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#georgette heyer

When he joined Léon in the Œil de Bœuf he found him almost asleep, but making valiant efforts to keep himself awake. He followed the Duke downstairs, and was sent to retrieve Avon’s cloak and cane. By the time he had succeeded in obtaining these articles the black-and-gold coach was at the door.

Avon swung the cloak over his shoulders and sauntered out. He and Léon entered the luxurious vehicle and with a sigh of content Léon nestled back against the soft cushions.

“It is all very wonderful,” he remarked, “but very bewildering. Do you mind if I fall asleep, Monseigneur?”

“Not at all,” said his Grace politely. “I trust you were satisfied with the King’s appearance?”

“Oh yes, he is just like the coins!” said Léon drowsily. “Do you suppose he likes to live in such a great palace, Monseigneur?”

“I have never asked him,” replied the Duke. “Versailles does not please

“It is so very large,” explained the page. “I feared I had lost you.”

“What an alarming thought!” remarked his Grace.

“Yes, but you came after all.” The deep little voice was getting sleepier and sleepier. “It was all glass and candles, and ladies, and—Bonne nuit, Monseigneur,” he sighed.” I am sorry, but everything is muddled, and I am so very tired. I do not think I snore when I sleep, but if I do, then of course you must wake me. And I might slip, but I hope I shall not. I am right in the corner, so perhaps I shall remain here. But if I slip on to the floor—”

“Then I suppose I am to pick you up?” said Avon sweetly.

“Yes,” agreed Léon, already on the borderland of sleep. “I won’t talk any more now. Monseigneur does not mind?”

“Pray do not consider me in the slightest,” answered Avon. “I am here merely to accommodate you. If I disturb you I beg you will not hesitate to mention it. I will then ride on the box.”

A very sleepy chuckle greeted this sally, and a small hand tucked itself into the Duke’s.

“I wanted to hold your coat because I thought I should lose you,” murmured Léon.

“I presume that is why you are holding my hand now?” inquired his Grace. “You are perhaps afraid lest I should hide myself under the seat?”

“That is silly,” replied Léon. “Very silly. Bonne nuit, Monseigneur.”

“Bonne nuit, mon enfant. You will not lose me—or I you—very easily, I think.”
There was no answer, but Léon’s head sank against his Grace’s shoulder, and remained there.

“I am undoubtedly a fool,” remarked the Duke. He pushed a cushion under Léon’s relaxed arm. “But if I wake him he will begin to talk again. What a pity Hugh is not here to see!  … I beg your pardon, my infant?”

But Léon had muttered only in his sleep. “If you are going to converse in your sleep I shall be compelled to take strong measures of prevention,” said his Grace. He leaned his head back against the padded seat, and, smiling, closed his eyes.

from These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer, ch. V — His Grace of Avon Visits Versailles

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These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

‘…This Age I grant (and grant with pride),
 Is varied, rich, eventful:
But if you touch its weaker side,
 Deplorably resentful:

Belaud it, and it takes your praise
 With air of calm conviction:
Condemn it, and at once you raise
 A storm of contradiction.

Whereas with these old shades of mine,
 Their ways and dress delight me;
And should I trip by word or line,
They cannot well indict me….’

— Austin Dobson, Epilogue to Eighteenth Century Vignettes

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It’s time for a These Old Shades film. And by that I mean a really rich one – full of… of everything! Of some romance and tenderness, of great comedy, of fun swashbuckling, of intrigue, of lavish costumes and scenery and sets; a really well done Léon/Léonie masquerade, some fine bits of old-style swashbuckling, Léonie’s full badasserie (and Rupert’s aswell); a full picture of Avon’s sinister- and tender- and general awesome-ness, a well rounded picture of Avon’s and Léonie’s growing relationship, based on what is really shown in the book and not on what some might interpret into it (and no sort of “fix” of that either); lots and lots of elements from big-style old fashioned period dramas, combined with a sort free-spirited approach that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and indulges in all the silliness of the book, while still being respectful to it, adapting it absolutely unironically, but still humorously, being tender and serious when it is needed, but just as overtly gloomy as so many modern adaptations, while also not looking down on the source material; being absolutely not shy of brining in hints of darker parts of Léonie’s past but not making it overly melodramatic!, with lots of gentle tenderness between her and Avon; a great lot of scenes about dressing back and forth and cross, some wonderful Pygmalion moments between the leading pair, lots of fun between all the others who have fun with each other, Léonie fencing and riding and misbehaving; Léonie biting and hitting and kicking and being overly interested in weapons; Avon trying to live up to Léonie’s image of him!; a lot of care and dedication to the side characters, especially Rupert; a full blow of 18th-century aesthetics, a lot of music, and really big visuals!!! Make it utterly sweet and funny and ridiculous and indulgent!!! And stay true to the source! Don’t make it woke (but show some silliness, in regards to class, etc.) and also not sexualised or kinky or something… And pay attention to the smaller and less “important” scenes that still give feeling to the story, and by all means include the scene of the drive back from Versailles, don’t dare to exclude that or shorten it, I need it!!!

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For the ask: 1, 29, 30.

Ask Game

1. if someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?

Read: the collected works of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Georgette Heyer, and Patrick O’Brian

Watch: Star Trek: the Next Generation

Listen To: Loreena McKennitt “The Mask and the Mirror”; Musica Antiqua Koln “Brandenburg Concertos”; Jordi Savall “Carlos V”; Steeleye Span “Hark! The Village Wait”; Afro-Celt Sound System Volume 3 “Further in Time”

29. three songs that you connect with right now.

Chloe Albert “Little White Lies”

Britney Spears “Toxic”

Destiny’s Child “Survivor”

30. pick one of your favorite quotes.

It’s always this one, said by Aral Vorkosigan, in “A Civil Campaign,” by Lois McMaster Bujold: “Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.”

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REVIEW: Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: Deborah Grantham, a gambler’s daughter, uses her beauty and cleverness to keep her aunt’s gaming club in business. With the club on the brink of financial ruin, Deb desperately needs to find a way to restore herself and her aunt to respectability. But she detests both her marriage prospects: an old, rich lord whose immoral reputation disgusts her, or the young, puppyish, noble Adrian Mablethorpe.

Max Ravenscar, vastly wealthy, clever, and imperturbable, has no intention of letting his young cousin Adrian squander his prospects by marrying a gambling-club wench. But to Ravenscar’s surprise, Deb turns out to be remarkably handsome, witty, and—he can scarcely believe it—well-bred. Disarmed, he expects her to be reasonable and accept the bribe he offers to give up her young suitor.

But Deb is far more stubborn that he anticipated. Though she never intended to marry Adrian in the first place, being bought off is an insult so scathing it leads to a volley of passionate reprisals, escalating between them to a level of flair and fury that can only have one conclusion. Have they finally met their matches?

Review: “Two idiots love fighting each other so much that they might just have to get married about it” continues to be the best genre. People who know what they’re talking about would probably say this isn’t really like Pride and Prejudice at all, and they’re probably be right, but I, a dumbass, will tell you that this has big Pride and Prejudice vibes.

The entire premise of the book is so good. Forget accidental miscommunication for drama, let’s all focus on PURPOSEFUL miscommunication for drama in 2020! The fact that Deb is so stubborn that she lets Ravenscar continue believing things she could clear up in two seconds flat just because she hates him that much is just so relatable and lovable, while everyone around her is just going “Deb why. This is literally making your life harder why don’t you just clear up the misunderstanding.” and Deb’s like “RAVENSCAR. MUST. SUFFER.” meanwhile Ravenscar, bless his heart, despite being extremely smart, manages to misunderstand even more things that Deb refuses to clear up. FANTASTIC.

And lest you think Deb is the only stubborn one in this power couple, Ravenscar is straight up so contrary that he yells at a man for trying to help him escape a kidnapping. ALSO FANTASTIC.

In conclusion: historical fiction of straight couples might be valid, actually.

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Georgette Heyer, Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle
I was feeling miserably shy before I quarrelled with him, and there’s nothing like quarrelling with a person to set one at one’s ease!
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“But you don’t want to marry me, Alverstoke. You know you don’t!”

“Of course I don’t!” he responded, with great cordiality. “But since two of my sisters, my secretary – damn his impudence! – and at least two of my oldest friends, are apparently convinced, in spite all my efforts to throw dust in their eyes, that this is my ambition, I do beg of you, Frederica, to accept my offer! I cannot – I really cannot endure the mortification of being rejected.”

Frederica by Georgette Heyer (1965)

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Georgette Heyer, Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle
‘I don’t fear [that].’
'What then?’
'People—some people! To—to be slain by unkindness.’
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Georgette Heyer, Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle
‘Oh, yes, she’s unusual!’ he said bitterly. 'She blurts out whatever may come into her head; she tumbles from one outrageous escapade into another; she’s happier grooming horses and hobnobbing with stable-hands than going to parties; she’s impertinent; you daren’t catch her eye for fear she should start to giggle; she hasn’t any accomplishments; I never saw anyone with less dignity; she’s abominable, and damnably hot at hand, frank to a fault, and—a darling!’
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Which is your favourite Georgette Heyer book? I default to 'Frederica' these days or 'The Nonesuch' or even 'The Unkown Ajax'... hold on I feel the need to re-read everything as I keep thinking of more favourites.

Those are all excellent.  I do love the Georgette Heyer stories with clever and bold heroines.  But I’ve got a real soft spot for the stories where the heroines aren’t like that as well.

I find The Civil Contract really moving - because it shows a woman both loving and making her own life under depressing and limited options.  I’d also be quite happy if the war wound that Lynton got somehow got reinfected and he died the minute the book ends - because he is terrible.  But lots of me are - and seemed dashing actually terrible - is a much healthier message than seemed terrible actually dashing, which some of Georgette Heyer’s other Heroes fall under  (I also like that you see these peaks of the industrial revolution and ‘modernised’ farming - with all the implications for the land owners).

I’m also rather fond of Cotillion - where everyone in the story is not that onto it in a very charming way. I particularly like Freddy - and the explicit rejection of the romantic hero.

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As the mid-20th century approached, historical fiction was commercially successful but distinctly populist. The big names were authors such as Georgette Heyer and Jean Plaidy (the nom de plume of the prolific Eleanor Hibbert). They loved their History. Heyer, in particular, was exacting in her research, her Regency novels sometimes clotted with period detail. 

1. Heyer did love to research

2. Heyer’s love for research was mostly as an enabling mechanism for her greater love for making shit up essentially wholecloth; she was so baldfaced though that it was like “well no one would completely make all this up would they?” like someone stumbling upon a Tolkien thing out of context and being like, I mean this has to be a real language, right?

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