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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review: Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer (Excerpt Included)

Title: Talisman Ring
Author: Georgette Heyer
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (March 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Regency
Edition: Paperback - Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!!

Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read

In a nutshell: The Talisman Ring is a clever mixture of both romance and mystery, and it has a wonderful air of humor to it as well! The book is filled with two main plot-lines, the first: Eustacie runs into a band of smugglers while running away from an unwanted marriage to Sir Tristram. The smugglers are led by Ludovic, who has been falsely accused of murder. The second: Sarah and Sir Tristram are both trying to keep Eustacie and Ludovic out of trouble while trying to find a ring to clear Ludovic's name. Fans of other Heyer books and Regencies in general are sure to enjoy this fun and entertaining book that gives readers a wonderful look at Regency times and dialogue, as well as some great adventures.

Extended Review:
Characters: As with Georgette Heyer's other books, the characters have been well-written and work together to create a book that readers will find hard to put down. While some characters (Sarah and Tristram) are more fun to read, the story would not be complete without the others!

Story-Line: Not only will readers get a great story that is centered around four very memorable characters, they will get to read about smugglers, Bow Street Runners, inheritances. . . all with plenty of adventure and laughs!

Readability: A very fun and enjoyable read that even includes a secret panel in the Dower House that hides a priest's hole!

Overall: Fans of mystery, romance and adventure are sure to love this book! A special note about the book itself: Sourcebooks has cleverly printed the inside covers with full-color covers of Georgette Heyer's other books that have been re-printed by Sourcebooks. The covers are beautiful, and make looking for other Heyer books easy!

From the Publisher:
One of Heyer's funniest Regency romances, and one of readers' favorites.

An impetuous young lady and a fugitive nobleman…
When spirited Eustacie stumbles into a band of smugglers, she is delighted to be having an adventure at last. Their leader, young heir Ludovic Lavenham, is in hiding, falsely accused of murder. Pursued by the law, Eustacie and Ludovic find refuge at an unassuming country inn.

And the delightfully sensible couple who try to keep them out of trouble...
The resourceful Miss Sarah Thane and the clear-thinking Sir Tristram Shield gamely endeavor to prevent Ludovic's arrest and Eustacie's ruin as the four conspire to recover the missing talisman ring that will clear Ludovic's name.

Excerpt from the Publisher's Site:

Excerpt from Chapter One

Sir Tristram Shield, arriving at Lavenham Court in the wintry dusk, was informed at the door that his greatuncle was very weak, not expected to live many more days out. He received these tidings without comment, but as the butler helped him to take off his heavy-caped driving-coat, he inquired in an unemotional voice: 'Is Mr Lavenham here?'

'At the Dower House, sir,' replied the butler, handing the coat and the high-crowned beaver hat to a footman. He nodded austere dismissal to this underling, and added with a slight cough: 'His lordship has been a little difficult, sir. So far his lordship has not received Mr Lavenham.'

He paused, waiting for Sir Tristram to inquire after Mademoiselle de Vauban. Sir Tristram, however, merely asked to be conducted to his bedchamber, that he might change his dress before being admitted to his great-uncle's presence.

The butler, as well aware as everyone else at the Court of the reason of Sir Tristram's sudden arrival, was disappointed at this lack of interest, but reflected that Sir Tristram, after all, had never been one to show what he was thinking. He led the way in person across the hall to the oak stairway and went with Sir Tristram up to the Long Gallery. Here, on one side, portraits of dead Lavenhams hung, and, on the other, tall, square-headed mullioned windows looked south over a well-timbered park to the Downs. The silence of the house was disturbed by the rustle of a skirt and the hasty closing of a door at one end of the Gallery. The butler had a shrewd suspicion that Mademoiselle de Vauban, more curious than Sir Tristram, had been waiting in the Gallery to obtain a glimpse of him. As he opened the door into one of the bed-chambers he cast a glance at Shield, and said: 'His lordship has seen no one but the doctor, sir — once, and Mamzelle Eustacie, of course.'

That dark, harsh face told him nothing. 'Yes?' said Shield. It occurred to the butler that perhaps Sir Tristram might not know why he had been summoned into Sussex. If that were so there was no saying how he might take it. He was not an easy man to drive, as his great-uncle had found more than once in the past. Ten to one there might be trouble.

Sir Tristram's voice interrupted these reflections. 'Send my man up to me, Porson, and inform his lordship of my arrival,' he said.

The butler bowed and withdrew. Sir Tristram walked over to the window, and stood looking out over the formal gardens to the woods beyond, still dimly visible through the gathering twilight. There was a sombre frown in his eyes, and his mouth was compressed in a way that made it appear more grim than usual. He did not turn when the door opened to admit his valet, accompanied by one footman carrying his cloak-bag, and another bearing two gilded candelabra, which he set down on the dressing-table. The sudden candlelight darkened the prospect outside. After a moment Shield came away from the
window to the fireplace and stood leaning his arm along the high mantelshelf, and looking down at the smouldering logs. The footman drew the curtains across the windows and went softly away. Jupp, the valet, began to unpack the contents of the cloak-bag, and to lay out upon the bed an evening coat and breeches of mulberry velvet, and a Florentine waistcoat. Sir Tristram stirred the logs in the grate with one top-booted foot. Jupp glanced at him sideways wondering what was in the wind to make him look so forbidding. 'You'll wear powder, sir?' he suggested, setting the pounce-box and the pomatum down on the dressing-table.


Jupp sighed. He had already learned of Mr Lavenham's presence at the Dower House. It seemed probable that the Beau might come up to the Court to visit his cousin, and Jupp, knowing how skilled was Mr Lavenham's gentleman in the arrangement of his master's locks, would have liked for his pride's sake to have sent his own master down to dinner properly curled and powdered. He said nothing, however, but knelt down to pull off Sir Tristram's boots.

Half an hour later Shield, summoned by Lord Lavenham's valet, walked down the Gallery to the Great Chamber, and went in unannounced.

The room, wainscoted with oak and hung with crimson curtains, was warmed by a leaping fire and lit by as many as fifty candles in branching candelabra. At the far end a vast four-poster bed was set upon a slight dais. In it, banked up with pillows, covered with a quilt of flaming brocade, wearing an exotic bedgown and the powdered wig without which no one but his valet could ever remember to have seen him, was old Sylvester, ninth Baron Lavenham.

Sir Tristram paused on the threshold, dazzled momentarily by the blaze of unexpected light. The grimness of his face was lessened by a slight sardonic smile as his eyes took in the magnificence and the colour about him. 'Your death-bed, sir?' he inquired.

A thin chuckle came from the four-poster. 'My death-bed,' corroborated Sylvester with a twinkle.


About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, published when she was 19, was an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency novels, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!


Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

She really writes some fun books. I love the detail and the fact that you always feel like you are way back when. I haven't really heard too much of this one, but it sounds like classic Heyer.

Cheryl Pitt said...

This sounds like an entertaining read. And fresh, I wouldn't have guessed that it was written before 74!

Harvee said...

The award logo is finally up, for the Heartfelt Award I gave you on my blog! Sorry for the delay in getting the pix on the post. www.bookbirddog.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

I have recently become a fan of Heyer and I will certainly read this one. I love her humor and clever dialogue.

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