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The Talisman Ring: Georgette Heyer book club no. 9

(35 Posts)
MooncupGoddess Tue 04-Sep-12 22:13:37

Well, no one else has started this thread so I am going to take the plunge.

I love The Talisman Ring. For me it is the first really funny GH novel; of course there are some great moments in earlier books, but The Talisman Ring is a delight from start to finish. In character terms it has a couple of GH firsts: the first 'decoy' heroine - we expect the wayward Eustacie to be our leading lady, but of course it turns out to be the delightful Sarah - and the first world-weary, apparently unsympathetic but ultimately totally sound hero in Tristram.

The lesser characters are also particularly fine. Who can forget the rakish Ludovic, the fierce old man Sylvester, the cold-ridden claret enthusiast Sir Hugh Thane, the sinister Beau Lavenham or the laconic Bow Street Runner (the first of several in GH novels, all cut out of the same cloth)? And who can fail to laugh at Ludovic's ridiculous appearance in drag or Sarah's doomed attempt to appear knowledgeable about panelled strapwork? Well, not me anyway.

HoratiaWinwood Wed 05-Sep-12 10:23:00

Marking place (have not finished).

But was today at a friend's house and noticed GH on her shelves. Squealed loudly and invited her to join us. Hope she will find time to read TTR and hop in this time, otherwise will bully her for SB or later.

LeonieDeSaintVire Wed 05-Sep-12 22:20:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyDamerel Wed 05-Sep-12 23:09:58

I love, love, love The Talisman Ring. For me it's like Friday's Child with the number of lines that actually make me laugh out loud.

Leonie, I think you're being unfair on poor Tristram. He has some cracking lines in the first couple of chapters, especially when he has to face Eustacie over the breakfast table. I like the way he is determinedly un-romantic in the face of Eustacie and Sarah's desperate need/desire for some romance, even though he has the imagination and wit to aid their mad plotting when the situation arises. And he promises to ride ventre a terre to Sarah's deathbed in the end grin.

You can really start to see how GH's writing almost follows a formula now, I think.

Eustacie reminds me very much of Leonie in TOS, as well as Amanda in Sprig Muslin and Pen Creed in The Corinithian - they all fulfil the 'young, impulsive, slightly dippy' role.

Sir Hugh Thane is the comedy character who aids the heroine whilst mostly sozzled, following in the footsteps of Pommery and Pelham and Rupert Alistair.

Nye is the yokel working class character who appears in almost every novel.

Sarah is the capable, level headed, practical heroine who still has a romantic streak - Elinor Rochdale in The Reluctant Widow, Drusilla Morville in The Quiet Gentleman, Cressy Staveley in False Colours, Frederica and Nell Stornaway in The Tollgate all spring to mind.

Sylvester is very similar to Lord Darracott in The Unknown Ajax.

The only character portrayal I really dislike is Beau Lavenham. He's a bit over-drawn for me, almost a caricature of a baddie. He's an exaggerated version of Robert Lethbridge from TCM but Lethbridge was more realistic. Eustace Cheviot in The Reluctant Widow is almost a carbon copy of Beau and for me they are the weakest elements of GH's writing.

HoratiaWinwood Wed 05-Sep-12 23:17:32


Have had a shitty shitty day (list of toddler's first words gone irretrievably, etc) but TTR has redeemed it.

I've made 37 highlights on my Kindle. That's how many bits grabbed me.

minipie Thu 06-Sep-12 13:52:22

I re-read this a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised - I had remembered it as one of the weaker ones but it's good fun. I'm still not a huge fan of the whole hidden ring/secret panel/murder mystery aspect (it gets a bit silly and I'm more interested in the love story of course grin) but I love the characters especially Sarah who seems just as aware of the reader of how silly it all is and is enjoying herself hugely.

MooncupGoddess Thu 06-Sep-12 14:26:11

Yes, agree that Beau Lavenham and Francis Cheviot are rather cardboard cut-out villains.

I think Sarah is actually the other side of the coin from Elinor - Sarah makes out to be terribly excitable and romantic but is actually full of good sense, whereas Elinor pretends to be totally uninterested in all the plotting and skulduggery and just to want a quiet life, but is actually very much on side. They're both fab.

thewhistler Fri 07-Sep-12 15:55:24

I have never been a real fan of this one so reread twice. I did enjoy it much more this time, liked both Ludovic and Sarah more, have always liked Sir T.

But from time to time I feel Sarah is over egged, don't much like the plot, dislike the Sussex accents and the smugglers, and, dare I say, find Eustacie trying. I too want to slap her or tell her to grow up. Leonie is so much more sensible, loving and mature. This time I could understand why ludo wanted to marry her, though, and it has grown on me.

The good bits are wonderful, though, the strap and jewel, spear head finish, tristram's shot, the groom knocking put the valet. And I love the final proposal.

So I shall read again.

HoratiaWinwood Sat 08-Sep-12 15:40:36

Right, am in a better mood so have things to say.

Eustacie is another typical GH heroine of the early mould - young, unworldly, devoted to her chevalier, headstrong, etc - but she is more engaging than some others (puts Cleone in the shade, for example). And we also get the other kind of GH heroine, the more interesting one, the twenty-something whom nobody else has wanted to marry. Abigail Wendover and Ancilla Trent are also in this category. And I do like them better as it's easier to pretend I am them because they are more sympathetic and they don't appear by and large in Austen/Bronte/etc, Anne in Persuasion being a notable exception.

Eustacie has blue eyes; Sarah, grey. Just saying...

Eustacie in drama queen mode is splendid, and it is delicious parody of other novels - the long speeches about white frocks and tumbrils which Tristram dampens with realism...!

I think GH must not have been a morning person, or possibly her husband wasn't, because every book has something about being a morning grump - here we have:

Sir Tristram was contemplating with grim misgiving the prospect of encountering vivacity at the breakfast-table for the rest of his life, and Eustacie was wondering whether her betrothed was capable of uttering anything but the most damping of monosyllables..

In Civil Contact GH uses the equivalent scene to show how suited Jenny is to Adam - she lets him breakfast in peace even though she is bored and wants to talk.

I love Sarah's sense of humour. I'm not sure she says what she means once in the book. Certainly when she is talking to Eustacie she is hamming it up something rotten. I'm not sure how desperate her position was - her travels with her JP brother, unencumbered by a SIL or companion, sound like fun but perhaps weren't sustainable. Presumably he was required to work occasionally - quarter sessions ring a bell. And I think it would have been quite lonely. GH heroines are not frequently used to thinking of their own comfort.

More awkward "wondering accents", notably the smugglers free traders, but also Eustacie's French.

G2g - screaming toddler wants only me. More thesis thoughts later.

DuchessOfAvon Tue 11-Sep-12 13:50:45

This is one of my favourites - and the first in the sequence to make me laugh out loud.

Its interesting reading them in this order - Ludovic is a move on from Robin Tremaine but recognizably the same character. And Sarah owes something to Prudence - but both portraits are more humorous and kindly. Ludovic takes himself a lot less seriously than Robin.

Tristram and Sarah actually flirt with each other - the relationship develops through the book rather than crashing in at the end (and this continues from now on in her formula).

Ooops - wailing off stage - will return to thread later....

thewhistler Tue 11-Sep-12 22:03:11

But why is Eustacie sooo stupid? And no emotional intelligence at all. Not selfish, like Lavinia (is it, or Letitia, in The Black Moth) but nothing compared to Horry, Leonie, Arabella etc.

DuchessOfAvon Tue 11-Sep-12 22:21:45

Because she is french. grin

LeonieDeSaintVire Tue 11-Sep-12 23:07:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeonieDeSaintVire Fri 14-Sep-12 20:50:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thewhistler Sun 16-Sep-12 18:12:47

I do enjoy the almost unstated movement of Sir Tristram towards humanity, from cynicism and bitterness about women to his amusement that he will never be allowed to forget the disappointment of his youth at the end. Re reading it, I love him drawing the pictures in Miss Thane 's (I can't think of her as Sarah) book and the pained expression when she confuses her terms. He is obviously cultured and witty. I have a lot of hope for them as a couple, as I do on fourth rereading for Ludovic and Eustacie, as he has sobered down and has the maturity to cope.

It is one of the few books where the heroine has a sensible name... even more usual than Judith and more sensible than Sophie. Not many others, bowing to the Horatias and Leonie of this thread. Harriet is by no means a heroine until she comes to unfortunate maturity; Jenny, whom I love, is clearly supposed to have a dissenter type name, I often wondered by GH called her Jenny, rather than one of the more obvious dissenter names. Perhaps she found an equivalent? Anyone know?

Perhaps we should have a short digression into GH's names? I like Theophania and can now bear Tiffany as a nn as I get that it comes from there... Arabella, Sophie, Cecilia, fine, Leonie of course, although I did think that there were others that did the dual male/female that she could have chosen that were prettier in the final analysis; never been stuck on Prudence or Patience myself.

Other views?

Am just reading Amanda Vickery's book on the Georgians - can't recall title - basically going from about the Glorious Revolution to about Hazlitt. Thoroughly recommend, gripping but rigorous study.

sarahtigh Sun 16-Sep-12 21:26:44

I don't think Sir tristam is that bitter about women just the drama queen type which eustacie obviously is at beginning, I think he is really quite witty especially when Sarah pretends to be the abigail /ludovic and gets arrested and he keeps insisting its a romantic tryst, I love the book and have been r-reading but last two weeks been a bit mental so though i normally read for good 30 minutes before bed, i have been falling asleep almost before getting to bed....... what a romantic I am clearly not up to this daring-do!

I certainly think Sir Tristam is the long term man for a relationship

like the idea of Heyer name selection discussion, those from poor humbler backgrounds names like Mary Kate Jenny etc

LadyDamerel Sun 16-Sep-12 21:33:26

Can I just check if we are starting Spanish Bride or The Corinthian tomorrow? I'm not sure whether Spanish Bride comes under the histories-that-we're-not-doing or if it counts as a 'romance'.

LeonieDeSaintVire Mon 17-Sep-12 08:22:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thewhistler Mon 17-Sep-12 22:09:26

Got home at last. Behind Closed Doors.

What was the Richard ill thread? Have been searching for its lovely bones, but failed to find it. Was influenced far too young by Josephine Try.

thewhistler Mon 17-Sep-12 22:15:54

It was the period when surnames became first names. So I find Waldo completely believable.

Justin I sort of accept because he has French ancestry, I think.

Gothicisation might mean that poor old Tristram got landed, but not sure about the rest.

Eustace ie Stacy I think of as later, but quite likely wrongly.

The 18c nobs' tombs round us all have perfectly normal names, except for the first eg , ie the surname turned into a Christian name, obv following the bringing of property into the family.

LeonieDeSaintVire Mon 17-Sep-12 22:23:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HoratiaWinwood Wed 19-Sep-12 09:05:53

All fascinating re names. I think often they feel odd to us (I am thinking of Sir Gareth) but no doubt GH researched as. well as always.

To the Corinthian!

HoratiaWinwood Wed 19-Sep-12 09:09:11

As it happens, I have a DS Adam after Captain Deveril (swoon) DH doesn't know that's why I was so keen on it and am ttc#3.

So if I'm successful I'll be starting a thread asking for GH name lists to choose from without DH's input discuss as a family.

HoratiaWinwood Wed 19-Sep-12 09:11:55

Erm, and DS2 is a GH hero too... One of the lesser known books though.

minipie Wed 19-Sep-12 09:19:57

Maybe this is why I really like the name Dominic (nn Devil? grin)

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