©2001 Georgette Heyer; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This is unlike most of Georgette Heyer's sparkling comedies being about the escape from England of King Charles II after a losing battle. Her historical search shines through but it has the light touch I would expect from her writing.
There are occasional comic moments, usually involving one of his loyal companions who thinks changing his coat is enough to disguise his appearance and is put out when he is recognised immediately. There is the odd moment of flirtation between the king and two of the women who help him along the way and more than usually frank references to his free and easy manner with women.
Heyer plays it very straight and keeps the action bowling along nicely.
The narrator has a pleasant reading voice and uses different accents and tones well to indicate the different characters. It's a good listen though I don't imagine listening to it again as I do with Heyer's other books.
"The Great Escape"
This is not exactly a "romance novel", but it is good history even though the "Marie King's" escape takes a long, long time. The reader did a very good job with a subject that got tiresome at times.
I normally love Heyer's novels, but I find her historical books quite tedious. This one is no exception, and I struggled to get through it. It is well narrated, but that cannot make up for the fact that everything happends really slowly. It deals with Charles II and his escape from England, it takes him an entire book to escape. Perhaps if I was more conversant with history around this event, I would have enjoyed the book more, but I feel that a good historical novel shouldn't rely on the reader's previous knowledge.
Left me with a desire to read more books about Charles II. Very easy entertaining listening.
Charles II of course.
Enjoyed the description.
"More of a 17th Century Travelogue than a Novel"
It is hard for me to make too many negative comments about a Heyer novel. And I knew what to expect when I started this book. As every reviewer stated, there was very little plot and the tension one would expect in a story about a fugitive attempting to escape from certain death, was definitely lacking. Charles II on the run for his life seemed to approach the world and his predicament with the same joie de vivre and humor as the 19th century courtiers in her Regency comedies of manners. It was obvious that Heyer found him a very sympathetic character and considered his adversaries as simpletons. It was in some ways one of her most "classist" novels, and that is saying a lot.
All of that said though, it is still a well written book and she managed to stretch out a six week adventure in rural England with a predetermined ending into a readable and lengthy book. I know that Heyer has a reputation as a stickler for accuracy in historical detail, but I have no idea how much of this story is true, beyond the battle itself, the king, Wilmot and the fact that they did eventually escape to France. But she certainly presented a plausible and believable tale of what very well might have happened.
I usually enjoy Cornelius Garrett's narration on Heyer novels. But he always has to make at least one character have a very annoying lisp. He did it in this book as well, and I found it even more annoying than usual.
I still recommend the book. But go into it with your eyes open. This does not have the plot, pace or conclusion of other Heyer books, whether her romances, mysteries or other historical fiction.
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