Title: These Old Shades
Author: Georgette Heyer
Genre: Historical Romance
Justin Alastair, Duke of Avon,is called ‘Satanas’ by enemy and friend alike. In the aristocratic circles of London and Louis XV’s he has a reputation as a debauched rake.
Late one evening, the Duke stumbles across Leon, a red headed urchin fleeing a certain beating at his brother’s hands. On a whim, Avon buys the boy and makes him his page. But it soon becomes clear that Leon is not what he seems…
When the grubby Leon turns out to be the enchanting Leonie, the Duke is not prepared for the breathtaking transformation or the tender emotions she awakens in him, or the unconditional love she has for the man who saved her.
Oh, wow, this has got to be one of my favorite books. I loved every minute of reading this. I like sarcasm and the main character, Duke of Avon, is the most sarcastic character I ever read about. He’s about 40 years old and he’s quite notorious. He doesn’t seem that bad to me, but the book takes place in 18th century, when I suppose people were more easily shocked.
Avon’s life changes when he comes across Leon, a 19 year old boy who later turns out to be a girl, Leonie. She sees Avon as her savior and the best person in the world. She sticks with that opinion regardless of how many people tell her that she’s wrong. Leonie has had a hard life and she can be both innocent and wise. She’s not afraid of Avon and the way she talks to him surprises people around them.
Usually when I’m reading a book, there is at least one character that I think is boring and needs to disappear, but this time, I thought everyone was interesting. I wish there were more conversations between Hugh and Justin, and more details on how they became friends. And I’d like to know exactly what happened between Justin and Jennifer. The mystery of Leonie’s parents was too easily solved (“Oh, that guy wants to have a farm? He’s probably adopted.”) and seriously, how did Avon know that Leonie is a girl?
As much as I like the book, I have to say that their relationship isn’t exactly normal. He’s twice her age, he calls her ‘my infant’ and she really worships him. He sometimes seems older than he is and she frequently seems younger than she is. He’s like a father figure to her, which makes their romantic relationship even weirder. I still can’t help but absolutely love the story. It’s not the first time a book made me like something I probably shouldn’t.
The book takes place in England and France. The characters sometimes use french words. I liked that, because I’m currently learning French and every bit of practice helps.
This is the first book by Georgette Heyer that I’ve read and I hope all of her books are as well written as this one. The style is so elegant and witty, it’s wonderful to read. I was crazy excited while reading this. One thing I don’t understand – why is there no movie adaptation? It would be so great to watch this.