The first novel of Georgette Heyer was apparently written to amuse her brother. She wrote it at fifteen years of age and it was published when she was nineteen.
It does not read like a novel written by such a young author, though. Heyer was clearly some kind of prodigy. It is well written with an engaging cast. There is a bit of intrigue and villainy to temper the inevitable romance. In short, classic Heyer. She really is such a pleasure to read, and historical romance is definitely not my usual interest. I was so impressed by her Regency novel, The Quiet Gentleman, which had strong elements of murder/mystery in it, that I had to read some more of her. The Black Moth has more of a romance focus, but nothing even as cloying as your average TV drama nowadays.
Heyer in general is, in fact, Downton Abbey set a hundred or two years earlier. Seriously, Downton Abbey unfolds like The Quiet Gentleman, and includes elements like the widowed dowager, and the new heir returning from far off lands to take over the management of the estate amid fraught romances and undercurrent class rivalries, and the odd murder or blackmail thrown in here and there. If you like Downton then you should like Heyer in general, who seems to be the original and best creator of such sagas....Continua