Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer

Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer
☆ ☆ (Just okay)
This is the first book to be read for my Georgette Heyer 2011 Reading Challenge.

Book source: My own copy
Genre: Regency Romance

Book Synopsis: Abigail Wendover, on the shelf at 28…is determined to prevent Fanny, her pretty and high-spirited niece, from becoming attached to Stacy Calverleigh, a good-looking town-beau and an acknowledged fortune-hunter of shocking reputation.

Miles Calverleigh, the Black Sheep of his family…is enormously rich from a long sojourn in India, has a scandalous past, and is not at all inclined toward good manners. Could he be Abby’s most important ally in keeping her niece from a most unfortunate match? But Miles turns out to be the most provoking creature Abigail has ever met with a disconcerting ability to throw her into giggles at quite the wrong moment…

Review: This is the first book by Georgette Heyer I’ve read. I was so excited to read this book because I have only heard good things about her work. Unfortunately, I was lost from the very beginning. I had to go back and re-read the first 5 pages or so just to understand what was going on. I think what confused me in the beginning was how the story is told. This book is told in the third person point of view and it kept skipping from one character to the other, which caused me to get lost a number of times throughout the book. Also, regency romance is not the genre I tend to read and so the old fashioned wording really through me for a loop. For example on page 106

“You don’t favor your father much: for one thing, he wasn’t a dapper-dog. Hadn’t the figure for it. I collect that yellow calf-clingers are now all the crack?”

Due to the narrative and the old fashioned wording, I found myself drifting off and then coming to and realizing I have no idea what I’ve just read. This was really frustrating. However, once the story started to pick up and I got more used to the wording I began to enjoy the book more.

One other thing that I didn’t much care for was the characterization. I never could really connect to the characters of the story. They weren’t very developed and I never really got a since of who they were with the exception of Abby Wendover and Miles Calverleigh. I got to know who Abby was right from the beginning whereas Miles’s character was being developed throughout the entire book. He was sort of a mystery character and bits and pieces of him were revealed to the reader throughout the story.

Overall, the book was just eh for me. I never got the urge to rush back to it to see what would happen next. There were some highlights throughout, such as Abby’s and Miles first meeting but overall I was disappointed. I hope Heyer’s historical fiction novels will do more for me than her regency romance novels. I would only recommend this book to someone who loves regency romance and understands their jargon otherwise you may be bored at times if you are like me and like the fast-past plots that keep you wanting more. 

Here's the link if you would like to sign-up for this challenge: Georgette Heyer


  1. I admit I sort of felt the same way after reading The Foundling. Every blog I read raves about Georgette Heyer so I was slightly letdown. The language could be confusing at times and some of the characters and plot twists were frustrating. However, I gave another Heyer a shot, Arabella, and really liked it. I read it in one day. I felt the characters were better developed and I genuinely wanted to find out how Arabella extricates herself from the predicament she got herself into.

  2. If I were you, I'd read These Old Shades. I've not read any Georgette Heyer for years, but when I was a teenager, I read pretty much all of her books, and I remember really loving that one. Give it a go! :)

  3. @Ashley I've heard Arabella was one of her best novels but I can't seem to find it.

    @Collect Dreams I haven't given up on Heyer just yet. I just think I will enjoy her historical fiction better than her regency romance.


  4. Love historical fiction, and Georgette Heyer. My most recent book is A WAR OF HER OWN, a novel set not so far back as many. This is a WWII homefront tale set in Texas. Excited to connect to your blog. And welcome a reviewer who would like to review the book. I'm adding a link to my blog.Sylvia Dickey Smith

    A War of Her Own

  5. Heyer's books are readily available from (including Arabella - I checked) If you've never used the site, and want to buy books news, I highly recommend it. Shipping is always free!

    Black Sheep is on my to be read pile. Maybe I'll skip it for the challenge in favour of something else.

  6. @Avid_Reader Thanks for suggesting The Book Depository to me. I have heard of it but I've never used it.

    If you enjoy regency romance then maybe you would enjoy Black Sheep. It just moved at such a slow pace for me that I grew bored.

  7. I have lots of other Heyer books on my shelf to read for the Challenge, so I can always leave Black Sheep until later. Speaking of the Challenge, I'm going to have to start one of my Heyer books soon - I think I'm going to go with Bath Tangle first.

  8. I picked my copy of Arabella up at my local Barnes & Noble and I know they are selling many of her books on their Website now they are reprinting them

  9. @AShley I keep checking barnes and noble everytime I go in for Arabella and it's always the same books that I already have.

  10. I just finished The Black Moth and enjoyed it. Next up I'll read Arabella. All of these books are available at Amazon, and there is even a list of her works by popularity, which might be helpful in trying to decide what to read next:

  11. Taylor -- Hi! I don't want you to feel let down because I will tell you the truth -- not all of Heyer's books are created equal. I've read a few that I've loved and a few that were forgettable. Arabella is a cute love story and much easier to read and understand (I reviewed it last year), and I really liked The Talisman Ring and Devil's Cub. I just finished Beavallet (it's set in the 1500's and was a pirate adventure!) and enjoyed it very much. Hope this helps. I believe I got my copy of Arabella on Amazon.

  12. I have been itching to try some GH. Your blog is quite lovely :)