Wednesday, January 21, 2009

These Old Shades - Georgette Heyer

Under the reign of Louis XV, corruption and intrigue have been allowed to blossom in France, and Justin Alastair, the notorious Duke of Avon and proud of his soubriquet 'Satanas', flourishes well. Then, from a dark Parisian back alley, he plucks Leon, a red-headed urchin with strangely familiar looks, just in time for his long over-due schemes of revenge on the Comte de St Vire. Among the splendours of Versailles and the dignified mansions of England, Justin begins to unfold his sinister plans - until, that is, Leon becomes the ravishing beauty Leonie...

I finished These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer just this minute. I'm a bit disappointed as Friday's Child (my introduction to Heyer) was way funnier than this one in which all the humour relied on the discrepancy that is present when a lady is being unladylike. I couldn't warm up to the hero or the heroine either, she's too grateful towards him to ever have anything to say that's not related to him.
It's such drivel but I don't feel too guilty reading her books either, because she's got a great sense of the period and I always end up learning something anyway.

I feel Heyer writes heroes we're supposed to fall head over heels for but doesn't really bother to make her heroines strong or have a mind of their own. I liked the end of the book as Léonie still speaks the way she's used to despite being scolded throughout the book for it, but it doesn't erase the fact that she treats the Duke like a god when he barely does anything to deserve her gratitude. Perhaps I haven't chosen the right books - I'll read Devil's Cub (which is the sequel to These Old Shades) when I have the chance.