Hot Best Seller

These Old Shades

Availability: Ready to download

Under the reign of Louis XV, corruption and intrigue have been allowed to blossom in France, and Lord Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon, known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Society believes the worst of Justin, who is clearly proud of his sobriquet, 'Satanas'. In a dark Parisian back alley, he is accosted by Under the reign of Louis XV, corruption and intrigue have been allowed to blossom in France, and Lord Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon, known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Society believes the worst of Justin, who is clearly proud of his sobriquet, 'Satanas'. In a dark Parisian back alley, he is accosted by Leon, a young person dressed in ragged boy's clothing running away from a brutal rustic guardian. The Duke buys Leon, a redheaded urchin with strangely familiar looks, who is in fact Leonie, and she serves him with deep devotion. The Duke suspected the truth about his page--she was really none other than the wicked Comte de Saint Vire's legitimate daughter, deprived of her heritage by the comte's dastardly desire for a male heir. Among the splendours of Versailles and the dignified mansions of England, Justin begins to unfold his sinister plans, and Leonie shoulds play a fine part in Duke's long-over-due schemes to avenge himslef on the Comte de St Vire. The duke's plan was simple: parade delicately handsome Leonie in front of his enemy and transforming her into the toast of the town, before his innocent ward reclaim her birthright, destroying her true father in the process. But the duke hadn't expected Leonie's breathtaking transformation or the tender emotions she awoke--and he'd already set his dangerous scheme in motion.... While, titian-haired Leonie, ward of the dashing Duke of Avon, has all Paris at her feet. Yet her true origins remained shrouded in mystery. And neither the glittering soirees nor the young aristocrats who so ardently courted her could still the question that plagued her young heart. Just one man held the secret, the one she feared most in the world--the iron-willed Comte de Saint-Vire, deadly enemy of the Duke. He would give her the answer--for a price. But could she betray the man she secretly, helplessly loved? And could this proud young beauty hear to face the truth when it came?


Compare

Under the reign of Louis XV, corruption and intrigue have been allowed to blossom in France, and Lord Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon, known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Society believes the worst of Justin, who is clearly proud of his sobriquet, 'Satanas'. In a dark Parisian back alley, he is accosted by Under the reign of Louis XV, corruption and intrigue have been allowed to blossom in France, and Lord Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon, known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Society believes the worst of Justin, who is clearly proud of his sobriquet, 'Satanas'. In a dark Parisian back alley, he is accosted by Leon, a young person dressed in ragged boy's clothing running away from a brutal rustic guardian. The Duke buys Leon, a redheaded urchin with strangely familiar looks, who is in fact Leonie, and she serves him with deep devotion. The Duke suspected the truth about his page--she was really none other than the wicked Comte de Saint Vire's legitimate daughter, deprived of her heritage by the comte's dastardly desire for a male heir. Among the splendours of Versailles and the dignified mansions of England, Justin begins to unfold his sinister plans, and Leonie shoulds play a fine part in Duke's long-over-due schemes to avenge himslef on the Comte de St Vire. The duke's plan was simple: parade delicately handsome Leonie in front of his enemy and transforming her into the toast of the town, before his innocent ward reclaim her birthright, destroying her true father in the process. But the duke hadn't expected Leonie's breathtaking transformation or the tender emotions she awoke--and he'd already set his dangerous scheme in motion.... While, titian-haired Leonie, ward of the dashing Duke of Avon, has all Paris at her feet. Yet her true origins remained shrouded in mystery. And neither the glittering soirees nor the young aristocrats who so ardently courted her could still the question that plagued her young heart. Just one man held the secret, the one she feared most in the world--the iron-willed Comte de Saint-Vire, deadly enemy of the Duke. He would give her the answer--for a price. But could she betray the man she secretly, helplessly loved? And could this proud young beauty hear to face the truth when it came?

30 review for These Old Shades

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Okay, I am officially a Georgette Heyer reader now. I can see why she is touted as the best of the best when it comes to historical romance. This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I tell you, Avon is a very singular hero. I have read few books with a hero whose dialogue was so expressive, yet ironic at the same time. His wit is so sharp that it could cut diamonds. What's really interesting is that Avon is considered the worst of the worst when it comes to being a debauched rake, yet you never see h Okay, I am officially a Georgette Heyer reader now. I can see why she is touted as the best of the best when it comes to historical romance. This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I tell you, Avon is a very singular hero. I have read few books with a hero whose dialogue was so expressive, yet ironic at the same time. His wit is so sharp that it could cut diamonds. What's really interesting is that Avon is considered the worst of the worst when it comes to being a debauched rake, yet you never see him looking or acting anything less than elegant. I really admire that Heyer was able to convey this about him without going into his dirty deeds. All that occurs before the book begins. In fact, so much is conveyed and not expressly shown in this story, and done with remarkable skill. I have to say that I read this story, looking to Ms. Heyer to teach me (as a writer) the ability to create powerful dialogue that shows and does not tell. Avon is quite the character. He is definitely a dandy and a fop, wearing bright colors, dripping with lace and jewels, and high-heeled shoes. He even carries a fan that he uses. But he is a man of his time, with a masculinity that is not questionable. And to think we don't have to see him bedhopping to believe in his masculinity!! I thought that Ms. Heyer did a fantastic job in showing Avon's transition from being a cold man with a heart of stone to a loving person. You see this in his manner changing towards friends and family. And you see it in how he interacts with Leonie, who gives him her steadfast, unconditional love from the very beginning. Avon is bent on revenge, but he exemplifies the saying, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." He waited over twenty years to obtain his revenge on his enemy. When the tool of his revenge stumbles into him on a Paris street, it takes a while for you to see how he/she plays into it. Avon concocts a shallow, bored, remote demeanor that is very misleading. The whole while, he is feeling and seeing everything that goes on around him. He sees right through Leon's facade, realizing that she is a girl. Her unique coloring, Red hair and black eyebrows, immediately brings to mind his worst enemy, Saint-Vire. Yet it takes the reader a little while to put the puzzles together. You are not bored though, as the story unfolds and you get to realize what Avon's plan is. For the lines in this story are so laugh out loud funny, you might want to be careful where you break out this book. I'm sure people thought was I was crazy in the moments I read this story in public, because I would burst out into hilarious laughter. As for the revenge plot, you have to read this book until nearly the very end to see how marvelously and skillfully Avon executes his plan for revenge. I have to say, 'Bravo.' And to be honest, it couldn't have happened to a better person. One of my favorite characters in this story is Rupert, Avon's younger brother. Why? Because he made me laugh so hard. He had the best lines. I firmly believe that Loretta Chase must have thought of him when she wrote Bertie in Lord of Scoundrels, although Rupert is not nearly as unintelligent as Bertie is portrayed to be. Rupert does a very good job as serving as comic relief in a story that would have been quite dark without these moments of humor. Because of his contribution, I cannot even consider this a dark read. This is also in part to the back and forth dialogue between characters which has the cadence and the humor that endears comedic movies of the 1930s and 40s to this reader and movie buff. The scene with the horse that Rupert 'borrowed' and its livid owner who comes to Avon's home for redress was laugh out loud hilarious. Definitely like a scene from 1940s slapstick comedy at its best. Some of the characters that add to the wonderful atmosphere are Fanny, Avon's sister, Marling, her staid husband, and Hugh, Avon's less staid, but certainly moral friend, who often disproves of Avon's behavior, but is a steadfast friend all the same. Leonie is a character that I liked, although at times her ingenue nature was a bit much for me. The older I get, the less I really enjoy the very young, vivacious, extremely audacious-mannered heroines. I did not let that lessen my enjoyment of this story, for Leonie is the perfect foil for Avon. This older, very jaded hero needed a very young, sweet heroine with a zest for life. He would not have fallen in love and committed to a happy ending as a happily married man otherwise. In fact, I think his cold heart would have grown colder through the years, probably pushing everyone away who loved him, had it not been for Leonie's advent into his life. Leonie is the character that everyone loves. I suppose she might be considered a 'Mary Sue' by some, but again, I don't quibble, for this story needed a character like her for it be successful. Also I reject the notion that an old fashioned, feel-good story doesn't have its place in the world. They most certainly do. And at the end of the day, the escapades of this hoyden do make you smile and feel good. This novel gave me a very good look into 18th century life in France and England, for which I was grateful. It is said that Heyer's book stand up against the most stringent historical accuracy sticklers. She is a testiment to the genre of historical romance, which is always taking hits as being low-brow fiction. I wonder why this has not been made into film, for I feel it would make a wonderful movie. And it has an appeal outside of those readers who enjoy romance. This book was a joy to read, and it has made me an eager fan of Heyer. I would love to read more of her books, and since I've heard that she had some older, sensible heroine (one of my favorite types in historical romance), I expect to enjoy those books just as much, if not more. For those romance fans who haven't read Heyer, take it from me. You really should give her a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    "La vengeance est un mets que l'on doit manger froid." (Revenge is a dish that should be eaten cold.) --Credited to Charles Talleyrand, French diplomat (1754–1838). Revenge and a Cinderella-type plot make a great combination in These Old Shades, one of Georgette Heyer's more well-known historical novels, set in the later 1700's. The half-French Duke of Avon is walking down the street when a small body hurtles into him. He looks into the face of this young urchin and suddenly sees the potential fo "La vengeance est un mets que l'on doit manger froid." (Revenge is a dish that should be eaten cold.) --Credited to Charles Talleyrand, French diplomat (1754–1838). Revenge and a Cinderella-type plot make a great combination in These Old Shades, one of Georgette Heyer's more well-known historical novels, set in the later 1700's. The half-French Duke of Avon is walking down the street when a small body hurtles into him. He looks into the face of this young urchin and suddenly sees the potential for taking revenge on the man who has been his mortal enemy for twenty years. So he buys the curly red-headed young orphan off the boy's loutish older brother, takes him home and cleans him up, and presents him to Paris society as his new page. *Some limited spoilers follow* It soon turns out that this boy is not a boy after all, but an impish 19 year old girl. So Léon becomes Léonie, as the Duke takes her to his sister in England, charging her to teach Léonie manners and train her to act as a young girl in high society should. Various shenanigans ensue, as Léonie resists fitting herself into the mold society expects, and the Comte Saint-Vire, the Duke's old enemy, takes some drastic and potentially lethal steps to try to avoid the noose he can see headed his way. I've been tempted to knock this book down a star or two for a couple of things in the plot that really irk me: The twenty year age difference between the Duke and Léonie (he calls her "infant," for heaven's sake), which everyone in his family handwaves because they think the two fit so well together. The insistence that "blood will out": everyone can tell Léonie is well-born because of her looks and natural grace, while a boy born to peasants but raised in high society still looks and acts boorish and wants nothing so much as to leave Paris and live on a farm. But in the end, this book was just so much darn fun to read that I have to award all the stars. Léonie is small and passionate and absolutely hilarious, given to calling people names and flying off the handle when they anger her: "He is a pig-person. I hate him. I am glad that I bit him, and threw the coffee over him."Justin, the jaded Duke of Avon, is one of those mastermind type of characters I adore, weaving his revenge plot while everyone else around him tries to figure out what his intentions are and why he's doing what he is. And yet the suave Duke gets tripped up by this irreverent young girl he's taken in, who sees him clearly but adores him nevertheless. He acts languid and casual around others, but every once in a while you see his true determination and strength of character show through his posing. He's also snarky and sarcastic and has a dry sense of humor:"M'sieur, you will think I come upon a strange errand, but I have a wife!" [De Faugenac] beamed at Avon, and nodded several times. "I felicitate you, m'sieur," said Avon gravely. "Yes, yes! A wife! It will explain all." "It always does," answered his Grace. . . . "She eats her heart out for your so lovely, your so enchanting, your so elegant--" Avon held up his hand. "M'sieur, my policy has ever been to eschew married women." "But -- but -- what do you mean, m'sieur? My wife pines for your page. . . She cannot sleep a night until she knows that he is hers." "It seems that madame is destined to spend many sleepless nights," said Avon.The humorous dialogue, mixed with a suspenseful story of revenge and the cat and mouse game between the Duke of Avon and his enemy, the Comte Saint-Vire, was just a pleasure to read. Interesting note: This book is a semi-sequel to Heyer's first novel, The Black Moth (which is old enough that you can get it for free on Gutenberg and other sites). Apparently Heyer wanted to do a sequel but the characters didn't quite fit what she wanted to do in this book. So she renamed them and changed some of their characteristics and backstory, so that the new characters are "shades" of the old ones. Hence the name of this novel, which came from a Victorian-era poem that appears at the front of this book in some editions. The poem reads in part: Whereas with these old shades of mine, Their ways and dress delight me; And should I trip by word or line, They cannot well indict me.--Austin Dobson: Epilogue to Eighteenth Century VignettesAll the stars!

  3. 5 out of 5

    L A i N E Y

    "If you desire to do good to la petite, send her to me" "My dear father, I have never desired to do good to anyone" When I first started this book this was my reaction to my fellow reading buddies "Doesn't the writing feel... off? It's not as flowing as my other experience with Heyer". And way too many French words/phrases? That made me curious so I checked the publishing date, turns out this book was published in 1926 - almost 40 years before my favorite book of hers, Frederica. So it was one of "If you desire to do good to la petite, send her to me" "My dear father, I have never desired to do good to anyone" When I first started this book this was my reaction to my fellow reading buddies "Doesn't the writing feel... off? It's not as flowing as my other experience with Heyer". And way too many French words/phrases? That made me curious so I checked the publishing date, turns out this book was published in 1926 - almost 40 years before my favorite book of hers, Frederica. So it was one of her earlier works and maybe that was the reason it felt different to me. We do grow with more experience, authors are obviously no exception. If I think of the story as a sort of parody, then this is a great one. It was funny with two likeable leads but it was also over-the-top and frankly unbelievable at (a lot of) times. I liked both of our leads: Justin, Duke of Avon was a somewhat reformed scoundrel with a nickname of Satana (Satan). Or so we were told. Because I didn't see him be a Satan at all. He was arrogant yes, pompous sure, vindictive certainly but then he's a freaking DUKE! Isn't it 'common' for Dukes to be like that? Anyhow, the Duke of Avon despite his many flaws was superbly hilarious! He was quick-witted and his tongue was sharp but never rude, the perfect combination for one civilly funny hero. Léon/Léonie was, you could say, simple-minded but it never felt like stupidity. Oh sure, she blindly worshipped the Duke but I guess that's understandable seeing as he might have literally saved her life. As in the life of Leonie. They did shared quite a few scenes where their chemistry was extremely on point but then I'd remembered the two decades age difference and I was a bit pulled out of the story. I'm not one for much older guy & teenage girl. His calling her 'infant' really bugged me too. All in all it was enjoyable but about 100 pages too long. ••••••••••••••••• My very first Buddy Read with all these beautifuls Rachelle ♥ Frankie ♥ Marguerite ♥

  4. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    what a wonderfully odd book. I had so many different kinds of guilty feelings that popped up while enjoying this... but the end result was that it turned out to be far from a guilty pleasure. it was pure pleasure, perfectly free from guilt! guilt's such an ugly, ungainly emotion anyway, who needs it. one of the basic premises of the novel should have disgusted me to no end: that aristocrats should be solely with other aristocrats, and the "base born" should be with their ilk only. never the two s what a wonderfully odd book. I had so many different kinds of guilty feelings that popped up while enjoying this... but the end result was that it turned out to be far from a guilty pleasure. it was pure pleasure, perfectly free from guilt! guilt's such an ugly, ungainly emotion anyway, who needs it. one of the basic premises of the novel should have disgusted me to no end: that aristocrats should be solely with other aristocrats, and the "base born" should be with their ilk only. never the two shall meet! even in the case of aristocratic bastards, the poor things. that attitude is not just displayed by literally every character, it drives the narrative forward. there's no getting around the idea; one just has to accept that this was a sign of the times if there's going to be any enjoyment. it was a struggle for me, particularly as the novel has a bit of a cameo from Madame de Pompadour, whose very existence (and power) within the court of King Louis XV is a slap in the face of such nonsense. still, that divide constitutes the rules of the game, and since I wanted to play this game, I had to accept its rules. our hero Lord Justin Alastair aka "Satanas" is the worst kind of condescending, high-handed, fashion-obsessed snob. the sort who revels in his poor reputation and who takes an unseemly pleasure in cutting insults, fake smiles, and cold revenge. he is good to his friends and family, in his way, but is loathe to have that goodness recognized - indeed it seldom is, as the recipients of his goodwill nearly always focus on his nasty insults rather than his quiet generosity. and of course, he has a sordid history as a shameless rake, one which he embraces. all of those things should have made me despise him, and I did - at least in the beginning. but then, shockingly, I recognized myself in him! (minus the fashion obsession.) the blackened coal that I have in place of a heart began to warm to him and soon I was hanging off of his every word and deed as if they were my own. to love oneself is certainly the beginning of a lifelong romance. our heroine Leonie should have driven me up the wall with her juvenile antics and especially her insanely, insipidly worshipful attitude towards Lord Alastair. it was really too much. but Heyer does such a splendid job in surrounding that sycophancy with other layers: Leonie is, in a way, a natural. there is no pretense to her. she is also given to bloodthirstiness and violent displays of temper, which I found delightful. and she has a backstory that hints at physical abuse and neglect, and above all a history of abandonment, that adds tragic layers to what could be a purely annoying character. while her personality traits made her character act much younger than her years, that background helped to create a character who was also suffused with a sort of melancholy, and a familiarity with despair. she is a surprisingly rich and original creation. the title should have annoyed me because it has nothing to do with the actual story, but is rather a sly jest made by the author in acknowledgement that this book is sort of a remake. "these old shades" of past characters, now reborn. I usually dislike authorial cutesiness. but I love the title. it is weirdly resonant, despite being basically a quip. I neglected to read the back cover of the novel before starting it, so I may be one of the few Heyer fans who didn't realize that "Leon" was actually a girl disguised as a boy. I gradually figured it out, but it took some time. that oversight combined with the portrait of Lord Alastair as an arch and distinctly effeminate (although deadly) dandy made the first quarter of the book a strangely homoerotic experience. it was rather creepy: jaded older queen "buys" a young man right off of the streets and proceeds to make the boy his page, and then trots him out to be drooled over by high society. but it was also rather fun. it is a testament to this book's charm that the fun wasn't reduced an iota when Leon became Leonie. this was a really satisfying book and I am looking forward to reading more by the author.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really enjoyed this frothy, fun tale of an orphan and her rescuer. There was a bit of an "ick" factor in the much older man and the innocent ingenue, but it's the same story in all of Heyer's books. It is a standard trope that the lady is always younger, but in most of her books, the couple is more closely allied than these two. The Duke is 40ish and Leonie only 19. Another offputting thing is that, because of the hierarchy of society in the 1700s, the class system was strictly adhered to. Leo I really enjoyed this frothy, fun tale of an orphan and her rescuer. There was a bit of an "ick" factor in the much older man and the innocent ingenue, but it's the same story in all of Heyer's books. It is a standard trope that the lady is always younger, but in most of her books, the couple is more closely allied than these two. The Duke is 40ish and Leonie only 19. Another offputting thing is that, because of the hierarchy of society in the 1700s, the class system was strictly adhered to. Leonie and Justin could not wed, if she was of a different class or was illegitimate. This was more grotesque to me than the age difference. Anyhoo, they meet cute, as Leon is being chased by his older brother to avoid a beating. Justin saves Leon, by buying him, ugh!, I forgot that icky part. The Duke cannot help but notice what unusual features Leon has and knows, probably from first meeting, that Leon is actually Leonie. As I was reading , I thought this would make a great movie. There is another swashbuckling scene in which Leonie is kidnapped and spirited away by carriage and by boat from England to France, while being chased by the Dukes brother Rupert, Imminently filmable, not to mention all the gorgeous gowns and hairdos and all manner of frippery. I digress, as in all Heyer's books, the Duke becomes a better human being and all Leonie's wishes come true.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Willow

    I enjoyed These Old Shades. I think Heyer writes vivid, opinionated characters and she captures the Georgian period beautifully. I must admit though, I’m not sure this book is for everybody. There’s a lot of yakking. These characters talk, talk, and even more talk. Heyer doesn’t directly tell you what her characters are up to either, so you have to get to know them by what they say. Some of the dialogue is pretty hilarious, and some of it is kind of repetitive. To me this makes the characters mo I enjoyed These Old Shades. I think Heyer writes vivid, opinionated characters and she captures the Georgian period beautifully. I must admit though, I’m not sure this book is for everybody. There’s a lot of yakking. These characters talk, talk, and even more talk. Heyer doesn’t directly tell you what her characters are up to either, so you have to get to know them by what they say. Some of the dialogue is pretty hilarious, and some of it is kind of repetitive. To me this makes the characters more visceral, but it can also slow down the action. You definitely get to know the two lovers. I thought the Duke was a hoot. He has somewhat questionable morals, and in truth he starts out as the villain of the story. He’s carrying around a twenty year old grudge that he simply MUST get even for. He’s very clever though and amusing, and let’s not forget smooth, so you can’t help but root for him. I have to admit, in the beginning he sort of gave me the impression of being a perv with the way he takes young Leon under his wing, but then you find out he has a whole different agenda. Of course, some of my more skeptical impressions of the Duke, may be due to the fact that Leonie was so naïve and worshiping, I thought she was a child. Of course later on you find out she kept a lot of things to herself. When she feels comfortable, a lot more personality comes to the surface and she gets a lot more lippy. Lol After I finished this I realized that the Duke and Leonie are polar opposites. Where she is trusting, he is cynical. Where she is impulsive, the Duke is calculating. She is innocent, and the Duke is not. They truly do compliment each other. It’s no wonder they fall in love. Of course not all was peachy. There were some eye rolling moments, like Heyer’s snobby assertion that being noble and refined is something you’re born with and will show even if you are raised by a pig farmer. Thus it cannot be learned (which I think is a bunch of hooey). But I’m sure there are some blue blood nobles out there who’d disagree. Yet this antiquated view actually fits perfectly with the period and gives a true aristocratic vibe, which in many ways is preferable to the politically correct views that seem to infiltrate historical fiction now. So for my review, I give ****1/2. I thought this book was a lot of fun. I will forever think of the Duke as a young, smooth talking Peter O’Toole and Leonie as Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element. lol Speaking of movies, how come they've never made a book or miniseries from one of Heyer's books. I think her books would be perfect for the Jane Austin crowd.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Update: I have it on good authority that this is an accurate representation of me while thinking of this book (or should I specify, the hero!): By the way this book only gets better and funnier with each re-read I do! ;) Love these crazy people forever <3 {Please note that the following essay review contains spoilers} I'm not sure that I can entirely express how much I truly love this book and how absolutely amazing it is. I remember reading The Black Moth by the same author a while ago, and sec Update: I have it on good authority that this is an accurate representation of me while thinking of this book (or should I specify, the hero!): By the way this book only gets better and funnier with each re-read I do! ;) Love these crazy people forever <3 {Please note that the following essay review contains spoilers} I'm not sure that I can entirely express how much I truly love this book and how absolutely amazing it is. I remember reading The Black Moth by the same author a while ago, and secretly having a shameful preference for the book's villain, the Duke of Andover, over the main protagonist. And when I read The Convenient Marriage, Lord Lethbridge was also my favourite character, against my better judgement. I don't know what it is exactly that make me love those sarcastic, cynical, mocking, badass villains so much, but I had always hoped that Andover could have had a well-developed story of his own and a happy ending. Perhaps it was the idea of potential redemption that make me like the above mentioned villains, I don't know. Nevertheless, when I found out that These Old Shades was a sort of sequel to The Black Moth, I got super excited and knew that I had to read it. I got even MORE excited when I found out that Heyer had used the same characters as in The Black Moth, but had simply changed their names (hence the title These Old Shades , as she made the characters "shades" of their former selves). Then I got definitely over-the-top excited when I found out that Andover was going to be the main hero of the story, under the name of Justin Alastair "Satanas" His Grace the Duke of Avon. Yes, all those names indeed represent the same person. As everyone who has read this novel is aware, deciphering who is whom at the beginning of the story is slightly confusing, since Heyer uses many ways to name the Duke in just a few pages (I actually thought there was about 4 different guys in that scene when Avon is talking with Davenant, just after he brought Léon to the house). But once you've figured that Avon is referred to by about 15 different names, it becomes way easier. One of the things I simply love about Georgette Heyer's books is that she doesn't take 10 chapters to just "introduce" what is going to happen, or who the characters are. She starts off immediately with something interesting, that grasps the reader's attention right away. In this case, the Duke of Avon buys a boy he finds in the street, who is fleeing from his brother's beating hand. I was definitely intrigued, as we see that Avon has a motive for his actions which he refuses to share. By reading a lot of reviews here on Goodreads about this book, I found that the two major problems that most people encountered with These Old Shades was that the two protagonists were annoying (particularly Léonie) and that the love story was very ick-creepy-pedophile-and-just-plain-disgusting. My modern self understands these points of view, but my inner Georgian lady thinks the hero and heroine awesome and their love story beautiful. The character of Avon is indeed very particular. Picking up from when The Black Moth finishes, we find a Duke (around 40 years of age) carrying a terrible reputation as a debauched rake, one of his most recent scandal having been to kidnap the woman with whom he was in love (some reviewers complained that that subject was not alluded to further in the book, but that whole "abduction" thing is actually part of the main plot in The Black Moth). We see none, however, of his bad deeds in These Old Shades, but we know that he's bad just by the way he speaks, and through his relationships with his family and friends. He is as deadly with a sword as he is with words. People fear him and distrust him in general. I really enjoyed the fact the Heyer did not have to include scenes where he acted wrongly to make me believe that he was a devil (all that was actually told in The Black Moth). And another thing that I found particularly interesting was that the Duke was a tall and handsome man, very much masculine and viril, and yet he was described as wearing a powdered wig (!), lace, velvet, gold, emeralds and I- don't-know- what-that-I-never-imagined-men-wore (!!), carrying a fan (!!!!) and mincing around on high heels (!!!!!!!!!!!!). Yes, I can see how some had problems with that. As a Georgian era lover, it didn't bother me that much (I actually thought the fan-involving parts to be absolutely hilarious!). "The Duke fanned himself with an air, handling the chicken-skin like a woman.^ [..] His Grace smiled slowly, eyes nearly shut. 'The fan expresses my emotions. I must kiss March's hands and feet. Metaphorically speaking.' He waved the fan gently to and fro. Davenant glared at him for a moment, annoyed at his nonchalance. [...] 'Justin, pray put that fan away!'" I could quote this scene on and on, as it is one of my favourites (I mean, poor Davenant is trying to have a serious conversation with Justin and he is just fooling around, fanning himself! lol!). I personally loved every scene in which the Duke had a say, and to me, he is an amazing character. But moving on. I could talk about him all day long, so let's move on. Léonie is one of my favourite young heroines. She's just adorable. Yes, I admit that she did seem to act a lot younger than her given age (19), what with talking nonsense half the time, being so bloodthirsty and worshipping the Duke like a god. And yes, from a certain point of view, I can see that the relationship between Avon and Léonie is made a little creepy/disturbing, given that there are 20+ years that separate them, and that Avon spends the better part of the book referring to her as "my infant", "my child", etc...They seem to have more of a father-daughter relationship than a an actual romantic one. However, there is another way of looking at it. Just think about it for a minute. The Duke of Avon is a cold-hearted man who has never truly cared or loved anyone or anything, and who has never been loved. (OK, there are perhaps a few exeptions...Hugh Davenant is his friend and it is said that he once loved Jennifer Beauchamp, but he tried to abduct her - twice! So...one sees the point). Then, one day, Léonie comes into his life in a most unexpected way, and gifts him with an unconditional and undying adoration. Léonie has known only misery in the nineteen years she has lived. The Duke one day decides to keep her. He shows himself to be unexpectedly good and kind to her. Isn't is normal then, for Léonie, who has never been properly cared for, and who has a terrible past, to come to love the man who got her out of her misery? He may not have acted from charity at first, but Avon's character change is one of the best aspects of this novel. He starts as a Satan figure, and becomes a godly one (at least, to Léonie). In a way, each rescued the other. The Duke saved Léonie from a terrible life of lies and agony, and Léonie saved the Duke from his sinful rakish lifestyle. Honestly, I cannot blame Léonie for acting the way she does. In a world where all women are supposed to be the same, wearing giant skirts, curtseying, having their hands kissed, being accomplished, playing a lower role in the society, etc...it is no wonder that with the kind of past she's had, she chose to be different. And everyone loves her because of that. Women love her because she's sweet, beautiful, unique and funny. Men love her because she's different, espiègle and enjouée. And...Avon comes to love her because she's herself. She's the only one who has ever dared to contradict or to talk back to him, and he likes it. It went from: " 'If it is your will that I obey this Walker,’ said Léon with dignity, ‘I will do it y-your-r-r- Gr-r-race!’ Justin looked him over. ‘Certainly you will do so. And I prefer that you call me Monseigneur.’ […] ‘This Walker has told me that when I speak to you, Monseigneur, I must say “your-r-r” ah, bah! I cannot, enfin!’ For one moment Justin stared haughtily at his page. […] ‘Be very careful,’ Justin warned him.” to: ” ‘I called to Rupert as loud as I could and kicked the pig-person-‘ ‘The Comte de Saint-Vire.’ ‘Yes, the pig-person- on his legs a great many times. He did not like it at all.’ ‘That,’ said his Grace, ‘does not altogether surprise me.’ […] ‘Oh, you know the rest, Monseigneur! He gave an evil drink – pig-wash! He called it coffee.’ ‘Then, let us also call it coffee, child, I beg of you. I can support “pig-person” but “pig-wash” I will not endure.’ ‘But it was, Monseigneur! I threw it at him and he swore.’ […] ‘Poor infant!’ His Grace tweaked one curl. ‘But a most indomitable infant withal.’” Ahem – once again, I have to restrain myself from quoting the whole book! Another awesome point about Heyer’s characterization is that she makes her secondary characters as fiery and fun as her primary ones. Justin’s younger siblings, Lady Fanny Marling and Lord Rupert Alastair, are no exception to this rule. Every scene involving them was super funny (especially with Rupert). What was the most fun about them, though, was their realization that the Duke was falling in love with Léonie. Fanny’s “plans” for them to get married and Rupert’s rebuttals that “Justin-is-too-old-and-too-devilish-for-her-and-besides-he-will-never-marry-a-bastard” were simply hilarious! It also showed that their relationship as a family was evolving. In the beginning, Justin’s relationship with Fanny and Rupert is lacking trust, respect, and love. They fear their brother and he doesn’t care about them. As we come to see a softer side to Avon, however, we can see how that relationship gradually changes. When Avon meets Rupert for the first time, (in the book) when he is wounded in an inn on a roadside in rural France, he acts towards him with none of his usual biting sarcasm, and even takes care of him. Rupert is greatly surprised that he is “basking in the sunshine of his approuval”, as Avon seems really proud of his courage to have saved Léonie when she was kidnapped, and does not know at first to what he should attribute the change. Rupert and Léonie, on the other hand, have a brother/sister relationship from the first, and act like veritable youngsters when they are together; calling each other names, and fighting in the woods. Rupert is a lot closer in age with Léonie than Avon is, and it is a few times suggested that she should get with him as a couple instead of focusing on the Duke, but that Léonie can absolutely not do, and she treats Rupert as her brother throughout the novel. Avon yet plays again a sort of fatherly figure to them, recommending that they stop calling each other “imbéciles” and gently scolding Léonie for her unladylike behaviour. In a way, playing the “reprimanding older brother”, Justin gets closer to Rupert, as he probably never acted in such a way that shows that he cares at least a bit about him. One of my absolute favourite scenes that clearly illustrates the change his Grace has with Rupert and Fanny is the sort of family-dinner they have with a few friends, on the eve before Léonie is to curtsy to the Polite World. Seeing them all talk gaily, amiably and at perfect ease was very touching. ” ‘I believe I have several times requested you not to call Rupert “imbecile”, infant.’ ‘But, Monseigneur, he is an imbécile!’ she protested. ‘You know he is!’ ‘Undoubtedly, ma fille, but I do not tell the whole world so.’ ‘Then I don’t know what I am to call him, ‘ said Léonie. ‘He calls me spitfire, Monseigneur, and wild-cat.’ ‘And so she is, by Gad!’ exclaimed his lordship. ‘I am not, Rupert. I am a lady. Monseigneur says so.’ ‘A manifestly false assertion,’ said his Grace. ’But I cannot remember ever having said anything of the kind, infant. […] ‘But, Monseigneur, you said only a minute ago that your memory is not at all good.’ There was a shout of laughter; Avon’s own eyes were alight with it. He picked up his fan and dealt Léonie a rap across the knuckles.” Haha, yes, I know, I know, that fan again! But I just had to include it in the passage! Avon’s improving relationship with his sister is really demonstrated in the following scenes, as they work together to present Léonie to the respectable people at her first ball, and to make sure that she enjoys herself. Fanny is constantly looking for Justin to ask him which lady or lord Léonie should be introduced to next. As much as the Duke plays a sort of protector/father figure to Léonie, I believe that Fanny plays a very maternal role for Léonie. She treats her like her daughter (and even says so herself), educating her and dressing her with her own gowns. At first she thought Léonie to be a real trial, but by the end she loved taking care of her. The one thing that disappointed me about this first ball scene was that Léonie and Avon did not even dance together! I was secretly really hoping for it, especially since he had promised her that he would dance with her in a previous conversation. Oh well, that was really the only minor detail that disappointed me (oh, and of course the fact that the book cover completely reveals a major spoiler!!!!!). As much I as enjoyed TOS though, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Not everyone can stand all the “my dears” and “my infants”, and the jewels, and lace, and gold, and powder and hand-kissing and Georgian slang (the book’s literally full of it!). It’s not for everyone. However, for those like me who are totally obsessed with those kind of things, These Old Shades is the perfect book. In fact, it’s worth the read just for the over-the-top witty conversations. And as for the love story…if at times I felt that Avon overused the nickname “my infant” and I wasn’t sure if he only loved Léonie as his ward, the ending definitely removed all doubts and left me assured and satisfied that they were both madly in love with each other. The re-telling of Léonie’s tragic story by the Duke is perhaps the most touching part of this novel (and, yes, yes one of my favourites!). As he told her tale, his love for her shone through his voice at certain passages, and the answering adoration she held for him was echoed through the acute sacrifice she made to save his reputation (view spoiler)[ she fled his house for fear she would expose him to a scandal when she discovered that Saint-Vire was her father and that she was probably his bastard-daughter (hide spoiler)] . When Avon rescued Léonie and later decided to keep her under his watchful eyes, his motives were strictly selfish. He had his own reasons for keeping her, and hoped to use her for his own ends. However, these motives soon took an important turn as he discovered Léonie’s unique personality, and came to love what he saw. His desire for revenge was then intensified, perhaps, but had a very different meaning. When the Duke confesses his feelings for Léonie, he openly admits his unworthiness by implying that she is his superior and that he does not deserve her, or rather, that she does not deserve a man with such a tainted past. By thus humiliating himself in front of the woman he loves, it undoubtedly proves that he is an altogether reformed character. ” His Grace looked deep into her eyes, and then went down on one knee, and raised her hand to his lips. ‘Little one,’ he said, very low, ‘since you will stoop to wed me, I pledge you my word that you shall not in the future have cause to regret it.’” Sigh…Here is my Duke of Andover from The Black Moth an entirely amended rake. (view spoiler)[But boy, did he get his full revenge on Saint-Vire! Wow! Not only does he make him live hell by waiting so long to strike his final blow, and when he does it, proceeds with such intelligence and wit, telling Léonie’s story in front of everyone and causing Mme de Saint-Vire to have a total breakdown, but he ends up MARRYING SAINT-VIRE’S DAUGHTER, when the point of Avon’s revenge was not only to avenge Léonie, but also to get back to him for what had happened between them 20 years before when Saint-Vire would not let Avon MARRY HIS SISTER! AND NOW AVON MARRIES HIS DAUGHTER, HA! (hide spoiler)] This book is genius. Pure genius. And just beautiful, wonderful, awesome, amazing, incredible. Now, the question is, what the heck am I supposed to do with my life???!?!? Well, thank God for Devil’s Cub!!!!!!!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This is one of my favorite romance novels, ever. I am not even afraid to review it here on this pretentious book site, I love it so much. I have worn through my copy of it. It is lovely beat up and bent back to the pages of all my favorite parts. The Heyer hallmarks are all here: great characters, hilarious plot, breaking the genre rules, a somewhat effete hero (but in a manly way). The main character, Leonie, is absolutely adorable. I don't even care if others find her annoying, she makes me la This is one of my favorite romance novels, ever. I am not even afraid to review it here on this pretentious book site, I love it so much. I have worn through my copy of it. It is lovely beat up and bent back to the pages of all my favorite parts. The Heyer hallmarks are all here: great characters, hilarious plot, breaking the genre rules, a somewhat effete hero (but in a manly way). The main character, Leonie, is absolutely adorable. I don't even care if others find her annoying, she makes me laugh. I've been reading this book since I was 13 and I still feel that way. This book actually has some great layers. There's real darkness and fear and complexity in the characters. It isn't just the farce that it could be. Far from it. There's real mystery and a deep sympathy to the hero, Justin. Easily the first book hero I ever fell in love with. He's quite gothic, but with that Regency sprinkling of humor that I love. (Think Mr. Rochester... but polished. And hilarious.) Whatever, shut up. I love Georgette Heyer. This was one of the books that really helped along my love for 18th/19th century Brit lit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    GAH! I adore Georgian period romances. The ridiculous extravagance and theatricality of action and costume are simply divine. "I thought you disliked melodrama, my friend?" "I do; but I have a veritable passion for--justice." "You've nourished thoughts of vengeance--for twenty years?" Other pluses which definitely made this a win: Heroine disguised as a boy, swordplay as well as hoydenish behaviors overlaid with a sweet naïveté; and an older sworn bachelor and renown rake charmed back into life's GAH! I adore Georgian period romances. The ridiculous extravagance and theatricality of action and costume are simply divine. "I thought you disliked melodrama, my friend?" "I do; but I have a veritable passion for--justice." "You've nourished thoughts of vengeance--for twenty years?" Other pluses which definitely made this a win: Heroine disguised as a boy, swordplay as well as hoydenish behaviors overlaid with a sweet naïveté; and an older sworn bachelor and renown rake charmed back into life's pleasure from the malaise of ennui. It's Pygmalion with far more entertaining circumstances. The button of her foil came to rest below his left shoulder. "Touche," said Avon. "That was rather better, infant." Leonie danced in her excitement. "Monseigneur, I have killed you! You are dead! You are dead!" "You display an unseemly joy," he remarked. "I had no notion you were so bloodthirsty." If you like historical romances, brats, and an age difference then you really can't go wrong, here. I feel rather silly that the title was so off-putting to me that I failed to read it earlier. And yes, I comprehended the ancient Greek concept of shade, but dismissed the opportunity. Rather stupid of me, to be honest.

  10. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker

    I think I'm too much a product of my time. Having a hero who was 40yrs and a heroine who was 19, combined with the hero constantly calling her infant and for 80% of the story portraying her as very young, innocent, and wide-eyed, I couldn't and didn't want to buy into their romance. If you liked Val from Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, you're going to love our hero Justin, definitely an inspiration for him. I was a big fan of Justin and his wit, he's constantly miles and moves ahead of everyone else I think I'm too much a product of my time. Having a hero who was 40yrs and a heroine who was 19, combined with the hero constantly calling her infant and for 80% of the story portraying her as very young, innocent, and wide-eyed, I couldn't and didn't want to buy into their romance. If you liked Val from Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, you're going to love our hero Justin, definitely an inspiration for him. I was a big fan of Justin and his wit, he's constantly miles and moves ahead of everyone else. Leonie was kept so young, guileless, and precocious without much emotional maturity growth, I have to be that person and say I wasn't a big fan of the heroine. The father figure falling for the young girl who hero worships him but written very well with tangled weave drama.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hana

    The literary equivalent of those marvelous British period dramas with utterly glorious settings and luscious costumes. I can never resist this sort thing. Pages of details of soft white brocades, ruffle upon ruffle, falling over great hoops, auburn hair piled in elaborate curls, pearls against soft pale skin, and perfect accessories like...chicken-skin fans. And since this is 18th century France before the Revolution, the men are just as gorgeous and even more colorful.... When we first meet the h The literary equivalent of those marvelous British period dramas with utterly glorious settings and luscious costumes. I can never resist this sort thing. Pages of details of soft white brocades, ruffle upon ruffle, falling over great hoops, auburn hair piled in elaborate curls, pearls against soft pale skin, and perfect accessories like...chicken-skin fans. And since this is 18th century France before the Revolution, the men are just as gorgeous and even more colorful.... When we first meet the hero, the Duke of Avon, he is arrayed "in a full-skirted coat of purple satin, heavily laced with gold," his wig immaculately powdered, carrying a beribboned cane, and mincing along in high heels. The Duke is returning to his palatial Paris hôtel from a night of gaming or perhaps other amusements when an urchin stumbles across his path and begs for help: "Great violet-blue eyes gazed wildly up at him, terror in their depths." This is a Georgette Heyer romance so we all know where this is going, but getting there is splendid fun. The plot is a lively but improbable mix of The Count of Monte Cristo and My Fair Lady yet it's all so glittering that I hardly noticed the plot holes as I gawked at ballroom scenes at Versailles and yearned to own one marvelous gown after another. The descriptions are splendid, the dialog witty, and the protagonists are likable, particularly the little urchin who is transformed into....well that would be telling! Along the way, we get to meet luminaries at the court of Louis V, including the famed courtesan, Madam Pompadour.... splendidly dressed, of course! I've read most of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, but I'm new to those set in 18th century France and England. You can be sure I'll be back for more! Read with fellow Georgette Heyer Fans who added so much to the pleasure--thank you all!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    Most fandom people I've talked to either love or at least rather like this book, but it seems it's my turn to feel all "bwah?" and left out, as Punk does with The Dreyfus Affair and Siria does with Swordspoint. I hated it. I despised pretty much all the characters, other than Hugh and Rupert—Leonie was irritating, and Avon was just creepy. I know he was supposed to be "Satanas"—the devil of a man who isn't really that bad, but I found him neither enjoyably naughty nor charming; he was just kin Most fandom people I've talked to either love or at least rather like this book, but it seems it's my turn to feel all "bwah?" and left out, as Punk does with The Dreyfus Affair and Siria does with Swordspoint. I hated it. I despised pretty much all the characters, other than Hugh and Rupert—Leonie was irritating, and Avon was just creepy. I know he was supposed to be "Satanas"—the devil of a man who isn't really that bad, but I found him neither enjoyably naughty nor charming; he was just kind of slimy. The idea of him and Leonie being together really skeeved me out, not because of the age difference—I actually like an age difference, when it's done well—but because of the power dynamic, I guess. All the power was Avon's, both practically and emotionally, and throughout the whole book Leonie was worshipful of him and he condescending towards her. Ew. I also didn't see the slash at all; Hugh was one of the few nice characters, as I said, so I guess it could be construed that he put up with Avon because he was in love with him, but Avon didn't seem particularly gay to me—he was just an 18th Century dude who lived in France and was a bit of a vain ass. The overall package was not appealing, and neither was this book, which is too bad, because I really enjoyed the only other Heyer I've read, The Masqueraders. Before I read These Old Shades, I was planning to read The Grand Sophy soon, but now I'm not so sure; Shades turned me off, and I also heard that Sophy has a really ugly Jewish stereotype in it. Those of you who've read it: what do you think?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    Group Read Georgette Heyer Fans Group This was my favourite book as a very young teen & I have read it more than any other title! GH was not altogether happy with The Black Moth & decided to bring back Devil Belmanoir - this time as the romantic hero. This is well known, but also Lavinia & Richard become Fanny & Edward, Frank Fortescue becomes Hugh Davenant, Diana becomes Lady Merivale. I don't think Lord Merivale is Jack - he lacks Jack's whimsical sweetness. But their & Belma Group Read Georgette Heyer Fans Group This was my favourite book as a very young teen & I have read it more than any other title! GH was not altogether happy with The Black Moth & decided to bring back Devil Belmanoir - this time as the romantic hero. This is well known, but also Lavinia & Richard become Fanny & Edward, Frank Fortescue becomes Hugh Davenant, Diana becomes Lady Merivale. I don't think Lord Merivale is Jack - he lacks Jack's whimsical sweetness. But their & Belmanoir's back story is used to very good effect. The extract from a poem by Victorian poet Austin Dobson (which has been at the front of every edition I have read of this novel except the Arrow) This Age I grant (and grant with pride), Is varied, rich, eventful; But, if you touch its weaker side, Deplorably resentful: Belaud it, and it takes your praise With air of calm conviction; Condemn it, and at once you raise A storm of contradiction. Whereas with these old Shades of mine, Their ways and dress delight me; And should I trip by word or line, They cannot well indict me. This story is so well told that I simply don't care about major plot holes. I don't care that Avon treating 19 year old Leonie like a child & withholding information from her that she had a right to know. I don't care that French characters in this book who are fluent in English fall back into their French for very easy English terms. What I do care about is the Romance with a capital R that sweeps you along & makes this book nearly impossible to put down. Yes it is flawed but GH was still only around 23 when she wrote it - this is an accomplished book for anyone let alone so young an author! & I do love is the way that GH manages to make the dress of the time look masculine - no easy task. I love the rich cast of characters that, like a few of her other great works, become a group of friends that you want to hang out with. & Rupert & Leonie's relationship is quite complex. She is more than a sister to him - yet they are not in love. & the book does contain some of the greatest lines in romantic fiction. (view spoiler)[ “Léonie, you will do well to consider. You are not the first woman in my life." She smiled through her tears. "Monseigneur, I would so much rather be the last woman than the first,” she said.” (hide spoiler)] What can one do but *swoon* Can't wait to read the sequel Devil's Club next month.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam (AMNReader)

    A quick, zany, humorous book-- and my second Heyer, recommended by Georgie-who-is-Sarah as a better offering than Beauvallet. I'd have to agree, though that same swashbuckling feel exists here. Her writing is bold and upbeat. I am still, somehow, by the end of their evolving and strange relationship, convinced of Justin's love for Leonie. I had tons of fun with this, time reading is only due to print copy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    G.

    I'm a fan of romance novels, especially historical, so I tend to read quite a bit of them. I know that Georgette Heyer is sort of a legend in this subgenre, but I have never read any of her books before now. I chose to read These Old Shades because it's part of a trilogy. I thought, hey, I'll read the three books and then decide what I think of her writing. Sadly I didn't enjoy the first installment. At all. I found the Duke of Avon to be a rather fashionable reptile with a fan (yes, you read th I'm a fan of romance novels, especially historical, so I tend to read quite a bit of them. I know that Georgette Heyer is sort of a legend in this subgenre, but I have never read any of her books before now. I chose to read These Old Shades because it's part of a trilogy. I thought, hey, I'll read the three books and then decide what I think of her writing. Sadly I didn't enjoy the first installment. At all. I found the Duke of Avon to be a rather fashionable reptile with a fan (yes, you read that right). Do not get me wrong, I enjoy these fashionable anti-heroes (see Eloisa James' the Duke of Villiers), but Heyer's Avon felt rather cardboard. There wasn't much to him really, apart his vapid need for revenge and calling Leonie "my infant", which made me very, very uncomfortable. Now, Leonie. Apparently she's nineteen. I disagree. I believe that the girl has the emotional and and intellectual maturity of a teenage girl. I'd give her fifteen at most. But that isn't the worst part. That was Leonie's obnoxiousness and tendency to call everyone stupid. She's just extremely annoying and silly. The moment she opened her mouth, I wanted her to shut up. I admit I wanted to strangle her upon occasion. I didn't really see anything deeper inside her personality as Avon did. Leonie's really just an infant. As to the romance between Avon and Leonie, all I can say is that, boy, am I skeeved. This pairing just did not work for me; there just wasn't any chemistry between the protagonists. Also, the age difference just made my skin crawl. And that, believe me, is quite an achievement, because age differences between couples have never fazed me before. I also don't give a damn if it's the man or the woman (if it's hetero romance) who's older. But this time it just felt so wrong. It's not that Avon is twenty-plus years older than Leonie (and a reptile), but rather that she has the maturity of a kid, despite her being nineteen. Honestly, it felt like Avon himself saw her as a child, calling her "my infant" all the time. Even after their unfortunate nuptials. Eww. Soooo... one down, two to go, and then I'll make my decision whether to read more of Heyer's work. But really, I'm hoping that this one was just an odd miss and I'll enjoy the other two in this trilogy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Naksed

    A guardian-ward romance set in the reign of Louis XV, with a dash of Pygmalion, and a revenge dish served very, very cold, Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades was quite delicious, once I was able to ignore and set aside the hopelessly out of touch and destructive hypothesis that is at the core of the novel. That is, nature will always win out over nurture. So if an aristocratic, well-bred, pure-blood being is unwittingly ripped from its natural surroundings and thrust upon a dung heap, it will st A guardian-ward romance set in the reign of Louis XV, with a dash of Pygmalion, and a revenge dish served very, very cold, Georgette Heyer's These Old Shades was quite delicious, once I was able to ignore and set aside the hopelessly out of touch and destructive hypothesis that is at the core of the novel. That is, nature will always win out over nurture. So if an aristocratic, well-bred, pure-blood being is unwittingly ripped from its natural surroundings and thrust upon a dung heap, it will still manage to bloom as a most radiant flower. And vice-versa, you can put lipstick on a pig and he always will reek. The dialogue and characterizations in this story were superb, particularly the male protagonist, a fortyish, dandified, rakehell of the Georgian era. The denouement of his meticulously planned revenge was so perfect that it made the comeuppance of the evil shrew of Les Liasons Dangereuses seem like child's play. I have to admit though that the cast of secondary characters, a madcap assortment of aristos with always a bon mot, a box of snuff, and an invitation to a ball up their sleeves, and the infantile, annoying heroine, who I am sure delighted the original readership of this book, kind of grated on me. Still, overall, an entertaining little book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laure

    You would never know (or feel) that this book is made of 300 pages or so - it reads very quickly, enchantingly so. Very enjoyable as always.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Seema Khan

    This review is just a picture of how personally I take my books and how involved I get! Great many spoilers and fan girl babbling ahead! Now I don’t know how this happened but it was just a coincidence that I read The Black Moth before reading These Old Shades and I hadn’t read any of the blurbs about these books before beginning them either. While I read it, there was some clicking going on in my mind that something is familiar, that I know some of these things. I also felt that Satanas was so s This review is just a picture of how personally I take my books and how involved I get! Great many spoilers and fan girl babbling ahead! Now I don’t know how this happened but it was just a coincidence that I read The Black Moth before reading These Old Shades and I hadn’t read any of the blurbs about these books before beginning them either. While I read it, there was some clicking going on in my mind that something is familiar, that I know some of these things. I also felt that Satanas was so similar to The Duke of Andover, the Devil. Further Anthony Merivale is very much alike Sir Anthony Ferndale, in that he had some highwayman history to his name, and had rescued his wife Jennifer from Satanas while he was abducting her and also had had a terrific sword fight with him that was played with almost the same level of expertise, though Merivale had a slight edge over Avon (remember Jack taught fencing in France?) Now weren’t all these actions what had also ensued between Sir Anthony Ferndale and the Duke of Andover? Further the character of Hugh Devanant is again similar to Devil’s friend who unwaveringly is focused on reforming Devil and is seen prophesying that he will one day love someone more than himself. I felt curious and I then did some research. It turns out that Heyer had written These Old Shades using the same characters, retaining their character essence in their names and just made them more three dimensional. And it indeed is another side to the story of The Black Moth (set three years after the happenings of The Black moth) and it was said that she had named the book as she did in order to give it a continuation of sorts. I did not like The Black Moth as much as I have liked other Heyer books; in fact I have listed it in my bottom 5 Heyers recently. But after having read TOS, I am fascinated! There can be no other book like These Old Shades! I love it to the last shred! And that is an understatement! I just cannot understand how this was penned. The detailing of emotions, actions, feelings and situations is just out of the world! First, It is Monseigneur and Léon, the page! Oh such a cute mix of loyalty, devotion, love, servitude, fury in Léon and of an apparently detached interest, care, admonition and command in Satanas. This phase in their lives was so pure and unadulterated. I was touched at Léon’s selfless and zealous dedication to Avon and his fury in defense of his master. Léon’s rescue at the hands of Avon from the clutches of Jean and his horrid wife, have earned for the Duke a lifelong dedicated and devoted servant. Léon has placed his Monseigneur on a pinnacle of heroism. Here, It always goes like: Avon: Do this! (With haughtiness) Léon: Yes, Monseigneur! Avon: We go to Vaussauds! Léon: Yes, Monseigneur! Avon: an impertinent page! Léon: (engaging smile) Avon: My Léon (Oh, how cute!) Léon: I will be yours forever My Monseigneur! Avon: My infant! (How endearing!) Léon: You are the best Monseigneur! Then the covers are lifted and truth revealed to Avon (though he’s known it forever!) Léon turns into Léonie and is taught to be a girl again and becomes Avon’s ward. Then it is Monseigneur and Léonie, the ward! Oh there’s growth in this phase. Growth in love, in devotion, in care and in affections and fondness of Léonie and Avon for each other. It’s not just Léonie who is fond of him; there is also growth in Avon’s attachment here. And there’s not just fondness, but a mutual respect evident. I had a lump in the throat and almost cried at a couple of places. Some of the best scenes I have ever read are in this book, especially the one where Avon leaves Léonie in Lady Fanny’s care. That’s my favourite scene. Then, the travel to and from Versailles. Also, Léonie and Avon’s reunion in Bassincourt. What we come across in this phase is: Léonie: Monseigneur do this! (With an engaging smile) Avon: Yes infant! Léonie: Monseigneur not our library! (a captivating dimple here) Avon: Yes, ma fille! Léonie: Monseigneur not that! (an ensnaring peep from beneath the lashes) Avon: yes my child! So basically, she has Avon around her little finger! Satanas, whom no one could prevail upon finally comes to love someone more than himself! I never thought I’d say this, but: “I love Satanas!” I mean who could not?? For all his satanical actions, I still find His Grace of Avon, Justin Alastair one of the most charming and endearing heroes ever! He is enthralling and fascinating. The sarcasm and the sharp straight-faced one-liners are just too good! Under the façade of his satanical acts, there is a human aspect to Justin which only Leonie succeeds in nudging out. His kindness, empathy and care for Leonie are remarkably beautiful. He is aware of his own unworthiness and is trying his best to save Léonie from himself. His anguish and accumulating vengeance for what Léonie has had to suffer for her father’s vile actions is captivating to read. To revenge Léonie’s sufferings he, at one point forgets that he himself had a score to settle with Saint Vire so taken is he by her and so selfless is his love. Léonie or Léon! She is my most beloved of Heyer heroines, even more than Frederica and Venetia whom I had found the most likable up till now. Reading TOS has really changed the sequence of my favourites. She is just so selfless in her love for Justin and so devoted to him. There’s nothing she won’t do for him. The sweet mix of innocence, wisdom and cynicism and her defense of her master with all her life and heart are just so cute! “I am his dog” – who says this? I mean this is the height of innocent devotion! Her reminiscence of the small conversational details they have had, her fear of losing him, of being away from him and unhappiness at being parted from him when he’s on his travels, her whim of keeping the library out of reach of outsiders just because it is ‘their’ sitting place and where he had brought her for the first time are the things which really show how much he means to her and how much each moment they passed together is important to her. Such intricate description of the small nothings which are valued as everything endears the book so much to the heart! I found their love for one another selfless and unadulterated. There is a sense of belonging between them right from their first meeting with each other and their bond just grows stronger each moment. And it was not just Justin and Léonie, but Monseigneur and Léon were equally beautiful. “My Leon” and “Monseigneur” are just simple endearments denoting such deep fondness, pride and affection. They are just made for each other! Hugh Devanant, Lord Rupert Alastair, Lady Fanny Marling who have substantial roles to play in the story are all so very likable. Rupert’s outspoken jests are hilarious! Lady Fanny is a sweet heart and Hugh Devanant such a level headed and caring friend. Merivale is interesting and I felt like killing Saint Vire myself! (Told you I get too involved!) The story is compelling. The way it is wrought is remarkable. Splendid, in fact! No doubt, it is so loved and appreciated around the globe. I could go on and on and on about it and still not be satisfied with what I’ve written because this is not even a tenth of what I feel! I’ve come to love and appreciate Georgette Heyer even more after this and am royally spoilt for other books! I would just say: IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK, YOU’VE LEFT A BEAUTIFUL TREASURE UNOPENED. A MUST READ IN THIS LIFETIME!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy S

    While I am not a tremendous Heyer fan, I do enjoy knocking them back like m&ms. That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me. So by that I mean, like m&ms they don't have a lot of substance or weight, and it really annoys me that I keep eating them, and yet I can't seem to stop. My understanding is that this is one of her first novels. It concerns Justin, the Duke of Avon, and Leone who -- whoopsie -- turns out to be Leonie. The Duke of Avon is supposed to be a first class rake of lo While I am not a tremendous Heyer fan, I do enjoy knocking them back like m&ms. That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me. So by that I mean, like m&ms they don't have a lot of substance or weight, and it really annoys me that I keep eating them, and yet I can't seem to stop. My understanding is that this is one of her first novels. It concerns Justin, the Duke of Avon, and Leone who -- whoopsie -- turns out to be Leonie. The Duke of Avon is supposed to be a first class rake of low reputation, nicknamed "Satanas." However, we never quite learn what he has done to deserve this nickname, and because of that it was hard for me to believe he was really that bad. He is always impeccably dressed and mannered, and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed his razor-sharp wit. No one can so elegantly put someone in their place like the Duke. Leonie is young, young, young, rough around the edges as she's been raised a boy, and quite the ingenue, which was annoying at times, but her sincerity and earnestness saved the day. The other characters in the book were quite a bit of fun as well: Justin's sister Fanny was a riot, and Rupert his brother the comic relief. Although with that it bugged me a bit as I am no fan of Heyer's slang. Speaking of slang, the best thing about this book is that the word "odious" did not appear once. This is a book where I truly was unsure of how it would end. I was not sure the hero/heroine would be together or if they should be. I enjoyed all the twists and turns, even though a bit of the book dragged for me somewhere in the middle. But as I have no problem skipping through sections of a book, it didn't hamper me too much.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Res

    The character of Leonie is immensely likeable (though, like Amanda in Sprig Muslin, she'd make more sense as a 15-year-old than at her stated age, which is 19). I don't quite see in her what Avon says he sees, the results of a life of terrible, constant loneliness. Avon is more problematic. Partly it's a Georgian-culture problem -- it's hard for me to distinguish between an ordinary, irresponsible nobleman of fashion and an actual rake in the old, non-playful sense of the word. We know he kidnapp The character of Leonie is immensely likeable (though, like Amanda in Sprig Muslin, she'd make more sense as a 15-year-old than at her stated age, which is 19). I don't quite see in her what Avon says he sees, the results of a life of terrible, constant loneliness. Avon is more problematic. Partly it's a Georgian-culture problem -- it's hard for me to distinguish between an ordinary, irresponsible nobleman of fashion and an actual rake in the old, non-playful sense of the word. We know he kidnapped Jenny Merivale as a youth, though evidently he left her marriageable; we know Jenny and her husband won't associate with him, and neither will his sister Fanny's husband, or, we take it, most people of morals, except, for some reason, Hugh Davenant. We know he's nicknamed Satanas; when he declares his love for Leonie, he makes a touching confession of having an unclean heart ... but we never really see or hear reports of specific behaviours that so much set him apart from other men of his set. (Except, I suppose, intentionally provoking a rival to suicide, but this is set up in such a way that you cheer it.) Gender assumptions (Leonie is universally admired for the frankness that comes of having been raised as a boy) and class ones (she's still recognizably a Lady, and the switched baby a peasant, despite their upbringings) are hard to ignore, and as always with gender-switch stories, I feel like the homoeroticism is raised and then hastily shoved offstage again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tandie

    I enjoyed this Heyer novel, but not as much as I was expecting to. First of all, I'm a Regency girl. Georgian era powdered wigs and high-heeled frou-frou men are just not my cuppa tea. The Duke, Justin, is nicknamed Satan. He's a rake. I always love villains, right? Well, Monsigneur is a POSEUR VILLAIN who wears Nancy pants! I did love Leonie. She had enough spark and mischief in her to keep her from being a Mary Sue. Supporting cast was magnifique! I was surprised to discover that I understood I enjoyed this Heyer novel, but not as much as I was expecting to. First of all, I'm a Regency girl. Georgian era powdered wigs and high-heeled frou-frou men are just not my cuppa tea. The Duke, Justin, is nicknamed Satan. He's a rake. I always love villains, right? Well, Monsigneur is a POSEUR VILLAIN who wears Nancy pants! I did love Leonie. She had enough spark and mischief in her to keep her from being a Mary Sue. Supporting cast was magnifique! I was surprised to discover that I understood all the French dialogue. I took four years of Français a million years ago in middle school and had a French pen-pal. I thought I was so fluent! In fourth year, Madam Fitz had us watch Gigi and French commercials. What are these people saying??? Quite a blow to my ego. I promptly changed my flag from Francophile to Anglophile upon discovering Jane Austen a few years later and still want to be a Brit. True story mon amies...er..mates. A solid 3 star read. I guess I need to love the hero in order to give all the stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Carden

    I first read this 50 years ago. These Old Shades is my favorite Heyer book and some of the details had stayed with me for 50 years which is a pretty strong recommendation for a book. Stayed with me so much so that this is the first re-reading I have given it. Heyer invented a genre and I think this was the true blueprint for all of the thousands of historical romances that have come afterwards. I find These Old Shades to be the best written, most intriguing plot, strongest characters and most I first read this 50 years ago. These Old Shades is my favorite Heyer book and some of the details had stayed with me for 50 years which is a pretty strong recommendation for a book. Stayed with me so much so that this is the first re-reading I have given it. Heyer invented a genre and I think this was the true blueprint for all of the thousands of historical romances that have come afterwards. I find These Old Shades to be the best written, most intriguing plot, strongest characters and most delightful secondary characters. There is still a bit of an eww factor in the age difference between the main characters, but hey there is a 24 year difference between the Trumps, so 20 years must be okay. Plus it seems from other books written in that period as if big age differences were commonplace. I am so glad I finally reread these Old Shades.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    I have hesitated to add a review of this because I'm pretty sure I can't do it justice. Brilliantly written, witty, fun and spot on historically. The Duke of Avon is one of the best heroes ever written. I love him and I can't see that anyone other than Leonie could have broken through his shell. Even though the romance is not torrid, you can see that absolute love he has for her. Sigh...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Maria Grazia

    “Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, These Old Shades is considered to be the book that launched Heyer’s career. It features two of Heyer’s most memorable characters: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Leonie, whom he rescues from a life of ignomy and comes to love and marry”. My review If you meet Satanas in a dark alley in the middle of the night and you are desperately seeking escape from a wretched life of violence and harassment, maybe you’d be as happy as youn “Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, These Old Shades is considered to be the book that launched Heyer’s career. It features two of Heyer’s most memorable characters: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, and Leonie, whom he rescues from a life of ignomy and comes to love and marry”. My review If you meet Satanas in a dark alley in the middle of the night and you are desperately seeking escape from a wretched life of violence and harassment, maybe you’d be as happy as young Leòn at becoming his, body and soul, bought for a diamond pin. Very happy to become his page and wear good clothes, to follow him wherever his libertine life led him without complaining, without questioning. Especially if Satanas is just a nickname for a rich, elegant, fascinating nobleman: Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon. And mainly if he appears to you like this: “ He walked mincingly, for the red heels of his shoes were very high. A long purple cloak, rose-lined, hung from his shoulders and was allowed to fall carelessly back from his dress, revealing a full-skirted coat of purple satin, heavily laced with gold; a waistcoat of flowered silk; faultless small clothes; and a lavish sprinkling of jewels on his cravat and breast”. Leòn’s new life as Avon’s page will lead the youth from a murky Parisian backstreet to the corrupt splendours of 18th century Versailles and the dignified mansions of England. If you were the young boy saved by the illustrious man from a horrible life of ill-treatmments, wouldn’t you admire him immensely, though everybody else considers him selfish, arrogant and even cruel? This is precisely what Leòn starts doing. The child’s worshipping admiration for the Duke - Monseigneur, as he calls him – becomes amusement to the libertine’s old friends and, strangely enough, a menace to his old enemy, the Comte de Saint-Vire. In fact, the reason why the Duke bought Leòn was that he was struck by the boy's unusual colouring, which reminds him of his enemy's red hair and dark brows. When Leòn is revealed to be Leonie , the story gets even more intriguing with the Duke making her his ward to be introduced at Versailles … (read this brilliant page online) This is the beginning of an incredible series of enticing fast-paced adventures mingling intrigue, romance and the unmistakable Heyer mark, her incredible wit. A real romp to read all in one go to the very end. What is incredible is that we have these incredible gripping characters taking shape under our eyes through their delightful dialogue exchanges and the incredible pressing flow of actions; all of them, even the secondary ones (i.e. Mr. Manvers, the Curé or Madame de Saint-Vire) are very neatly connoted , though only with a few thorough brushstrokes. The two protagonists are outstanding and peculiar, though they have the trademark Heyer clearly printed on themselves. Justin Alastair is …” known by the soubriquet Satanas, for his cold exactitude and prescient understanding of what his opponent will do next, as well as a certain elasticity in his moral fiber. The Duke has restored his family’s fortune through gambling; he is, as one would expect of one of the first peers of the realm, an arrant snob, careful, although certainly flamboyant, in his dress, and punctilious in manner” (from Vic Sanborn’s review at Jane Austen’s World). Someone told me Leonie is possibly Heyer’s least admired heroine. This sounds so impossible to me! However , I read that she is one of the characters Heyers herself loved most and I myself loved her immensely. Leonie is as loveable as flawed, a whirling personality, an oddly naïve female rogue, an irresistibly charming - though very little accomplished - young lady, ravishing beautiful and disarmingly stubborn, brave and fragile at the same time. If she can wrap the formidable Duke of Avon around her little finger with a smile and a gaze full of admiration under her lashes, how can we resist her ? The plot is very well designed but readers need a great fix of … suspension of disbelief, of course. As for me, I’ve gone through the story with a constant smile on my face and making a great effort to put it down from time to time. These Old Shades is the first book in the Alastairs Trilogy and I’m glad about it . This means there is more delight expecting me and many other willing readers out there, in Devil’s Cub and in An Infamous Army. My review is on my blog too, FLY HIGH, at http://bit.ly/oDl2vT

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I enjoyed this, despite one or two minor annoyances: 1. The hero was referred to by any one of about eleven different names or titles randomly throughout - "Justin" "The Duke" "Alastair" "Avon" "His Grace". PICK ONE AND STICK WITH IT, HEYER. 2. Leonie was funny but a bit of a twerp, she definitely didn't act 19 and her worshipful ADORATION of Alistavonjustingraceduke got on my nerves, as did his condescending "come here and let me wipe my feet on you, my infant" attitude to her. 3. What reference I enjoyed this, despite one or two minor annoyances: 1. The hero was referred to by any one of about eleven different names or titles randomly throughout - "Justin" "The Duke" "Alastair" "Avon" "His Grace". PICK ONE AND STICK WITH IT, HEYER. 2. Leonie was funny but a bit of a twerp, she definitely didn't act 19 and her worshipful ADORATION of Alistavonjustingraceduke got on my nerves, as did his condescending "come here and let me wipe my feet on you, my infant" attitude to her. 3. What reference does the title 'these old shades' have to anything in the book? 4. Low-born people are dull, stodgy, unattractive and into farming - they're just BORN with an inbuilt longing to get out there with a plough and start turning over some arable land. Nobility are noticably beautiful and delicate, and also far more intelligent. 5. I didn't really feel the romance from Leonie's angle. When did she stop seeing him as a father figure and start seeing him as a romantic figure? Or did she love him in a strictly non-platonic way from the start? We never really got inside her head. The age difference didn't bother me at all, I think it's fine as long as they're both happy. Put it this way: Johnny Depp, Patrick Dempsey, Gerard Butler and Viggo Mortensen are all in their 40s, and still attractive to someone 20 years younger (ie me).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again, Georgette Heyer has delighted me with this enchanting tale!!! How do I describe this? It's a tale of revenge, it's a rags to riches story, yet, it's also a romance. Justin Alastair, The Duke of Avon, known for his bad reputation, seeks to settle an old score and in the process, he is transformed into a hero. Leonie, a superbly entertaining heroine, whose impish behavior kept me in stitches, is also a beautiful young woman with a mysterious past. She knows her own mind, and I admire th Once again, Georgette Heyer has delighted me with this enchanting tale!!! How do I describe this? It's a tale of revenge, it's a rags to riches story, yet, it's also a romance. Justin Alastair, The Duke of Avon, known for his bad reputation, seeks to settle an old score and in the process, he is transformed into a hero. Leonie, a superbly entertaining heroine, whose impish behavior kept me in stitches, is also a beautiful young woman with a mysterious past. She knows her own mind, and I admire that about her. She lacks etiquette but she is not harmed by this because she is refreshingly honest and without guile. And in spite of a less than respectful upbringing, she maintains a certain irresistible charm. Ultimately, Justin is reunited with his better self as his desire for revenge changes into an impulse to restore Leonie to her rightful place in society. This is one of Heyer's slower burning romances but one of the most satisfying I have read thus far. I do love a story that winds it's way to a "Happily Ever After"! This book is filled with a rich cast of characters, snappy banter, and extravagant Georgian period fashions. I highly recommend this witty romance!!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    I'm finding the protagonists quite distasteful -- actually morally reprehensible, rather than merely "not to my taste" -- and their relationship creepy and unhealthy. From what I gather from other people who've read this, they don't have some catharsis or rupturing and become better people. And it isn't even witty in the usual Heyer manner. I'm dropping this one, at least until I am all out of other Heyer novels.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    Cornelius Garrett does an excellent job narrating this Georgette Heyer classic. He is the voice of Satanus, but his repertoire includes a wide array of voices and accents, and he does a fair job with female characters.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)

    A Rollicking Romp of Intrigue and Revenge TYPE OF NOVEL: Georgian Romance, Historical Fiction SETTING: 1750’s France and England MAIN CHARACTERS: - Justin Alistair, Duke of Avon “Satanas”: a debauched rake who has earned the nickname “Satan” for all the scandalous and dishonorable deeds he commits. Age 40 - Léon Bonnard: a poor and abused child running away from his brother who beats him and forces him to work in his tavern. Age 19 - Comte de Saint-Vire: Justin’s mortal enemy. Twenty years ago the Com A Rollicking Romp of Intrigue and Revenge TYPE OF NOVEL: Georgian Romance, Historical Fiction SETTING: 1750’s France and England MAIN CHARACTERS: - Justin Alistair, Duke of Avon “Satanas”: a debauched rake who has earned the nickname “Satan” for all the scandalous and dishonorable deeds he commits. Age 40 - Léon Bonnard: a poor and abused child running away from his brother who beats him and forces him to work in his tavern. Age 19 - Comte de Saint-Vire: Justin’s mortal enemy. Twenty years ago the Comte refused Justin’s petition of marriage for his sister and humiliated him throughout all of Paris. (There is a lot of bad history between these two) SYNOPSIS: By chance on a walk home the Duke of Avon encounters Léon who is running away from his tyrannical brother. The Duke is quick to notice something particular about Léon’s appearance – with his cooper-red curls and violet-blue eyes. A very unique combination… The Duke purchases Léon on a whim thinking he will be of some use to him, not just as a page, but in a very important game of revenge. But as the story unravels we learn more and more about Léon and everything is not as it seems… WHAT I LOVED: - The Duke: A libertine rake who is reformed by love? Yes, please! I adored this Heyer hero! He enchants from the first encounter with his calm and suave manner. He truly is a quick wit and Heyer’s talent for satirical dialogue is on full display with Alistair. I loved hearing all of his witty replies, sarcastic observations, and dry rejoinders. But I think what I loved most is witnessing his transformation. We know he has a devilish past, but we see the Duke act responsibly, care for the well-being of others, and grow to be most tender and affectionate. - It’s A Bit My Fair Lady: It may just be me, but I felt some Henry Higgins/Eliza Doolittle vibes in this story! Especially because staying with the Duke is his good friend, Hugh Davenant, who behaved in a very Colonel Pickering fashion by frowning at the Duke for buying Léon and continuously wanting him to “end this folly.” In addition, Léon is later put through a rigorous education and transformation in order to debut into society, and is something of a smashing success, just like dear Eliza. 😉 - The Magnificent Climax: Throughout the story we learn that the Duke has an agenda against his mortal enemy, Saint-Vire, and that Léon plays some part in it all. And while readers might piece it all together beforehand, the moment when the Duke finally strikes to end the game is nothing short of masterful. Talk about a delivery! Talk about composure! Something truly heart-wrenching happens (a scene so poignant it brought me to tears), and with steely determination the Duke is forced to play his final move. And to know that his tender devotion and sense of justice truly propels his actions (not just revenge), makes you admire his actions all the more. It was brilliantly, brilliantly done. - The Whole Gang Works Together: Of course there are some entertaining and likable secondary characters full of personality in this story! And throughout the tale they assist our principal characters in their mission each developing a special relationship with Léon. It was wonderful to see these secondary characters band together at the end to aide in the Duke’s final move. (Rupert and Hugh were my favorites) WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF: Some may complain about the age difference/paternal relationshi between our hero and heroine, but I wasn’t bothered by it. I did sometimes feel, however, that Léon acted more like someone at the age of 15 or 16 rather than 19 though. NOTE: There are two more stories written about the Alistair family (some generations later) Devil’s Cub and The Infamous Army. Also, it is said that These Old Shades was originally intended as a sequel to The Black Moth, but with changed character names. CONCLUSION: Scandal, dishonorable secrets, revenge, abductions, rescues, transformations, reformations, and romance – These Old Shades is brimming with action and drama! It is such an endearing and lively tale one that is sure to entertain and delight readers of historical fiction and humorous escapades. My list of Georgette Heyer favorites grows longer and longer… 😉 Austenesque Reviews

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frankie Lovely

    BR with Rachelle, Marguerite, and Lainey! Should be a nice change of pace from my usual fantasy genre

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.