- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: February 18, 2009
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001TJLCF8
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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These Old Shades Audiobook – Unabridged
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However, for the picky, I should like to add a warning about the Harlequin edition. Although UK spelling is (very properly) preserved, some clown has decided to "correct" Miss Heyer's beautiful Georgian English, substituting:
p.45 — "You may lose it as you will" for "You may lose it an you will"
p.78 — "A clumsy, thick-set yoke." for "A clumsy, thick-set yokel."
pp.90 & 223 — "It is my intention." for "It is mine intention."
p.113 — "...the forward ways of the younger generation" for "...the froward ways"
p.213 — "I'm silence." for "I'm silenced."
pp.223 & 236 — "Fonteroy" for "Fontenoy", and
p. 262 —"gracefully" for "gracelessly"
But by far the biggest blunder is on p.127 where Miss Heyer wrote: "She saw the sword of the last Duke, that same that he had used in tragic '15, for King James III, and heard a small part of Justin's own adventures, ten years ago, For King Charles III."
The James referred to is of course the Old Pretender, and Charles (as the next sentence makes even clearer) Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, i.e. Bonnie Prince Charlie. But the editor (presumably after consulting a list of British monarchs) has changed these to James II and Charles II, pushing the narrative back 70 years or more!
This is of course nothing like the wholesale disembowelment that has been inflicted on American editions of Harry Potter; but if you're fussy about such things, you might want to get a British edition from Amazon UK.
As for the characters, I did not mind Avon and Leonie's age difference, although I found the author hit us over the head with her constant portrayal of Leonie as this irresistible coquette; I am one of those who found her somewhat irritating and immature. I also would have felt more empathy for her supposedly dark and abusive past if we had seen a bit more of it to start with. I liked some of the supporting characters, like Rupert, Avon's brother, and Fanny, Avon's modish sister. And like others, I disliked Heyer's implications that one's birth status somehow predicts one's appearance and behavior.
Overall, the book was well plotted, with lively period details and forgivable sentimentality. I kept seeing a movie in my head as I read it. I may well read more of Heyer's books, and didn't know until I read reviews that this is one of Heyer's first books. As for the title's meaning, there is an explanation on the Wikipedia site.
These Old Shades is one of the best. Leonie is a delicious blend of childlike innocence and honesty. With more than a touch of sophistication. His Grace of Avon is a dandy and a rogue who delights in who and what he is. This is a delightful read.
Set in Paris in the late 1700s, the Duke of Avon stumbles across a young red-headed French boy, buys him from his abusive brother, and makes him his page. There's clearly a mystery and, since I'd read it many years ago, I can't tell when a new reader would start to figure it out, but the book is both fun and touching. The cast of characters is welldrawn - even fairly minor characters are developed so you get a sense of what motivates each.
Heyer's books have little to no sex in them; you're lucky if the hero and heroine display affection but the dialogue has such an underlying humor that you don't miss the lack of sex scenes. But the books are so well written that even 50-70 years after their writing, the books are enjoyable and fun to read.
A bit far fetched of a tale, perhaps, but I'll bet you won't notice once you're nose deep in its pages. Georgette Heyer manages as always to give a fresh spin on our favorite cliches, and wield them originally while still remaining true to the most basic of their ingredients, the morsels we find so guiltily delicious.
Now don't mistake that for any sort of erotic meaning: Heyer novels are all strictly rated G. Disney kisses only, folks. While this can be disappointing for some, the characters and the very real-feeling dynamics that blossom between them add a richness and a vibrance that just can't be matched-- by almost any other author I know of.