read online pdf Sylvester, or The Wicked UncleAuthor Georgette Heyer –

When The News Went Out That Sylvester Rayne, The Elegant, Impeccable Duke Of Salford, Was Seeking A Wife, All England Was Aflutter Lord Sylvester Is A Polished Bachelor Who Has Stringent Requirements For His Future Wife She Must Be Well Born, Intelligent, Elegant And Attractive And Of Course She Must Be Able To Present Herself Well In High Society But When He Is Encouraged To Consider Phoebe Marlow As A Bride, Sylvester Is Taken Aback By The Coltish Woman Who Seems To Resent HimThe First Time Sylvester Met Phoebe, He Found Her Dull And Insipid Phoebe, Was A Hoydenish Country Miss With Literary Aspirations And When She Was Snubbed By The Duke, And She Thought He Was Insufferably Arrogant In Fact, She Deemed Him The Most Arrogant Rake She D Ever Met In Secret, She D Fashioned The Villain And A Knave In Her Romance Novel Unmistakably After Sylvester Phoebe Meets None Of Duke S Criteria For A Fiancee But When Phoebe Ran Away, She Got His Attention And Fancy Intrigued Sylvester Decides That If Petruchio Could Tame Katherine, He Had No Doubt He Could Tame Phoebe And When A Series Of Unforeseen Events Leads Them To Be Stranded Together In A Lonely Country Inn, They Are Both Forced To Reassess Their Hastily Formed Opinions, And They Begin To Discover A New Found Liking And Respect For Each Other, And They Find Striking Up An Unusual FriendshipPhoebe Discovers That The Duke Isn T The Villian She First Thought And Sylvester Stumbles Upon Something He Never Dared Hope For But What Sylvester Doesn T Know Is That Phoebe Has Just Published A Novel A Novel In Which All London Will Recognize Him But How Could She Guess Her Book Would Be A Scandalous Success Or That The Man She Had Cast As A Villain Would Become The Heartbreaking Hero Of Her Dreams

10 thoughts on “Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle

  1. says:

    Final update upping my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars on reread Definitely worth the extra star, if only for Sylvester s little nephew totally cracking me up several times He s a scene stealer Update Rereading in May 2019 with the GH group I m hoping that this will be one of those GH books that I find much charming on reread It does happen Take one somewhat arrogant, self assured duke with very distinctive slanted eyebrows I m thinking Zachary Quinto as Spock, minus the ears And the odd haircut Some of my GR friends objected to Spock as Sylvester Comment 22 contains perhaps a better visual image and one intelligent, awkward, impulsive, average looking girl with unfashionably tanned skin, a wicked wit and a habit of putting recognizable members of the ton in her novels her skin isn t tanned enough here but I like that she s holding a book Add a great platonic guy friend, a spoiled nephew with a penchant for incorporating into his vocabulary any bad words that he hears, and various irascible relatives Mix well.Georgette Heyer fans will find a lot to love here The proposal scene toward the end was notable for its echoes of the first Darcy proposal in Pride and Prejudice, except even awkward, hard as that may be to believe I thought it was a little slow in parts, but overall it was a traditional good Regency read.

  2. says:

    Confession I needed a little pick me up, so I had finished this novel before the Georgette Fans Group started their reread.A lot of really interesting things struck me this time reminded me why this is still a 5 read for me Original plot idea Great secondary characters Even if they only appear briefly in the story, I remember them The hero shows character development, but doesn t turn into a completely different person Total reformation of the man you love is never a healthy aspiration Some of GH s most romantic scenes I ve reread them twice since finishing this book Thomas Orde is one of Gh s best secondary characters I just love him.If you are a not a fan of ingenue heroines, Phoebe is the final one GH wrote Cressy from False Colours is only 20, but an extremely mature personality.I know in previous reads other members have found Sylvester s nephew Edmund a very young six, but he probably wasn t both for the time he was written, when GH wrote this 1950s the lack of socialisation with his peers I quite enjoyed Edmund this time around.I realise these are like notes than a proper review, but this is my second review on Goodreads I have read this particular title between 30 50 times.I m cutting myself some slack.

  3. says:

    This was the third novel of Georgette Heyer s that I found, again under the guise of an audio book narrated by Richard Armitage I have extolled all of Richard Armitage s many virtues as a narrator in previous reviews, and I shall continue to do so until someone gets sick of it and tells me to shut the hell up and maybe not even then As usual his reading was perfectly paced, pleasant to listen to, and his vocal range deeply impressive What I particularly enjoyed in this one was the fact that some of his accents seemed slightly countrified, than in his other narrations Those voices that he did countrify were appropriate, and conversely his depiction of Sylvester was perfectly aristocratic I absolutely loved it.Now then, I have seen Sylvester occasionally compared to Pride and Prejudice, which I think is frankly rather absurd Aside from Phoebe s original and incidentally mostly well founded prejudice against the Duke of Salford, there is almost nothing in the plot to allow for an adequate comparison of the two However, I do believe it to be perfectly reasonable to compare the character of Sylvester, Duke of Salford, to that of Mr Darcy To that end, I m going to try and keep going through the review what I m going to call very pretentiously, I might add, but I can t help myself The Darcy Simile.The first few chapters of the novel I found to be very entertaining, and also very well placed Without these chapters at the start which gave the reader an opportunity to get to know Sylvester, and some of the reasons behind his arrogance, I am sure I would have found him to be quite a stuck up, unsatisfactory hero until these things were explained In terms of The Darcy Simile , the Duke of Salford does have actual pride and arrogance than Mr Darcy, but while Darcy s seeming coldness stemmed from shyness, Sylvester s arrogance stemmed from his devastation over the death of his brother Even after four years he still hasn t entirely recovered, and as such has become a little uncaring, from a habit of keeping people at an emotional arms length than anything else But Salford, like Darcy, is not arrogant in the usual sense of the word Sylvester, who did not arrive at parties very late, take his bored leave within half an hour of his arrival, leave invitations unanswered, stare unrecognizingly at one of his tenants, or fail to exchange a few words with every one of his guests on public days at Chance, was not very likely to believe that a charge of arrogance levelled against him was anything but a calumny Needless to say, Sylvester s character is vastly intriguing arrogant, yet not in the usual style, and unable to realize that arrogance goes a little deeper than the above description Sylvester clearly needs to learn, as he does over the course of the novel, that nobility is than skin deep it is than simply acting in order to sustain the view that others have of your supposedly noble character He was a little uncaring, but still able to joke and sometimes act kindly on an impulse In other words, he was temperamental, a quality which I actually quite like There were three other things that endeared him to me, in these first chapters First was his easy, very loving relationship with his Mama, about whom I shall speak later Secondly, I liked his clear intelligence, and his consequent ability to deliver very amusing, very witty retorts And thirdly was his affection for his little nephew, Edmund, which becomes even apparent later on in the story Here again I found a strong resemblance to Mr Darcy even when Darcy still seemed a bit proud, I m sure many readers not just me are very much touched by the way he loves and dotes upon his sister Georgiana The same was true of Sylvester, and remembering his attitude towards his nephew was something I had to make myself remember, later in the novel, during times when it seemed that Sylvester did not have very many qualities about him that I could like Where the Darcy Simile falls down rather heavily is in the character of Sylvester s mother, Elizabeth, the Duchess of Salford The only character she could really be compared to in Pride and Prejudice is Lady Catherine, and while I despise Lady Catherine, I don t think I ve ever felt such affection for a character as I have for the Duchess of Salford Oh, of course I have fallen in love with a great many heroes, and felt for many heroines as I would for a sister, but there have not, I believe, been any secondary characters which I hold in affection and esteem that this lovely woman Sylvester s Mama is kept in relative seclusion due to an arthritic complaint, and yet unlike so many other Regency ladies, she does not ask anyone to pity her, and actually contrives to exist in perfect happiness, with her relatives and her novels to occupy her Aside from her admirable strength, her love for her son is so very clear, she is well informed with a sharp intellect, and perhaps one of the kindest women I have ever read about I felt sorry for her, being so disquieted by the suspicion that her son had become arrogant And it brought tears to my eyes when at one point in the novel I shan t say when she addresses young Phoebe Marlowe with such tender affection that Phoebe, never having encountered such affection before, falls to her knees next to Sylvester s mama, and cries her poor little heart out.In any case, after those first few chapters of the book involving Sylvester and his mother, the story moves to focus upon the heroine, Miss Phoebe Marlowe There was a period of time upon first encountering the heroine that I found the novel to be almost dull It was for, shall we say, a period of about twenty minutes to half an hour in audiobook terms, and not even Richard Armitage s dulcet tones could keep me from becoming just the slightest bit bored Though undoubtedly a lovely girl with a pleasant talent for writing and an unfortunate tendency to allow herself to be oppressed by her family, there was at least to begin with very little in Phoebe Marlowe s character to recommend her to me And upon the Duke of Salford arriving to visit her, and seeing his behaviour, I came to the uncomfortable conclusion that I did not for the moment very much like either of the main characters in the novel, though both had redeeming features which gave me some hope One character I did really like was Tom, Phoebe s childhood friend He was an honourable, blunt young man, with an incredibly loyal heart, and not afraid of plain speaking, even when it would get him into trouble He made me laugh, especially when he told Phoebe that they must run away, as a Gretna Green marriage was the only thing that could save her, and then asked her what in the world she was laughing at Of course, what Phoebe is trying to escape from is the threat of being married to the Duke of Salford, as her foolish father and overbearing stepmother have told her that this evidently insufferably proud man came to visit them in order to propose to her But her plan is rather sensible than Tom s she decides to go to her grandmother also, incidentally, Sylvester s godmother in London So off they go, and accidentally overturn Tom s fathers curricle, breaking poor Tom s leg in the process And of course, who should find them trapped at a country inn Yes, awkwardly enough, it is the Duke of Salford I shan t give too much away about the plot from there, but suffice it to say that Phoebe and Tom come to know and like Sylvester, during the time they are trapped at the inn, due to the snow Sylvester s brand of arrogance becomes very clearly defined during his stay at the country inn, but so too does his wonderful sense of humour, his charm, and the kindness that he does indeed possess, brought out a little than usual by Miss Phoebe Marlowe I really came to like Sylvester and Phoebe in this part of the book However, there was one particular part after Tom tells Sylvester that Phoebe was running away from the actually non existent threat of an offer from the Duke where I truly wanted to slap Sylvester, I was so angry at his despicable, vengeful thought He became possessed of a strong desire to teach Miss Marlowe a lesson What was it Tom had said Nothing would induce her to marry you A little too cocksure, Miss Marlowe The opportunity will not be granted you But let us see if you can be made to feel sorry Oh, how that made my blood boil What a despicable, unworthy, cruel thought But in all other respects Sylvester s behaviour is perfectly amiable, teasing and amusing, so I was eventually able to forgive him his transgression in that area One woman whose attitude I find very hard to forgive or even to tolerate, was the character of Lady Ianthe Rayne Ianthe was the wife of Sylvester s twin brother, who died right after his son Edmund was born At first I was indignant about the idea that Sylvester should expect such a young lady never to go out into society or marry again I was even indignant at the thought of her being separated from her young child Sylvester being Edmund s guardian and insisting he be raised at Chance, even if Ianthe should remarry and move away However, upon learning who she wanted to marry, and learning of how little real, unselfish affection she had for her child, I found it very hard to retain any sympathy for her In all fairness I must say there was very little harm in her, in that she doesn t mean to hurt others, but she s one of those typical, weak, silly Regency ladies I find it hard not to despise Again though, in all fairness, there was no real malice in her, so I could like her just a little Anyway, eventually Phoebe arrives in London, and out of the way of her despicable, cruel stepmother, Phoebe s character really begins to flower She is smart, precocious, unfailingly kind, and a very honourable little thing I loved reading of her and of Sylvester in London, but unfortunately Phoebe manages to get herself into such a scrape that I was alternately holding my breath in anxiety for her, and trying not to cry for her pain I will say trying not to give anything away that there is a time, in London, when Sylvester is unspeakably and deliberately cruel to poor Miss Marlowe I felt very much for both of them, understanding his anger and her true regret and sorrow, but deliberate cruelty is one of the few things I find it very, very hard to forgive What he says to her has me in tears every single time The combination of Georgette s flawless writing and the brilliant way in which Richard reads the scene is perfectly calculated to shatter my poor heart with sympathy and sorrow mostly for Phoebe, but also for Sylvester Well now, that s all I can really say without spoiling anything major, but I cannot resist talking about the final events of the novel, especially as they give me such a lovely opportunity to further my Darcy Simile So, without further ado view spoiler Imagine imagine Lady Ianthe and her new idiot husband actually carried poor Phoebe and Tom off on a ship I couldn t help laughing, but I was also biting my nails with anxiety, wondering how in the world this was going to be fixed Really, for a book that got a little dull near beginning, it truly became amazing Especially when Sylvester finally discovers Phoebe, Tom and little Edmund whom Ianthe was effectively kidnapping, though she was his mother in France Here, I think, Ianthe reaches her worst point in the entire novel, in accusing Sylvester of never caring so much for his twin brother, Harry Sylvester s reaction easily smashed my poor heart into pieces all over again, and I felt the overwhelming need to pull him out of the story and give him a hug Needless to say, the Duke had again endeared himself to me at this point, especially as he is almost unbelievably sweet with his young nephew, but then the proposal scene, back in the port at London.Honestly, both Mr Darcy and the Duke of Salford need to learn that it really, really isn t a good idea to piss off or insult your heroine in some way before proposing to her Men, how foolish they can sometimes be The accusations that Sylvester throws at Phoebe are nothing short of cruel, when she is already so obviously distressed I felt so badly for both of them Sylvester truly in love and having no idea how he managed to screw up so badly, and Phoebe trying not to be in love because she believes it s only Sylvester s pride that drives him to offer for her I dare not spoil how the novel ends, as it is too precious to spoil, but as with almost all of Georgette Heyer s novels, it is utterly perfect hide spoiler

  4. says:

    After many, many years of reading her books I still cannot fault Georgette Heyer as the best writer of Regency fiction Some of her books are marginally better than others but they are all good and I always read reread them when I feel that I need a treat Sylvester is one of my favourites It actually starts off rather slowly but once our main characters arrive at the inn most of Miss Heyer s best action takes place in wayside inns the pace picks up I actually sat and read from this point right through to the end because I was enjoying it so much Now I feel very much like picking up another one

  5. says:

    This book has a special place in my heart as it always reminds me of my mother s laughter I remember coming up the stairs listening to her laugh while she was reading in bed I lent her Sylvester to read, I had read many GH novels with my best friend, but we did not think to lend them to our mothers until we got older For a time, they were ours, no adults welcome But by HS, my mom and I were trading books back and forth, Sylvester was her first How it made her laugh, and now that she is gone and I am older than she was then, it is a gift to have the memory of her laughter and delight in the antics of Sparrow her Dook and the precocious Edmund, his feather brained and self involved mother, as well as the natty nabob, and the many others who filled this book and made it a rollicking ride Very highly recommended, especially if you need a cure for the blues, as I did while re reading it.Reread May 2019 with GH Fans group It still makes me laugh smile, it still brightens my mood in these often dark times Am sending a copy to my daughter to spread the cheer.

  6. says:

    Have read this before, love the fact that she is a secret authoress whose very first book has landed her in trouble Love Sylvester, his devotion to his mother, and his aloofness Just listened to it as an audiobook because it was narrated by RICHARD ARMITAGE YES, MR THORNTON And he was great, and I want him to do

  7. says:

    This time, I listened to the eAudio from Hoopla I own the Sourcebooks dead tree edition and later bought the kindle edition at a steep price reduction.Pre GR, I discovered Georgette Heyer and this was the very first of her books that I read I reamember that breathily hyperventilated, panted and was extraordinarily exhilarated as I read this It was THAT good the first time I read this book and the pages turned themselves This book, unlike others of Georgette Heyer s that are my favorites, I have read comparatively few times I think this is perhaps only the fifth time I ve read this This time around I listened to the eAudio edition.I admit that I missed some things on that first reading I missed what would be in my top 4 most romantic and moving expressions of feeling in my romance reading Two others that moved me in this way are in M M Romance books The other in Wuthering Heights Here it is folks, tympani please 1 The hero, upon acknowledgement of her fine seat on a horse as one of the best the heroine would rather stay in the stable hobnobbing with stable hands than attending a ball , asking the heroine if she would do the honor of allowing him to mount her provide her with a horse to ride, because the one provided by her relatives is a spiritless shuffling creature The heroine refuses probably for reasons of propriety The hero has a special mare of playfulness and spirit, and promply has it bought to London and asks his married cousin Georgiana to offer to let the heroine ride her Georgiana s spare horse.That s it y all, it s in my top four of the most romantic things I ve ever read in the totality of my romance reading.The hero s mother is simply the loveliest mother to be found in any of Georgette Heyer s romances If the mother is alive at all, they are often contemptibly silly creatures But the Duchess of Salford, the hero s mother is just lovely, classy, gracious and loving The hero has some character flaws that the heroine is always pointing out but has a beautiful relationship with his mother This is possibly the very first romance to use what we would today call the Pride and Prejudice trope Georgette Heyer was possibly the first HR author to borrow find inspiration from P P.2 The heroine s invitation from the hero s mother and their meeting discussion at the end of the book was so lovely to listen to in this audiobook that I cried through it.

  8. says:

    Three and a half stars, rounded up I had mixed feelings about Sylvester I thought the plot dragged a bit in some spots and got a bit overwrought in others, but the two lead characters carried the book for me, and on balance I ve begun to think this might be one of Heyer s most psychologically astute romances While I normally find it hard to warm up to Heyer s arrogant nobleman protagonists, I actually started to like Sylvester right from the moment on page three when he sees the small scampering figure of his young nephew escaping from his nurse and tutor Sylvester s internal debate about whether to lean out the window to wish Edmund success in his adventure is full of humor, sensitivity and an acute understanding of the family dynamics But he s not easy for people to get close to, and we gradually learn why as the book progresses I particularly enjoyed Sylvester s relationship with his mother, the Duchess she plays a role in three pivotal scenes and her gentle wisdom makes all the difference for our hero and heroine.Phoebe, the heroine, reminded me a bit of Catherine Moreland in Northanger Abbey she has such a vivid imagination and it sometimes runs away with her But while Catherine Moreland spends her time reading trashy romantic novels and getting into trouble because of them , Phoebe has spent her time writing one and the novel within a novel theme is so much fun Phoebe fascinated me She has clearly been suffering all her life from verbal abuse and neglect and yet she has retained or probably better, restrained a wicked sense of humor, quick understanding, than a bit of a temper, and a sharp tongue Had she had a wiser, understanding family, those traits might have been gently guided and softened As it is, her step mother simply clamped a lid on Phoebe and sealed her shut like a pressure cooker, and poor Phoebe really has only her BFF young Tom Orde with whom to let off steam I suppose Miss Battery is of some help, but she seems rather emotionally undeveloped One thing about Phoebe that rather amazed me she is still capable of real compassion and kindness, despite everything that the adults in her life have done and failed to do for her I would have liked a little sweetness and light, but I think Sylvester and Phoebe are both really wounded and the bickering is part of the way they fight through their blocks Sylvester is naturally reserved and has a protective shell he s worn since his brother died and Phoebe has all the accumulated hurts and hypersensitivity and awkwardness of years of isolation Love and trust can t possibly come easily for either of them.Sylvester s scene with his mother towards the end of the book is wonderful, and I loved the intelligent and sensitive way that she intervenes to set Phoebe and Sylvester on the right course The Duchess is the wisest person that Phoebe has ever had in her life and I think that if this marriage succeeds it will be in no small way due to her Content Rating G A clean read.Read with the Georgette Heyer Fans group, which added so much to my appreciation

  9. says:

    Living La Vida Loca.Alrighty, so this starts off with the trapped heroine Phoebe and then proceedssome of it s reasonable and some is just a ride on the crazy train Boy does she meet some interesting people on this ride Phoebe is headstrong and rather indiscreet while communicating lacks a filter is rightfully chaffing at the bit and when it all looks horrible she flees Trust me, I ve been in the chew your leg off to get away situation and I m sympathetic All for the idea Alas, the execution of her plan lacked thought Tom, sensibility and patience are his key attributes as he deals with the immature and idiotic Frankly, the best character in the story I liked Tom.Sylvester, the Ice Duke, starts off fine and the character seems to stay true until the end when he turns and smashes straight into a tree I had a really hard time making the change of heart leap with him.And the endingSeemed like a lesser Cotillon to me Freddy is a better Tom and Kitty is less flighty ridiculous impetuous than Phoebe But I came away with a winter beverage idea, so overall, good 3.5 stars rounded up because it was a fast and fun read Keighley, fortified by a potation of gin, beer, nutmeg and sugar, which he called hot flannel, raised no objection so the horses were put to again.

  10. says:

    Sylvester reminded me again why I consider Georgette Heyer s novels the high water mark in regency romance If I wasn t lost in the story, I would be taking notes Heyer gives us Sylvester, a handsome, self important duke and Phoebe, a wispy girl oppressed by a martinet step mother, who didn t take It s a vastly enjoyable pairing, though not especially unusual It s the writing and the characterization that lift these two above the rest Unlike so many contemporary romance writers, Heyer doesn t allow Phoebe or Sylvester to marinate in issues and emotive stupidity Their stoicism is effective in revealing their dispositions and depth of feeling than paragraphs of anguished soul searching and tortured laments Brusque Sylvester can hardly speak of his dead twin brother and only indulges in one or two memories happy ones, I m glad to say , but I understood his cynicism and scathing critiques and liked him He s got strong appeal hot tempered and hasty with insults, he makes enemies than friends, but he is honorable, hiding a tender heart beneath the scowls He reads novels any that come in his way so he can talk them over with his invalid mother And it comes off understated and sincere, not as a trite device Phoebe, a coltish hoyden, doesn t speak of her sufferings either We don t see her get slapped by her stepmother though the woman is physically abusive The cold, unfeeling dialogue gets the feeling across, as does Phoebe s determination to keep her freedom once she makes her escape But Phoebe isn t a martyr She considers herself fortunate in her friendships, likes her stepsisters, and never once appeared a figure of persecuted virtue view spoiler At the end, I was cheering for her when she told Sylvester what was what hide spoiler