Read The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer Online


"Stylish, romantic, sharp, and witty."Margaret DrabbleA disgraced lord, a notorious highwaymanJack 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 ste"Stylish, romantic, sharp, and witty."Margaret DrabbleA disgraced lord, a notorious highwaymanJack 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 heartNot 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?This is Georgette Heyer's first novel?a favorite of readers and a stirring tale to be enjoyed again and again."A tale of love and adventure, clearness and charm, and an originality to delight?a tale to stir one's blood."BOSTON EVENING TRANSCRIPT"A romance of the eighteenth century, with a wicked Duke, self-sacrificing elder brother, weak younger brother, highwayman, gambling, abduction, and rescue all complete."THE SATURDAY REVIEW"A well-filled story which keeps the reader pleased."THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT"Wonderful characters, elegant, witty writing, perfect period detail, and rapturously romantic. Georgette Heyer achieves what the rest of us only aspire to."KATIE FFORDEPRAISE FOR GEORGETTE HEYER:"Our Georgette Heyer display of the Sourcebooks reprints has been a huge success, not only to those early fans like myself, but to many new readers who appreciate her style and wit."Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen."Publishers Weekly"Wonderful characters, elegant, witty writing, perfect period detail, and rapturously romantic. Georgette Heyer achieves what the rest of us only aspire to." Katie Fforde"Perfect craftsmanship." New York Times Book Review...

Title : The Black Moth
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781402219528
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 355 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Black Moth Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-02-09 15:01

    June 2016 reread/buddy read with the Georgette Heyer group. Yeah, sorry to all my friends who are major Heyer fans, but this is staying at 3 stars. It's fun, but very lightweight.It's got a pretty 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 (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 a pretty admirable achievement.I enjoyed it when I first read it 5 or 6 years ago -- and, I have to admit, this time 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.

  • Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
    2019-02-10 09:00

    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 the Grand Sophy)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

  • Vivian
    2019-02-10 07:51

    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.

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-01-30 14:44

    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.

  • Emma
    2019-02-18 07:47

    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..

  • Jenny
    2019-02-19 14:00

    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.

  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    2019-02-12 07:54

    3.5What 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.

  • Aslaug Gørbitz
    2019-02-18 13:41

    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.

  • Lori
    2019-02-17 14:48

    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!!)

  • Choko
    2019-01-20 10:43

    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:)

  • Kitty (I solemnly swear that I am up to no good)
    2019-01-23 08:44

    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 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.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-02-13 11:33

    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.

  • Caz
    2019-02-12 08:44

    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

  • Bridget Marshall
    2019-02-13 10:00

    A fun adventure/romance with intriguing characters and the makings for great story line, but for a few weak points that (in my opinion) made it rather unconvincing and gave the story an overall unrealistic feel. For example, six years previous to the setting in which the story takes place, two brothers are involved in playing cards in which the younger brother cheats and the older brother nobly takes the blame, the consequence being that he is diseherited by his father (who is an Earl) and leaves the country with a disgraced name. Yes, cheating at cards is certainly not something to be admired, but this "dark history" is the core theme throughout the entire book and is treated as such a big deal. The older brother can't come back into English society because he's a disgrace to the family name, and he refuses to tell the truth because he doesn't want his younger brother's reputation to be ruined.It was a small group of friends playing cards together, six years ago! Just clear up past lies and move on, that simple! But no. The older brother lives a duel personality of a masked highwayman and an aristocratic Frenchman (which is actually rather cool) and the younger brother lives in guilty misery.If the scandal had been a bit more serious with heavier consequences the whole story would have been a lot more convincing. As it was, a rather trivial event being treated as such a big deal by characters and author alike made it almost comical.... in not such a great way. When I managed to look past this shortcoming I really got into the story, but it kept pushing itself to the forefront of the stage.... Oh well. :)Despite this little (or big) detail, I still (I'll admit it) enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers who enjoy action, heros, villains, and romance. (It reminded me a lot of 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'....)

  • Jewels ♥ My Devastating Reads
    2019-01-24 12:42

    I had a hard time making sense of this book. It's the first book I've read by this author, and I understand it was the first novel she wrote, at a rather young age. I couldn't even really decide what sort of a rating to give this read. I think it's more of a two and half star read. Heyer spins an entertaining tale, I'll say that much for this novel. But at times the entertainment value wans as you have to wonder what the hell this is about. Is it a love story? Yes and no. It's not really about Diana and Jack however. Nor is it really about Jack and his brother and their huge "scandal". It's also not really about the amoral villain, the black moth, Devil the Duke of Andover. These characters are all ridiculous in their way, but compelling as well. Overall the book seemed to lack substance but like a soap opera, you can't seem to give up on it. And like a soap opera, the villain gets away with his crime, foiled though it might have been. Luckily, unlike a soap opera, it ends eventually and rather happily for all the characters you want it to. Note: this novel can easily be placed into the genre if Gothic lit, not romance as we understand it today. From the prologue and epilogue I got the feeling that this story was supposed to cure Devil of his evil ways but the rest of the novel didn't do a good job in portraying characters and circumstances to lead me to believe that he actually has learned some great lesson. But, the writing was sharp and witty and I'll read more of Heyer as I'm sure her later novels are better. More reviews at

  • Michelle
    2019-02-19 08:32

    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.

  • Res
    2019-02-09 14:38

    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!

  • Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
    2019-02-08 14:40

    I just cannot kick this habitual need to have a Georgette Heyer novel on my currently-reading shelf. As I type this, I have a tab open for Hoopla so I can grab a few more. =) I love that her novels are full of the frippery and finery I'm accustomed to in a historical romance novel, but the plots always seem fresh and completely engaging. This novel featured a disgraced brother who was actually taking the blame for his brother's misdeed and turned said disgrace into a career as a highwayman. While the real villain of the story -- not the ne'er-do-well younger brother but a true evildoer -- attempted to kidnap the would-be love of his life. It was all very cloak and dagger and I very much enjoyed it. Off to find another new favorite...

  • Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
    2019-02-09 06:59

    4.5 stars! Setting Her Precedent at Such An Early AgeThis is the eighth book by Georgette Heyer I’ve had the pleasure of reading, but it is actually the first one she published – at the age of 19! In her literary debut, Georgette Heyer introduced readers to Lord Jack Carstares, eldest son of the Earl of Wyncham. Six years ago Jack’s honor and reputation were severely damaged when he admitted to cheating at cards. Did he cheat at cards? No, but he took the blame to protect his younger brother, Richard. Knowing he is a social pariah, Jack can’t return home and claim his title as Earl of Wyncham (even though it is now available). Instead he spends time traveling abroad in Europe and reveling about in the disguise of a highwayman.One day, while preparing to do some highway robbery, Jack happens upon an abduction scheme in progress. Being the heroic and honorable man he is (yes, even though he is a highwayman!), Jack comes to the fair lady’s rescue. The beauty he rescues, Diana Beauleigh, steals his heart and makes Jack wish he was free to marry her, but alas he cannot because of his dishonorable reputation. Never has Jack wanted to undo the past more. But little does he know, his brother feels the exact same way…I have been enjoying Georgette Heyer’s novel for several years now and have come to love her colorful characters, witty dialogue, and invigorating plots. What I loved most about The Black Moth was seeing that these Georgette Heyer trademarks were established and present in her very first published work! The Black Moth had some engaging and entertaining characters and the dialogue was snappy and smart. However, since this story focused more on the relationship between the two brothers, I wouldn’t say this is her most romantic work. Being the romantic that I am I would have loved more romance, but I found myself appreciating the journey these two brothers take – one full of cowardice and regret, the other buried in a life of dishonor and disguise. I greatly enjoyed witnessing their loyalty and love for one another.But as to the romance, I greatly enjoyed the sweet story between our hero and heroine, even though I wish both received more page time. I love how Jack is unflinchingly honorable and has this whole Robin-Hood-type-of-heroism going on. And Miss Diana Beauleigh easily won my heart with her sweet character and unaffected devotion. I especially loved her “unmaidenly” conversation with Jack!In true Georgette Heyer fashion there are daring schemes, priceless misunderstandings, and brave rescues. Readers who like a bit of action and swashbuckling in their stories will be pleased to know that there is a detailed sword-fighting scene. And the verbal sword-play between these characters is just as exhilarating! I continuously found myself marveling at how effortless, succinct, and natural the dialogue felt throughout the course of this novel. This is even more impressive knowing it is Georgette Heyer’s first novel and that she was writing about characters who lived in England over 150 years before her time.While this book may not be many readers’ favorite Georgette Heyer novel and doesn’t have the most plausible or satisfying of resolutions, it is definitely one all Georgette Heyer fans should read! Just for the appreciation of Georgette Heyer’s talent alone.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-02-11 06:36

    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.

  • Anne
    2019-02-10 12:31

    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.

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2019-01-24 12:59

    My Twelfth Georgette Heyer There is a great adventure romance novel in this mess, but it's hard to find among such a rich tapestry of swashbuckling and ironically witty moments. A little too rich. Pacing problems aside, there is a great deal to like in this book.Years ago, Jack took the blame when his younger brother Richard cheated at cards. Jack consequently faced social exile and fled to the European continent. He has now secretly returned, robbing carriages as a highwayman. He rescues Diana from kidnappers and they fall in love. Meanwhile, Richard and his wife Lavinia have had a rocky relationship made even more difficult by Richard's decision to tell the truth.Aside from a good fashion sense and quick tongue, there was little to recommend Jack especially since he's dumb enough not the disclose the identity of the kidnapper the first time around. This Robin Hood type figure also lacks charm which is appalling obvious when put in contrast with the evil Belmanoir. Richard and Lavinia were my favorite couple which is saying something given that how delightfully happy the O'Haras were. Towards the end on the novel, Diana became a much more interesting character and, in my opinion, deserved better. The only reason this book is a one start is because of it's blaze attitude towards the threat of sexual assault. I know Heyer was only 17, but it's still disappointing.

  • Amy
    2019-02-16 06:40

    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!

  • Kim Kaso
    2019-02-17 11:50

    The book foreshadows her later book, These Old Shades, and is a solid first book for the young author she was. All the classic historical romance tropes are here without the bodice-ripping of our modern books. I adored stories of highwaymen and figures like the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh when I was young, and this reminded me of that youthful enthusiasm. Recommended for anyone who needs a little fun. Georgette Heyer has gotten me through many tough times. She is a blessing as an author.

  • Nikki
    2019-02-12 14:01

    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.

  • Susan in NC
    2019-01-26 12:51

    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.

  • Renee M
    2019-01-25 10:37

    My first Georgette Heyer turns out to be the first she published, while still in her teens. I enjoyed it very much, although it was easy to lose track of some of the characters. I loved the couples though. Each in different stages of their love-match. I always like to see at least one example of a relationship that shows life beyond the vows. I very much enjoyed the audio version read by Sybilla Denton for Librivox.

  • Erika
    2019-01-31 06:56

    This one was hard to get into at first. But about halfway through it picks up and gets interesting. I loved Jack and cheered for him. My favorite character was Molly O'Hara. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the author's other books.

  • Jemidar
    2019-02-10 14:47

    This is a fun romp with Dukes, Earls, Ladies, damsels in distress, card cheats, highwaymen, duels, sword fights and true love. It also has wonderful characters, wit, humour, adventures aplenty and is thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Shannon (Giraffe Days)
    2019-01-24 14:48

    At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal of re-reading all my Heyer books. I have all her books except for her eight detective novels, and I've read all but, I think, two - two of the more serious historical ones: My Lord John and, ah, forget the other. Oh maybe it was just the one then? Well, it's nearly May and so far my progress has been pathetic, to say the least. I read Heyer's books so many times during uni but it's been eight or nine years and I found I couldn't remember the stories anymore - a good time to re-read them! Worked, too.I re-read Beauvallet, the first Heyer book I ever read, a year or so ago - it's a good one to start with if you've never read any. Most of her books are set in Regency London (during the time of the Prince Regent, George, whose father was mad), but some are set in an earlier period - like The Black Moth. Set sometime mid-1700s, this is also an unusual Heyer novel for the broad cast of characters and lack of a central pair.The "Black Moth", as described by the heroine, Helen, is the Duke of Andover, Tracy Belmanoir - commonly called the Devil. A pale man always dressed in black, he's unashamedly selfish, sneers at others and has only one real friend. He is a central character, an unlikeable one, who connects everyone else.Helen is the only child of a country gentleman who, while in Bath with her aunt, meets the Devil in one of his other guises, as Mr Everard. He repulses her, but he doesn't care about that: if he wants her, he'll have her. Kidnapping seems the way to go.Enter Jack, Lord John Carstares, newly made Earl of Wyncham now that his father is dead - and social outcast, ever since taking the blame when his younger brother Richard cheats at cards. Now back in England, he keeps himself in funds and entertainment by being a highwayman. Masked, he holds up coaches - though, being a man of honour, he doesn't steal from women or old people and gives much of it away to the poor. Encountering a carriage stopped on the road, with three men trying to wrestle a girl from its interior, he doesn't waste time engaging the orchestrator in a duel. He recognises Tracy, a skilled swordsman, but keeps his own incognito and defeats him to boot, suffering an injury in exchange. Helen and her aunt are only too happy for him to recover at their home, and it is during his convalescence that he and Helen fall in love.Meanwhile, his poor brother Richard is reaping the punishments of letting his brother take the rap for his bad choice six years ago. The lovely Lady Lavinia, the Devil's only sister, is almost as selfish, just as extravagant, and prone to fits of temper and moodiness. Richard still loves her, and it's for her sake that he has kept quiet all these years about who really cheated at cards: he can't bring her down with him. But his guilty conscience is ageing him, and it's only a matter of time before he can't tolerate it at all. His marriage is going downhill just as badly, and it seems like everything's coming to an end.Ironically, it is the Black Moth that brings these characters together, pulls them apart, then brings them together again - all without intending it, for the most part. It's a much different structure from her usual Regency Romances, and its originality makes it stand out. The characters are still fairly stock - Heyer only has a few character versions that she recycles, as do most genre authors, and it's never really bothered me. Lord John - Jack - is the delightful, amused, finnicky dresser, the real hero of the story - but flawed all the same. Richard suffers, yes he pays for letting his brother be repudiated and scorned by society, and he's sympathetic for not taking advantage of it (except to marry Lavinia, and he pays for that too - literally and figuratively). There's Jack's best friend Sir Miles and his wife, Lady O'Hara, who are adorable, and Helen of course, who's quick tongue and strong spirit make her a strong heroine even though they attract the Devil's attentions. He, in his own way, is a sympathetic figure. He's despicable, and not at all appealing, but you can't help feeling sorry for him. Still wouldn't want to try to befriend him though. It's a nice change, actually, to encounter an anti-hero as distinctive as Tracy in Heyer's work.A Note on this Edition: There were contemporary editions of Heyer's books available when I started collecting them, but they were hard to find and online ordering was not common "in those days" (yes I know, we're talking 1996-2002, the period in which I collected them all, but it's amazing how recent our dependence on the internet really is). Very few were available in bookshops, and I was a poor student anyway. I found most of them at op-shops, secondhand bookshops, and at Salamanca Market. I don't mind having old, yellowed copies with, often, very ugly covers. Amongst them are gems like this one - an Australian second edition with the original dust jacket (some of my Heyer books don't have dust jackets, which is a shame). So, this is a scan of my cover, tattered corners and all. And just look at it! Isn't it beautiful? It's falling apart, sadly, so I have to remove it when reading the book - ironic, since a dust jacket's purpose is to protect the book!