Review - The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Black MothAbout the Book - Jack Carstares, an Earl turned highwayman, and his enemy, the enigmatic Duke of Andover, engage in an intense rivalry over the beautiful Diana Beauleigh.

Seven years before the story opens, Carstares protected his brother by allowing himself to be disgraced for cheating at cards. His brother, suffering intense guilt, isn't aware that they played right into the hands of the Duke of Andover.

The disgraced Earl now roams the countryside until a confrontation with his rival thwarts the attempt to kidnap the lovely Diana. But now the Duke is more determined than ever to have Diana for his own, and the two men will meet at sword point before the Earl's name can be cleared and he can claim his fair lady.

My Thoughts - As regulars of this blog know, I love Heyer's books. She has a style of writing that just flows. The energy never dulls. The stories might not be perfect, but I can never quite fault Heyer's execution of them.

The Black Moth (368 p, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Isbn-1402219520) is Georgette Heyer's first novel, written when she was 17 years old to amuse her sick brother. I liked the story, but certainly did not love it. Heyer's immaturity as an author is obvious in the use of tired plot devices, a hesitant pace, scattered storylines etc. Diana, the heroine doesn't seem to have much beyond startling beauty to inspire such passionate feelings from such obviously different men. Jack didn't really have much to recommend him either, except brotherly devotion. In fact, surprisingly enough, I liked the villain better than the hero. Even Heyer seems to have felt so, for she brings the villain back in some of her later books.

Some of the other secondary characters/relationships are far more interesting than the protagonists. Such as the tumultuous relationship between Jack's brother and his by turns immature, loving, virulent and submissive wife; the spirited and playful give and take between Jack's best friend and his witty wife etc.

Overall, The Black Moth is a nice story, enjoyable in its own unseasoned, romantic way. Heyer's subsequent books are definitely far superior.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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