Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger. Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger. Historical novel playing in the eighteenth century: story of the pauper adventurer, bastard son of an English lord, who rose to power and position among the rulers of Europe by his sword, his wits and his charm: a journey from the gutters of Venice to the boudoirs and pleasure palaces of France and England and to the American continent: intrigue, romance and adventure.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Lord Vanity , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 20, Reynold Levocz rated it it was amazing.
A classic by Shellabarger. It helps to know a little Italian to capture the true flavor of some phrases is the only criticism that I have. That being said, I total enjoyed the novel's adventurous and romantic flare. Shellabarger's research always gives us a dependable background rooted in scholarly exploration of the period, personalities and history. I've enjoyed following Richard Morandi as he struggles to make himself into a gentleman of fashion. In the end he realizes that what makes him happiest is being with his love, Marika.
Of course we can identify with his inward struggles as he plays the roles that circumstances and his wits allow him. He even becomes 18th Century intrigue, romance and adventure. He even becomes a successful leader in the battle for Montreal and the description of this battle surprised me. I don't care for war at all but found myself right there with those soldiers. What I love about Shellabarger are his dialogues. That's where his strength lies no matter whether you're reading a historical novel or a murder mystery.
You may find yourself teased by the subtleties moving around and under the words.
I did. Aug 24, Heidi rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites , historical , most-influential , own-hardback , written-review , books-for-sarah , heidi-s-office-medieval-shelves. This was my first book by Samuel Schellabarger, I came upon it by chance and, being a fan of historical fiction, read it. I found it to be a little old fashioned in style, but was soon swept up by the characters, all of whom were fabulous.
A poor young italian musician, living around the s, is hired to play at a high society party, and meets all the characters who will weave in and out of his life for the rest of the novel -- a lovely young italian girl, a blase french noblewoman, and an uns This was my first book by Samuel Schellabarger, I came upon it by chance and, being a fan of historical fiction, read it. A poor young italian musician, living around the s, is hired to play at a high society party, and meets all the characters who will weave in and out of his life for the rest of the novel -- a lovely young italian girl, a blase french noblewoman, and an unscrupulous italian adventurer.
The title comes from the main character's conflict between fortune and status, and love -- vanity being the quality that rules the society he lives in. The story was a little more stilted than some of the other novels I later read by Schellabarger, but as I said, the characters were so engaging and the themes so well drawn that I was very engaged and promptly read all of Shellabarger's other books. I think it is a shame this author been relatively forgotten.
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Aug 31, Jack Massa rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. In bildungsroman fashion, the story follows the adventures and moral education of it's young protagonist, the illegitimate son of an English Earl and French dancer, who starts out as a musician and actor in Venice and experiences various and extreme changes of fortune, adventure, and love.follow
Sophisticated, highly-cultured characters exchange witty, indirect dialogue sometimes lapsing into French or Italian to the m Excellent historical novel of Mid-Eigthteenth Century Europe and Colonial America. Sophisticated, highly-cultured characters exchange witty, indirect dialogue sometimes lapsing into French or Italian to the minor irritation of the mono-lingual reader. A glittering representation of the Rococo world painted by Boucher and Fragonard. Like all great historical fiction, the story exemplifies a theme that is emblematic of it's epoch: in this case, the disarray of morality and Religion, leaving the titular 'Lord Vanity' as the true governing force of the age.
View 1 comment. Apr 04, The Cute Little Brown-haired girl rated it it was amazing. This was written by my great uncle. A really wonderfully and smartly written historical fiction romance at the turn of the century, Europe. This is not "light reading before bed", this is for the serious reader who loves art, orchestra, romance, and everything to do with Italy and France in the late 's. I have three copies, all hard cover and first or second editions Dec 24, L. If you like endless descriptions of what people are wearing, where they are going and what they are doing for entertainment, then this book might be for you.
I was expecting a rollicking adventure with swashbuckling daring-do. I was sorely disappointed. Jun 01, Julie Davis rated it it was amazing. Rereading this for the fourth or fifth time. It is my least favorite of Shellabarger's four historical fiction novels, but even a least favorite is worthy of five stars from this wonderful author. Dec 20, Alisa rated it really liked it. Lord Vanity, published in , was last checked out in I bought it at least 10 years ago, and it's been sitting on my shelf, waiting patiently.
Lord Vanity starts out slow. It's , and we meet young Richard Morandi, an actor and sometimes instrumentalist. He is the bastard son of an English nobleman who does not recognize him. Richard is performing at an I suppose I'll eventually get around to reading all the novels I purchased for 25 cents each at the Central High School Library Sale. Richard is performing at an exclusive Venetian palace, and his eye is caught by a lovely young lady named Maritza.
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Maritza is from an aristocratic but poor family. Her plain clothes and simple style contrast sharply with the glamour that surrounds her. Richard, though, is much taken with her, but events conspire to keep him from spending much time with her. He is drawn into being the one professional actor in an amateur play performed by the aristocrats. In this situation he is drawn to Amelie des Landes, a profligate young countess. He also meets Tromba, a charlatan. Richard's performance in the play is brilliant, as he uses the play as a device to get even with an aristocrat who's made fun of him.
The threat of revenge is always near, but Richard is happily courting Maritza. The romance is progressing until Richard accidentally kills a man. This is the point when the novel becomes interesting. Richard is not executed for murder; instead, he is sentenced to life in the galleys as a slave. How he will escape this fate is unknown. In fact, galley life exhausts him so much it's difficult to think of a plan to escape.
A chance meeting leads to his freedom and a life of adventure.
The novel ranges from Venice to London to Quebec to Paris. Shellabarger carefully develops the themes of reality versus appearance. As an actor, Richard is used to playing a role. In his various adventures, Richard isn't really himself, but a man in costume. He is an excellent actor and learns his parts perfectly. Yet he always feels as though he wants to be in contact with his authentic self. The problem is, he's not sure what that is. All the world's a stage for him, and all the men and women merely players.
Will Richard's candle be snuffed out? Is he just a walking shadow? Is life nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Or is there more substance to the young man? It took me a bit to appreciate Shellabarger's prose, but once I settled into the book, I found it gently satirical and beautifully descriptive.