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The Black Moth – Georgette Heyer – Austenesque Reviews
Apr 062016

The Black MothSetting Her Precedent at Such An Early Age

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

This 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.

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  29 Responses to “The Black Moth – Georgette Heyer”


    nice review!



    I agree with you on all points. It is one of my favorites, but then again, I don’t always want pure romance. Sometimes I want a great story with a little bit of romance thrown into it. 🙂


      I’m so glad to hear The Black Moth is one of your favorites. It definitely is a great choice for readers, who like you said want a great story with a bit or romance thrown in!


    Years ago I read some of Georgette Heyer’s novels but I honestly don’t remember any titles. I may just have to try her again after your review!


      I’ve been slowly working my way through her novels! There are so many! 🙂 I’ve heard that there is a film adaption of The Grand Sophy in the works, which would be just fabulous!


    Good review. I read this some time ago and as said, it is difficult to remember all those books read long ago. But you do your reviews in such a way that a person gets a clear rendition of what to expect or of what was read. Excellent work…as ever.


      Thank you, Sheila! I have a hard enough time keep track of the plots and characters of all the books I read, I can only imagine how hard it is when you read the amount of books you do! 🙂 Some do stand out more than others, but having my reviews to look back on is helpful as well!


    Lovely review Meredith. Glad you enjoyed it. I always do even though it isn’t one of my favourites (of which I have many including Arabella, Frederica and Cotillion). Enjoy your next read


    Thanks for this informative review. I read one of Georgette Heyer’s murder mysteries at Christmas and was very impressed, so I will have to try this one too.


      Jeanette, I just recently started reading GH’s mysteries myself and found them in quite a different ‘voice’ than her historicals and Regencies. I think you will enjoy them, but they are different. I hope you like her others as well. 🙂


      Glad you enjoyed the review, Jeanette! I’ve not read any of her mysteries yet – I’m glad to hear you are enjoying them. I love a good mystery!


    Will be interested to see how this compares for you with These Old Shades, which it more than passingly resembles. And once you read These Old Shades, the coast is clear to read its follow-up, Devil’s Cub, one of my favorites! Mary Challoner is a great heroine.


      I’ve heard that about These Old Shades…definitely looking forward to reading that one. Devil’s Cub was my first and I loved it! 😉 Mary Challoner was definitely a heroine to admire! LOL!


    I love Georgette Heyer’s novels and this is one of my favourites. I’ve recently joined the GH Group on GoodReads and I’m having a great time rereading her novels again. I think this one is coming up soon so I’ll look forward to it. Great review Meredith. You did it justice.


      That’s great that you are rereading Georgette Heyer’s novels, Teresa! How fun! I’m enjoying them immensely! Thanks for checking out my review!


    I find this story very exciting! I also admire the witty dialogues!. We are very lucky to have so many books of Georgette Heyer to read! 🙂


    I was amazed when I found out how young she was when she wrote this. Pretty impressive! And it was a great taste of what was to come with her books.


    I LOVE swashbuckling! I think I need to read this!


    Great review, Meredith. I loved Black Moth, it was the first GH I read, starting about ten years ago. Back before I had an e-reader, and was searching the used bookstores. 🙂 I didn’t realize until after I read it that it was her first, written even earlier to entertain a sickly brother. It’s not as mature as her later books, but I think everyone should read it some time, and like you, see that her talent was there from such an early age.

    Oh, I agree with you Meredith, about the lack of romance. But I also started thinking of her as the ‘KISS ON THE LAST PAGE’ writer after reading several of her works. So much so that I was rather shocked when The Declaration came about half-way through in one of her books, ‘The Masqueraders.’ (which has weird twists throughout) But there’s still so much to work out after that point. And with all the GH I’ve read, it’s always a joy with how she ‘works it out,’ right up to the last page!!!


      Thank you, Michelle! That’s lovely that you found GH ten years ago and in a bookstore! Almost like her books were calling to you!

      With such a likable hero and heroine, I wanted them to receive more page time, but as others have said – not every story is a great big romantic tale. I like your “kiss on the last page” descriptor for Georgette Heyer. 😉 I always marvel at how she brings it all together and works everything out, it is usually lots of misunderstandings and colossal mishaps!


    Great review, Meredith! I love Georgette Heyer’s books and can’t believe I missed this one. I need to do something about it asap 🙂


    Lovely review, Meredith! I’m glad I have another Heyer to add to my list! 😉

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