©2002 Georgette Heyer; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Georgette Heyer is a great writer and this is a great book. There is a lot of excitement, suspence, romance and humor. The servant who takes care of Beauvallet is one of the best Heyer characters of all time, in my opinion. This Heyer romance is a little different from her typical Regency romances, but it is just as enjoyable. Nothing beats a Georgette Heyer novel coupled with a hot cup of tea - all is well with the world!
In a word, wonderful! The tale of a daring (and dashing) privateer determined to seek out his lady-love in the heart of enemy Spain is superbly written and expertly narrated. Georgette Heyer may be a master at Regency romances, but this one set in Elizabethan times may be one of my all time favorites. The book is full of wonderful characters, wry humor, witty scenes and clever dialog. While the romance is sweet, and a driving force behind the action, this book is different from many of Heyer's other works. The first part of the book unfolds the romance, and the second half follows Beauvallet as he attempts to keeps his word to find Dominica and bring her to England. The story is action-packed and often very humorous. Joshua, Beauvallet's "man," is a great character and we get to see part of the story from his point-of-view. Cornelius Garrett does the voices superbly, especially Joshua's, and his timing is perfect. I'm sure I'd have enjoyed this book no matter what, but listening to it with such a great narrator was a real treat.
"If you like Errol Flynn movies this one's for you!"
Time warp back to when manly heroes were men and the ladies were feisty (but swooned none the less). Could just picture this as a 1930's swashbuckler.
HaHa! Beauvallet, no doubt about it. The hero is the hero after all!
A sense of vivid fun. He sees what is best in the dated material and runs with it.
If you are looking for any kind of 21st century sensibility this book is not for you. If you grew up watching reruns of old Hollywood swashbucklers (and loved them) you may find yourself sucked in - even tho the plot is transparent and the characters perfect stereotypes. The key word there is PERFECT...
I enjoyed it despite my better judgement ;-) Besides, it was on sale.
"Too Formulaic and Predictable For Me"
I have become a huge Georgette Heyer fan. My favorite Heyer books, Frederica, Friday's Child and The Foundling, draw you in by charming you with their simple story, simpler plot and understated characters. There are no bells and whistles, no forced cliff-hangers, no suspense, just skilled story telling that captivates you without you realizing it.
I think Heyer wrote this book after watching a Tyrone Power swashbuckler movie. Or "The Pirate" with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. It is the least original book of hers that I have ever read. There is too much plot and the plot is too predictable. You know how it will end as soon as it begins. And unbelievable. There are some interesting secondary characters, but I have no idea why the main characters are in love and when they fell in love. And since their overwhelming passion drives the story, it would be nice to have known while reading the book, when exactly this passion bloomed.
I always enjoy Cornelius Garrett's interpretation of Heyer books. But it seems like there is always one character in the book who is annoying to start with, and Mr. Garrett's narration makes them even more annoying. I usually have to skip the character's obligatory monologues. This book was no exception.
"Not quite up to Heyer's standard"
Georgette Heyer's attempt at writing an Elizabethan swashbuckler isn't quite up to the standard of her Regencies or mysteries, but it is still an engaging story. This reading has been around for quite some time, however, and while there is nothing really wrong with it, I find newer readings of Heyer books--particularly those by Richard Armitage or Sian Phillips--to be more engaging, and to do more credit to Heyer's lively characterizations.
"Not up to expectations"
I am a dedicated Heyer fan, but the voice of the Hero made him sound in his 70's rather than that of the daunting dare devil portrayed. Overall it destroyed the whole wonderful illusion Heyer usually casts and I would return it if I could. I'm so glad Audible now gives listeners the opportunity to hear a few minutes BEFORE one buys.
Loved it. The reader gets some inflections wrong , mispronounced a few words. Still good.
"A sad disappointment from a favorite author"
I love Georgette Heyer's Regency novels and I enjoy her mysteries, too. But this early book with its Elizabethan setting and painfully stereotyped, shallow characterization falls so short of her usual standard that I can't even bring myself to finish listening to the whole thing. The purported romance is built on nothing; there is no attempt to build a relationship between the characters. I don't like or care about either of them -- and the over-the-top narration doesn't help. The book isn't dreadful. But it's not good, either.
I will encourage anyone new to Georgette Heyer not to write her off based on this book. Do yourself a great favor and listen to the audiobook of The Unknown Ajax. Or try any of her later works, any of the Regency novels. She is so much better than this early effort.
"Could have been an Errol Flynn film."
Swashbuckling romance, but a frustratingly unresourceful female lead. Not my favorite Heyer, but well read and I'm glad to have listened to it. I couldn't help picture Tyrone Power, Maureen O'Hara, and Basil Rathbone among other film stars from the big studio days as I read the book.
"Georgette Heyer always entertains"
Great fun, amazing to realize these were written ten years before all the swashbuckling movies of the 30's and 40's came out!
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