Name: Black Sheep
Author: Georgette Heyer
Genre: Romance, Historical
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Abby Wendover, at 28-years-old, is considered to be too old for marriage. She lives with her older sister, Selina, and teenage niece, Fanny. When Fanny was only a baby, both of her parents passed away, leaving her in the care of James Wendover, an uptight man with no interest in raising his older brother’s child. He passed Fanny on to Selina and Abby, who raised her in a strict, yet loving way.
After returning home to Bath, England after visiting another sister, Abby is horrified to learn that Fanny has grown attached to a man of bad reputation. Stacy Caverleigh is known for his many debts and scandalous behavior, but he’s also at least a decade older than the 17-year-old Fanny. Abby tries to tell her niece that Stacy is only interested in her inheritance, but Fanny is in love and won’t listen.
In Bath on other business, Stacy’s uncle, Miles Caverleigh, runs into Abby and learns of the situation. As a young man, Miles was sent to India as punishment for his rebellious ways and is considered the black sheep of the Caverleigh family. Abby desperately asks for his help, but he has no interest in a nephew he’s never met.
I tried to like this book, but I just couldn’t. Ms. Heyer apparently wanted to add authenticity to her historical romance by using slang from that time period, but it was so excessive that half the time I had no idea what the characters were even talking about. The characters also tended to think, for many pages, about information that had already been discussed numerous times. I skipped at least 3 pages at a time and didn’t miss a thing.
There were no sudden twists to grab the reader’s attention and any secrets that could affect the story were revealed within the first chapter. Basically, Black Sheep is a slow narrative of Abby Wendover’s life. Her circumstances aren’t remarkable and the characters are very cliche, to the point that I was bored from start to finish.
Abby’s personality wasn’t explained very well, either. It was hinted here and there that she was more intelligent than her peers, but, to me, she seemed like an average person. I think she was loosely based on Elizabeth Bennet, but instead of laughing at things she found ridiculous, she laughed at things that seriously offended her. When Miles Caverleigh said anything she didn’t agree with, she laughed. When he said something that insulted her family, she laughed. I couldn’t decide if she was just amused by his attitude or too shocked at his callousness to give a level-headed reply. Either way, it was just a weird reaction.
All in all, I did not enjoy this book and finished it only for the sake of finishing it. I haven’t read any of Ms. Heyer’s other books and I probably won’t, after reading Black Sheep.