The works of author Georgette Heyer faded into obscurity after her death in 1974. Known for her historical romance novels, she wrote her first book in 1921 at the age of 15 and could twist romance plots with a mastery equal to Jane Austen.
Perhaps it doesn’t come as a surprise that in recent years readers have been allowed the privilege to be reacquainted with Heyer’s classic works.
Now, 36 years after her death and 89 years after its initial publication, her first novel ‘The Black Moth” has been re-released in paperback for the first time.
It is a captivating read that brilliantly exposes the raw talent Heyer possessed.
Jack Carstares was an honest man known for his kindness and intellect. As the eldest son, he was set to inherit an earldom that promised him marriage to a lady of prominence and a luxurious care-free life spent on the grounds of his family manor.
But all of this is abruptly taken away from him when he becomes involved in a gambling scandal so malicious that he’s forced into exile and can never go by the name of Jack Carstares again.
There is an aura of intrigue concerning the matter as none of his friends believe Jack is capable of such a crime, and all have turned suspicious eyes on the devilish Duke of Andover and Jack’s younger brother, Richard.
Andover has been an enemy of Jack’s since the pair was first introduced and was quite thrilled when his opponent is sent away.
But Jack wasn’t one to simply disappear completely and the two would continue to cross paths until the matter regarding Jack’s ‘scandal” was finally resolved.
The issue at the heart of this novel is the women who were in Jack’s and Richard’s lives.
There is Lavinia, the wife of Richard and sister of Andover, who will do anything to keep her life of luxury.
But the beautiful and innocent Lady Diana captivates the hearts of both Andover and Jack. The Duke of Andover wants Diana all to himself, whether or not she’s willing. Jack’s great concern for her well-being forces him to take action and finally re-emerge into society.
Heyer leads the reader down many paths of suspense, scandal, and romance. This novel is an example of how intrigue and love can be intertwined to create a captivating masterpiece.
At just 15 years old, Heyer managed to draw her readers in by creating interesting characters and a brilliant plot line. Other romance authors such as Mary Balogh and yes, even Jane Austen, seem to pale in comparison.
‘The Black Moth” is a delightful work that deserves to receive attention once again. It is a privilege to read, and Heyer’s words will continue to live on just as surely as her name will endure within the genre of classical romance.
Leonard is a member of the class of 2013.