseigneur

What does Cornelius Garrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

When I read it, I had to imagine the voices for myself. How interesting to hear someone else's idea of a Duke's diction.

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

One or two really special moments, but I know the book so well . . .

Any additional comments?

This is the 3rd audio book I've heard read by Mr Garrett. I wish he'd do Georgette Heyer's The Conqueror.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marjo
  • 09-22-16

One of my favorite Heyers

This book has always been one of my favorites. It took me a long time to listen it, however, as I didn't like the reader made Avon a lisping dandy and Fanny's voice a slapstick parody of a woman. But I got used to them and still loved the story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-03-16

Brilliant book and excellently read!

This is arguably one Georgette Heyer's best books. The plot is intricate and enthralling including a brave, strong, funny and resourceful heroine, and previously cold and devilish villain finding redemption through her love and the need to rescue her from an even worse villain.

The minor characters are equally strong and well drawn and the Historical setting in 18th century France is wonderfully accurate and satisfying in detail.

Georgette Heyer is at her best with her characterisation and devotion to the culture of the time with which she sets her Romances without losing any of the excitement and pace.

As a last note I found Cornelius Garrett an excellent narrator, easily managing the many different voices and accents. His choice of voice for the Duke of Avon was unusual reminding me of Edward fox but worked very well. I would give this 6 stars if I could.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Isabella
  • 12-02-13

Highly recommend this book.

What made the experience of listening to These Old Shades the most enjoyable?

Georgette Heyer is able to describe the characters, the locations, the dresses, the speech in a way which is true to the Regency world of the rich. You are able to picture the scenes in your head and become truly involved in the story.

What did you like best about this story?

The things I like most about this story is the lighthearted humorous dialogue - it made me smile and laugh. Definitely a feel good listen.

Which character – as performed by Cornelius Garrett – was your favourite?

My favourite characters in the book were Leonie and Rupert . Cornelius Garrett reads all the characters and stories well which adds to the overall enjoyment of the book.

Any additional comments?

This is one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books - I highly recommend it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful