Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Toll Gate (1954)

The Toll Gate. Georgette Heyer. 1954. Harlequin. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

I persevered through my rereading of The Toll-Gate. I am on a quest to reread all of Heyer's romances this year after all. But I can't say that I enjoyed revisiting this one. I think I enjoyed it much better the first time.

So Captain John (Jack) Staple has returned to the neighborhood to celebrate with his family. Having tired of his family quickly, he dashes off to visit with a friend instead. He never arrives. He gets distracted by a young boy, Ben Bream, who has been abandoned by his father. Ben's father is an official toll-gate-keeper. He's left his post and his son. Jack (Captain) decides to take on both...at least temporarily. The day after his arrival he meets the oh-so-beautiful Nell. It is love at first sight essentially for both. The romance is at a minimum. A few scenes at best between the two. It is most unsatisfying.

Unless this particular mystery happens to intrigue you, the reader must endure two-thirds of the novel being written in hard-to-understand dialogue (slang or thieves' cant). Jack talks to many people as he tries to solve this mystery. And it is hard to keep up with all the people and the names they are connected to. Especially when you don't care, when you just want the mystery to be solved so the romance can be resolved.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

JaneGS 9:47 AM  

I like the premise but it sounds like it didn't deliver the fun that most Heyer romances promise. I do find slang hard to read much, and lots of characters can definitely be distracting.

Are you reading the books in any particular order?

Joyful Reader 12:55 PM  

I read my first Heyer book this month, THe Black Moth and enjoyed it so much I am going to search out more from my local library. Thanks for the heads up on this one. If they are not sequels... I may skip over this on... but then maybe not. :)

Sally 7:35 PM  

Thanks for reminding me about Georgette Heyer! I read many of her books earlier in life and am a huge historical fiction fan. You've made me think it's time to revisit Heyer. Though possibly not the Toll Gate based on your review :)

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