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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

These Old Shades is read by Alexander Vlahos, star of Versailles

Leonie Bonnard is being drawn into a twenty-year-old feud.

Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, is a reprehensible rake with an axe to grind. Decades ago the Comte de Saint-Vire did something unforgivable and ever since Justin has been lying in wait to settle the score. 

When Justin meets Leon, a street urchin with a striking resemblance to his nemesis, he aims to use him as a pawn in his plans for revenge on the Comte. Except Leon is in fact Leonie, a beautiful young ingénue who may just steal Justin's heart.

Can Leonie win the Duke's affection, or will his need for revenge overcome them both?

©1926 Georgette Heyer (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of my perennial comfort authors. Heyer's books are as incisively witty and quietly subversive as any of Jane Austen's." (Joanne Harris) 

"Absolutely delicious tales of Regency heroes.... Utter, immersive escapism." (Sophie Kinsella) 

"Léonie, hot-tempered and very much her own woman, is one of Heyer's best female leads[...]The novel remains a witty, vivid page turner." (Melanie Reid)  

What listeners say about These Old Shades

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Such a fun read

I laughed and cried, the twists and turns kept me riveted from start to finish, and every character was interesting. My favourite would have to be Rupert, the comic relief. The narrator (Alexander Vlahos) is incredible with every character having their own unique voice.

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Great story

This one had some intrigue which was great. The story was entertaining and there was a happy ending.

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Terrible narration

Can't even finish this. I've been reading Georgette Heyer for over 40 years. Her sense of humour never fails to uplift. This is THE most boring audio version of one of her books I've come across. It's excruciating. Good grief Leon didn't even get a French accent! None of the characters have any life. The books are dialogue driven intrigue. This narrator just failed to even vaguely understand what he was reading. Totally ruined this great story.

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Review

The narration was superb, Alexander was magically with all the different characters he played. I don't think I would have enjoyed the story as much had it been told by another. Several characters had me chuckling in his portrayal of them Bravo Alexander Valhos Brilliant reading it has given me many days of relaxation and pleasure listening to this piece May there be many more

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A classic well presented.

I much preferred this version.
The characters were much more believable.
Very often Male narrators make the female characters sound limp or simple this version only did this occasionally went sappy. Some of the french characters sounded Welsh ???
He did

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Full of surprises

Georgette Heyer researched each of her books carefully, each is well written in rich and interesting language with witty dialogue using idiom of the day. I particularly enjoy her spunky heroines

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  • L
  • 13-05-2021

Disappointing!

I love Georgette Heyer but did not enjoy this recorded version at all by Puffin. What has happened to the Audible Original version read by Cornelius Garret?? His performance is excellent. Unfortunately I was not able to order that version and now I can't even find it. Very unhappy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mo Bass
  • 29-03-2021

Great story poorly narrated

French servants with Welsh accents, English nobility with regional accents, the Duke of Avon with a light, quick voice. It was all so very inappropriate.

5 people found this helpful

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  • JED
  • 03-03-2021

Much better narration than previous version

The narrator get it exactly right in this reading. Avon is back to being my hero once again.
I have always loved Georgette Heyer books, and have read them all many, many times. So unfortunately, I have a set idea in my head how the lead characters should sound. Some of these audio books have surprised me by giving me a much better rendition than my own reading did. (Arabella, read by Phyllida Nash being one), These Old Shades was always a favourite, but I found the voice given to AVON (snooty and unnatural) in my previous copy was disappointing. THIS version is excellent. Avon sounds exactly like a real Duke would sound and behave, and Leone always sounds correct as she moves through her transition. Brilliant!. The narrator also gives time to reading the more intimate scenes so you can 'dwell in the moment' more and enjoy it to the full. I will be working my way these new audio books as they are released to see if I can find other improved versions.. For now, enjoy this one. Its well worth the credit.

3 people found this helpful

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  • JM
  • 06-09-2021

Classic Georgette Heyer

This is one of my favourite Heyer novels, but afraid the narrator let this one down for me quite a lot.

The accents for the French characters were particularly bad (along with some notably bad pronunciation) and I felt the Duke’s voice should have been far deeper and more sinister.

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  • Teresa
  • 25-02-2021

Love the book, love the narrator!

I love Georgette Heyer and Alexander Vlahos is brilliant narrating. His take on characters closely matches my own when reading this book.
I would take a chance on a new author if I knew he was narrating it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • P2
  • 13-05-2021

This old favourite

This is one of my favourite Georgette Heyer novels. It is a rollicking read with plenty of action, marvelous characters, and sparkling wit. That does not change.
I resisted buying the previously available audio book version from audible because I could not tolerate the narrator. I found the voice of this narrator easier on the ear. However, overall he failed to live up to my expectations. In the opening scene we have the word “ beribboned” pronounced “ berib - boned”. There were similar errors else where. Much of the humour was missed because there were pauses at inappropriate places in sentences. The French pronunciation was dire. Even the name of Saint Vire changed after the first few mentions, but never matched the way I expected it to sound. I suppose I understand the use of regional accents to distinguish characters, so I can cope with Davenant having a Scottish accent, but why a French housekeeper has one too, or why the French valet has a Welsh accent, are mysteries. It would have helped had the narrator read ahead and marked up the text in some way because at times a speech started with one voice before morphing into the correct one. Justin is suave and usually drawls, but that did not come across.
I decided to keep this audio version in spite of its shortcomings because the story and characters are delightful. However, I do wish it could have been read by a narrator with a genuine feel for the cut and thrust of Heyer’s sparklingly witty dialogue.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-04-2021

A language coach would be useful.

A very offputting narration. There are a few English mispronounciations such as "crookEd arm" pronounced as if the poor appendage was strangely distorted rather than crook'd and with a very irritating repetition of "ay" rather than "a". But the French pronunciation is appalling. For example, not only do we have the schoolboy " moossier" for "monsieur" at frequent intervals, but also slips such as " jeune fille" (young girl) which is pronounced as "jaune fille" (yellow girl). This mangling of so much of the dialogue and narrative spoils the whole experience. I could deal with the strange accents to differentiate the characters, even though I'm sure the nobility of that era spoke in a more refined manner, but the poor French is inexcusable, as it is totally confusing as to the actual meaning of so much of the text, as I am hearing totally different words to those written and spend a lot of the story trying to discern what is actually meant. I'm finding it so frustrating that I am abandoning this long awaited audiobook and will finish the tale on kindle. A session with a language coach would have easily sorted out a lot of these mistakes, and it's incredibly sloppy and arrogant that so little care was taken.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • 16-02-2021

These old shades

Great story. Narrator is not as good as the original narrator, and some strange pronunciation. But he is easy to listen to and characters were neatly identifiable. It is so good to have newer versions of the Heyer books available

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elisabeth
  • 28-09-2021

Disappointing narration.

I already own an older version of this, one of my favourite Georgette Heyer's, but hoped and expected the narration of this new version would be better, but sadly, it isn't.
A pleasant voice, but he doesn't do justice to the Duke of Avon. Some rather strange accents and voices for other characters, and rather odd pronunciation of some words, particularly at the beginning. (An editing error, perhaps?) and where is the Duke's drawl? Instead, he speaks so quickly, it changes his character completely. Disappointed rather than excited by this new version. I'll stick with my old copy, I can't listen to this one any longer, I'm afraid.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-08-2021

Excellent story, unsympathetic reader

This is one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books. The plot is interesting and the characters are well developed. Unfortunately the reader didn’t seem to have a good understanding of the characters and period. Leonie came across as childish and pathetic, rather than feisty and brave. Avon also seemed to be misunderstood and so incorrectly interpreted in the expression of the reader. Other aristocrats had strange accents.
Im sorry to leave a negative review, one of my all time favourite books and I didn’t enjoy listening.

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  • Laura W.
  • 08-08-2021

A sparkling plot

a more thoughtful and poignant treatment for this typical Heyer plot 'lost soul saved by the love of a good woman'. Some delightful characters and delicious pre-revolution France atmosphere.

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