Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Black Sheep" by Georgette Heyer

ISBN: 1402210787
Format: Paperback, 288pp
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Pub. Date: June 2008
Price: $13.95

I’m slowly but surely working my way through Georgette Heyer’s extensive catalogue of Regency and Historic romances. My latest read, and quite possibly my favorite, is Black Sheep which was first published 1966 but has recently been re-released by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Our heroine, Abigail Wendover, believes that at 28 she is well past her prime. Living in Bath with her older unmarried sister Selina and in charge of her niece Fanny, the last thought on Abigail’s mind is romance. But when her young charge gets swept her off feet by Stacy Calverleigh, a known fortune hunter, Abigail turns to the rouge’s uncle for assistance.

But Miles Calverleigh, the acknowledged black sheep of the family, doesn’t really care what his good-for-nothing nephew Stacy is up to. He’s just returned from India, where he spent several years paying for a youthful mistake, and isn’t concerned with his relatives. And though he is immediately drawn to Abigail he still firmly refuses to help her in her rescue mission.

Stacy meanwhile has charmed the whole of Bath including Aunt Selina and Fanny feels herself very lucky to be the choice of a fashionable man. But Abigail has seen him for what he really is and as the young lovers prepare to elope Abigail does everything she can to stop it, with or without the help of Miles.

Of course one of the things I love so much about a Heyer Regency Romance are the wonderful secondary characters. The fussy relatives, the friends, and the place all play a huge role and add depth to the book. With stand out main characters and sharp, funny dialogue Georgette Heyer is an entertaining read from start to finish.

Over all Black Sheep was a lighter quicker read than Heyer’s An Infamous Army or Friday’s Child. While it’s defiantly shorter in length the feeling of the novel was also very different. The romance between Abigail and Miles Calverleigh, between these two older characters, is less formal than the romances in some of the other books. Abigail, sure that she couldn’t be in love, is just enjoying what she thinks of as a mild flirtation with the hopes of helping Fanny. But it hits her that her feelings are much, much more. Miles on the other hand realizes that Abigail is it from the start and won’t take no for an answer.

And the end? It’s perfect. I don’t think that I’ve enjoyed a Heyer ending more, and that’s saying a lot since they’re all good. Black Sheep is now one of my all time favorites and even though I’ve just finished it I think I might have to read it again. It’s that good.