Abigail Wendover is a spinster at age twenty-eight. Upon her return from out of town she gets some distressing news… her niece is head over heels with a fortune hunter, a Lord Stacey Calverleigh. He is a clever handsome young gentleman intent on wooing the impressionable Miss Fanny right out of her inheritance.

When she goes to confront him, she winds up yelling at Miles Calverleigh, his estranged uncle. Miles is beguiled by her immediately and she in turn is deeply amused by him, so much so she actually breaks out into giggles, which is so unlike her. He does not see her as a spinster at all and finds her fresh, lively, and entertaining. All she sees however is a lack of interest and a wicked gleam in his eyes.

Miles is the perpetual teaser. He enjoys getting a rise out Abby. The two of them share the same sense of humor. The dialogue is very witty and charming. Heyer imbues the heroines narrative with the same clever engaging style.

The plot and its characters are easily followed, which could be a plus or minus depending on the reader and where they stand on Heyers.

It’s a May/December if you haven’t noticed. The hero is notably older than the heroine but clues make it hard to distinguish where he’s in his 40s or 50s. I doubt he’s in his 30s, but whatever age he is he markets himself like a middle age man.

Spoiler: My favorite scene is the finale where he kidnaps her in his carriage and whisks her off to the altar.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Black Sheep

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cris October 10, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Not to be nit-picky and rude, but I do wish people would stop mis-using the term May-December! May would be a 20-something, December a 70-80-something. A 20-year age difference is more like May-August.

That said, lovely review and I think this will be my first Heyer book, it sounds great.

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2 Jenny Schwartz October 10, 2010 at 10:01 PM

I read and re-read “Black Sheep” years ago. It’s one of my favourite Heyers. Definitely a great place to start. Although “The Grand Sophy” or “The Talisman Ring” or… no, I have a number of Heyer favourites. I like her 1930s/50s mysteries, too (except for Penhallow).

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3 Keira October 11, 2010 at 2:27 PM

@Cris – I know it’s not always quite accurate b/c the term May/December for most (non-romance readers) brings up the idea of Playboy Bunny/Hugh Hefner, but it’s an apt descriptor for letting others know there’s a fairly big age difference between the leads. :)

@Jenny – I haven’t read Grand Sophy or Talisman Ring. I must find more time to fit more Heyer in! :D I haven’t read one of her mysteries either, but I certainly love her romances, so maybe I should.

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