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 remotley 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.

“His mind moved swiftly… he could make her laugh even when she was out of charity with him, and… a dozen other attributes which were quite frivolous… but which added up to a charming total, outweighing the more important faults in his character.”

Will Fanny elope with Stacy Caverleigh? And will Abby ever be able to stop laughing at something Miles Caverleigh says when she is really most vexed with him? This is my third Georgette Heyer read, her novels have such incredible plots and humor I love her style of writing dialogue; It’s playful and witty and her characters come alive with it. Miles Caverleigh is like a mixture of Henry Tilney and Mr. Bennet but in latter’s case he’s met his intellectual equal.

Black Sheep, by Georgette Heyer
Sourcebooks (2008)
Trade paperback (280) pages
ISBN: 978-1402210785

Katherine blogs at November’s Autumn. She lives in the Seattle area and has a great love for English literature, the arts, and period dramas. She was introduces to Jane Austen six years ago after watching the 1980s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and has been a Janeite since she read Sense and Sensibility shortly thereafter. Her friend Laurel Ann recently introduced her to Georgette Heyer who she’s found entertaining and delightful! You can follow Katherine on twitter as NovembersAutumn.

Celebrating Georgette Heyer – Day 17 Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of Black Sheep, by Georgette Heyer (Sourcebooks, 2008) by leaving a comment stating what intrigues you about the plot or characters, or if you have read it, which is your favorite character or scene by midnight Pacific time, Monday, September 6th, 2010. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010. Shipment to continental US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Upcoming event posts

Day 18   Aug 30 – Review: Cousin Kate
Day 18   Aug 30 – Review: Charity Girl
Day 19   Aug 31 – Review: Lady of Quality
Day 19   Aug 31 – Essay: Heyer Heroes

Celebrating Georgette Heyer   •   August 1st – 31st, 2010