Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer; read by Richard Armitage (1957, 2009)

I have never been a reader of romance.  I'm not - well, I try not to be - a snob about reading.  I'm just not drawn to romance books.  I like romance in books (sometimes, it depends).  But the kind of romance that has Fabio on the cover aren't appealing to me (Fabio probably hasn't been on the cover of a romance novel since I was in high school; he may not even be alive for all I know; note:  he still is alive).    

Georgette Heyer writes regency romances.  I've heard her named before, and I know she is beloved.   This was the first Heyer book I'd ever read, or in this case, listened to.  I would definitely listen to another Georgette Heyer again, particularly narrated by Richard Armitage; he had a droll delivery for the men reminiscent of old school Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice; he also used voices for the women in the book that wasn't annoying. It's hard for male narrators to do women's voices without being grating.  Armitage succeeds.

Would I have read the same book?  Perhaps.  It certainly was interesting. Very Jane Austen-ish, which I supposed is a "duhhhhh" sort of statement to make.  Because Georgette Heyer most likely exists to fill the enormous gap left when a reader finishes all of Jane Austen.  

I did become caught up on the story of Sylvester and Phoebe's budding romance.  I thought some of the book was humorous, and I would definitely recommend it.  

The only thing missing was magic, as found in The Sorcery and Cecilia.  I understand why fantasy writers of a certain vein love Georgette Heyer, as this was plotted like some of those same books and authors.  

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm never been a huge reader of romance novels. This is certainly the first Georgette Heyer I've ever read. She is very Jane Austen-ish, which I suppose is the point: Heyer exists to fill the gap left when a reader finishes his or her very last Jane Austen and wants something similar. This is fluffy and droll all mixed up together at once, and really quite enjoyable. Made all the more enjoyable by Richard Armitage's narration; his voice and characterization was the perfect combination of charm and wit,
sort of like a drawing room party at Lord Melbourne's (he was particularly adept at women's voices; I've found male narrators have a hard time capturing women's voices in a believable way, but Armitage did so admirably). 

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