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The Black Moth (Annotated & AUDIO BOOK Download)

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An earl's son turned highwayman... A spirited young society beauty who is kidnapped... A sinister duke, known as 'The Black Moth'... Set in the eighteenth century at Georgian England. Disgraced Jack Carstares, now rightful Earl of Wyncham, left England seven long years ago, sacrificing his honour for that of his eldest brother when he was accused of cheating at cards. But he An earl's son turned highwayman... A spirited young society beauty who is kidnapped... A sinister duke, known as 'The Black Moth'... Set in the eighteenth century at Georgian England. Disgraced Jack Carstares, now rightful Earl of Wyncham, left England seven long years ago, sacrificing his honour for that of his eldest brother when he was accused of cheating at cards. But he is determined not to claim his title and instead turns highwayman. Now he is back, roaming his beloved South Country in the disguise of a highwayman. Not long after his return, he encounters the Black Moth, his old adversary, the notorious Lord Tracy Belmanoir, Duke of Andover, just in time to dispute at the point of his sword the attempted abduction of dark-haired lovely Diana Beauleigh. Once more Jack's noble impulse to save the day landed him in trouble, but not before sending the villainous duke scurrying. Diana took her gallant rescuer in and nursed his wounds, and soon truer emotions grew between them. But Jack couldn't stay, for a lady and an outlaw would make a scandalous pair. And the libertine Duke was foiled once, but the society beauty was under siege. The Duke of Andover meant to have her--if not with her assent, then by force. But Diana was not about to surrender her virtue. She had already lost her heart to the handsome mysterious highwayman who rescued her from the Duke. Torn between his tarnished past and the hope for Diana's hand, Jack had one dangerous chance to reclaim his honor -- by defeating the Black Moth for good!


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An earl's son turned highwayman... A spirited young society beauty who is kidnapped... A sinister duke, known as 'The Black Moth'... Set in the eighteenth century at Georgian England. Disgraced Jack Carstares, now rightful Earl of Wyncham, left England seven long years ago, sacrificing his honour for that of his eldest brother when he was accused of cheating at cards. But he An earl's son turned highwayman... A spirited young society beauty who is kidnapped... A sinister duke, known as 'The Black Moth'... Set in the eighteenth century at Georgian England. Disgraced Jack Carstares, now rightful Earl of Wyncham, left England seven long years ago, sacrificing his honour for that of his eldest brother when he was accused of cheating at cards. But he is determined not to claim his title and instead turns highwayman. Now he is back, roaming his beloved South Country in the disguise of a highwayman. Not long after his return, he encounters the Black Moth, his old adversary, the notorious Lord Tracy Belmanoir, Duke of Andover, just in time to dispute at the point of his sword the attempted abduction of dark-haired lovely Diana Beauleigh. Once more Jack's noble impulse to save the day landed him in trouble, but not before sending the villainous duke scurrying. Diana took her gallant rescuer in and nursed his wounds, and soon truer emotions grew between them. But Jack couldn't stay, for a lady and an outlaw would make a scandalous pair. And the libertine Duke was foiled once, but the society beauty was under siege. The Duke of Andover meant to have her--if not with her assent, then by force. But Diana was not about to surrender her virtue. She had already lost her heart to the handsome mysterious highwayman who rescued her from the Duke. Torn between his tarnished past and the hope for Diana's hand, Jack had one dangerous chance to reclaim his honor -- by defeating the Black Moth for good!

30 review for The Black Moth (Annotated & AUDIO BOOK Download)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    The Black Moth was Georgette Heyer’s first novel, and it shows. It's fun, but very lightweight. It's got a HIGHLY melodramatic plot, centering around one Lord John Carstares (our hero, Jack) who's been accused of cheating at cards - the SHAME! especially since he only confessed to protect the real cheater, his spineless younger brother - and is now a highwayman (cheating at cards with your noble friends somehow being far more shameful than highway robbery), though he doesn't rob old men or women The Black Moth was Georgette Heyer’s first novel, and it shows. It's fun, but very lightweight. It's got a HIGHLY melodramatic plot, centering around one Lord John Carstares (our hero, Jack) who's been accused of cheating at cards - the SHAME! especially since he only confessed to protect the real cheater, his spineless younger brother - and is now a highwayman (cheating at cards with your noble friends somehow being far more shameful than highway robbery), though he doesn't rob old men or women who are on their own, and he gives most of his ill-gotten goods away to the poor. SO IT'S ALL GOOD. Jack is so unbearably self-sacrificing that it bugs, but otherwise he's an enjoyable main character. There's also a dastardly duke who's a master manipulator, a kidnapping or two, a couple of duels, grave injuries, thwarted love, and all kinds of fun and crazy stuff like that. Jack's younger brother Richard has a lovely wife who is the most spoiled rotten lady imaginable ... and her brother is the cold-hearted dastardly duke, so, trouble for the Carstares clan. The Duke is also the "black moth" of the title. Personally I don't find that a particularly compelling simile, but he's also called "Devil" by both friends and foes, and that, at least, is easy to believe. When the Duke and Jack fall for the same lady, the lovely Diana, trouble compounds, with interest. This is Heyer's very first book, published in 1921 when she was only 19 years old. So old, it's out of copyright and you can download a free copy on Gutenberg.org (or pay Amazon 99 cents if you prefer). Anyway, it shows its age and Heyer's youth and newbie author status. Despite the fairly fast pace and all of the action and adventure, Heyer's trademark witty dialogue is pretty much missing in action here, and is sadly missed. And the characters are pretty shallow, stock ones in general: the lovely and sweet heroine, the social butterfly, the wicked duke, his loyal friend who tries to encourage the good in him, and so on. But you can see, in embryo form, the skills that will make Heyer such a popular author later on. For a book written by a 17 year old to amuse her brother, it's an admirable achievement. I enjoyed it when I first read it several years ago ... and, I have to admit, on my second read as well, despite its limitations as a literary work, and despite the fact (or maybe because?) I had forgotten some of the plot twists. I swallowed it whole on this second read, reading it in one day and staying up late to finish it, even if I was rolling my eyes pretty hard more than a few times. And hey, for a freebie, it's worth a read, at least if you have any fondness for old-fashioned historical romances.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    Ahhhh, reading my sentimental favourite! This is the first of GH's novels I read in it's entirety. & wasn't I lucky starting with GH's first book, written when she was only seventeen. I still have my original copy, although the cover fell off on this reading! According to Jane Aiken Hodge, GH said she had two hero types The Mark I hero, who is “The brusque, savage sort with a foul temper” (Vidal from Devils Cub, Max from Faro's Daughter) The Mark II hero, who is “Suave, well-dressed, rich, a Ahhhh, reading my sentimental favourite! This is the first of GH's novels I read in it's entirety. & wasn't I lucky starting with GH's first book, written when she was only seventeen. I still have my original copy, although the cover fell off on this reading! According to Jane Aiken Hodge, GH said she had two hero types The Mark I hero, who is “The brusque, savage sort with a foul temper” (Vidal from Devils Cub, Max from Faro's Daughter) The Mark II hero, who is “Suave, well-dressed, rich, and a famous whip” (Robert Beaumaris from Arabella and Lord Alverstoke from Frederica.) But she had two more. 1/ the affable blonde giant (Hugo from The Unknown Ajax and Captain Jack Staples from The Unknown Ajax.) 2/ The sweet hero- Gilly from The Foundling, Phillip from Powder & Patch & the quixotic Jack Carstares from this book. & then there is Freddy Stanton from Cotillion who is impossible to categorise! I have to say I do have a fondness for the sweet heroes & I like it that nice guys don't always finish last. Diana is also a different heroine – I loved the description of her beauty. She isn't as resourceful as the usual Heyer heroine – more a traditional damsel in distress. But this book differs from most Heyer's & indeed from most romances. Jack & Diana are both absent from a good part of the book. The villain is the titular character (I think Devil Belmanoir would have been a better title) and it is also the story of Jack's brother Richard & his troubled marriage. Richard's weak character & passion for the lovely but spoilt Lavinia and her diabolical brother's pulling the strings are important plot points. Add GH's gift for creating engaging & memorable secondary characters and you have an engaging, fast paced romp. GH herself had a fondness for these characters and many of them are renamed & reworked in These Old Shades. & duh,it was only on this reading that I realised Andrew becomes Rupert in These Old Shades. If you have never read a Heyer start with this one. Lucky you if you can read them in the order written & trace this wonderful writer's development. Edit; After chatting with GR friend Andrea, I realise I should have said read in order, but skip the titles the formidable GH had suppressed other than maybe Footsteps in the Dark. GH hated those books for a reason. You can read it for free online at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/wome... September 2020. My Second Read Since being on Goodreads and a very necessary diversion in a world that has become scary and deadly I know a few people who have been rereading their Heyer romances in these troubled times. On to my review. I realise last time I was way too hard on Diana. (view spoiler)[ She fights Jack hard for both their happiness and uses strategy against the evil Devil Belmanoir (hide spoiler)] And I don't agree with reviewers who thought their were too many characters. I love GH's gift for making even minor characters come to life. However, Belmanoir's brother Bob could be dispensed with. The plot point he was needed for could have been handled another way & he is very similar to his elder brother in character. The ending - well it isn't GH's best work & I have the same problems I have to a similar ending in (view spoiler)[ The Convenient Marriage (hide spoiler)] and why was it such a terrible sin for (view spoiler)[Jack to have cheated at cards, but not so terrible when the cheat turned out to be Richard, who while tormented, left his elder brother living in poverty and disgrace for seven years! (hide spoiler)] Still a remarkable book for a seventeen year old. I'll make a small correction to my previous review. Footsteps in the Dark isn't one of the titles GH had suppressed. It was just reprinted less often because, well, it isn't that good.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I was very excited to find this book -a Georgette Heyer Regency romance which I had never read before! Then I discovered it was also her debut novel which made it doubly interesting. I regard this author's books as comfort reading. I can rely on her to provide an enjoyable story and entertaining characters and she did this even in her very first published book. It is interesting to note that she wrote The Black Moth when she was only seventeen but she already had the style and format she would us I was very excited to find this book -a Georgette Heyer Regency romance which I had never read before! Then I discovered it was also her debut novel which made it doubly interesting. I regard this author's books as comfort reading. I can rely on her to provide an enjoyable story and entertaining characters and she did this even in her very first published book. It is interesting to note that she wrote The Black Moth when she was only seventeen but she already had the style and format she would use in all her later romances. So, lucky me! I got to spend a very happy Sunday afternoon reading a new (to me) Georgette Heyer book. Wonderful!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Choko

    I love this author, I am ADDICTED to this genre, and am the biggest fan of the language used in the melodramas of the 18th and 19th century, so well done here. But I barely got through this book... I disliked it tremendously! Than, why am I giving it 2 stars? One is for the stylistics of the prose, and one is for giving her kudos for a first novel. But there was much wrong with this entry, I am very sad to say. I will only point to the most glaring one - every character was as flat and shallow as I love this author, I am ADDICTED to this genre, and am the biggest fan of the language used in the melodramas of the 18th and 19th century, so well done here. But I barely got through this book... I disliked it tremendously! Than, why am I giving it 2 stars? One is for the stylistics of the prose, and one is for giving her kudos for a first novel. But there was much wrong with this entry, I am very sad to say. I will only point to the most glaring one - every character was as flat and shallow as they come! And I usually deal well with this, since honestly, I do not put very great expectations on my romance novels. The story and melodrama, even as formulaic as they were, could have been done so much better.... But, it was her first novel and she was only a teenager when she wrote it. For such, I think she did great:)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    This is the first GH novel I ever read many moons ago and started me on my life long love affair with her books. It is apparent, at times, that this is an early novel but I thought it was done really well. Jack, the hero is quite likeable but slightly irritating at times. Part of the story I found kinda daft. There was this long time 'deed' that was causing all the problems, yet at the end it was all solved very easily and I have to say not to my satisfaction. Lady Lavinia has to be one of THE mo This is the first GH novel I ever read many moons ago and started me on my life long love affair with her books. It is apparent, at times, that this is an early novel but I thought it was done really well. Jack, the hero is quite likeable but slightly irritating at times. Part of the story I found kinda daft. There was this long time 'deed' that was causing all the problems, yet at the end it was all solved very easily and I have to say not to my satisfaction. Lady Lavinia has to be one of THE most annoying characters ever. I thought Richard was weak and ineffectual and he couldn't handle his wife at all. Having said all that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once you got into the story, (as I found it quite slow to start), you'll fly through it and it holds your interest to the end. On this second reading with the GR group I find my feelings about it more or less the same. Richard irritated me a bit more this time. He was just so wet.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    They're all idiots. Okay, here's the twist and my conundrum in rating this book. A good part of this just reads as melodramatic Georgian period llama drama. Overblown. On the other hand, there are parts of this where the absurdity of it is evident--it's mocking the behavior in a Much Ado About Nothing kinda way. So, reader mood when approaching this really affects how it is received. Oddly enough, I went back and forth between the two and it seemed to drag on a bit in places; therefore, I'm not e They're all idiots. Okay, here's the twist and my conundrum in rating this book. A good part of this just reads as melodramatic Georgian period llama drama. Overblown. On the other hand, there are parts of this where the absurdity of it is evident--it's mocking the behavior in a Much Ado About Nothing kinda way. So, reader mood when approaching this really affects how it is received. Oddly enough, I went back and forth between the two and it seemed to drag on a bit in places; therefore, I'm not entirely displeased, but it's not a bell ringer either. Parts of it were 2 stars, a few sparkling moments of humor really shining to 4 stars, but plodding along just under 3 stars for most of it. It really isn't 2 stars, but my rating is a generous farce-appreciating one, even if I didn't for large portions of it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    So, Georgette Heyer's brother was sick, so she cheered him up by . . . writing this complex swashbuckling romance . . . as a teenager . . . and then beginning her prolific career. What an icon! I love her, I love her books. This one was great, not as frothy as some of her later romances, but actually more romantic in its way. The whole premise of it hangs on a rather flimsy hook . . . which several of the characters acknowledge! It's quite good, and I am very pleased with my sudden impulse to re So, Georgette Heyer's brother was sick, so she cheered him up by . . . writing this complex swashbuckling romance . . . as a teenager . . . and then beginning her prolific career. What an icon! I love her, I love her books. This one was great, not as frothy as some of her later romances, but actually more romantic in its way. The whole premise of it hangs on a rather flimsy hook . . . which several of the characters acknowledge! It's quite good, and I am very pleased with my sudden impulse to read/listen to her entire oeuvre.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    This is Georgette Heyer's first pancake. She wrote it as a teen. It's a cliche later silver fork novel with an adventure overlay, showing heavy influence of Orczy and Jeffrey Farnol in particular--but she seems to have discovered that she really liked writing the rakish villain. Because, though this one has the proper ending, the villain is the best character, and she knows it . . . so she rewrote it with the very same sort of villain, but makes him the hero, in These Old Shades. She had also di This is Georgette Heyer's first pancake. She wrote it as a teen. It's a cliche later silver fork novel with an adventure overlay, showing heavy influence of Orczy and Jeffrey Farnol in particular--but she seems to have discovered that she really liked writing the rakish villain. Because, though this one has the proper ending, the villain is the best character, and she knows it . . . so she rewrote it with the very same sort of villain, but makes him the hero, in These Old Shades. She had also discovered humor and wit by then. This one is really only worth reading as a curiosity, imo.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    5 STARS “Humble myself? 'Fore Gad, you must be mad!" "Belike I am; but I tell you Tracy, that if your passion is love, 'tis a strange one that puts yourself first. I would not give a snap of a finger for it! You want this girl, not for her happiness, but for your own pleasure. That is not the love I once told you would save you from yourself. When it comes, you will count yourself as naught; you will realise your own insignificance, and above all, be ready to make any sacrifice for her sake. Ye 5 STARS “Humble myself? 'Fore Gad, you must be mad!" "Belike I am; but I tell you Tracy, that if your passion is love, 'tis a strange one that puts yourself first. I would not give a snap of a finger for it! You want this girl, not for her happiness, but for your own pleasure. That is not the love I once told you would save you from yourself. When it comes, you will count yourself as naught; you will realise your own insignificance, and above all, be ready to make any sacrifice for her sake. Yes, even to the point of losing her!” This was apparently the story that launched Georgette Heyer's career as a writer. Written in 1921, it was her debut novel, published when she was only 19 years old. It was quite successful at the time. It was based on a story she wrote for her brother, that she was encouraged by her father to publish. This was the original cover to the book. The story is set in the 1750's. Lord Jack Carstares, an English nobleman, flees the country following a cheating scandal, where he took the blame for his younger brother. Six years later he returns to England disguised as common highwayman. Little did he know that his current profession would put him in the way of his old friends, his family, and his future love. And in order to claim his rightful place, he must bring down his own brother and his family name. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, like I have enjoyed all of Ms. Heyer's later works. I am addicted to her writing. And I'm sad to know that I will eventually have read them all. I have nothing but high praise to offer. And I cannot fail to mention, that I listened to this title on audio. And the reader, Julian Rhind-Tutt did an absolutely exceptional job on the narration. I was completely captivated by his voice while I was listening to this. Especially his depiction of the duke of Andover. Dear Lord, he made my knees weak. Fabulous!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Oh novel, how do I object to thee? Let me count the ways... 1. The title is a phrase that refers to the villian that is mentioned ONLY ONCE over the course of the novel. And it has something to do with the way he dresses. Really, guys? Can't we come up with something more, you know, related to the story? 2. The villian is a jerk who tries to kidnap and ravish our poor heroine twice... and receives absolutely no punishment at the end, unless you count the fact that the hero gets the girl and not hi Oh novel, how do I object to thee? Let me count the ways... 1. The title is a phrase that refers to the villian that is mentioned ONLY ONCE over the course of the novel. And it has something to do with the way he dresses. Really, guys? Can't we come up with something more, you know, related to the story? 2. The villian is a jerk who tries to kidnap and ravish our poor heroine twice... and receives absolutely no punishment at the end, unless you count the fact that the hero gets the girl and not him. Everyone just stands around in his house and shakes their heads at him, but there are no repercussions, legal or social. Seriously?? 3. Our hero lets his slimy little weakling of a brother foist the blame of a crooked card game onto his shoulders... and justs accepts it, flees the country for a while, and then becomes a highwayman. *sigh* Protecting your siblings is all well and good, but this is taking nobility to a ridiculous degree. Not impressive. 4. The slimy little weakling of a brother is married to perhaps the most annoying woman ever. And he's totally in love with her and makes excuses for her terrible behavior and just lets her get away with it. 5. Our heroine is... unmemorable. I'm sure there was some reason that everyone wanted her, but I certainly can't remember what it was.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I love Heyer but not this! I enjoyed the historical details, the fashion, etc. I think it's impressive that she wrote this at such a tender age. It was on target for 3 stars but I found the second half really quite tedious.. I love Heyer but not this! I enjoyed the historical details, the fashion, etc. I think it's impressive that she wrote this at such a tender age. It was on target for 3 stars but I found the second half really quite tedious..

  12. 5 out of 5

    Natalie "Curling up with a Coffee and a Kindle" Rampling

    Firstly, my sister is a HUGE fan of Georgette Heyer, and she was intrigued to see how I would like her work. She did tell me she wasn't sure I would like it, seeing as they 'are written in the style of the time' and I find it a challenge to read this style sometimes. I have to really concentrate (which irks me as I want to relax when reading) and it does take me time to adjust to the prose. So, I went into this book tentatively. The writing is wonderful, made even more special by the fact it was Firstly, my sister is a HUGE fan of Georgette Heyer, and she was intrigued to see how I would like her work. She did tell me she wasn't sure I would like it, seeing as they 'are written in the style of the time' and I find it a challenge to read this style sometimes. I have to really concentrate (which irks me as I want to relax when reading) and it does take me time to adjust to the prose. So, I went into this book tentatively. The writing is wonderful, made even more special by the fact it was a DEBUT, written when Heyer was just 17. The plot is smooth and interesting, although I wouldn't use the word gripping. The characters are also interesting to a degree, and not necessarily likeable for the entire book. A mixed bag for me, but I am intrigued and want to try Heyer's other books. I also have an audiobook of Venetia, due to be published on the same day as The Black Moth, so I look forward to this one!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    9/2020 reread - 3.5 stars, down from 4; still fun, but listened to the audiobook this time, and the character of Lavinia, as acted by the narrator, was like nails on a chalkboard! Still an incredible accomplishment for 17-year-old Georgette Heyer’s first novel. 2016 - What a grand adventure! This was my first time reading this, Heyer's first novel, amazingly written at the tender age of 17; I read most of the book during a loooong car trip and it kept me turning the pages. It is melodramatic and 9/2020 reread - 3.5 stars, down from 4; still fun, but listened to the audiobook this time, and the character of Lavinia, as acted by the narrator, was like nails on a chalkboard! Still an incredible accomplishment for 17-year-old Georgette Heyer’s first novel. 2016 - What a grand adventure! This was my first time reading this, Heyer's first novel, amazingly written at the tender age of 17; I read most of the book during a loooong car trip and it kept me turning the pages. It is melodramatic and cheesy in parts, with characters being rather one-dimensionally good or bad, but it was just the ticket for my mood and circumstance and I enjoyed it very much! Fun, fast-paced, romantic and witty, with some wonderful characters - I think Jack Carstares may be one of my favorite Heyer heroes. He is a delightful combination of dashing, kick-ass swordsman - skills he was forced to hone to survive while exiled in Europe, alone and friendless, after taking the blame for his younger brother's weakness - and a warm, sweet, chivalrous nature that inspires love and devotion in all who meet him. Lovely, interesting characters abound, like the wicked Duke; charming, honorable Miles, Jack's best friend; guilt-ridden Richard, the younger brother who mourns for the loss of his beloved older brother; exhausting Lavinia, Richard's wife; the delightful, strong Diana and her loving aunt, loyal servant Jim, and so many others. An enjoyable ride, recommended to fans of humor, romance and adventure.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    "He drew Diana's attention from the first moment that he entered the Pump Room—a black moth amongst the gaily-hued butterflies." edited 4/23/18 to add info about swearing edited 4/24/18 to change my TBR plan The Black Moth (1921, Heinmann) by Georgette Heyer, is a standalone adventure with a bit of romance set around 1751, during the Georgian period. I originally started reading Heyer when I ran out of Jane Austen books, and was trying to find a suitable replacement. Rating: 4 stars (Is that sacr "He drew Diana's attention from the first moment that he entered the Pump Room—a black moth amongst the gaily-hued butterflies." edited 4/23/18 to add info about swearing edited 4/24/18 to change my TBR plan The Black Moth (1921, Heinmann) by Georgette Heyer, is a standalone adventure with a bit of romance set around 1751, during the Georgian period. I originally started reading Heyer when I ran out of Jane Austen books, and was trying to find a suitable replacement. Rating: 4 stars (Is that sacreligious?) Narration: 4 1/2 stars (by Julian Rhind-Tutt) The plot: This is a very entertaining story, but I think the prologue could have been less confusing. I want to explain one thing right now to prevent confusion to the reader! I hope that it isn't a spoiler, but really, the beginning bugged me until I figured out that tidbit. I would have actually appreciated knowing the following spoiler-tagged information ahead of time. (view spoiler)["Hugh Tracy Clare Belmanoir, Duke of Andover" is the villain of the story. The prologue consists of a letter from the duke to his friend, who doesn't show up until much later in the story in a minor role. Belmanoir is the titular black moth. (hide spoiler)] The heroine: Diana Beauleigh, "not more than nineteen or twenty," is a kind young lady that the reader doesn't see much of. The hero: Sir Anthony Ferndale, who is really John Carstares, 30, is now the Earl of Wyncham. Carstares left home years ago after angering his father, and has been living a solitary life - with only a valet - as a gambler in Europe, and now as a highwayman in England! Don't worry, though. He is a likable hero. Christian elements:I wasn't thrilled with the following quotes: "What! Is she then religieuse?" "I cannot but think that Hester has altered sadly since last I saw her. She is always talking of sermons and good works!" Is it clean/chaste? Yes! All of Heyer's books are. There is some swearing. The D word and God's name is used in a variety of ways, including OMG. Some instances of God's name, such as "Thank God!" don't seem to be swears, but there are definitely some that are. What I liked: *I feel smart every time I read one of Heyer's books and become acclimated to the language. :-D *Heyer takes what seems to be an impossible dilemma and finds a solution at the end of the story. *I loved the adventure portion of the story. I didn't even mind the lack of romance - and that it took a backseat. What I didn’t like: *Instalove, as far as I could see. If there was anything else to explain the fondness the hero and heroine develop for each other, it occurs off-screen. *The confusing prologue. *Both the villain and the hero have pseudonyms, various ways of addressing them, as well as nicknames! It will be clear, but pay close attention! I think Heyer could have toned down the variations on the . *At least one person wore patches on the face, after the Georgian fashion. Even though it's historically authentic, this always kicks me out of Heyer's Georgian books. However, when I looked up face patches, I found that my own visualization of them was grossly exaggerated. They're quite small, often made of black silk, and often look like a beauty mark - sometimes stars, etc. All the pictures I could find showed only one Marilyn Monroe-esque patch. Not at all the stamp-sized square things I was picturing. Also of note: men did this also, though I didn't find any images of men wearing patches. I also found the use of whitening makeup and the practice of sniffing snuff distracting. Thankfully, these were not very prevalent in the book, but they were present. Link to a short article with an explanation of the purposes of beauty patches - and a couple of pictures Audiobook: The audiobook was quite good. However, I did not like the voice of Lavinia. I suppose perhaps the reader/listener is not supposed to. (See the quote below.) "Her voice was rather high-pitched and childish, and she had a curious way of ending each sentence with an upward lilt and a long drawn-out accent, very fascinating to listen to." *********** The bottom line: This is an adventuresome Georgian romance. I recommend this book to fans of Jane Austen looking to branch out, as well as to fans of historical fiction. I look forward to reading more by Georgette Heyer. Since I started with her first book, I think I'll continue with her second, Powder and Patch, originally titled The Transformation of Philip Jettan.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Bok

    Jack Carstares, the disgraced Earl of Wyncham, has been Robin-Hooding about the English countryside, robbing coaches and giving away as much of the money as he can. It is the 1750s and he has been on the lam for seven years, ever since his pusillanimous brother Richard cheated at cards and allowed Jack to be blamed for it. Jack knocked around Europe for a while, making money off the dice box and picking up some mad skills at swordsmanship, but homesickness has brought him back to England and the Jack Carstares, the disgraced Earl of Wyncham, has been Robin-Hooding about the English countryside, robbing coaches and giving away as much of the money as he can. It is the 1750s and he has been on the lam for seven years, ever since his pusillanimous brother Richard cheated at cards and allowed Jack to be blamed for it. Jack knocked around Europe for a while, making money off the dice box and picking up some mad skills at swordsmanship, but homesickness has brought him back to England and the highwayman gig. One day he happens upon an abduction in progress, whips out his sword, and fights the abductor for the honor of the lady. The abductor turns out to be none other than the Duke of Andover, a.k.a. Devil Belmanoir, a.k.a. the Black Moth of the title, a.k.a. his brother Richard's brother-in-law. Awkward! Such is the preposterous first part of this melodramatic tale, and it continues to strain credulity throughout. Georgette Heyer was only seventeen when she penned this, and it's certainly a better effort than I could have managed at that age, but that's damning with the faintest of praise. The hero has his charming aspects, though we're told about them more than we see them for ourselves, and the heroine rises a bit above ingenue status toward the end. But most of the remaining characters are pretty annoying, and it really is a fairly juvenile fantasy. Heyer herself rethought the whole affair when she rewrote it as These Old Shades, with changed names and circumstances and the villain turned into an antihero. Unless you're a Heyer completist, there are better books than this one to try.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mela

    Through the whole book, I have felt wonderful pure joy. My heart, my soul, my mind felt like they got a reward for hard work, a comforting break from reality. On one hand, it is astonishing that it was Heyer's first novel. On the other hand, if you know her other books, you can easily see the first versions of her most beloved types of characters she used in other stories. Let's see: a chivalry man with uncompromised values (Jack), an arrogant (yet charming) rake who was changed by love (Tracy), Through the whole book, I have felt wonderful pure joy. My heart, my soul, my mind felt like they got a reward for hard work, a comforting break from reality. On one hand, it is astonishing that it was Heyer's first novel. On the other hand, if you know her other books, you can easily see the first versions of her most beloved types of characters she used in other stories. Let's see: a chivalry man with uncompromised values (Jack), an arrogant (yet charming) rake who was changed by love (Tracy), a man who fell in love with a spoilt spendthrift (Richard), a friend who always believes in you (Miles), a faithful servant (Jim), and opposite female personalities (Lavinia - Molly). And of course, it so obvious that Tracy was a precursor of Justin (These Old Shades). Each of the characters was perfectly created, each sentence was like a lick of favourite icecream. I could praise it for a long time. To me, this one by GH was definitely the book about men. We got here a few personalities (see above) and meeting them, seeing their actions and (for some of them) changes was (I must say it again) simply marvelous. Yes, there was a lovely romance, but although Diana was a trigger of the most important actions, in a way, there was little of the romance. But it didn't matter at all. Because, as I wrote, the novel was about men. Moreover, we had here three stories, that could be treated as the main plot: the story about the brothers, Tracy's transformation (he was the title Black Moth), Richard's marriage. The romance I would call the fourth thread. *** My review after first reading: *** This is one of the best works of Heyer, in my opinion. It isn't a typical romance, a love story or I should write stories, is one of the pieces of this book, not necessary the most important. A great comedy with many characters. Each one could be a leading figure. Great dialogues, funny situations. There isn't a boring descriptions. The whole makes complete masterpiece of the genre, although I don't now how to call this genre. My favorite quote: "I do not like your name, sir,” she answered. “There was no thought of pleasing you when I was christened.” he quoted lazily.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aslaug Gørbitz

    My rating system: *Hate it. **Nothing there to like. ***Not a favorite, but readable and others might like it and usually do. ****I really like it, but it is not to be confused with a true genius. *****True Genius. Unlike other Georgette Heyer fans, this is one of my favorite novels. I first read it many years ago when I was 13 years old. I recently re-read it and found that I liked it just as much now. The first chapter is hard to read as it brandies about so many names, I had to read it twice. I rem My rating system: *Hate it. **Nothing there to like. ***Not a favorite, but readable and others might like it and usually do. ****I really like it, but it is not to be confused with a true genius. *****True Genius. Unlike other Georgette Heyer fans, this is one of my favorite novels. I first read it many years ago when I was 13 years old. I recently re-read it and found that I liked it just as much now. The first chapter is hard to read as it brandies about so many names, I had to read it twice. I remember I had to read it twice years ago as well, just to sort out who is who. But after you get the characters straight, this is a wonderful book. I totally fell in love with this hero, and yes he is a genuine hero, not just the main male character. The hero is an honorable man, thief yes, yet honorable nonetheless. His love for his brother, and the sacrifice he makes for him is something I have witnessed firsthand between brothers in my own family, so I could totally relate. Sir Anthony Ferndale is a great name for the hero, even if it is not his real name; personally I prefer it to his own name. He is witty and humorous in his remarks and actions, even if he is a little too free with his kisses for my taste; but that makes sense so it must be forgiven him. The main female character is not a heroine in the strictest sense of the word, but she is true to the time and era of the story, and therefore I like her better than if she was a "heroine" in her own right. The worst that can be said about her is that she is very naïve, but then she is also quite young. I love how Heyer stays true to the era with the language and descriptions. It feels so much more authentic and you truly feel transported to that time and place. I love that it has nothing modern about it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    3.5 What a lovely story! It made me smile and laugh, then it made me sad, annoyed, frustrated. I wanted to strangle a couple of characters too and hug and kiss others. At one point it got a bit slow, but it didn't mess up the story. Don't expect to spend a lot of time with the protagonists, especially Diana. She is lovely, though. Jack Carstares appears a bit more, but mostly you follow around his weak younger brother, his infuriatingly selfish and stupid wife, her siblings and a couple of other c 3.5 What a lovely story! It made me smile and laugh, then it made me sad, annoyed, frustrated. I wanted to strangle a couple of characters too and hug and kiss others. At one point it got a bit slow, but it didn't mess up the story. Don't expect to spend a lot of time with the protagonists, especially Diana. She is lovely, though. Jack Carstares appears a bit more, but mostly you follow around his weak younger brother, his infuriatingly selfish and stupid wife, her siblings and a couple of other characters. Speaking of those, I loved Jack's friend O'Hara. I started this story hating some characters only to be forced to feel sorry for them. The villain is properly villainous and the way the story ends is pretty neat.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Just amazing. Georgette Heyer wrote this when she was only fifteen years old! How crazy is that?!? Mind. Blown. The story is an action/adventure with a bit of romance set in the mid-1700s. It's populated by a LOT of diverse characters. Lord John/Jack Carstares, the hero, is a disgraced nobleman, but he's actually shielding his brother Richard, who was the one cheating at cards in a gentleman's game. Their father, the Earl of Wyncham, cast Jack off as a result. Jack has been in self-imposed exile Just amazing. Georgette Heyer wrote this when she was only fifteen years old! How crazy is that?!? Mind. Blown. The story is an action/adventure with a bit of romance set in the mid-1700s. It's populated by a LOT of diverse characters. Lord John/Jack Carstares, the hero, is a disgraced nobleman, but he's actually shielding his brother Richard, who was the one cheating at cards in a gentleman's game. Their father, the Earl of Wyncham, cast Jack off as a result. Jack has been in self-imposed exile for the six years since then, living in Italy, France, and finally returning to England. He pretends to be a foppish gentleman, Sir Anthony Ferndale, while making his living as a gambler and as a highwayman. His valet/servant, Jim Salter, is the perfect sidekick. Even Jack's horse (Jenny) is given a distinct personality. The "black moth" is Tracy Belmanoir, a.k.a. His Grace, the Duke of Andover, a.k.a. the Devil. He may be the main antagonist, but his entire family is decidedly unlikeable. That's especially true of his bipolar, overdramatic sister Lavinia, who is married to Jack's brother Richard. Richard (inexplicably) adores Lavinia even though she's childish and irrational. Her three brothers - Tracy, Robert and Andrew - are always coming to Richard for money to pay their gambling debts. Poor Richard is miserable. He struggles with massive guilt over allowing his brother to be unjustly shunned. The Earl recently died, and Richard wishes Jack would come back to claim his title and properties. Miles O'Hara was Jack's best friend before he disappeared, and the two reunite under ironic circumstances involving two unloaded pistols. Molly, Miles's wife, is probably my favorite character even though she isn't one of the major players here. Diana Beauleigh, a somewhat unconventional heroine, doesn't enter the book until relatively late, but it's her storyline that drives most of the action to bring the various characters together. Tracy wants to bed her and, when she leaves Bath to get away from him, he decides to abduct her. Jack happens upon the scene, and the first swordfight ensues. There are plenty of other characters who are less significant. As I've noticed in all Heyer novels, even those in small roles are brought to life with their tics and distinguishing features. There are so many fun moving parts to this story. Perhaps it's a bit unfocused and the resolution of the plot and various subplots are more than a little unbelievable - but, I say again, it was written by a FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD!! Equally impressive is that all those moving parts do manage to converge near the end. I just loved this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a thoroughly enjoyable Heyer read worthy of four and a half stars!! The Duke of Andover, otherwise known as The Black Moth, is the wicked villain and it is his shenanigans that drives the plot of this story. He is the most dastardly Heyer villain I have encountered thus far. The swoony hero, Lord John Carstares, practically walks on water. He is a devoted brother and is selfless enough to fall on his own sword in order to save his brother's reputation. Richard Carstares, gets caught che This was a thoroughly enjoyable Heyer read worthy of four and a half stars!! The Duke of Andover, otherwise known as The Black Moth, is the wicked villain and it is his shenanigans that drives the plot of this story. He is the most dastardly Heyer villain I have encountered thus far. The swoony hero, Lord John Carstares, practically walks on water. He is a devoted brother and is selfless enough to fall on his own sword in order to save his brother's reputation. Richard Carstares, gets caught cheating at cards, allows his older brother John to take the blame, but ultimately becomes miserable in his circumstances. John is forced to flee the country for a few years before the brothers are reunited. I would like to mention here that I absolutely adore, Jenny, John's mare. I have noticed that when Heyer introduces an animal into her stories, they are loveable and unique to say the least! Jenny is no exception and has nuzzled her way into my heart!! Now, something about the women. Richard's wife, Lavinia, is really awful and spoiled. She actually made me cringe with her tantrums and nonsense. But, she added a splash of color to the story and balanced out the good-hearted heroine, Diana Beauleigh. Diana is beautiful and amiable, just the girl for John really, but she is not quite as spunky as some of Heyer's later creations. Still, I have to give Diana credit for ignoring propriety and proposing to John. There is a whole buffet of secondary characters to enjoy, many of them behaving as if they've escaped their nanny. There is plenty of mischief, robberies, and kidnappings gone awry that I dare you to read this book and not smile. I have no wish to give too much away, so I will stop here. I highly recommend this very amusing book!!! (Besides, I want to stop typing and start reading These Old Shades!!)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kitty (I solemnly swear that I am up to no good)

    This book is hard to review! On one hand, I want to lay into it and point out all the obvious flaws, but on the other hand I am reminded that this was Heyer's first novel at a very young age...so I'm going to argue both points! First hand: This book is rambling and ridiculous, the characters are all lords and ladies...or more like caricatures of lords and ladies, over exaggerated, unconvincing and a little embarrassing. There was no clear cut drive for the novel, it swapped between plots in a way This book is hard to review! On one hand, I want to lay into it and point out all the obvious flaws, but on the other hand I am reminded that this was Heyer's first novel at a very young age...so I'm going to argue both points! First hand: This book is rambling and ridiculous, the characters are all lords and ladies...or more like caricatures of lords and ladies, over exaggerated, unconvincing and a little embarrassing. There was no clear cut drive for the novel, it swapped between plots in a way that was too complex for Heyer's skills at that time. Our Hero kept on passing out, and our heroine was boring. There was no retribution for the 'Black Moth's' attempted rape...he should have been hanged and scandal be damned. What a bunch of idiots. Second hand: This was her first book and she wrote it to amuse her brother on his sick bed, and this book is with out a doubt amusing! Very swashbuckling, with some fun, trashy romance. She must have gone to great lengths to find research all the regency stuff and it is a massive project to undertake just to cheer your brother up! I read it the whole way through and generally found it quite fun.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    For a teen girl's first effort at writing, The Black Moth is something special. And, it shows the potential of what comes after in her sparkling Regency and Georgian era romantic comedies. The Black Moth introduces more than one main protagonist and tells more than one story. The first time I read this, years ago, I remember being caught up in the wild and colorful Jack and vivacious Diana's story and wishing the story would leave off on Richard and Lavinia or even Tracy to come back to them. But For a teen girl's first effort at writing, The Black Moth is something special. And, it shows the potential of what comes after in her sparkling Regency and Georgian era romantic comedies. The Black Moth introduces more than one main protagonist and tells more than one story. The first time I read this, years ago, I remember being caught up in the wild and colorful Jack and vivacious Diana's story and wishing the story would leave off on Richard and Lavinia or even Tracy to come back to them. But, this time around, I am embarrassed to admit that I found that pair dull and was impatient to see what was going on with the guilt-ridden, staid Richard and the flamboyant, spoiled and irrepressible Lavinia. Tracy stole the show every time that bored, brooding, and irreverent duke drawled his witticisms and plotted his moves. The plot has its moments when it is obvious that it was her first book, but I loved seeing the emerging forms that would people later books as full-fledged richer characters. For this return to the story, I chose to listen to the Blackstone Audio edition with Gabrielle de Cuir as narrator. I have mixed feelings about this book on audio. Gabrielle de Cuir was fabulous as narrator and I loved the way she voiced all the characters distinctly. But, the whining and pouting... ugh, I was hard put upon with all the women except Di's aunt being such whiners and it was most obvious in audio. Di, Lavy, and O'Hara's wife all employed this tact to wheedle the men and it happened often. I probably noticed this phenomena in my first reading, but I couldn't miss it this time. So, the narration work was good, but I think I'll probably be avoiding this particular book on audio in future. In summary, The Black Moth was vivacious and entertaining. Those who enjoy light repartee, Georgian era romance, and colorful characterizations should pick it up.

  23. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This book reads very much like a first novel and one that would appeal to teens with lots of melodrama, dashing heroes, swordfights and a beautiful heroine. There are many spots were the writing doesn't flow very well and the characters are all pretty much cardboard. There's noble Jack, wicked Tracy, spoiled and selfish Lavinia, intelligent and kind Diana, etc. These character archetypes would be developed into flesh and blood people in later novels but in this first work, Miss Heyer had not yet This book reads very much like a first novel and one that would appeal to teens with lots of melodrama, dashing heroes, swordfights and a beautiful heroine. There are many spots were the writing doesn't flow very well and the characters are all pretty much cardboard. There's noble Jack, wicked Tracy, spoiled and selfish Lavinia, intelligent and kind Diana, etc. These character archetypes would be developed into flesh and blood people in later novels but in this first work, Miss Heyer had not yet developed her ability to create real people the reader can care about. My favorite characters are Sir and Lady Miles. They're the most well-drawn characters in the novel and seem like people I would actually like to know. The plot is a bit ridiculous and unbelievable and a bit complicated. There are many characters to keep track of and I had to keep turning the page back to find out who was speaking or what was happening. There's lots of sweeping melodrama and adventure but not much romance. We're told that Jack and Diana fall in love but the actual falling in love is glossed over, perhaps because Miss Heyer had not yet been in love or perhaps because she was writing for her kid brother. The historical details are incredibly impressive and fans of historic costuming will die at the descriptions of powder, patch, hoops, wigs and other styles of the mid-18th century. I would recommend this book to those who love an old-fashioned high drama adventure story or to those fans of Miss Heyer who wish to see how her style evolved. It's not a bad effort for a seventeen year old's first novel. reread October 2020 3.25 stars I enjoyed this book much more the second time around. The writing is very sophisticated for a 19-year-old first-time published author. The story, however, is right out of a teenager's romantic imagination. The story is slow to start but then we finally meet Jack and I got caught up in his adventures. I still wish the falling in love had been a bit more developed. It's pretty silly as is. The story slows down again and then picks up in the last few chapters. I stayed up late to see how it all turned out. There's an epilogue, thank goodness, that provides the final happy ending. The story is pretty dated. It works for the time period except for the attempt at period language: an' for and, "forsooth", "tar an' 'ounds", that got on my nerves. I strongly object to the villain, Tracy "Devil" Bellmanoir, the Duke of Andover. He is dastardly and gets away with despicable behavior! (view spoiler)[I don't believe it was acceptable to rape innocent young ladies even in the Georgian period. It sounds like the other maidens he ruined may have been of a lower social class, which was acceptable, but it's hard to tell. He dashes off to France for a time and then comes back as if nothing had happened. You would think he would have a hoard of angry fathers out for his blood. Of course this being a romantic comedy, all turns out well for Diana because Jack arrives in the nick of time. (hide spoiler)] Jack is a lovable rogue but an idiot. Richard is a whiny, weak idiot and his wife Lavinia needs to be put back in the nursery and told NO often and loudly. She's a spoiled brat. I can't stand her. Her brothers are terrible people too. All of them are out to ruin her Richard. As with my first reading, the only characters I really liked were Miles and Molly! The O'Haras are a charming, loving couple and really good friends to Jack. Honorable mention goes to Diana's aunt who loves her niece and is sensible enough to recognize when her niece isn't happy. Miss Beauleigh doesn't push Diana. Diana's instincts are excellent but I stopped liking her once she turned weepy and silly. I felt terrified with her and anxious for her during the thrilling conclusion and wanted her to get her happy ever after but I wouldn't want to be friends with her. Read this if you like swashbuckling Georgian romances. If you like Ross and Francis Poldark but not all the drama, you might enjoy this one too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This was the first novel by Heyer, and also it had its share of problems, it read very well, showing the hand of the future master of the romance genre. The novel is set not during Regency – that period will be introduced into Heyer’s fiction later – but vaguely in the middle of the 18th century. Traveling to the continent is still sort-of a fashion for British aristocracy, and no one heard of Napoleon yet. Life is peaceful, except for our hero, Jack. Seven years ago, Jack and his younger brother This was the first novel by Heyer, and also it had its share of problems, it read very well, showing the hand of the future master of the romance genre. The novel is set not during Regency – that period will be introduced into Heyer’s fiction later – but vaguely in the middle of the 18th century. Traveling to the continent is still sort-of a fashion for British aristocracy, and no one heard of Napoleon yet. Life is peaceful, except for our hero, Jack. Seven years ago, Jack and his younger brother Richard participated in a card game. Richard cheated. When the cheating was discovered, Jack, who loved his baby brother dearly, took the blame and became social pariah. Now he roams the English countryside, occasionally posing as a highwayman and robing fat merchants. He misses the society and his ancestral home but bravely refrains from fixing his situation, ready to sacrifice everything for his brother’s happiness... until he meets Diana, the heroine, and falls in love. Then his sacrifice becomes an unbearable burden, but what can a noble hero do? Sadly, neither Jack nor Diana are really the protagonists of this tale. The book’s title actually refers to the bad guy, a cynical and slightly sinister Duke of Andover. With his nickname Black Moth, he is the antagonist of the story. That’s in a nutshell the problem of this book. It lacks focus and the clearly defined lead characters. More often than not, the author concentrates not on Jack or Diana but either on the sardonic black-clad Duke or on Jack’s brother, weak but squirming from the pangs of conscience Richard. Or even on Richard’s wife, capricious and empty headed creature Lavinia. Hardly any time or page space is given to our sympathetic but or-so-honorable hero and heroine. Eventually, good guys prevailed, of course, and love triumphed, but the entire book has a feel of Victorian fiction much more than the 20th century literature, which is understandable. It was published in the transitional period, in 1921, and Heyer herself still needed some experience to rise to the heights of her talent and become the founder of modern romance genre. She was still learning the craft. What struck me in this book was the double standards exercised by British aristocrats. I don’t remember reading about it in any other Heyer’s novel, but here it’s naked and repulsive. After the card cheating incident, Jack spent some time in Europe, making his living as a fencing teacher. That time is behind him now, but he still bemoans it bitterly: that he, a British earl, had to teach fencing. It was a horrible time for him. I read about it and thought: why? It was an honest occupation. But obviously not for a nobleman, right? The Duke of Andover (the villain, remember) once fought a sword duel with a commoner, or at least a man he thought a commoner. After the faux commoner won, the duke accepted his defeat, gave up his sword, and then, after his adversary turned away, he shot him. Afterwards, the characters discuss this episode and come to the conclusion that the duke definitely didn’t know that his opponent belonged to the aristocracy too. He would never have shot him otherwise. Not even Black Moth would stoop to such dishonor. And again, I wonder. It’s dishonorable to break your word to another aristocrat but it’s okay to betray your word to a commoner? Some honor! Still, I enjoyed this book. For all its flaws, it was an entertaining tale and definitely a must-read for all Heyer’s and historical romance fans.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    The Black Moth was Heyer’s first novel, and it does show, but it’s still pretty fun. She hasn’t figured out what to do with her heroines yet, and that’s very obvious: Diana Beauleigh is rather colourless and lacking in the kind of witty repartee that really makes some of Heyer’s other heroines. Indeed, she’s more just a love interest and much less a heroine. Despite Diana and Jack seeming like the main pair, the one the plot was working toward, I was more interested in the spoilt Lavinia and her The Black Moth was Heyer’s first novel, and it does show, but it’s still pretty fun. She hasn’t figured out what to do with her heroines yet, and that’s very obvious: Diana Beauleigh is rather colourless and lacking in the kind of witty repartee that really makes some of Heyer’s other heroines. Indeed, she’s more just a love interest and much less a heroine. Despite Diana and Jack seeming like the main pair, the one the plot was working toward, I was more interested in the spoilt Lavinia and her husband Richard. Of course, Lavinia is an annoying character, whiny and, well, as I said, spoilt. But the way she and Richard come to realise how fond they are of each other, and the way their relationship (and Lavinia herself) grows is a delight — especially since it doesn’t involve Lavinia changing, as such. She’s still spoilt, it’s just that she knows it, and she and Richard are fond of each other anyway. The whole bit about Richard cheating at cards and Jack taking the disgrace is a bit bizarre to a modern reader — especially with Tracy Belmanoir’s exploits, including trying to abduct a woman, being just dismissed as foibles. I don’t know enough about the period to know if Heyer leaned a bit too hard on that plot aspect: it feels like it, but of course, times have changed. Jack himself is fun: loyal, self-deprecating, quite capable of being kind or cutting. Adaptable. He’s a bit spoilt himself: you gotta love the part where he complains about the humiliation of having had to earn his own living! But again, things were different then. For a first novel, The Black Moth is definitely not too bad. It has its weaknesses, and the dialogue was a particular weak point at times (it felt like Heyer tried too hard to reproduce natural ways of speaking, in some scenes, which was tough reading), but it’s fun and no wonder Heyer got off to a flying start. Originally posted here.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Actual rating: 2.5 stars 2019 Review - 3 stars Per usual with Georgette Heyer and me, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I find myself much less judgemental of this early work of hers. The couple did bore me a little, but in general I found myself charmed by these early versions of her beloved characters. Her heroines, at least, improve significantly. But in the hero I think you see generally the same attitude! 2016 Review -2 stars This books is salvaged only by the fact that it is Heyer and t Actual rating: 2.5 stars 2019 Review - 3 stars Per usual with Georgette Heyer and me, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I find myself much less judgemental of this early work of hers. The couple did bore me a little, but in general I found myself charmed by these early versions of her beloved characters. Her heroines, at least, improve significantly. But in the hero I think you see generally the same attitude! 2016 Review -2 stars This books is salvaged only by the fact that it is Heyer and this is her first book. Otherwise, dreadful stuff. The main couple and their boring romance takes back seat to endless paragraphs describing how dark and handsome the villain is, or how obnoxious (ahem, free spirited) his sister is. It is interesting because you can see Heyer's style emerging and it demonstrates certain plot elements that appear in her later works, most notably These Old Shades and Devil's Cub. Dick and Lavinia's romance also foreshadows future couples, like The Convenient Marriage. However, most of the characters are dreadful and the plot lacks the sparkling wit that makes Georgette Heyer so wonderful. Unless you really love Heyer, this isn't worth the time!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I gather this was the first novel Heyer published, but I only got to it after having read some of her later novels. What was interesting was the way this book seemed to lay out the prototype for These Old Shades -- the titular "Black Moth" or Tracy "Devil" Belmanoir, is clearly the blueprint for The Duke of Avon, Justin "Satanas" Alistair, including the abduction referred to in Avon's past in These Old Shades, carried out by Belmanoir in The Black Moth. I liked The Black Moth, but it was not as I gather this was the first novel Heyer published, but I only got to it after having read some of her later novels. What was interesting was the way this book seemed to lay out the prototype for These Old Shades -- the titular "Black Moth" or Tracy "Devil" Belmanoir, is clearly the blueprint for The Duke of Avon, Justin "Satanas" Alistair, including the abduction referred to in Avon's past in These Old Shades, carried out by Belmanoir in The Black Moth. I liked The Black Moth, but it was not as accomplished as her later works -- first, it takes place in the 18th century rather than the 19th, and all of Heyer's books set in the 19th century are generally a little slower and written a little more ploddingly. Second, the characters also feel more unformed than they do in later books like Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Cotillion, etc. and the humor inherent in many of Heyer's books is missing here.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Res

    The one where Jack takes the blame when his brother cheats at cards, runs away to be a highwayman, and doesn't care much until he falls in love. Eh. It's a first book, and it shows. The relationships are all very tell-y, and the various conflicts don't hold up to serious scrutiny. The women are all children (the only difference among them being their spoiled-to-charming ratio). And what a very strange world where cheating at cards is enough to make you unfit for polite society forever, while kidn The one where Jack takes the blame when his brother cheats at cards, runs away to be a highwayman, and doesn't care much until he falls in love. Eh. It's a first book, and it shows. The relationships are all very tell-y, and the various conflicts don't hold up to serious scrutiny. The women are all children (the only difference among them being their spoiled-to-charming ratio). And what a very strange world where cheating at cards is enough to make you unfit for polite society forever, while kidnapping a woman (twice!) is a mere foible like wearing dirty boots to dinner!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B for content, and an A- for narration at AudioGals, so I'm calling it 4.5 stars all together. Although I’m a long-term reader and fan of Georgette Heyer’s romances, there are a couple that, for reasons I can’t fathom, passed me by, and The Black Moth is one of them. So I’ve come to the audio completely fresh, as it were, not having read the book previously. I don’t know if that’s made a difference to my perception of it: looking at the number of poor-to-middling reviews on Good I've given this a B for content, and an A- for narration at AudioGals, so I'm calling it 4.5 stars all together. Although I’m a long-term reader and fan of Georgette Heyer’s romances, there are a couple that, for reasons I can’t fathom, passed me by, and The Black Moth is one of them. So I’ve come to the audio completely fresh, as it were, not having read the book previously. I don’t know if that’s made a difference to my perception of it: looking at the number of poor-to-middling reviews on Goodreads makes me wonder if it has, because I thought this audiobook was a delight from start to finish. The storytelling itself isn’t perfect and the action does jump around a bit. That said however, I was so quickly wrapped up in the story of the honourable Earl who lies to protect his brother and do right by the woman they both want to marry, that I was more or less unaware of any abrupt cuts or shifts of POV. The Black Moth is Heyer’s first published novel, and on the whole, is an incredibly assured piece of work for a nineteen-year-old. Yes, there are things that speak of her youth. For example, some of the characterisation is weak, there are some parts of the book in which there is far more telling than showing, and there is the aforementioned jumping around but overall, I found this to be an enjoyable and rewarding listen. One of the things I particularly enjoy about reading and listening to books that were written decades ago is the way in which the authors seemed more able to take their time to set up their stories and to build their characters. I remember saying something similar in my review of The Devil on Horseback by Victoria Holt; perhaps to a younger reader or listener, this is “slow”, but for me, it’s a luxurious experience, and something to be savoured. The story itself is fairly simple. Six years previously the hero, Jack Carstares, Earl of Wyncham, was accused of cheating at cards and, having admitted his guilt to such a terrible breach of the code of honour, fled the country. I suppose such a thing is inconceivable today, but it seems such things were taken very seriously back in the 18th century! Jack has spent the intervening years roaming Europe living on his wits and from his ill-gotten gains as a Gentleman of the Road – or highwayman. The thing is – Jack wasn’t guilty. He was covering up for his younger brother who, in a fit of panic, had been desperate enough to cheat and who, when Jack was accused, said nothing. Jack’s brother, Richard, married the lovely Lavinia, who leads him a merry dance, being petulant and demanding, and as the years have progressed, he has become more and more weighed down by his guilt. And then, one year ago, the brothers met again when Jack unknowingly held up Richard’s coach, and since then, Richard has been struggling with his conscience even more. For his part, Jack has not been too sorry with the way his life has panned out until he rescues a damsel in distress from the evil clutches of the villain, falls in love, and realises he has nothing to offer her. You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This was my very first Heyer novel and I must admit that I was immensely impressed. I totally loved this book, even though I agree with some of the reviewers who have said that it is not her best effort. Having read a few other of her novels, I can see that now, but I still had to give this one 5 stars, because I enjoyed it so much when I read it! I thought the ending was ridiculous though; the way she wrapped up the whole affair with Jack, Diana and the villain...really it was poorly done. The This was my very first Heyer novel and I must admit that I was immensely impressed. I totally loved this book, even though I agree with some of the reviewers who have said that it is not her best effort. Having read a few other of her novels, I can see that now, but I still had to give this one 5 stars, because I enjoyed it so much when I read it! I thought the ending was ridiculous though; the way she wrapped up the whole affair with Jack, Diana and the villain...really it was poorly done. The whole book was good, very much dramatic and over-the-top and then the ending comes and she concludes it by kinda just making everybody stop whatever they're doing, and making them all go to dinner...It was like huh and the villain?? When does he learn his lesson?? I also agree that the females were pretty poorly represented...She did not honour her own sex in this one! Lavinia is a spoiled, ridiculous, melodramatic wife, who makes both herself and her husband unhappy. Diana is too perfect; she doesn't really do anything, she's just there, yet everyone loves her and every ones wants her. I thought Lady O'Hara to be pretty decent and she could be quite funny at times. The main hero wasn't much developed either, or should I say, not like her other heroes, but I had the impression that he was agreeable enough; handsome, noble, generous. His younger brother made a good character, he was extremely weak and had not a strong will of his own. I personally really liked the villain, he was definitely one of my favourite characters. So if overall the characters were OK, how come I loved this novel so much? Georgette Heyer is a master of writing, and not knowing what to expect, I found the period details (clothes, places, etc...) simply irresistible! Add in her humour and her signature witty style and it makes this book well worth the read even if she has done much better since. A must-read for Heyer fans.

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