Review 1782: The Toll-Gate

I was rereading some Georgette Heyer novels last winter as I replaced some of my ratty old 70’s copies, and I remembered The Toll-Gate as one of my least favorite of her romances. I was confused, however, for the novel was amusing and had a fun adventure plot.

Back the second time from the Napoleonic Wars, Captain Jack Staple has been intending to settle down. His mother and sister have accordingly presented a string of attractive, eligible girls, but Jack hasn’t been interested. He says he doesn’t want to get married until he receives “a leveller.”

On going to visit a friend, he loses his way and comes to a toll-gate that is manned at night by a terrified young boy. The boy tells Jack that his father told him to mind the toll-gate for an hour, and he hasn’t been back. The boy is terrified of a man his father sometimes meets during the night. Jack decides to stay with the boy until his father returns. Then the next morning, he receives his leveller, in the person of Nell Stornaway.

This novel is just delightful, and I don’t understand how I misremembered it so badly.

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14 thoughts on “Review 1782: The Toll-Gate

  1. Janakay | YouMightAsWellRead January 10, 2022 / 11:30 am

    I love Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels (the historical fiction & mysterious — not really) and routinely re-read when I’m looking for a fun, amusing, comfort read. This one isn’t my favorite but — it’s still great and is lots & lots of fun! I’ll definitely keep it in mind when I’m looking for another re-read.

    • whatmeread January 10, 2022 / 1:34 pm

      Yes, but I hadn’t read it in so long and remember it as not a favorite, so I was surprised by how much I liked it.

  2. Liz Dexter January 10, 2022 / 12:59 pm

    How funny, do you think you mixed it up with another one?

    • whatmeread January 10, 2022 / 1:35 pm

      Well, I read them both in the 70’s, so that’s not impossible.

  3. historicalfictionisfiction January 11, 2022 / 6:55 am

    I find, now that I’m MUCH older than when I read Heyer the first times, that some of the novels have re-arranged themselves as favorites. “Tollgate” is one that’s come from somewhere lower down to a much higher place on my list of favorites. The story’s a little meatier than some others, and there are not so many character types reshuffled. Cap’n Jack is coupled in my mind with Major Hugh (The Unknown Ajax), probably because they are both military men, but the two stories are both pure pleasure in very different ways. OTH, “The Corinthian” and “Regency Buck” have fallen out of my favor, and I find that “Frederica” has become tiresome as weel (except for the brothers and the dog). Ah, maturity. . .

    • whatmeread January 11, 2022 / 10:31 am

      Interesting. I haven’t read The Corinthian in a while. I’ll have to read it again.

  4. Marg January 12, 2022 / 3:05 am

    I haven’t heard much about this one. Funny how a book can not work at one stage in our lives, but be perfect later!

    • whatmeread January 12, 2022 / 8:58 am

      I think I just misremembered it, or she has so many really good ones that this one just wasn’t one of my favorites.

  5. thecontentreader January 12, 2022 / 12:49 pm

    Good idea to re-read. We all probably read them differently today. They might give us some kind of nostalgia though.

    • whatmeread January 12, 2022 / 12:53 pm

      I just find them entertaining, no matter when I read them. There are about five or six authors whose books I periodically reread: Austen, Heyer, Stewart, the Brontës, Dickens, maybe some others I haven’t thought of. I haven’t been doing this as much since I started my blog, because you can only review a book so many times.

      • thecontentreader January 12, 2022 / 1:12 pm

        I seldom re-read books, but there are a few of my favourites I do re-read. Sometimes, I just look up certain parts that I like, and read them. Austen and Brontë are authors I can re-read, as well as Heyer and maybe Daphne du Maurier.

      • whatmeread January 12, 2022 / 1:48 pm

        Some of Daphne Du Maurier

  6. FictionFan January 15, 2022 / 2:16 am

    So glad you enjoyed it more than expected, since this is one of my favourites too!

  7. Susan Coventry January 18, 2022 / 7:55 am

    I’ll have to read this one! I love Heyer and haven’t seen this one yet.

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