Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Black Moth (1921)

The Black Moth. Georgette Heyer. 1921/2009. Sourcebooks. 355 pages.

One of my goals for 2013 is to read through Georgette Heyer's romance novels chronologically. Her first romance, her first novel, is The Black Moth. I definitely enjoyed The Black Moth. I enjoyed the characters, the dialogue, the plot, the richness of the details.

The Black Moth is the story of two brothers. John Carstares (sometimes called Jack Carstares OR Anthony Ferndale, also Earl of Wyndam) took the blame when his younger brother, Richard, cheated at cards. The older brother left the country in disgrace, the younger brother took his place in the family and in society. He married and had a son. But is Richard happy knowing that his "happy" life is founded on a lie? Is he happy with his oh-so-beautiful wife, Lady Lavinia? He certainly doesn't like her family depending on him all the time to save them from debt and disgrace. (Why does her family like to spend so much money, to gamble, etc?! Why is the whole family so me-me-me?!) The Black Moth follows the personal lives of BOTH brothers.

John, meanwhile, has returned to England and has become a highwayman. He is extremely particular in who he robs, mind you. And though he might appear a villain, anyone who spends more than a few minutes in his company will think him a good gentleman. His true identity is uncovered by one of his closest friends (from the past), Sir Miles O'Hara; I love Miles and his wife, Molly. Carstares is given plenty of time to appear heroic in the novel. For he saves a young woman from true harm, from being kidnapped...he's wounded in the process. And as he's recuperating in her family's home, the two fall in love with one another. But that love isn't without complications, of course, for his true name would bring disgrace and perhaps ruin her reputation. Unless his name was cleared first...but he couldn't ask his brother after all these years....

I enjoyed reading about both brothers. Poor Richard has quite a wife!!! One can't help enjoying reading about Lady Lavinia. She's so dramatic and selfish and silly. Her scenes with her two brothers and her scenes with Harry Lovelace offer something certainly! And one of Lavinia's brothers is certainly a CHARACTER. His 'real' name, I suppose, is Tracy. But he, like our hero, likes to have plenty of names to match any and every situation. He is John's rival for the affections of Diana.

This one has drama, romance, and some action...

A scene between Lavinia and her brother, Tracy, (Duke of Andover)
She stamped angrily. 'Oh, where's the good in being flippant?'
'My dear Lavinia, where's the good in being anything else? The situation strikes me as rather amusing. To think of the worthy Richard so neatly overturning all my plans!'
'If it had not been for you, I might never have married him. Why did you throw them both in my way? Why did I ever set eyes on either?'
'It should have been a good match, my dear, and, if I remember rightly, no one was more alive to that fact than yourself.'
'Still,' he continued reflectively, 'I admit that for the smart lot we are, we do seem rather to have bungled the affair.' (63)
A scene between Lavinia and her husband, Richard...
'Richard, I was coming in search of you! Tracy has invited me to Andover for a week--he purposes to ask several people to stay, and there will be parties--and entertainment! You will let me go? Say yet, Dicky--say yes, quickly!'
Carstares bowed to his Grace, who stood watching them from the stairs. The bow was returned with exaggerated flourish. Carstares looked down at his wife.
'So soon, Lavinia?' he remonstrated, and indicated her mourning. She shook his hand off impatiently.
'Oh, Dicky, does it matter? What can it signify? I do not ask you to come--'
'No,' he said half-sadly, half-amusedly. 'I notice that, my dear.'
'No, no! I did not mean to be unkind--you must not think that! You don't think it, do you, Dick?'
'Oh, no,' he sighed.
'Good Dicky!' She patted his cheek coaxingly. 'Then you will allow me to go--ah, but yes, yes, you must listen! You know how dull I am, and how silly--'tis because I need change, and I want to go to Andover. I want to go!'
'Yes, dear, I know. But my father is not yet dead six  weeks and I cannot think it seemly--'
'Please, Dick, please! Please do not say no! Twill make me so unhappy! Oh you will not be so unkind? You will not forbid me to go!'
'I ask you not to, Lavinia. If you need a change, I will take you quietly to Bath, or where you will. Do not pain me by going to Andover just now.'
'Bath! Bath! What do I want with Bath at this time of the year? Oh, 'tis kind in you to offer, but I want to go to Andover and I want to see all the old friends again. And I want to get away from everything here--'tis all so gloomy--after--after my lord's death!'
'Dearest, of course you shall go away--but if only you would remember that you are in mourning--'
'But 'tis what I wish to forget! Oh, Dicky, don't don't, don't be unkind.'
'Very well, dear. If you must go--go.'
She clapped her hands joyfully.
'Oh thank you, Dicky! And you are not angry with me?'
'No, dear, of course not.' (66-7)
 Read The Black Moth
  • If you enjoy historical romances (this one is set in the Georgian period)
  • If you enjoy clean historical romance
  • If you're a fan of Georgette Heyer
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Colleen said...

I love Historical Romance novels in this time period. This sounds like one I'd enjoy reading. I'm adding it to my list of must read's.

Thanks for your reviews :)

Colleen said...

BTW...just wanted to let you know that this book is free at Amazon in the Kindle edition.

Federal Way Bankruptcy Attorney said...

Great review! I really enjoy the works of Georgette Heyer. I didn't know that The Black Moth was written when she was so young. I'll have to read it again now with that in mind.

samantha.1020 said...

I've been meaning to read more by Heyer for some time now. I'm definitely adding this one to my never-ending TBR list so thanks for the great review!!