Black Sheep, by Georgette Heyer – A Review

Guest review by Katherine of November’s Autumn

Twenty-eight-year-old Abigail Wendover arrives home in Bath after having helped one of her sisters. The poor dear; all was an uproar at her home; all three children had the measles, the nurse fell down the back-stairs and broke her leg, and she’s due to have her fourth child at any moment! After order is restored by Abby’s level-headed nursing and reassurances she treats herself to a visit to London. She shops and enjoys herself until her lecturing brother descends upon her with the news that her niece, Fanny is being courted by a ‘gamester and gazetted fortune hunter,’ Mr. Stacy Caverleigh.

Abby lives with her sister Selina, her senior by sixteen years, and the two of them are doting old maid aunts who’ve had the care of Fanny since she was two-years-old. Selina is ready to believe the best of everybody but perhaps no the most perceptive of creatures, and a bit of a hypochondriac,

“The melancholy truth, my love, is that single females of her age are almost compelled to adpot dangerous diseases, if they wish to be the objects of interest.”

Stacy Caverleigh has done his best to charm her and his decided air of fashion puts him in her good graces. Fanny who will make her debut in London within a few months is a precocious young lady who knows her own mind but still has romantical school-girl notions, which makes her ripe for all kinds of outrageous folly. Abby hopes for an opportunity to speak with Mr. Caverleigh without Fanny’s knowledge and the perfect opportunity happens when while writing a note to acquaintances that are arriving in Bath at fashionable York House she hears “Carry Mr. Caverleigh’s portmanteaux up to No. 12.” She is surprised when she looks up and sees a gentleman older than she and in clothing too loose-fitting to be considered even remotely fashionable. She introduces herself to him in a humorous scene of cross-purposes and mistaken identities. The Mr. Caverleigh to whom she is speaking is no other than the black sheep of that family, Miles, who was not only expelled from Eton but had done such extravagant follies he was packed off to India. Continue reading