6 Feb 2013
"The Black Sheep" by Georgette Heyer
Few authors can do for me what Georgette Heyer does. Her novels make me instantly feel relaxed and comfortable. They're like the facials of the world of books, a little haven that allows you to escape real life for a bit. Yes, it romances but they're well-written and few authors have chronicled Regency Life for the upper classes as she has.
I'll come straight out and say that "Black Sheep" is not among my fave Heyer novels. It's cute and good but it doesn't reach the levels of "Frederica" or "The Grand Sophy".
The story is a classic Heyer tale: Abby Wendover is, with her 28 years, officially on the shelf and as such she considers herself much too old to be treated as a girl. She is, in her own mind, a respectable spinster. Abby is unmarried by choice, although she has had offers, she has never really been in love and with her keen wit, dry sense of humour and independent spirit, few men can match her and as she has an independent fortune (not a large one), she doesn't have to marry for practical reasons.
Instead she lives in Bath with her older sister Selina and her ward, the beautiful barely out of the school room miss, Fanny. They are part of the inner circle in Bath and it is a comfortable life but when Abby comes back from a stay with her other sister, drama is looming on the horizon. Fanny, an heiress, fancies herself in love with the fashionable Stacy Castlereigh but Abby is certain that he is nothing but a fortune hunter, so when the young man's uncle Miles Castlereigh shows up in Bath, Abby quickly tries to enlist his help.
Miles Castlereigh has just returned from India and makes no secret of his lack of interest in polite manners and conventions and he couldn't care less about his nephews schemes, he is very interesting is Miss Abby Wendover. A true Heyer plot is unfolding...
If you're a Heyer fan, like me, you'll enjoy "Black Sheep". Abby is a great main character with lots of personality, my only complaint is that it would be good to have more of her. Similarly main of the minor characters are not built robustly enough and end up a little one dimensional. The story is great and the ending was fantastic, classic Heyer, so it's a really good read. However, if you've never read Heyer before, I suggest starting with another one of her books such as "Regency Buck" or "The Grand Sophy".