Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

These Old Shades

Author: Georgette Heyer
Originally Published: 1926
Edition Courtney Read Published: 2004
Publisher: Arrow Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing
Source: Purchased

The Story

From the back of the book:

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 as well. Then, from a dark Parisian back alley, he plucks Léon, 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, Léon becomes the ravishing beauty Léonie.

The Response

How much do I love Georgette Heyer? Oh goodness, her books always make me so very, VERY happy! I swear, I cannot be in a bad mood when I pick up one of her books.

This one was especially super adorable. I mean, the relationship between Léon/Léonie and the Duke – ah! The Duke loved her right from the beginning, and the way he wanted to adopt her and launch her into society, all the while ignoring his own feelings of love for her, ah! I am quite the sucker for those kinds of stories.

You know what is most exciting about these books? The fact that quite often the hero is a total and complete rake! And the heroine KNOWS this fact but oh loves the hero anyways, and maybe just MAYBE she may be his salvation but it would actually be much more exciting if he didn’t redeem his ways because his rakishness is what made him so charming and attractive in the first place. OH YES IT’S WONDERFUL.

I will admit one thing about this book, however. I really kind of wish that Léon had STAYED Léon and if they had had a page-Duke love affair. That would’ve been so much more adorable. Alas, ’twas not to be. (On that note, I’m wondering if maybe I should pick up Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint again. Or maybe someone should recommend me some lgbt regency books.)

The Bottom Line

One of my favourites of hers! Yes, yes it is!

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:04 am May 28, 2012.
Category: Historical Fiction
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s): ,

  • http://aartichapati.blogspot.com Aarti

    Hahaha, a duke-page relationship? I think Heyer may turn over in her grave ;-) I admit this one is not on my favorites list, mostly because I REALLY dislike Leonie. I just don’t think it’s cute to continuously describe people as barn animals. I also think Avon’s son is a much nicer person than he is, so I prefer Devil’s Cub. But LOVE the secondary characters here :-)

  • http://www.a-fair-substitute-for-heaven.blogspot.com rachel

    oh my gosh! devil’s cub! SUCH A GOOD ONE!! leonie is just as adorable