The Quiet Gentleman

The Quiet Gentleman

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Unscathed from the wars, Gervase Frant finally returns to his father's estate to claim his title as the new Earl of Stanyon. But his stepmother's resentment and his half brother's open disdain put a chill on Gervase's welcome. Now he must establish himself as the new head of the house… and ignore his family's rising hostility.

Then Gervase's eye is caught by a lovely young woman—the same woman already much in favor with his half brother. Now the brothers face direct competition as they bid for the lady's attentions. But as Gervase struggles to maintain a gentlemanly balance, he begins to find himself the victim of repeatedly cruel accidents. Soon it becomes increasingly clear that someone wants the new Earl of Stanyon dead….

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491573488
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 03/17/2015
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 996,805
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Georgette Heyer's novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades. English Heritage has awarded Georgette Heyer one of their prestigious Blue Plaques, designating her Wimbledon home as the residence of an important figure in British history. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of seventeen to amuse her convalescent brother; it was published in 1921 and became an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. A very private woman, she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. Her work included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

Read an Excerpt

The Quiet American

By Georgette Heyer

Arrow Books

Copyright © 2005 Georgette Heyer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780099476375

IN THE guide-books it figured as Stanyon Castle; on the tongues of the villagers, it was the Castle; the Polite World spoke of it as Stanyon, as it spoke of Woburn, and of Cheveley. It was situated in Lincolnshire, not very many miles from Grantham, rather nearer to Stamford: a locality considered by those who were more interested in the chase than in any particular grandeur of scenery to be admirable. It had more claim to be called a Castle than many another nobleman's seat. A mediaeval fortress, of which various not very interesting records were to be found in the muniment room, now used by Mr. Theodore Frant as an office, had previously stood upon the site; and such portions of the ancient building as had survived the passage of time had been incorporated into the Tudor manor which had succeeded the fortress. Later generations had enlarged and beautified the structure much as their fancies dictated, any difficulty of adding to the mansion being overcome by the designing of another court. The Frant who survived friendship with Bluff King Hal scandalized his generation by the lavish use of oak for wainscoting; his grandson, having enjoyed the advantages of travel, built a new wing, and embellished the old with gildings and painted ceilings; a later Frant, succumbing to the prevailing fashion, ranriot in the rococo style, created the Fountain Court, and was prevented only by death from attempting something of a still more grandiose conception; his heir, one of Mr. Walpole's more fervid adherents, reverted to the Gothick, and by the time an unlucky fall at a regular stitcher, when out with the Old Club, put a period to his career, nowhere in England could have been found such massive doors of oak, such ponderous iron latches, so many pointed, narrow windows, as at Stanyon.

The sixth Earl of St. Erth, possibly thinking that his principal seat already sprawled over too much ground, more probably prevented from adding a wing in the Palladian style by the straitened times in which he had the ill-fortune to live, contented himself with rebuilding the stables, papering a great many of the rooms, and installing a closed-stove in the enormous kitchen. This was declared by an embittered valet to be the only sign of modern civilization in the entire pile; but the head-cook, mistrusting modernity, allowed it to be used merely for the boiling of vegetables by one of his underlings, while he himself continued to preside over his furnace, with its antiquated ovens, its huge spits, and its iron cauldrons. Unaccustomed guests, wandering distractedly down ill-lit galleries, discovering stairs that led only to uncharted domestic regions, and arriving, flustered and exhausted, where they had been for long attended, had been known to express astonishment that anyone should choose to live in such a rabbit-warren when he owned two other and more convenient country residences. Neither of these, it was true, could boast of Great Halls, Minstrels' Galleries, Armouries, Towers, or Moats: on the other hand, no draughts whistled down their passages; no creeping chill arose from damp walls; and their chimneys very rarely smoked.

Neither the sixth Earl nor his second wife perceived anything amiss with Stanyon: the Earl because it was the home of his childhood, his lady because she had been bred in an even more inconvenient mansion in the bleak north, and would, in any event, have unhesitatingly bartered comfort for pomp, had she been offered a choice in the matter. The Earl's first wife had hated Stanyon. But the Earl's first wife, though admittedly a lady of birth and quite remarkable beauty, had proved herself to have been quite unworthy of the high position she was called upon to fill. Before her son was out of leading-strings, she ran away with a notorious rake. Her lord, cuckolded, betrayed, and turned into a laughing-stock, expunged her name from the family records, permitted no mention of her to be made within his walls, and scarcely thought himself avenged when he learned that she had died, three years after her flight, in conditions of distress and hardship. His steward and his housekeeper, both persons of sentiment, hoped that upon his death-bed he would remember her, and speak of her with a forgiving tongue, for it seemed to them incredible that so gentle and lovely a lady should hold no place in his heart or memory. They even indulged their fancies by supposing that his overt dislike of his elder son was caused by the secret pangs the sight of the fair boy, who was indeed the image of his mother, caused him to feel. But if the Reverend Felix Clowne, my lord's Chaplain, was to be believed, the Earl's last coherent speech, forcibly phrased if feebly uttered, was a complaint that the wine he had commanded his valet to bring to his room was corked. He had earlier bestowed his blessing upon Martin, his younger son; he had had a kind word for Theodore, his nephew; he had taken punctilious leave of his lady; he had sent proper messages to his married daughter; but the names of his first wife and of his heir had not passed his lips. Nor had his heir arrived at Stanyon to attend his deathbed, although it was certain that Mr. Theodore Frant had sent a letter express to him in Flanders, warning him that his father's demise was imminent. CaptainViscount Des-borough, as he then was styled, was at Mons, with his regiment, and it was conceivable that a high sense of his military duties had prevented him from applying for furlough at a moment when Napoleon was almost hourly expected to cross the frontier. But the seventh Earl, surviving a minor, but rather bloody, engagement at the village of Genappe, and a major engagement at Waterloo, still showed no disposition to return to the home of his ancestors. He sold out, but he remained on the Continent, reposing the fullest confidence in his cousin's ability to administer his estates. Not until twelve calendar months had passed since his father's death did his cousin, and the Dowager Countess, receive tidings from him that he was in England, and about to take possession of his inheritance. He wrote a very civil letter to his mother-in-law, informing her of the proposed date of his arrival at Stanyon, and enquiring in the politest way after her health, and the healths of his half-brother and sister. It was a very pretty letter, the Dowager allowed, but, she added, in unhopeful accents, his mother had had just such caressing ways, and had shown herself to be a Snake in the Bosom. "I should perhaps warn you, ma'am, that my cousin will not relish animadversions upon the character of his mother," said Mr. Theodore Frant, a little tight-lipped.

"In his presence, such remarks should be spared."

"My dear Theo," responded the Dowager, "it would be odd indeed if I were to be obliged to consult you on the observances of civility!" He bowed, and, because she cherished no ill-will towards him, she said graciously: "Or anyone else, I am sure! In this house, Desborough — or, as I must learn to call him, St. Erth — may be sure of every attention called for by his consequence."

"Just so, ma'am," Mr. Frant said, bowing again.

"Providence has decreed that he should succeed to his dear father's honours," pronounced the Dowager, thinking poorly of Providence. "One might have supposed that military service in the Peninsula — a very unhealthy locality, I understand, setting aside the chances of Violent Death in an engagement, which cannot be altogether precluded — might have rendered the present occasion unnecessary. But it was not to be! Had my advice been sought, I should have considered myself bound to state that a military career, for one whom I should have had no hesitation in declaring to be far from robust, could be little short of Fatal! That, my dear Theo, I must have said, for, whatever must be my maternal feelings, if there be one thing upon which I pride myself it is my observance of my duty as a Christian! Happily, as it then seemed (though, according to the workings of an inscrutable fate, it now appears to be a circumstance of little moment), my advice was not sought. Since Lady Penistone chose to interest herself so particularly in her grandson, and my dear husband saw nothing objectionable in the connection, it was not for me to raise my voice. On her head, I said at the time, be the outcome! No doubt her ladyship is a good enough sort of a woman in her way: I do her the justice to acknowledge that she did not, as one might have feared she would, from the incurable levity of her behaviour, condone her unhappy daughter's misconduct: but if she petted and indulged Desborough from any other motive than a malicious desire to tease my poor husband I shall own myself astonished! A spiritless boy, I always thought him, with too much reserve to be pleasing. His career at Eton, you know, was quite undistinguished: a very odd sort of a soldier he must have been!"

"It is some years since you have seen my cousin, ma'am," Mr. Frant interposed, in a measured tone.

"I hope," said the Dowager, "I am not to be blamed for that! If Lady Penistone chose to invite the boy to stay with her during his school-vacations, and my lord to acquiesce in the arrangement, I take heaven to witness that it was by no expressed wish of mine that Desborough ceased to regard Stanyon as his natural home! On every head my conscience is easy: while he was a child I did my duty towards him; and I am determined now that as no word of censure for his conduct in absenting himself from a beloved parent's obsequies shall be permitted to pass my lips, so also no mark of the respect due to the Head of the Family shall be unobserved. I shall receive him in the Hall."

This momentous decision being faithfully adhered to, a chilly afternoon in spring saw five persons assembled in what had once been the Great Hall of the Castle. The artistic energies of several generations had largely obliterated most of its original features, but the hammer-beams in its lofty roof remained, and a vast fireplace, made to accommodate the better part of several tree-trunks. The carved screens, having been discovered to have become worm-eaten, had been removed in a previous age, the apartment being thrown open to the vestibule, or entrance-hall, situated at right-angles to it. From this smaller apartment the Grand Staircase, erected in the latter half of the seventeenth century on a scale designed to allow some dozen persons to walk up it abreast, rose in one imposing flight to a broad half-landing, whence it branched to right and left, thus attaining the main gallery of the Castle. Several massive doors strengthened by applied iron-straps, besides the great front-door opposite to the staircase, opened on to the vestibule, a circumstance which added nothing to the comfort of the Hall, in itself a passage to a series of saloons beyond it. The heat thrown out by the logs burning in the fireplace was considerable, but was unavailing to prevent the draughts sweeping through the room. These seemed to come from all quarters, even the heavy curtains which had been drawn across the windows composing almost the entire long wall opposite the fireplace being continually stirred by them. It was dusk, and candles had been lit in the sconces as well as in the several candelabra which stood on the various tables. The little tongues of flame flickered continually, causing the wax to melt unevenly, and making it impossible for one of the persons assembled in the Hall to set the stitches in her embroidery with any degree of accuracy. Having twice changed her seat to no purpose, she folded the work, and replaced it in a tapestry-bag, drawing forth, in its stead, a prosaic piece of knitting, with which she proceeded to occupy herself, in the manner of one prepared to make the best, without comment, of adverse conditions.


Excerpted from The Quiet American by Georgette Heyer Copyright © 2005 by Georgette Heyer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Quiet Gentleman 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Gervase may have inherited the family estate after his father's death, but no one was very excited to see him come home. This is another Regency Romance written by Ms. Heyer. She wrote numerous mysteries and romances and none of the ones I've read have disappointed me. Her writing style provides a lot of period detail and the plots move along slower than most modern works. That fits well with the time period she's talking about and she always comes up with a well thought out story. Ms. Heyer had an interest in people and how they behave because her characters are always authentic. Her main male character is just trying to stay alive and figure out who is trying to kill him. The biggest suspect is his stepbrother, who thought he would be the Earl because Gervase would get killed in the war. Ms. Heyer gives us two interesting young female characters; one all sweetness and grace with beauty and one who is very practical and handles any crisis with ease but is more plain. Mix the pot with attempted murder, love, jealousy, and greed and you get a story that moves right along with several suspects. This author takes all these emotions and swirls a story together that make sense and surprises you with the solution. She also smoothes out all the emotional issues so things are calmer at the end of the story. Why not visit Regency England with Ms. Heyer and follow the Earl on his quest to find out just exactly who wants him dead and why? And if he falls in love on the way there, who can complain? Originally posted at the Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
teckelvik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is on the light side for Heyer, for me, but it's still quite excellent. The plot is fairly thin, but the mystery is fairly laid out, and the sparkling dialogue and lively characters are in top form. Quite a bit of it is really funny, making me snort and cough when reading in public. I also like that the hero is not flashy, or perfect, and the heroine is not either, yet they clearly and obviously belong together. I also appreciated the loving send-up of gothic novels throughout. Nicely done.
BrokenTeepee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The new Earl of St. Erth finds that upon arrival at his castle that his remaining family would have preferred him to have died while fighting Napoleon. Happily for him he survived to claim his title as the seventh Earl. His half brother Martin had been treated as the heir and is quite put out that he is not! But is he put out enough to murder?The Earl's cousin Theo has been taking care of the estate since his uncle took him in as a young boy and he has done very well as its steward. Theo worries that Martin will do harm to St. Erth and watches him like a hawk. Also living at Stanyon Castle are the dowager duchess and a visiting friend, Drusilla Moreville.The tale is full of the witty dialog for which Ms. Heyer is so famous. It rolls along like a bright, sparkling creek. The plot is a good one including romance in unexpected places, murder attempts, secret passageways and loyalties misplaced. The dowager duchess is a marvel of self absorption - except when it comes to her "perfect" son, Martin. She can see past herself for him. But ONLY for him. She provides much comic relief in the midst of the tension.This is my second book by Ms. Heyer and it has only whet my appetite for more.
MusicMom41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(from the blurb) ¿The new Earl of St. Erth returned from glory at Waterloo to a nest of intrigue at his ancestral home. Vexed by his pompous stepmother and reckless half-brother, he seemed to have but one ally¿Drusilla Morville, a level-headed girl who had lost her heart to the dashing lord.¿ This blurb overlooks his other two seeming allies, his cousin Theo and the Viscount Ulverston. This was a very entertaining Regency romance even though the story is predictable as you go along. I enjoy Heyer because of her entertaining characters and repartee not because of her ¿riveting¿ plots". Actually she has about four or five basic plots, but the details vary and many of the characters are interesting. This plot was ¿the unexpected, unwelcome, and misunderstood heir arrives setting up family turmoil.¿ The new heir, however, is just what the family needs to put things to right. He `saves the day¿ and wins the fair damsel (or in this case, the rather plain Jane Erye-ish damsel with hidden talents). [Note: Perhaps I should read or reread all her Regency romances and catalog the plot types. This would make a good project for retirement. I¿m sure someone has probably already done that, but I could use the ¿mental exercise¿¿even if my family thinks that my ¿fluff reading¿ takes no mental work at all. (True¿but we all need a break now and then!)]
exlibrisbitsy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gervase Frant returns from fighting in the Napoleonic wars to inherit his seat as the Earl of Stanyon. His family is not at all happy to find that he is still alive as they all assumed he would die a horrible death and leave his half brother to inherit the estate. As his step mother says, in droll English fashion, serving at the front lines of a war is, to her mind, ¿most unhealthy¿ and it really was a pity that he didn¿t die doing it. But, he is alive and his family now has to deal with a step brother heading the household and no one is happy about it. In fact someone is so unhappy that ¿accidents¿ begin to befall the new Earl and he soon realizes that not only does someone not want him at Stanyon, someone wants him dead.This novel was a delightful mix of mystery, historical and regency romance all twirled into one with lots of intrigue, suspense, mystery and yes just a touch of romance making this a wonderful read.I also liked the heroine was named Drusilla and wasn't necessarily considered a beauty. She was sensible, a little plump, short, and didn't have anything really to recommend her aside from her ability not to fall down into fits the moment something tense happens requiring a swoon. A rarity in the regency, unheard of in romance novels, but Georgette Heyer makes it work to comedic effect and makes you love the character all the more.With Heyer's witty dialog, engaging and sparkling characters and her humorous portrayals of characters, repartee, and the situations that come out of them this was truly an engaging and wonderful read. It was a breath of fresh air after I was finally starting to get a little sick of regency romances. Not sick of them anymore! I think I might even be interested in giving her modern day mystery novels a whirl, if they are anything like The Quiet Gentleman I won't be disappointed.Favorite Quote:"Depend upon it, you are just the sort of girl a man would be glad to have for his sister! You don't even know how to swoon, and I daresay if you tried you would make wretched work of it, for all you have is common sense, and of what use is that, pray?" -Drusilla Morville
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I have always enjoyed Georgette Heyer. This is one of her most interesting novels. I just wish there was no "bad guy" as all her characters are appealing. An interesting on the plot of a "new" inheritor of the title. The Unknown Ajax also plays with that theme.
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dorsey More than 1 year ago
This book was not one of my favorites of hers, but it kept me entertained enough to keep me reading.