Tag: Georgette Heyer

Guest Review: The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

Posted February 5, 2010 by Ames in Reviews | 4 Comments

Ames‘ review of The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

A disgraced lord, a notorious highwayman

Jack Carstares, the disgraced Earl of Wyndam, left England seven long years ago, sacrificing his honor for that of his brother when he was accused of cheating at cards. Now Jack is back, roaming his beloved South Country in the disguise of a highwayman.

And the beauty who would steal his heart

Not long after Jack’s return, he encounters his old adversary, the libertine Duke of Andover, attempting the abduction of the beautiful Diana Beauleigh. At the point of Jack’s sword, the duke is vanquished, but foiled once, the “Black Moth” has no intention of failing again…

The Black Moth is Georgette Heyer’s first novel, written in 1921. I for one am glad that her novels have been re-published by Sourcebooks. I probably would not have discovered these books if not for the shiny new covers. Yes, I get distracted easily by the shiny. LOL

As much as I enjoyed this book, it isn’t one of my favorites by Heyer. I can partly put the blame on the blurb – I was expecting more in regards to Jack Carstares and Diana Beauleigh. Unfortunately, these two don’t even meet until halfway through the book!

No, the plot of this book revolves around other characters. There is Tracy, the Duke of Andover. He’s the villain of this book, he’s the Black Moth (as one character describes him). You see, Tracy was vital in Jack being ostracized from polite society, wrongfully ostracized. You see, at a party (six years before our story begins), Jack’s younger brother was caught playing cards with a marked deck. Back in the day, there’s nothing worse than having your honour questioned, and Tracy questions Richard’s honour…and Jack stepped in and claimed he marked the deck. So Jack was shunned.

And now Tracy thinks he has fallen in love and he attempts to kidnap the object of his affections in order to force her to marry him. Sounds like quite a likable fellow, don’t you think?

Instead Jack, who has been playing at being a highwayman for the past few years, interrupts the kidnapping and saves Diana. Injured in the rescue attempt, Diana and her family house Jack during his recovery. And so a few chapters is given over to Diana and Jack falling in love.

I found that switch in writing styles from contemporary historicals somewhat odd to deal with. And it served to remind me that you can’t hold Heyer’s writing to modern standards. At least with this novel you have to. Her other books I’ve read have always heavily portrayed the H/H throughout the whole novel. The Black Moth is more of an ensemble piece…think of the movie Love, Actually – many little stories put together. That’s how this book works.

Other strong characters are Jack’s younger brother and his wife, Lavinia, an extremely selfish woman.

And now that I’ve told you what to expect, hopefully you won’t go into this book with the same expectations I did.

The Black Moth gets a 4 out of 5 from me. I did enjoy it, but it’s not Heyer’s strongest.

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here (it isn’t available in e-format).

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Guest Review: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Posted July 30, 2009 by Ames in Reviews | 10 Comments

Ames‘ review of The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

The Grand Sophy has arrived…

And when Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy is ordered to South America on Diplomatic Business he parks his only daughter, Sophy, with his sister in Berkley Square. Sophy can immediately see that her cousins are in a sad tangle: Charles is engaged to a bluestocking, and Cecilia’s in love with a poet of all things. It seems Sophy has gotten there just in time…

And the Hon. Charles Rivenhall’s life will never be the same…

While Sophy is going to outrageous lengths to solve everyone else’s problems, she finds that she herself might have some big surprises in store.

Summary: The Grand Sophy is about a young lady who turns everyone’s life upside down, but all in a good way. She’s a charmer is what she is. It all starts when her father gets posted to Brazil. Sir Horace, Sophy’s father, is a diplomat and has lived all over Europe. Vienna, Spain, Belgium…you name it. And Sophy has followed him everywhere. But she can’t go to Brazil so Sir Horace asks his sister if she’ll take Sophy in for a few months. Lady Ombersley would gladly take her in, but is unsure how her eldest, Charles Rivenhall would feel about it. You see, Lord Ombersley and everyone else in the household kind of bows down to Charles. Charles saved the family from their father’s ruinous gaming debts and now they listen to him. Charles isn’t a bad sort of guy, he just wishes things to be done properly and doesn’t suffer fools. But he has no quibble with “young, quiet Sophy” staying with them temporarily.

What a surprise everyone is in for!

Sophy shows up about a week later than expected (which is shocking enough, a woman travelling on her own) and she doesn’t come alone. She has Tina, an Italian greyhound and Jacko, a little monkey, as well as a parrot in her menagerie. She immediately creates a little tornado of energy around her and she can see that her relatives are a bit melancholy and that they need some livening up. Of course Charles is upset by this change in environment and always tries to thwart Sophy’s style.

Ok, dear reader, you must have figured something out here – Sophy and Charles are cousins, but they’re also the h/h. In my head, I just fibbed the facts a little bit in my head and said “Self, things were different back in the day.” Boy were they ever.

So here’s the deal: Sophy’s young cousin Cecilia was almost engaged to a Lord Charlbury, but before that announcement was announced she fell for a young poet who although from a good family, would not be a good match for her. Also, Charles himself is engaged to a Miss Wrexton, a prim and proper fussy lady who cannot stand Sophy. So Sophy goes about getting Cecilia back with Lord Charlbury and breaking up Charles’ engagement. She doesn’t want Charles for herself, but all she knows is that Miss Wrexton is all wrong for him.

My Thoughts: Right from the very first page I was sucked into Sophy’s crazy little world. In any other writer’s hand, I’m sure Sophy would come off as insufferable and a little miss know it all. But Sophy is molded by Georgette Heyer’s genius and she’s a great character. She is a miss know it all, but she also recognizes her faults. She admits when she might have gotten herself into a somewhat dangerous situation…once or twice and she knows she has a terrible temper that makes her act rashly. But these are all endearing things. She’s smart, independent, and kind-hearted. She also bows down to propriety when it suits her needs.

Which is something that drives Charles crazy! He’s barely dragged his family out of debt and he shoulders quite a lot of burden. So the last thing he needs is someone else he has to watch out for. That’s why Miss Wrexton is the perfect lady for him. She knows the rules of society and abides by them. Her reputation is without fault. She’s also dull as doorknob and Charles, when seeing Miss Wrexton next to Sophy, can see how alive his cousin is. Miss Wrexton also thinks she superior to everyone, and believes as Charles’ fiancee she can lecture them on their proper place.
The sparks that Sophy and Charles strike off each other are quite fiery indeed. And it’s all in the dialog, which is excellent. I do love witty banter.
As much as I love The Grand Sophy, the ending did lag a little bit. The ending is one big farce of a situation that had me cracking up by the time it was resolved, but the build-up to the resolution was a bit meh. For that, I’m giving the Grand Sophy an A-, rather than an A.

4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. You can buy it here or here.

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Guest Review: Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer

Posted July 15, 2008 by Ames in Reviews | 5 Comments

Abigail Wendover, on the shelf at 28, is kept busy when her niece falls head over heels in love with a handsome fortune hunter and Abbie is forced into a confrontation with his scandalous uncle.

Miles Calverleigh is the black sheep of his family- enormously rich from a long sojourn in India, disconcertingly blunt and brash. But he turns out to be Abbie’s most important ally in keeping her niece out of trouble.

But how can he possibly be considered eligible when she has worked so hard to rebuff his own nephew’s suit for her niece? And how can she possibly detach from an ailing sister who needs her? This is a heroine who has to be, literally, swept off her feet…

I had originally started reading this title first but the beginning was a bit slow so I switched to Friday’s Child. However, I’m oh so glad that I quickly returned to Black Sheep because I actually prefer it to FC.

Black Sheep begins with Miss Abigail Wendover returning to Bath from a trip to London. She goes to see her sister, with whom she lives, to discuss the goings-on in Bath during her absense. Immediately she’s informed about Fanny, her niece, showing particular favor to a man from London. Abby finds this very disturbing because Fanny is an heiress and any man who shows an interest is immediately under suspicion of being a fortune hunter. And Abby is certain that Stacy Calverleigh is a fortune hunter.

I found this introduction to Abby and Fanny’s situation a bit much. But once Abby meets Miles Calverleigh, Stacy’s uncle who’s been in exile in India for 20 years, Black Sheep picks up and never stops.

Miles was exiled to India in his youth for his behavior. He himself tried eloping with an heiress and it was just too much for his family and off he went. Miles is a great character because he doesn’t give a fig for societal conventions but he’s still endearingly charming and you can’t help but like him. He’s immediately drawn to Abby and especially loves firing her up. Abby is a good character too. She’s 28, raising her niece with the help of her elder sister Selina, who is sickly, and considers herself too old for marriage. So when she finds herself attracted to Miles, who is the opposite of everything she wants in a man, she knows better than to act like a love-sick fool. She also realizes that her family would object greatly to her marrying Miles.

Is Abby going to sacrifice her happiness to keep her family happy?

Oh my goodness did Black Sheep ever turn into the most surprising book. I am quickly coming to love Heyer’s writing. (I already picked up Faro’s Daughter.) Abby and Miles are great characters. The secondary characters are well written and Fanny’s story offers a good balance to Abby’s. Fanny is 17 and in love for the first time. She’s young and impetuous and Abby is everything she’s not. This creates a nice contrast. But really, this novel is all about Miles for me. He does something very surprising in this novel and once you realize what’s going on, you’re like, “OMG, he’s awesome!” And yeah he is.

4.75 out of 5 (A)

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Georgette Heyer Contest Winners!

Posted July 15, 2008 by Holly in Giveaway Winners | 7 Comments

Sorry all, I was supposed to post this yesterday, but time got away from me.

Thanks to everyone who entered our Georgette Heyer giveaway. With the help of random.org, we selected 4 winners. Each of you can choose one book from the list below. Once you’ve made your selection, please email us at thebookbinge at gmail dot com (no spaces) with the title and your mailing address.

Because there were some entries with the same name, I’ve linked the name of the winners with their original comment on the contest post. The winners are:

Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

A very special thank you to Sourcebooks for making this giveaway possible!

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Review: Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer

Posted July 11, 2008 by Ames in Reviews | 7 Comments

When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sheringham’s marriage proposal (she laughs at him—laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there.

Friday’s Child is my first Georgette Heyer novel, and all I can say is it won’t be my last!

Anthony, Viscount Sheringham, has just been rejected by the Incomparable Miss Milbourne, a childhood friend. When he stomps home to the ancestral estate, his mother and uncle demand a rehash of the event which just sets Sherry off – throw in the fact that he can’t stand his uncle and that he must wait 2 years to come into his Trust (unless he marries) and Sherry stomps out of his home claiming he’s going to marry the first woman he sees.

Right from the get-go, the reader gleans a lot of Sherry’s character. He’s selfish, a little uncouth and a rash sort of young man.

So the first woman Sherry comes across is no stranger to him – she is Miss Hero Wantage. And she’s crying. Her cousin has just informed her that she is to become a governess. It’s either that or marry the local curate. Hero has no choice because she is an orphan. Well, Sherry has always had a soft spot for Hero (she used to follow him around when they were children and get into every kind of scrape together – it’s all hero worship on her part, selfishness on his) so he decides that she is the perfect bride for him. They will have a marriage of convenience and will not interfere in each other’s affairs.

It’s not long before Sherry realizes that Hero is still quite the naive miss and needs a lot of direction from him. She’s forever getting into trouble, or on the verge of. And all Hero wants to do is make Sherry happy. So when he finally has had enough and decides to send her away to his mama (who thinks Hero is ruining Sherry’s life), Hero runs away.

What happens next is a series of misunderstandings that are in no way annoying (as misunderstandings tend to be).

First there’s Hero. She’s just out of the schoolroom and so eager to please Sherry. She doesn’t really have the best social graces but she does get along famously with Sherry’s friends: Gil, Ferdy and George, Lord Wrotham. So when she decides to run away, these three come to her aid. Well Gil is the one that spearheads the effort – because he knows that Sherry has never told Hero that he loves her even though he does. Gil figures Sherry is too thickheaded to realize it.

Hero also, through her innocence, brings Sherry around. He is still selfish, but he begins to realize that Hero gets into all her many scrapes because it’s something he would do. Whenever he brings her to task for something, she says, “But Sherry, you said…” So this was interesting to see how Sherry changes over the course of the novel, all for the better.

The cast of characters was also well written. Sherry’s friends, Miss Milbourne, and the villain – a bad man in disguise. It’s all good stuff.

I really enjoyed Friday’s Child and can’t wait to delve into my next GH novel. 4.25 out of 5 (or a B+ to me)

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here.

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