Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"The Black Moth" by Georgette Heyer

Well, it took me three months to read this book, which tells you a lot right there about whether or not I liked it.

I didn't hate it, truly I didn't.  I just didn't like it all that well.  Actually, I very much liked one character, and if we'd just stuck with him, I'd have polished off the book in a couple of days.  But we had to keep bobbing off to spend time with characters I either disdained or positively loathed, as the case may be, and that got tiresome.  

Set in Georgian England, it's about this guy who took the blame for cheating at cards years ago, even though it was his brother who did it.  He's been on the lam ever since, and lately he's been amusing himself by playing highwayman.  One day he saves a sweet young woman from being abducted by this Perfectly Loathsome Other Guy, who happens to be the brother of the woman who married this guy's brother -- the one who cheated at cards and let him take the rap.  Yeeeeeeeees, it's kind of convoluted.  If only we could've stuck with Mr. Highwayman, because he was simply delicious.  And really, the Perfectly Loathsome Other Guy was quite fascinating in his own way.  Amusingly enough, I kept imagining Richard Chamberlain as both of those fellows, and he worked equally well in both roles.  I had great fun with that.  But the cheater brother and his awful wife... blech, I had a terrible time slogging through their sections.  

However!  I've since learned from Wikipedia that this was Georgette Heyer's debut novel, published when she was only nineteen, which makes me forgive a lot.  I will not hesitate to try another of her books.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13.  There are oblique references to a man ruining the character of several women, and one scene where he tries to force himself on a virtuous woman.  Also an abduction, some sword fights, and a few mild curses.



This is my 36th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club, and my sixth for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

14 comments:

  1. Wooooohooooo!! Yes it wasn't the best of her novels, but I really liked it and isn't he (Perfectly Loathsome Guy) AWFUL?!?!?!? Besides the Hero, my favorite people were O'Hara and Molly. They were adorable and tons of fun!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erudessa, yes, Devil Belmanoir (I can't remember his other names, but that one certainly stuck in my head!) was thoroughly despicable. And O'Hara and Molly had me in stitches -- I'd happily read a whole book about them!

      Delete
    2. Tracy Belmanoir, Duke of Andover.

      So another of her books that you really need to read, is *These Old Shades*. It could ALMOST (but it isn't) be a sequel to *The Black Moth*. If it was, this is what the character comparison would be.

      Tracy Belmanoir ~ Justin AListair, Duke of Avon. Although Justin and Tracy have similarities, they are SOOOOO different! Justin is FAR better. Remember how in the end his friend Frank tells him that Diana made him? Well there was a similar happening in Justin's past and "she" made him.

      Lady Lavinia (Belmanoir) Carstares ~ Lady Fanny (Alistair) Marling. She is FAR better then Lavinia! Although she is rather flighty, she isn't the ninnyhammer milksop that Lavinia is!

      Richard Carstares ~ Edward Marling. He has FAR more common sense and backbone, and is far more likable then Richard.

      Lord Andrew Belmanoir ~ Lord Rupert Alistair. He isn't as thickheaded as Andrew and is sidesplittlingly hilarious!!

      Frank Fortescue (Tracy's "good boy" friend)~ Hugh Davenant. LOVE this guy!!

      Jack Carstares ~ Lord Anthony Merivale. He is as good a Jack!!

      Diana ~ Lady Jennifer Merivale. I liked her more then Diana.

      Delete
    3. Just looked, and the other one I have is Lady of Quality.

      My library doesn't have These Old Shades, but I'll put it on my to-read list in case I run into it in the used book store or something. How intriguing that it's like a sequel to this!

      Delete
    4. Lady of Quality if pretty amusing!!

      :)

      Delete
  2. The Black Moth is enjoyable if you are already a Heyer fan but it isn't the best to start with. I am glad you are willing to give her another try. Cotillion or The Unknown Ajax are both a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I'm sure you're right. I have another of her books on my TBR shelves, but I can't remember the title -- it might be Cotillion. I'll definitely give her another try!

      Delete
  3. Aw, shucks. At least tell me that the Highwayman gets the Sweet Young Woman in the end . . . does he?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jessica, yes! Of course he does! I said I didn't like it much, not that it was pointless and horrid. I suspect I might re-read it sometime and just skip certain characters' nattery sections.

      Delete
  4. I LOVE Georgette Heyer! I haven't read The Black Moth, just because I knew it was her first published book, and I think she wrote it at a younger age even than 19. I just finished Charity Girl, though, and really liked it. She's one of my go to authors when I want something light and fun to read! Please try her again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julie Diane, I really need to run down and see which of her other books I own. It's hardcover and has a nifty cover, but that's all I can tell you. I definitely intend to try her again!

      The Wikipedia article says she wrote this one to amuse her sick brother, so I imagine she began it when she was younger than 19.

      Delete
    2. Well, see? Compared to stuff I wrote when I was 17, it's genius!

      Delete

What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)