Since I read Devil’s Cub (the sequel to These Old Shades), I knew some of the characters already and the twixt that Leon is actually Leonie. I’ve always kinda like the trope of girls dressing up as boys. It’s always a good source of comedy. TV Tropes calls it Bixfauxnen. It’s usually really amusing and it was here too.
I liked this more than the Black Moth because the structure of it was better than Heyer’s first novel. It was more cohesive and there was less abrupt jumps between sets of characters. As usual, I liked the secondary and supporting characters. You get a sense that amidst the comedy, abductions, and the wild plots that these characters like each other and care for one another.
As for Leonie and the Duke. The latter is standard bad man in need of reform. I like that their union is about how she loves him for who he is and sees the little good in him. I do think that her worship of him was a little too much at times and she could be impertinent and rude. She made up for it by being incredibly charming by the end though and in Devil’s Cub when she matured more.
This is my fourth Heyer and my third in which a kidnapping of a female happens. It’s a harsh reminder how completely without rights women were back then. Even Lady Fanny tells her husband that she is his wife and not his chattel, but apparently, this doesn’t apply to unmarried females because they tend to get kidnapped so often in these books.
This was a fun Heyer novel and a good one to start off probably, but I still think I like A Civil Contract best. That was one of her later works though and I am trying to go through Heyer’s bibliography more or less chronologically.
Read May 21st-27th 2012. This was my 25th book of this year.