Yay! The Anchoress has finally read These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer, one of my all time favorite books.
It’s a very good book on its own, but it’s also intriguing as a milestone in Heyer’s writing life. It isn’t everyone who has the guts to go back to the world of one of her first novels (The Black Moth), pluck out the villain, rewrite his world a bit, and then find a way to turn him into a romantic hero. (A way which works, is not cheap or easy, but also is not depressing or disgusting.) It also features one of Heyer’s best heroines and several of her most fun and dramatic characters and scenes of all time. And hey, it even ends with a Catholic wedding!
The sequel, Devil’s Cub, is kinda eh, but it definitely has its moments. (“Eh” for Heyer is still pretty good, you understand.) However, the story of the third generation of Avons, An Infamous Army, is a bittersweet masterpiece. (Without hugely noticeable infodumps, it also describes the Battle of Waterloo so that even we non-military types can understand the landscape and the strategy — an amazing bit of writing.)