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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Sharon
  • New Orleans, LA United States
  • 04-19-09

The epitome of romance

Set before the French Revolution, an English duke rescues a French "guttersnipe", with murky plans for his(?) future, but the brat turns the duke's plans on him -- Cinderella with a touch of Romeo and Juliet. This has always been my favorite Georgette Heyer book, and I love them all. "Devil's Cub" is the sequel, set in the next generation.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

LOVE Georgette Heyer...but the reader...!

Having discovered Georgette Heyer's books more than 30 years ago and enjoyed reading and rereading many of them since then; I was thrilled to discover them in audio. So far I have listened to three Heyer books from Audible and...well, it has been a mixed bag. These Old Shades has been a difficult listen. Perhaps it is because my own imagination has developed a strong vocal idea of what certain characters should sound like. So I found myself gritting my teeth to get through this audio. As an example, the main character Justin is shrill, grating, and very "old" sounding. As if Justin was a man of 60 rather than a man of 40. Accents were a strange mish mash which didn't match the locations of the characters. For example, the story opens in France and characters have British accents. Leon the waif rescued by Justin, has a French accent but her brother sounds like a working class Brit. Details like this can really make or break a audio rendering. So while I still love Georgette Heyer, I really wish that this story had a different reader.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kelly
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 10-19-09

great story, stylized narration

The narration for this book and for Devil's Cub, with a different narrator but the same style, is very stylized and "mannered." It does suit the books but it takes a little getting used to. The narration is imitating the speech of a 1700s fop. It's nasal and drawling. I think it lends atmosphere, but even though I really enjoyed the listen, I couldn't listen for hours and hours as I can for more natural narrators.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Loved it!!!!!

I love Georgette Heyer books and this is one of her best. I hope audible continues adding more of her books.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Disappointing characterisation

I have enjoyed other books read by Cornelius Garrett, so what possessed him to provide the Hero with the voice of a deaf, very elderly man in this one. Quite spoilt the story for me, and put me off buying any other books narrated by him.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Narrator was wrong for story!

I listen to many Georgette Heyer novels and have always enjoyed them. In this case, however, the narrator's voice was totally wrong for almost all of the characters, including the 2 main ones. It cracked like an old man's and the heroine's voice also sounded extremely odd. In my opinion, it totally ruined the entire book. Will be sure not to get any more Heyer books by this reader.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kat5
  • Maryland
  • 11-01-11

One of the Best of G. Heyer

This is one of the classic G. Heyer stories. The performance was done well enough. The French phrases were charmingly performed, This is the only book were the main characters carry across another story line in another book by this author. The Devil's Cub is the second book to mention these characters. Worth a credit.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Brilliant

This is one of Georgette Heyer's best novels--full of mystery, sly humor, and romance between usual characters. I've listened to this book several times, and it still impacts me. One note: I put off buying this audiobook for a long time, even though it was one of my favorite paperbacks, because I didn't like the narrator's voice when I listened to the sample audio clip. After I bit the bullet and bought the audiobook, the narrator's voice grated on me for the first chapter. After that, I really grew to enjoy his voice and characterizations.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One of the best of Georgette Heyer

The book is one of my favorites. I so looked forward to this audio. The narrator is terrible. He gives the main character a lisp that sounds funny. I have struggled to ignore this, it even comes out in other characters. What a disappointment.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Narration ruined story for me

I love Georgette Heyer. I have been reading and rereading and now listening to her for 45 years. I wanted to love this audio version but I just can't. While the narrator handles the French dialogue and has an amusing set of secondary characters, I could barely listen when Avon spoke. Instead of seeing a 40 year old "satan" I say a 60 year old fop who was more likely to like page boys than page girls. I couldn't believe that Leonie would be attracted to anyone who spoke in that fashion. I think Georgette Heyer would have been put off by her dashing, wicked hero being turned into an elderly fop.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Lindsay
  • 06-06-12

GREAT BOOK FOUND THE VOICE ACTING DIFFICULT

I found the voice given to satanas the Duke of Avon querilous when it should have been assured and sardonic. although he sees himself as a great age he is only in his forties and while life was shorter then perhaps, he was a handsome, active virile man not a papery thin elder.

other voices were Ok to me but the romantic interest should always have the most beguiling voice. We are meant to be bewitched by him while seeing his dark side and this did not happen for me.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • HelgaCabbage
  • 08-07-14

Awful narration, great story

Would you try another book written by Georgette Heyer or narrated by Cornelius Garrett?

I love Georgette Heyer books, and own almost all of the unabridged ones.<br/><br/>Would I try another narrated by Cornelius Garrett? No. His voices are all wrong for the characters, and I have only listened to this book once as a result, unlike my other Heyer audiobooks, which I enjoy over and over again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character is the Duke of Avon because he is so devilish and clever but is capable of great feeling.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Cornelius Garrett?

Michael Drew, who narrated Devil's Cub brilliantly (with many of the same characters) or Clifford Norgate, who did a wonderful job narrating Frederica.<br/>Or Phyllida Nash, who narrates many other Heyer novels wonderfully.

Could you see These Old Shades being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I don't know because Hollywood so often messes up the original stories we love so much.<br/>If it was done well and stayed true to the source material, I would definitely want to see it.

Any additional comments?

Please, please, please, get this audiobook re-recorded with a different narrator.I listen to Devil's Cub (the sequel) a lot, and I wish I could enjoy this one as much, but the narration makes that impossible.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Scout
  • 12-09-14

Dreadful Voice for a main character

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The book is great because you have your own character voices in your head.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Avon is my favourite character which makes the poor voice characterisation even worse!

How could the performance have been better?

A different narrator or even the same one but with a better voice for Avon!

Any additional comments?

Please, please, please re record this with a different voice for Avon.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 10-12-14

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?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Village Views
  • 01-06-14

Good story, disappointing narration

What did you like best about These Old Shades? What did you like least?

Excellent storyline but narrator rather disappointing. Had a wide variety of voices but some not very credible. Duke of Avon came over as too old and too suave.

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

The building up of tension when Avon tells his story to denounce St. Vire.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Didn't like his portrayal of Avon and thought Lady Fanny was a pastiche.

Did These Old Shades inspire you to do anything?

Go back to read the original in book form.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mrs
  • 12-08-12

Awful narration!

I have read this book several times over the years. One of the main characters, the Duke of Avon, is portrayed wonderfully by the author as somewhat sinister, cool and softly spoken. I imagine a voice similar to Alan Rickman in my head! Yet when reading his part, the narrator gives him a loud, almost shouting voice, with a strange accent that almost sounds like a speech impediment! Leon/ie has a sweet French accent, but he gives her French brother a cockney accent, totally incongruous. Such a shame, one of my favourite books of all time, but I had to stop listening after 2 chapters as I couldn't bear it anymore. I shan't be purchasing any more books read by the same narrator.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mrs. REP
  • 07-29-12

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".

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kitty
  • 06-25-14

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Crazy
  • 02-24-13

These Old Shades

One of my all time favourite Georgette Heyer novels, but the Duke of Avon would not speak like this. He was very softly spoken, sinister even at times. Very disappointed.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 02-10-14

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • mrsvee
  • 06-16-16

Bad characterisations

Dear Cornelius - shouting does not create good characterisations - if you cannot 'do' decent male voices, let alone female voices, I suggest that you just 'read' the story, or, preferably, not do it at all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-08-16

Excellent

a wonderful story by an excellent author (one of her best) brought to life by a very good narrator. enjoyed every minute of listening so pleased I bought this audio

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 10-01-15

Unheroic sounding hero

If you could sum up These Old Shades in three words, what would they be?

Pre-regency, adventure, drama

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Unfortunately the voice the narrator acted for the main character was extremely irritating and not at all heroic. It really detracted from the story as it was difficult to associate such a silly voice with a masterful, haughty and commanding presence.

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

No.

Any additional comments?

As always with Georgette Heyer a great, fun romance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Megan
  • 09-03-17

One of my favorites

I haven't listened to 'These Old Shades' in quite some time. I'm so glad I did. The reader has done justice to this great piece of work.