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These Old Shades

Heyer, Georgette

13,205 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0434328022 / ISBN 13: 9780434328024
Published by Amereon House, New York, 1957
Condition: Near fine Hardcover
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Octavo in blue cloth with gilt titles; illustrated endpapers; 362 p., 20 cm. In English. || This title is printed in an edition limited to 80 copies. Near fine copy with light bump to upper, open corner of cover board; very light, barely noticeable rubbing to head and foot fo spine; else excellent copy; cloth is clean; pages are like new: clean, crisp, bright and free of marks and creases; binding is tight and square. No foxing. Bookseller Inventory # 84528

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Bibliographic Details

Title: These Old Shades

Publisher: Amereon House, New York

Publication Date: 1957

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near fine

About this title

Synopsis:

Set in the Georgian period, about 20 years before the Regency, These Old Shades is considered to be the novel 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.

The Duke is known for his coldness of manner, his remarkable omniscience, and his debauched lifestyle. Late one evening, he is accosted by a young person dressed in ragged boy's clothing running away from a brutal rustic guardian. The Duke buys "Leon" and makes the child his page. "Leon" is in fact Leonie, and she serves the Duke with deep devotion. When he uncovers the true story of her birth, he wreaks an unforgettable revenge on her sinister father in a chilling scene of public humiliation.

Praise for Georgette Heyer:

"Our Georgette Heyer display of the Sourcebooks reprints has been a huge success, not only to those early fans like myself, but to many new readers who appreciate her style and wit." —Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen." —Publishers Weekly

"Wonderful characters, elegant, witty writing, perfect period detail, and rapturously romantic. Georgette Heyer achieves what the rest of us only aspire to." —Katie Fforde

"Absolute monarch of the Regency romance." —Kirkus Reviews

Review:

A gentleman was strolling down a side street in Paris, on his way back from the house of one Madame de Verchoureux. 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.
The gentleman in question is Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, known by friends and enemies alike as Satanas--the devil. On this particular evening, the dangerous rake crosses paths with Léon, a red-headed youth of low birth who is fleeing a certain beating at his brutal brother's hands. On a whim, Avon buys the boy and makes him his page. It soon becomes clear, however, that Léon is not what he seems, and that Avon has an ulterior motive for bringing him into his household. Set in pre-Revolutionary France, These Old Shades follows a twisting course as young Léon (or is it Léonie?) is swept up in a dangerous mystery: how to account for the page's amazing resemblance to the sinister Compte de Saint Vire, for example; and why will this man go to any lengths to get the youth in his power?

Georgette Heyer's historical romances tend to fall into two different camps: later novels such as Cotillion, False Colours, and Sylvester feature larger-than-life comic characters and romantic pairings more akin to Beatrice and Benedick than Hero and Claudio. Earlier works such as These Old Shades, however, tend to be darker, tinged with mystery and overshadowed by very real menace. What both types share is Heyer's fine storytelling and encyclopedic knowledge of Regency mores and manners--her books are the next best thing to a time machine. These Old Shades's greatest asset, however, is the charming Léonie: beautiful, brave, and loyal to a fault, with a fondness for swordplay and pistols and a delightfully incomplete grasp of the English language. Heyer herself was so fond of this character that she featured her in two more novels, Devil's Cub and An Infamous Army. --Alix Wilber

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