Review: The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer

Before I started blogging I had never considered reading Georgette Heyer, but after seeing how popular she is with so many other bloggers I knew I would have to give her a try. I’m glad I did – and I’m glad I chose to begin with The Talisman Ring because I really enjoyed it.  I could describe this book in one word: fun!

Lord Lavenham’s dying wish is that his great-nephew Sir Tristram Shield will marry his granddaughter Eustacie de Vauban.  However, Tristram is a sensible, practical man in his thirties while Eustacie is a romantic, passionate girl of eighteen – and neither particularly wants to marry the other.  Eustacie would prefer to marry her other cousin, Ludovic, but there’s just one problem: Ludovic is a fugitive, wanted for murder.  With the help of Sarah Thane, Tristram and Eustacie begin a search for the talisman ring that will prove Ludovic’s innocence.  This is all part of a thrilling adventure involving smugglers, excisemen, the Bow Street Runners and a Headless Horseman!

I enjoyed the witty dialogue and the way all the characters interacted with each other, particularly the relationships between Tristram and Sarah, and Eustacie and Ludovic.  Even the minor characters were well drawn and fun to read about. One of my favourites was Sir Hugh Thane, Sarah’s brother, who appeared completely oblivious to what was going on around him and was more interested in the contents of the Red Lion’s cellar.

I thought Eustacie was very over the top and as a result, not very realistic, but I can appreciate that Heyer had intended her to be an amusing, entertaining character. I preferred the book’s other heroine, Sarah Thane, who was more down to earth and composed – though like Eustacie, she longs to have some excitement in her life…

“I thought it too good to be true,” said Miss Thane. “If there is one thing above all others I have wanted all my life to do it is to search for a secret panel! I suppose,” she added hopefully, “it would be too much to expect to find an underground passage leading from the secret panel?”

The Talisman Ring has a bit of everything: mystery, adventure, history, romance and comedy. In general I prefer my historical fiction to be more serious, but I still enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more of Heyer’s work. I have a couple of her other books waiting to be read, so it will be interesting to see what I think of them.


Genre: Historical Fiction/Pages: 320/Publisher: Arrow/Year: 2005 (originally published 1936)/Source: Library book

19 thoughts on “Review: The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer

  1. Susi (The Book Affair) says:

    I know what you mean about Heyer being everywhere in the blogosphere. I have yet to read her though. Maybe I should finally get round to reading one. I might just start with this one, seeing as you’d recommend it. 🙂

  2. Bina says:

    I´ve never read any Heyer but I am curious about it since it really is reviewed on every other blog.

    Maybe I´m reluctant because of the covers, they look like silly romances to me. But your review makes it sound like an enjoyable book, I think I´ll give her works a try 🙂

    • Helen (She Reads Novels) says:

      I was curious too, particularly as I had never heard much about her before I started blogging. The Talisman Ring is probably a good one to begin with, because there’s a lot more to the story than just romance.

  3. Aarti says:

    I LOVE Georgette Heyer and The Talisman Ring is definitely in my top five books by her, so I’m glad you enjoyed it! I also adore Sarah Thane and her mischievous sense of humor, particularly with Sir Tristram. And sigh. I love Sir Tristram 🙂

  4. Caroline says:

    I read Talisman Ring years ago and cracked with laughter. Have you tried Sprig Muslin? There are some similarities, but Sprig Muslin is funnier (and less over-the-top) in some ways.

    • Helen says:

      Hi Caroline. No, I haven’t read Sprig Muslin yet. I’ll have to read it so that I can compare it with this one and see if I agree with you!

  5. Victoria Madden says:

    This isn’t one of my favourite Heyers – there’s too much Eustacie and not enough Sarah Thane for me. Have very much enjoyed your reviews – looking forward to seeing what you think about the others!

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading my Heyer reviews, Victoria – and thanks for your comments. I will continue to work through the rest of her novels and post my thoughts on them!

  6. Maggie B. says:

    Eustacie, I think, is a caricature of young heroines and meant to make us laugh rather than inspire fellow-feeling. I seriously can’t imagine how she and Ludovic would survive in real life by themselves much less as a couple. However, I think my favorite part of the book is the inclusion of the Bow Street Runners. Their adventures are the the icing on the cake.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I liked the parts with the Bow Street Runners too! This was the first Heyer novel I read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from her plots and characters. I think I would probably enjoy this one a lot more if I read it again now that I’m more familiar with her work.

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