More Reading

I am now reading Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. This one is not such a success for me. It’s still wonderful, but very dated. Offensively so, I’m afraid. If you haven’t read These Old Shades and don’t wish to have the plot spoiled at all (though I should think much of what I going to mention is pretty obvious stuff, read no further.

SPOILERS!!

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There’s this passage in which the heroine, Leonie, is speaking to some other servants of the hero, the Duc.

[Gaston speaking] “Mon Dieu, is it thus you speak of the wickedness? Ah, but I could tell of things! if you knew the women that the Duc has courted! if you knew –”
“Monsieur!” Madame Dubois raised protesting hands. “Before me?”
“I ask pardon, madame. No, I say nothing. Nothing! But what I know!”
“Some men,” said Leon[ie] gravely, “are like that, I think. I have seen many.”
“Fi donc!” Madame cried. “So young, too!”
Leon disregarded the interruption, and looked at Gaston with a worldly wisdom that sat quaintly on his young face.
“And when I have seen these things I have thought that it is always the woman’s fault.”

My goodness.

A bit later in the book, as the story begins to develop its plot points regarding the possibility that Leonie is a nobleman’s daughter who at birth was given to a peasant family in return for the the nobleman taking the peasant family’s son as his own … Well. It’s just so heavy handed and classist. Leonie, despite having been raised as a peasant is nothing but superior – whiter, softer, finer, smarter, superior in every way while the peasant boy raised as a nobleman is heavy and coarse and low and so on. Oh, so offensive. I nearly set the book aside at that point.

It’s not yet certain I’ll be able to finish this one.

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3 Responses to “More Reading”

  1. Sandy says:

    Heyer’s books are a bit of a hit or miss with me: either I like them very much indeed, or I can’t get past Page 1. On the whole, I like her mysteries much better than her romances – with the exception of “Venetia” and “Bath Tangle”.

  2. cjewel says:

    Yes, I loved Venetia as well as Frederica. I’ll have to try one of her mysteries. And look for Bath Tangle, too.

  3. Susan/DC says:

    “Well. It’s just so heavy handed and classist. Leonie, despite having been raised as a peasant is nothing but superior – whiter, softer, finer, smarter, superior in every way while the peasant boy raised as a nobleman is heavy and coarse and low and so on. Oh, so offensive.”

    Totally agree and one of the reasons why, in the end, I did not enjoy TOS. Also didn’t like the relationship between Avon and Leonie. She is described at one point at sitting adoringly at his feet — felt far too much like a puppy, and therefore Leonie never struck me as an adult but only as an adolescent with a crush. The fact that she thought Avon could do no wrong didn’t help. I prefer when the H/H see their partner as a fully rounded human being and love them anyway, not when they view their partner as a demigod (unless, of course, in a paranormal they are actually a demigod).