These Old Shades
by Georgette Heyer
Trade Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Released: July 1, 2008
Source: Bought from Half.com.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, crosses paths with Léon, a youth of low birth who is fleeing a beating at his brutal brother's hands. 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 her amazing resemblance to the sinister Compte de Saint Vire, and why the Compte will go to any lengths to get her in his power.
These Old Shades is a Georgian-era romance novel set in France and England. It's helpful if you have a good grasp of French as it's not always obvious what the sentences in French are about. Still, you can follow the story even if you don't know French.
There was a nice level of historical detail woven into the story. As usual for Heyer, there were a lot of humorous scenes, and Léonie's and Rupert's antics kept me laughing. The story was more an adventure than a mystery for the reader. Only Justin understood everything that was going on, and the other characters wondered at the unexpected happenings, like kidnapping. I never really feared for the characters welfare, but I did wonder how Justin was going to get his revenge...and he did it brilliantly.
The large age difference between Justin and Léonie may bother some readers. Léonie acted like an adoring puppy toward Justin (and she didn't care if people thought so). But they brought out the best in each other and will likely be happy together, which is good.
There was no sex. There was a fair amount of explicit bad language (mainly the swearing use of "God"). Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.