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The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

The Black Moth (original 1921; edition 2009)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,268346,225 (3.57)126
Title:The Black Moth
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Sourcebooks Casablanca (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer (1921)



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English (31)  German (1)  All (32)
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When he was young, Jack Carstares took the blame when his younger brother was caught cheating at cards. He was ostracized from society and fled to the Continent, where he eventually made his fortune gambling and teaching fencing. Now he has returned to England, where he plays at being a highwayman (but in fact, gives all his ill-gotten gains to the poor). When his younger brother realizes that Jack is back, he is wracked with guilt, but as before his love for the spoiled Lavinia keeps him from revealing the truth.

Meanwhile, the Duke of Andover (called Devil by friends and foes alike) has fallen for young Diana. He woos her under a false name, then tries to abduct her--but Jack, in his guise as a highwayman, fights him back. The Duke returns to London to come up with another plan to get Diana into his clutches, and Jack and Diana fall in love while she nurses him from his wounds. But Jack is still unwilling to cast aside his bad reputation, and so he and Diana cannot get married. Alack! It all ends happily, of course.

This is a very odd book. First off, the morality system is quite strange: when Jack is accused of cheating at cards his friends and family cast him out entirely. But the Duke can try to seduce, abduct, and full on rape a lady *repeatedly*, and no one considers so much as disinviting him from a party. Nor, in fact, will Jack even reveal the Duke's real name to the woman he tried to ruin--he puts actual effort into keeping the Duke's true identity a secret. Madness!

The other oddity is that the male friendships are given so much more intensity and page time than the romance between Jack and Diana. Jack and his valet Jim have an adorably/uncomfortably (depending on your feelings about class differences) feudal relationship. A great deal of the book is made up of conversations between Jack and O'Hara, who adore each other, banter constantly, and defend each other viciously. And, of course, there is the Duke and his bff Fortescue. The book opens with a letter from the Duke to Fortescue, and finishes with the Duke and Fortescue talking in their shared lodging in Venice. The Duke says Fortescue is literally the only person he likes in the whole world, and Fortescue spends all his time hanging out with the Duke, trying to get him to talk about his feelings.

Although Diana does not get nearly the amount of page time the menfolk do (and in fact, Lavinia and O'Hara's wife get about as much page time as she does), she's a good character. She particularly shines in her final showdown with the Duke. But as for the Duke himself--I don't get why Heyer would want to write this character again, nor why anyone finds him fascinating. He's just another drawling menacing asshole, another Marquis St. Evrémonde or Lucius Malfoy. Maybe I'm just tired of the type, which seems to be everywhere in Regency romances. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Jack Carstairs, the Earl of Wyncham has become a highwayman, after having being forced to flee the country some years previously. His brother Dick is married to the beautiful Lavinia, but carries a huge emotional burden, and is being bled of his money by his rather unpleasant in-laws.

Carstairs manages to retain his charm and chivalry, and - eventually - romance blossoms. The book is set in the 18th century, with slightly more dated language than is usual in Heyer's novels; no doubt authentic, but not always easy to read quickly. A small price to pay for an excllent, sometimes moving book. The climax features an exciting sword fight followed by a classic Heyer conclusion that sorts out all the threads tidily and satisfactorily.

Definitely recommended. Four and a half stars, really ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
This was Heyer's first book, written to entertain her brother, and it shows.
It has none of the character depth of her later books. The characters are stereotypes and the plot incredibly melodramatic. The only Heyer so far that I have failed to finish reading. ( )
  JudithProctor | Jan 7, 2016 |
An early Heyer. Jack is the world's most honourable aristocrat-turned-highwayman. His troubled past becomes a problem when he rescues a nice young lady from A Terrible Fate. There is much dialogue, some sword fighting, and a properly evil storybook villain (who always wears black). Unfortunately Jack's brother and his wife get a large slice of the plot. They're not very interesting and they slow down the story too much, however once they are out the way, but the last minute drama saves the experience and winds everything up nicely. Overall, a gentle piece of escapism.
  Pencils | Jan 1, 2016 |
Georgette Heyer wrote this book as a teen. With that in mind, it was excellent; but put up against her later books is would be rated "good but not great." Still, lots of fun and ripping good sword fighting scenes. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Nov 13, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palmer, DianaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rhind Tutt, JulianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Clad in his customary black and silver, with raven hair unpowdered and elaborately dressed, diamonds on his fingers and in his cravat, Hugh Tracy Clare Belmanoir, Duke of Andover, sat at the escritoire in the library of his town house, writing.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373835582, Mass Market Paperback)


Disguised as a highwayman, Jack Carstares, the wrongly disgraced Earl of Wyncham, found himself again face-to-face with the wicked Duke of Andover. This time the Black Moth was attempting to abduct dark-haired beauty 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. 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!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:18 -0400)

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"Seven years before our 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"--Publisher's Web site.… (more)

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