Free books These Old ShadesAuthor Georgette Heyer –

I think I m too much a product of my time Having a hero who was 40yrs and a heroine who was 19, combined with the hero constantly calling her infant and for 80% of the story portraying her as very young, innocent, and wide eyed, I couldn t and didn t want to buy into their romance If you liked Val from Hoyt s Maiden Lane series, you re going to love our hero Justin, definitely an inspiration for him I was a big fan of Justin and his wit, he s constantly miles and moves ahead of everyone else Leonie was kept so young, guileless, and precocious without much emotional maturity growth, I have to be that person and say I wasn t a big fan of the heroine The father figure falling for the young girl who hero worships him but written very well with tangled weave drama. I really enjoyed this frothy, fun tale of an orphan and her rescuer There was a bit of an ick factor in the much older man and the innocent ingenue, but it s the same story in all of Heyer s books It is a standard trope that the lady is always younger, but in most of her books, the couple is closely allied than these two The Duke is 40ish and Leonie only 19 Another offputting thing is that, because of the hierarchy of society in the 1700s, the class system was strictly adhered to Leonie and Justin could not wed, if she was of a different class or was illegitimate This was grotesque to me than the age difference.Anyhoo, they meet cute, as Leon is being chased by his older brother to avoid a beating Justin saves Leon, by buying him, ugh , I forgot that icky part The Duke cannot help but notice what unusual features Leon has and knows, probably from first meeting, that Leon is actually Leonie As I was reading , I thought this would make a great movie There is another swashbuckling scene in which Leonie is kidnapped and spirited away by carriage and by boat from England to France, while being chased by the Dukes brother Rupert, Imminently filmable, not to mention all the gorgeous gowns and hairdos and all manner of frippery I digress, as in all Heyer s books, the Duke becomes a better human being and all Leonie s wishes come true. Under The Reign Of Louis XV, Corruption And Intrigue Have Been Allowed To Blossom In France, And Lord Justin Alastair, The Notorious Duke Of Avon, Known For His Coldness Of Manner, His Remarkable Omniscience, And His Debauched Lifestyle Society Believes The Worst Of Justin, Who Is Clearly Proud Of His Sobriquet, Satanas In A Dark Parisian Back Alley, He Is Accosted By Leon, A Young Person Dressed In Ragged Boy S Clothing Running Away From A Brutal Rustic Guardian The Duke Buys Leon, A Redheaded Urchin With Strangely Familiar Looks, Who Is In Fact Leonie, And She Serves Him With Deep Devotion The Duke Suspected The Truth About His Page She Was Really None Other Than The Wicked Comte De Saint Vire S Legitimate Daughter, Deprived Of Her Heritage By The Comte S Dastardly Desire For A Male HeirAmong The Splendours Of Versailles And The Dignified Mansions Of England, Justin Begins To Unfold His Sinister Plans, And Leonie Shoulds Play A Fine Part In Duke S Long Over Due Schemes To Avenge Himslef On The Comte De St Vire The Duke S Plan Was Simple Parade Delicately Handsome Leonie In Front Of His Enemy And Transforming Her Into The Toast Of The Town, Before His Innocent Ward Reclaim Her Birthright, Destroying Her True Father In The Process But The Duke Hadn T Expected Leonie S Breathtaking Transformation Or The Tender Emotions She Awoke And He D Already Set His Dangerous Scheme In MotionWhile, Titian Haired Leonie, Ward Of The Dashing Duke Of Avon, Has All Paris At Her Feet Yet Her True Origins Remained Shrouded In Mystery And Neither The Glittering Soirees Nor The Young Aristocrats Who So Ardently Courted Her Could Still The Question That Plagued Her Young Heart Just One Man Held The Secret, The One She Feared Most In The World The Iron Willed Comte De Saint Vire, Deadly Enemy Of The Duke He Would Give Her The Answer For A Price But Could She Betray The Man She Secretly, Helplessly Loved And Could This Proud Young Beauty Hear To Face The Truth When It Came what a wonderfully odd book I had so many different kinds of guilty feelings that popped up while enjoying this but the end result was that it turned out to be far from a guilty pleasure it was pure pleasure, perfectly free from guilt guilt s such an ugly, ungainly emotion anyway, who needs of the basic premises of the novel should have disgusted me to no end that aristocrats should be solely with other aristocrats, and the base born should be with their ilk only never the two shall meet even in the case of aristocratic bastards, the poor things that attitude is not just displayed by literally every character, it drives the narrative forward there s no getting around the idea one just has to accept that this was a sign of the times if there s going to be any enjoyment it was a struggle for me, particularly as the novel has a bit of a cameo from Madame de Pompadour, whose very existence and power within the court of King Louis XV is a slap in the face of such nonsense still, that divide constitutes the rules of the game, and since I wanted to play this game, I had to accept its rules.our hero Lord Justin Alastair aka Satanas is the worst kind of condescending, high handed, fashion obsessed snob the sort who revels in his poor reputation and who takes an unseemly pleasure in cutting insults, fake smiles, and cold revenge he is good to his friends and family, in his way, but is loathe to have that goodness recognized indeed it seldom is, as the recipients of his goodwill nearly always focus on his nasty insults rather than his quiet generosity and of course, he has a sordid history as a shameless rake, one which he embraces all of those things should have made me despise him, and I did at least in the beginning but then, shockingly, I recognized myself in him minus the fashion obsession the blackened coal that I have in place of a heart began to warm to him and soon I was hanging off of his every word and deed as if they were my own to love oneself is certainly the beginning of a lifelong romance.our heroine Leonie should have driven me up the wall with her juvenile antics and especially her insanely, insipidly worshipful attitude towards Lord Alastair it was really too much but Heyer does such a splendid job in surrounding that sycophancy with other layers Leonie is, in a way, a natural there is no pretense to her she is also given to bloodthirstiness and violent displays of temper, which I found delightful and she has a backstory that hints at physical abuse and neglect, and above all a history of abandonment, that adds tragic layers to what could be a purely annoying character while her personality traits made her character act much younger than her years, that background helped to create a character who was also suffused with a sort of melancholy, and a familiarity with despair she is a surprisingly rich and original creation.the title should have annoyed me because it has nothing to do with the actual story, but is rather a sly jest made by the author in acknowledgement that this book is sort of a remake these old shades of past characters, now reborn I usually dislike authorial cutesiness but I love the title it is weirdly resonant, despite being basically a quip.I neglected to read the back cover of the novel before starting it, so I may be one of the few Heyer fans who didn t realize that Leon was actually a girl disguised as a boy I gradually figured it out, but it took some time that oversight combined with the portrait of Lord Alastair as an arch and distinctly effeminate although deadly dandy made the first quarter of the book a strangely homoerotic experience it was rather creepy jaded older queen buys a young man right off of the streets and proceeds to make the boy his page, and then trots him out to be drooled over by high society but it was also rather fun it is a testament to this book s charm that the fun wasn t reduced an iota when Leon became Leonie this was a really satisfying book and I am looking forward to reading by the author. Update I have it on good authority that this is an accurate representation of me while thinking of this book or should I specify, the hero By the way this book only gets better and funnier with each re read I do Love these crazy people forever 3 Please note that the following essay review contains spoilers I m not sure that I can entirely express how much I truly love this book and how absolutely amazing it is.I remember reading The Black Moth by the same author a while ago, and secretly having a shameful preference for the book s villain, the Duke of Andover, over the main protagonist And when I read The Convenient Marriage, Lord Lethbridge was also my favourite character, against my better judgement I don t know what it is exactly that make me love those sarcastic, cynical, mocking, badass villains so much, but I had always hoped that Andover could have had a well developed story of his own and a happy ending Perhaps it was the idea of potential redemption that make me like the above mentioned villains, I don t know.Nevertheless, when I found out that These Old Shades was a sort of sequel to The Black Moth, I got super excited and knew that I had to read it I got even MORE excited when I found out that Heyer had used the same characters as in The Black Moth, but had simply changed their names hence the titleThese Old Shades , as she made the characters shades of their former selves Then I got definitely over the top excited when I found out that Andover was going to be the main hero of the story, under the name of Justin Alastair Satanas His Grace the Duke of Avon.Yes, all those names indeed represent the same person As everyone who has read this novel is aware, deciphering who is whom at the beginning of the story is slightly confusing, since Heyer uses many ways to name the Duke in just a few pages I actually thought there was about 4 different guys in that scene when Avon is talking with Davenant, just after he brought L on to the house But once you ve figured that Avon is referred to by about 15 different names, it becomes way easier.One of the things I simply love about Georgette Heyer s books is that she doesn t take 10 chapters to just introduce what is going to happen, or who the characters are She starts off immediately with something interesting, that grasps the reader s attention right away In this case, the Duke of Avon buys a boy he finds in the street, who is fleeing from his brother s beating hand I was definitely intrigued, as we see that Avon has a motive for his actions which he refuses to share.By reading a lot of reviews here on Goodreads about this book, I found that the two major problems that most people encountered with These Old Shades was that the two protagonists were annoying particularly L onie and that the love story was very ick creepy pedophile and just plain disgusting My modern self understands these points of view, but my inner Georgian lady thinks the hero and heroine awesome and their love story beautiful.The character of Avon is indeed very particular Picking up from when The Black Moth finishes, we find a Duke around 40 years of age carrying a terrible reputation as a debauched rake, one of his most recent scandal having been to kidnap the woman with whom he was in love some reviewers complained that that subject was not alluded to further in the book, but that whole abduction thing is actually part of the main plot in The Black Moth We see none, however, of his bad deeds in These Old Shades, but we know that he s bad just by the way he speaks, and through his relationships with his family and friends He is as deadly with a sword as he is with words People fear him and distrust him in general I really enjoyed the fact the Heyer did not have to include scenes where he acted wrongly to make me believe that he was a devil all that was actually told in The Black Moth And another thing that I found particularly interesting was that the Duke was a tall and handsome man, very much masculine and viril, and yet he was described as wearing a powdered wig , lace, velvet, gold, emeralds and I don t know what that I never imagined men wore , carrying a fan and mincing around on high heels Yes, I can see how some had problems with that As a Georgian era lover, it didn t bother me that much I actually thought the fan involving parts to be absolutely hilariousThe Duke fanned himself with an air, handling the chicken skin like a woman His Grace smiled slowly, eyes nearly shut The fan expresses my emotions I must kiss March s hands and feet Metaphorically speaking He waved the fan gently to and fro.Davenant glared at him for a moment, annoyed at his nonchalance Justin, pray put that fan awayI could quote this scene on and on, as it is one of my favourites I mean, poor Davenant is trying to have a serious conversation with Justin and he is just fooling around, fanning himself lol I personally loved every scene in which the Duke had a say, and to me, he is an amazing character But moving on I could talk about him all day long, so let s move on.L onie is one of my favourite young heroines She s just adorable Yes, I admit that she did seem to act a lot younger than her given age 19 , what with talking nonsense half the time, being so bloodthirsty and worshipping the Duke like a god And yes, from a certain point of view, I can see that the relationship between Avon and L onie is made a little creepy disturbing, given that there are 20 years that separate them, and that Avon spends the better part of the book referring to her as my infant , my child , etcThey seem to have of a father daughter relationship than a an actual romantic one However, there is another way of looking at it Just think about it for a minute.The Duke of Avon is a cold hearted man who has never truly cared or loved anyone or anything, and who has never been loved OK, there are perhaps a few exeptionsHugh Davenant is his friend and it is said that he once loved Jennifer Beauchamp, but he tried to abduct her twice Soone sees the point Then, one day, L onie comes into his life in a most unexpected way, and gifts him with an unconditional and undying adoration L onie has known only misery in the nineteen years she has lived The Duke one day decides to keep her He shows himself to be unexpectedly good and kind to her Isn t is normal then, for L onie, who has never been properly cared for, and who has a terrible past, to come to love the man who got her out of her misery He may not have acted from charity at first, but Avon s character change is one of the best aspects of this novel.He starts as a Satan figure, and becomes a godly one at least, to L onie.In a way, each rescued the other The Duke saved L onie from a terrible life of lies and agony, and L onie saved the Duke from his sinful rakish lifestyle.Honestly, I cannot blame L onie for acting the way she does In a world where all women are supposed to be the same, wearing giant skirts, curtseying, having their hands kissed, being accomplished, playing a lower role in the society, etcit is no wonder that with the kind of past she s had, she chose to be different And everyone loves her because of that Women love her because she s sweet, beautiful, unique and funny Men love her because she s different, espi gle and enjou e.AndAvon comes to love her because she s herself She s the only one who has ever dared to contradict or to talk back to him, and he likes it It went fromIf it is your will that I obey this Walker, said L on with dignity, I will do it y your r r Gr r race Justin looked him over Certainly you will do so And I prefer that you call me Monseigneur This Walker has told me that when I speak to you, Monseigneur, I must say your r r ah, bah I cannot, enfin For one moment Justin stared haughtily at his page Be very careful, Justin warned himtoI called to Rupert as loud as I could and kicked the pig person The Comte de Saint Vire Yes, the pig person on his legs a great many times He did not like it at all That, said his Grace, does not altogether surprise me Oh, you know the rest, Monseigneur He gave an evil drink pig wash He called it coffee Then, let us also call it coffee, child, I beg of you I can support pig person but pig wash I will not endure But it was, Monseigneur I threw it at him and he swore Poor infant His Grace tweaked one curl But a most indomitable infant withalAhem once again, I have to restrain myself from quoting the whole book Another awesome point about Heyer s characterization is that she makes her secondary characters as fiery and fun as her primary ones Justin s younger siblings, Lady Fanny Marling and Lord Rupert Alastair, are no exception to this rule Every scene involving them was super funny especially with Rupert What was the most fun about them, though, was their realization that the Duke was falling in love with L onie Fanny s plans for them to get married and Rupert s rebuttals that Justin is too old and too devilish for her and besides he will never marry a bastard were simply hilarious It also showed that their relationship as a family was evolving In the beginning, Justin s relationship with Fanny and Rupert is lacking trust, respect, and love They fear their brother and he doesn t care about them As we come to see a softer side to Avon, however, we can see how that relationship gradually changes.When Avon meets Rupert for the first time, in the book when he is wounded in an inn on a roadside in rural France, he acts towards him with none of his usual biting sarcasm, and even takes care of him Rupert is greatly surprised that he is basking in the sunshine of his approuval , as Avon seems really proud of his courage to have saved L onie when she was kidnapped, and does not know at first to what he should attribute the change Rupert and L onie, on the other hand, have a brother sister relationship from the first, and act like veritable youngsters when they are together calling each other names, and fighting in the woods Rupert is a lot closer in age with L onie than Avon is, and it is a few times suggested that she should get with him as a couple instead of focusing on the Duke, but that L onie can absolutely not do, and she treats Rupert as her brother throughout the novel Avon yet plays again a sort of fatherly figure to them, recommending that they stop calling each other imb ciles and gently scolding L onie for her unladylike behaviour In a way, playing the reprimanding older brother , Justin gets closer to Rupert, as he probably never acted in such a way that shows that he cares at least a bit about him One of my absolute favourite scenes that clearly illustrates the change his Grace has with Rupert and Fanny is the sort of family dinner they have with a few friends, on the eve before L onie is to curtsy to the Polite World Seeing them all talk gaily, amiably and at perfect ease was very touchingI believe I have several times requested you not to call Rupert imbecile , infant But, Monseigneur, he is an imb cile she protested You know he is Undoubtedly, ma fille, but I do not tell the whole world so Then I don t know what I am to call him, said L onie He calls me spitfire, Monseigneur, and wild cat And so she is, by Gad exclaimed his lordship I am not, Rupert I am a lady Monseigneur says so A manifestly false assertion, said his Grace But I cannot remember ever having said anything of the kind, infant But, Monseigneur, you said only a minute ago that your memory is not at all good There was a shout of laughter Avon s own eyes were alight with it He picked up his fan and dealt L onie a rap across the knucklesHaha, yes, I know, I know, that fan again But I just had to include it in the passage Avon s improving relationship with his sister is really demonstrated in the following scenes, as they work together to present L onie to the respectable people at her first ball, and to make sure that she enjoys herself Fanny is constantly looking for Justin to ask him which lady or lord L onie should be introduced to next As much as the Duke plays a sort of protector father figure to L onie, I believe that Fanny plays a very maternal role for L onie She treats her like her daughter and even says so herself , educating her and dressing her with her own gowns At first she thought L onie to be a real trial, but by the end she loved taking care of her.The one thing that disappointed me about this first ball scene was that L onie and Avon did not even dance together I was secretly really hoping for it, especially since he had promised her that he would dance with her in a previous conversation.Oh well, that was really the only minor detail that disappointed me oh, and of course the fact that the book cover completely reveals a major spoiler.As much I as enjoyed TOS though, I wouldn t recommend it to everyone Not everyone can stand all the my dears and my infants , and the jewels, and lace, and gold, and powder and hand kissing and Georgian slang the book s literally full of it It s not for everyone However, for those like me who are totally obsessed with those kind of things, These Old Shades is the perfect book In fact, it s worth the read just for the over the top witty conversations.And as for the love story if at times I felt that Avon overused the nickname my infant and I wasn t sure if he only loved L onie as his ward, the ending definitely removed all doubts and left me assured and satisfied that they were both madly in love with each other.The re telling of L onie s tragic story by the Duke is perhaps the most touching part of this novel and, yes, yes one of my favourites As he told her tale, his love for her shone through his voice at certain passages, and the answering adoration she held for him was echoed through the acute sacrifice she made to save his reputation view spoiler she fled his house for fear she would expose him to a scandal when she discovered that Saint Vire was her father and that she was probably his bastard daughter hide spoiler I enjoyed These Old Shades. I think Heyer writes vivid, opinionated characters and she captures the Georgian period beautifully I must admit though, I m not sure this book is for everybody There s a lot of yakking These characters talk, talk, and even talk Heyer doesn t directly tell you what her characters are up to either, so you have to get to know them by what they say Some of the dialogue is pretty hilarious, and some of it is kind of repetitive To me this makes the characters visceral, but it can also slow down the action You definitely get to know the two lovers I thought the Duke was a hoot He has somewhat questionable morals, and in truth he starts out as the villain of the story He s carrying around a twenty year old grudge that he simply MUST get even for He s very clever though and amusing, and let s not forget smooth, so you can t help but root for him I have to admit, in the beginning he sort of gave me the impression of being a perv with the way he takes young Leon under his wing, but then you find out he has a whole different agenda Of course, some of my skeptical impressions of the Duke, may be due to the fact that Leonie was so na ve and worshiping, I thought she was a child Of course later on you find out she kept a lot of things to herself When she feels comfortable, a lot personality comes to the surface and she gets a lot lippy LolAfter I finished this I realized that the Duke and Leonie are polar opposites Where she is trusting, he is cynical Where she is impulsive, the Duke is calculating She is innocent, and the Duke is not They truly do compliment each other It s no wonder they fall in love.Of course not all was peachy There were some eye rolling moments, like Heyer s snobby assertion that being noble and refined is something you re born with and will show even if you are raised by a pig farmer Thus it cannot be learned which I think is a bunch of hooey But I m sure there are some blue blood nobles out there who d disagree Yet this antiquated view actually fits perfectly with the period and gives a true aristocratic vibe, which in many ways is preferable to the politically correct views that seem to infiltrate historical fiction now So for my review, I give 1 2 I thought this book was a lot of fun I will forever think of the Duke as a young, smooth talking Peter O Toole and Leonie as Milla Jovovich from The Fifth Element lolSpeaking of movies, how come they ve never made a book or miniseries from one of Heyer s books I think her books would be perfect for the Jane Austin crowd. This is one of my favorite romance novels, ever I am not even afraid to review it here on this pretentious book site, I love it so much I have worn through my copy of it It is lovely beat up and bent back to the pages of all my favorite parts The Heyer hallmarks are all here great characters, hilarious plot, breaking the genre rules, a somewhat effete hero but in a manly way The main character, Leonie, is absolutely adorable I don t even care if others find her annoying, she makes me laugh I ve been reading this book since I was 13 and I still feel that way.This book actually has some great layers There s real darkness and fear and complexity in the characters It isn t just the farce that it could be Far from it There s real mystery and a deep sympathy to the hero, Justin Easily the first book hero I ever fell in love with He s quite gothic, but with that Regency sprinkling of humor that I love Think Mr Rochester but polished And hilarious Whatever, shut up I love Georgette Heyer This was one of the books that really helped along my love for 18th 19th century Brit lit. GAH I adore Georgian period romances The ridiculous extravagance and theatricality of action and costume are simply divine I thought you disliked melodrama, my friend I do but I have a veritable passion for justice You ve nourished thoughts of vengeance for twenty years Other pluses which definitely made this a win Heroine disguised as a boy, swordplay as well as hoydenish behaviors overlaid with a sweet na vet and an older sworn bachelor and renown rake charmed back into life s pleasure from the malaise of ennui It s Pygmalion with far entertaining circumstances The button of her foil came to rest below his left shoulder Touche, said Avon That was rather better, infant Leonie danced in her excitement Monseigneur, I have killed you You are dead You are dead You display an unseemly joy, he remarked I had no notion you were so bloodthirsty If you like historical romances, brats, and an age difference then you really can t go wrong, here I feel rather silly that the title was so off putting to me that I failed to read it earlier And yes, I comprehended the ancient Greek concept of shade, but dismissed the opportunity Rather stupid of me, to be honest. La vengeance est un mets que l on doit manger froidRevenge is a dish that should be eaten cold Credited to Charles Talleyrand, French diplomat 1754 1838.Revenge and a Cinderella type plot make a great combination in These Old Shades, one of Georgette Heyer s well known historical novels, set in the later 1700 s The half French Duke of Avon is walking down the street when a small body hurtles into him He looks into the face of this young urchin and suddenly sees the potential for taking revenge on the man who has been his mortal enemy for twenty years So he buys the curly red headed young orphan off the boy s loutish older brother, takes him home and cleans him up, and presents him to Paris society as his new pageSome limited spoilers follow It soon turns out that this boy is not a boy after all, but an impish 19 year old girl So L on becomes L onie, as the Duke takes her to his sister in England, charging her to teach L onie manners and train her to act as a young girl in high society should Various shenanigans ensue, as L onie resists fitting herself into the mold society expects, and the Comte Saint Vire, the Duke s old enemy, takes some drastic and potentially lethal steps to try to avoid the noose he can see headed his way.I ve been tempted to knock this book down a star or two for a couple of things in the plot that really irk me The twenty year age difference between the Duke and L onie he calls her infant, for heaven s sake , which everyone in his family handwaves because they think the two fit so well together The insistence that blood will out everyone can tell L onie is well born because of her looks and natural grace, while a boy born to peasants but raised in high society still looks and acts boorish and wants nothing so much as to leave Paris and live on a farm.But in the end, this book was just so much darn fun to read that I have to award all the stars L onie is small and passionate and absolutely hilarious, given to calling people names and flying off the handle when they anger her He is a pig person I hate him I am glad that I bit him, and threw the coffee over him Justin, the jaded Duke of Avon, is one of those mastermind type of characters I adore, weaving his revenge plot while everyone else around him tries to figure out what his intentions are and why he s doing what he is And yet the suave Duke gets tripped up by this irreverent young girl he s taken in, who sees him clearly but adores him nevertheless He acts languid and casual around others, but every once in a while you see his true determination and strength of character show through his posing He s also snarky and sarcastic and has a dry sense of humor M sieur, you will think I come upon a strange errand, but I have a wife De Faugenac beamed at Avon, and nodded several times I felicitate you, m sieur, said Avon gravely Yes, yes A wife It will explain all It always does, answered his Grace She eats her heart out for your so lovely, your so enchanting, your so elegant Avon held up his hand M sieur, my policy has ever been to eschew married women But but what do you mean, m sieur My wife pines for your page She cannot sleep a night until she knows that he is hers It seems that madame is destined to spend many sleepless nights, said Avon.The humorous dialogue, mixed with a suspenseful story of revenge and the cat and mouse game between the Duke of Avon and his enemy, the Comte Saint Vire, was just a pleasure to read.Interesting note This book is a semi sequel to Heyer s first novel, The Black Moth which is old enough that you can get it for free on Gutenberg and other sites Apparently Heyer wanted to do a sequel but the characters didn t quite fit what she wanted to do in this book So she renamed them and changed some of their characteristics and backstory, so that the new characters are shades of the old ones Hence the name of this novel, which came from a Victorian era poem that appears at the front of this book in some editions The poem reads in part 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 VignettesAll the stars If you desire to do good to la petite, send her to me My dear father, I have never desired to do good to anyoneWhen I first started this book this was my reaction to my fellow reading buddiesDoesn t the writing feel off It s not as flowing as my other experience with Heyer. And way too many French words phrases That made me curious so I checked the publishing date, turns out this book was published in 1926 almost 40 years before my favorite book of hers, Frederica So it was one of her earlier works and maybe that was the reason it felt different to me We do grow with experience, authors are obviously no exception.If I think of the story as a sort of parody, then this is a great one It was funny with two likeable leads but it was also over the top and frankly unbelievable at a lot of times.I liked both of our leads Justin, Duke of Avon was a somewhat reformed scoundrel with a nickname of Satana Satan Or so we were told Because I didn t see him be a Satan at all He was arrogant yes, pompous sure, vindictive certainly but then he s a freaking DUKE Isn t it common for Dukes to be like that Anyhow, the Duke of Avon despite his many flaws was superbly hilarious He was quick witted and his tongue was sharp but never rude, the perfect combination for one civilly funny hero.L on L onie was, you could say, simple minded but it never felt like stupidity Oh sure, she blindly worshipped the Duke but I guess that s understandable seeing as he might have literally saved her life As in the life of Leonie.They did shared quite a few scenes where their chemistry was extremely on point but then I d remembered the two decades age difference and I was a bit pulled out of the story I m not one for much older guy teenage girl His calling her infant really bugged me too.All in all it was enjoyable but about 100 pages too long My very first Buddy Readwith all these beautifulsRachelle Frankie Marguerite