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The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer
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The Black Moth (original 1921; edition 2009)

by Georgette Heyer

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1,184326,790 (3.56)113
Member:moonsoar
Title:The Black Moth
Authors:Georgette Heyer
Info:Sourcebooks Casablanca (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:regency, romance, British author, kidnapping, highwayman, checklist

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The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer (1921)

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English (30)  German (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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 |
Georgette Heyer's first novel has a few differences that could mark this out as a novice piece of writing, but still remains very much a Heyer romance in style and story. The book involves a large cast of characters, almost too many to juggle. The noble Lord Jack Carstares, eldest son of Earl of Wyncham, takes the blame when his younger brother cheats at cards. Since money was on the line, the disgrace is great, and Jack is ostracized from his family and friends. He disappears to the continent, and the novel fast forwards in time. Richard, Jack's younger brother, is now the acknowledged earl. He is racked with guilt for his actions, but can't confess because his wife, the lovely and spoiled Lady Lavinia, refuses to let him disgrace their name. She was the reason Richard let Jack take the blame all those years ago, and she continues to rule his life now.

Lavinia is sister to the Duke of Andover, also known as the Devil, a dissolute man who only seeks his own gratification. He was present the night of Jack's disgrace, and it is apparent to the reader that he knows that Richard is the guilty one while he happily prods Jack to take the blame. He now remorselessly bleeds Richard of the Wyncham money to support his many infamous habits. The Devil becomes entangled with Jack again when he attempts to abduct beautiful Diana Beauleigh and Jack stops him. Oh yes, Jack has now returned to England and is living as a highwayman.

Jack falls in love with Diana while he is spending time at her home to recuperate from the gunshot he took in the shoulder while saving her. He meets her father and devoted aunt. The cast of characters still isn't complete, however - there is still Jack's old friend Sir Miles and his perky wife who has the habit of interfering. Jack eventually moves to their house for an extended stay. Meanwhile, Richard and Lavinia are staying in town. Richard puts up with his wife's many admirers, but when he sees the way she acts around Captain Lovelace he fears that she is in love with another. Meanwhile (again), Tracy the Duke of Andover is still plotting on how to acquire Diana, whether she wills it or no. The many players come together in a melodramatic conclusion, where an attempted rape is thwarted and confessions made, leading to happy endings all around.

The book never uses the word rape, by the way, although that is clearly what the Devil intends so he can force Diana into marriage with him. Her honor gone, she would have no choice but to accept. Other characters in the story allude to the fact that this is not the first time Tracy has carried girls off against their will, either; however, they were not of the upper class, and therefore didn't count. Ugh. I wish I could say this is one aspect of Heyer's fledgling writer status, but it is not an unusual element of her books. I recognize that she is accepting the cultural status quo both of her own time and the historical time she is presenting, so I don't get too worked up about it, but I still don't like it. I'm glad I am not a woman living in those times.

Getting off my soapbox, let's look at the rest of the book. The story has a fun plot, which is unnecessarily complex but still easy to follow, and it has a fast pace. The dialogue is witty and believable, and Heyer catches the historical setting with phenomenal detail and colloquialisms. The romance is sweet, albeit a bit rushed, because the author has so many story lines and characters to manage. For a first book, this is a nice escapist story, although I am glad Heyer focused in on on her central characters in later novels. ( )
  nmhale | Jul 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Book description
THE HIGHWAYMAN'S LADY

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!
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373835582, Mass Market Paperback)

THE HIGHWAYMAN'S LADY

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)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"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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