Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF NOVEL: Regency Romance, Historical Fiction
SETTING: Bath, 1816
SYNOPSIS: At the age of twenty-eight, Abigail Wendover remains an unmarried spinster of independent means. In the last few years she has been setting up house with her older unmarried sister, Selina, in Bath and raising their young orphaned niece, Fanny. Even though Abby isn’t at all opposed to marriage and would gladly entertain changing her situation for the right man, she has a bigger dilemma that is preoccupying her greatly at the moment – her beloved niece, at the inexperienced age of seventeen, imagines herself “violently in loves” with a fortune-hunter dandy in deep debt. Abby is determined to protect her niece’s heart and reputation at all costs!
WHAT I LOVED:
- Miles Calverleigh: Considered the black sheep of the family, Miles was sent to India twenty years ago because of his scapegrace, youthful indiscretions. Now he has returned with questionable manners, indifferent fashion, and uncertain fortune. I absolutely adored Miles – he is such an unconventional hero (Ms. Heyer portrays these sorts so well!) and I love that he is more mature and not at all modish! He is deliciously enigmatic, provokingly literal, and quick to know his own mind. And I absolutely love his habit of forthrightly stating what he wants – and how it throws Abby completely off balance! 😉
- Hilarious Conversations: The meet cute in this story is phenomenal and pure genius! What a mix-up, what a hilarious misconception! As many Georgette Heyer fans know, Ms. Heyer is masterful at comedic repartee, nonsensical exchanges, and witty banter. And readers can see brilliant examples of that in the conversations between Miles and Abby! I absolutely loved their outlandish discussions together and how often Abby was unable to suppress her giggles!
- Abigail Wendover: I’m noticing a trend: I tend to love Georgette Heyer’s more mature heroines much more easily than her younger one. And sensible, fun-loving, yet romantic Abigail Wendover is no exception. In Abigail, I was reminded of some of my favorite Jane Austen characters: Elizabeth Bennet (dearly loves a laugh and charming personality), Emma Woodhouse (care and consideration for her family), and Marianne Dashwood (not afraid to go against propriety and desires romance in her life).
- Bath and Jane Austen: I love that this story took place in Bath, especially since I was in Bath a few months ago! It was great to read about places I’ve actually been to like Sydney Gardens and the Pump Room. In addition, as always with Georgette Heyer, I love spotting some subtle Jane Austen nods whether in characters, personalities, or text. I thought Selina’s extreme concern over her own poor health was similar to several Jane Austen characters, and I did spot the phrase “excessively diverting,” which I don’t think was a mere coincidence!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Falling Action and Ending: In the last quarter of the story I found myself missing Miles and wishing he wasn’t away for so long. And that might be because I wasn’t as interested in Stacy and Fanny. Oftentimes, I adore the secondary characters in Georgette Heyer’s novels, but in this story none of them engaged me as much as Miles and Abby. In addition, while the ending was in many ways satisfying and adorable, I do wish it wasn’t so abrupt. Maybe an epilogue would be all that’s needed, I’d love to know what happened to all these characters in the future.
With a supremely charming yet rational heroine and an irresistible yet unorthodox hero, Black Sheep is a romantic adventure that is sure to enchant and delight readers! Full of elopement schemes, clandestine meetings, intrusive family members, and a desperate fortune-hunter this tale has a host well-known Georgette Heyer trademarks, but where Ms. Heyer’s talent truly shines is the sparkling, stimulating, and teasing exchanges between our dear hero and heroine! I highly recommend!
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For the past five years I’ve made it a tradition to post a review near/on Georgette Heyer’s birthday (August 16th) in celebration! I’ve read several Heyer novels not during August too, you can find all my reviews HERE.