Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Black Moth” as Want to Read:
The Black Moth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Black Moth

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  5,804 Ratings  ·  526 Reviews
The Black Moth, first published in 1921, is Georgette Heyer's first novel and is also the first novel in a four-part series including These Old Shades, Devil's Cub, and An Infamous Army. The Black Moth is set around 1751 during the Georgian era and comes disguised as an amusing but uncomplicated romance. The story appears so straightforward that you may be inclined to read ...more
Nook, 216 pages
Published November 21st 2010 by New Century Books (first published 1921)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Black Moth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Black Moth

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Reread/buddy read with the Georgette Heyer group. Yeah, sorry to all my friends who are major Heyer fans, but this is staying at 3 stars. It's fun, but very lightweight.

It's got a pretty HIGHLY melodramatic plot, centering around one Lord John Carstares (our hero, Jack) who's been accused of cheating at cards - the SHAME! especially since he only confessed to protect the real cheater, his spineless younger brother - and is now a highwayman (cheating at cards with your noble friends somehow being
Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
Ahhhh, reading my sentimental favourite!

This is the first of GH's novels I read in it's entirety. & wasn't I lucky starting with GH's first book, written when she was only seventeen. I still have my original copy, although the cover fell off on this reading! The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer

According to Jane Aiken Hodge, GH said she had two hero types

The Mark I hero, who is “The brusque, savage sort with a foul temper” (Vidal from Devils Cub, Max from the Grand Sophy)

The Mark II hero, who is “Suave, well-dressed, rich,
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-hist, own
They're all idiots.

Okay, here's the twist and my conundrum in rating this book. A good part of this just reads as melodramatic Georgian period llama drama. Overblown. On the other hand, there are parts of this where the absurdity of it is evident--it's mocking the behavior in a Much Ado About Nothing kinda way. So, reader mood when approaching this really affects how it is received. Oddly enough, I went back and forth between the two and it seemed to drag on a bit in places; therefore, I'm not e
Sherwood Smith
This is Georgette Heyer's first pancake. She wrote it as a teen. It's a cliche later silver fork novel with an adventure overlay, showing heavy influence of Orczy and Jeffrey Farnol in particular--but she seems to have discovered that she really liked writing the rakish villain. Because, though this one has the proper ending, the villain is the best character, and she knows it . . . so she rewrote it with the very same sort of villain, but makes him the hero, in These Old Shades. She had also di ...more
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Heyer but not this! I enjoyed the historical details, the fashion, etc. I think it's impressive that she wrote this at such a tender age. It was on target for 3 stars but I found the second half really quite tedious..
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-romance
Oh novel, how do I object to thee? Let me count the ways...

1. The title is a phrase that refers to the villian that is mentioned ONLY ONCE over the course of the novel. And it has something to do with the way he dresses. Really, guys? Can't we come up with something more, you know, related to the story?
2. The villian is a jerk who tries to kidnap and ravish our poor heroine twice... and receives absolutely no punishment at the end, unless you count the fact that the hero gets the girl and not hi
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What a lovely story! It made me smile and laugh, then it made me sad, annoyed, frustrated. I wanted to strangle a couple of characters too and hug and kiss others. At one point it got a bit slow, but it didn't mess up the story.

Don't expect to spend a lot of time with the protagonists, especially Diana. She is lovely, though. Jack Carstares appears a bit more, but mostly you follow around his weak younger brother, his infuriatingly selfish and stupid wife, her siblings and a couple of other c
Aslaug Gørbitz
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wishes they could travel back in time.
Shelves: favorite
My rating system:
*Hate it.
**Nothing there to like.
***Not a favorite, but readable and others might like it and usually do.
****I really like it, but it is not to be confused with a true genius.
*****True Genius.

Unlike other Georgette Heyer fans, this is one of my favorite novels.
I first read it many years ago when I was 13 years old. I recently re-read it and found that I liked it just as much now. The first chapter is hard to read as it brandies about so many names, I had to read it twice. I rem
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love this author, I am ADDICTED to this genre, and am the biggest fan of the language used in the melodramas of the 18th and 19th century, so well done here. But I barely got through this book...
I disliked it tremendously! Than, why am I giving it 2 stars? One is for the stylistics of the prose, and one is for giving her kudos for a first novel. But there was much wrong with this entry, I am very sad to say. I will only point to the most glaring one - every character was as flat and shallow as
Kitty (I solemnly swear that I am up to no good)
This book is hard to review! On one hand, I want to lay into it and point out all the obvious flaws, but on the other hand I am reminded that this was Heyer's first novel at a very young I'm going to argue both points!

First hand:
This book is rambling and ridiculous, the characters are all lords and ladies...or more like caricatures of lords and ladies, over exaggerated, unconvincing and a little embarrassing.
There was no clear cut drive for the novel, it swapped between plots in a way
I gather this was the first novel Heyer published, but I only got to it after having read some of her later novels. What was interesting was the way this book seemed to lay out the prototype for These Old Shades -- the titular "Black Moth" or Tracy "Devil" Belmanoir, is clearly the blueprint for The Duke of Avon, Justin "Satanas" Alistair, including the abduction referred to in Avon's past in These Old Shades, carried out by Belmanoir in The Black Moth.

I liked The Black Moth, but it was not as
Olga Godim
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georgette-heyer
This was the first novel by Heyer, and also it had its share of problems, it read very well, showing the hand of the future master of the romance genre.
The novel is set not during Regency – that period will be introduced into Heyer’s fiction later – but vaguely in the middle of the 18th century. Traveling to the continent is still sort-of a fashion for British aristocracy, and no one heard of Napoleon yet. Life is peaceful, except for our hero, Jack.
Seven years ago, Jack and his younger brother
I've given this a B for content, and an A- for narration at AudioGals, so I'm calling it 4.5 stars all together.

Although I’m a long-term reader and fan of Georgette Heyer’s romances, there are a couple that, for reasons I can’t fathom, passed me by, and The Black Moth is one of them. So I’ve come to the audio completely fresh, as it were, not having read the book previously. I don’t know if that’s made a difference to my perception of it: looking at the number of poor-to-middling reviews on Good
Bridget Marshall
A fun adventure/romance with intriguing characters and the makings for great story line, but for a few weak points that (in my opinion) made it rather unconvincing and gave the story an overall unrealistic feel.

For example, six years previous to the setting in which the story takes place, two brothers are involved in playing cards in which the younger brother cheats and the older brother nobly takes the blame, the consequence being that he is diseherited by his father (who is an Earl) and leave
Jewels ♥ My Devastating Reads
I had a hard time making sense of this book. It's the first book I've read by this author, and I understand it was the first novel she wrote, at a rather young age. I couldn't even really decide what sort of a rating to give this read. I think it's more of a two and half star read.

Heyer spins an entertaining tale, I'll say that much for this novel. But at times the entertainment value wans as you have to wonder what the hell this is about. Is it a love story? Yes and no. It's not really about D
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
The one where Jack takes the blame when his brother cheats at cards, runs away to be a highwayman, and doesn't care much until he falls in love.

Eh. It's a first book, and it shows. The relationships are all very tell-y, and the various conflicts don't hold up to serious scrutiny. The women are all children (the only difference among them being their spoiled-to-charming ratio). And what a very strange world where cheating at cards is enough to make you unfit for polite society forever, while kidn
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
I just cannot kick this habitual need to have a Georgette Heyer novel on my currently-reading shelf. As I type this, I have a tab open for Hoopla so I can grab a few more. =) I love that her novels are full of the frippery and finery I'm accustomed to in a historical romance novel, but the plots always seem fresh and completely engaging. This novel featured a disgraced brother who was actually taking the blame for his brother's misdeed and turned said disgrace into a career as a highwayman. Whil ...more
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
4.5 stars! Setting Her Precedent at Such An Early Age

This is the eighth book by Georgette Heyer I’ve had the pleasure of reading, but it is actually the first one she published – at the age of 19! In her literary debut, Georgette Heyer introduced readers to Lord Jack Carstares, eldest son of the Earl of Wyncham. Six years ago Jack’s honor and reputation were severely damaged when he admitted to cheating at cards. Did he cheat at cards? No, but he took the blame to protect his younger brother, Ri
When he was young, Jack Carstares took the blame when his younger brother was caught cheating at cards. He was ostracized from society and fled to the Continent, where he eventually made his fortune gambling and teaching fencing. Now he has returned to England, where he plays at being a highwayman (but in fact, gives all his ill-gotten gains to the poor). When his younger brother realizes that Jack is back, he is wracked with guilt, but as before his love for the spoiled Lavinia keeps him from r ...more
The Black Moth was Heyer’s first novel, and it does show, but it’s still pretty fun. She hasn’t figured out what to do with her heroines yet, and that’s very obvious: Diana Beauleigh is rather colourless and lacking in the kind of witty repartee that really makes some of Heyer’s other heroines. Indeed, she’s more just a love interest and much less a heroine. Despite Diana and Jack seeming like the main pair, the one the plot was working toward, I was more interested in the spoilt Lavinia and her ...more
This was my very first Heyer novel and I must admit that I was immensely impressed. I totally loved this book, even though I agree with some of the reviewers who have said that it is not her best effort. Having read a few other of her novels, I can see that now, but I still had to give this one 5 stars, because I enjoyed it so much when I read it! I thought the ending was ridiculous though; the way she wrapped up the whole affair with Jack, Diana and the villain...really it was poorly done. The ...more
Ana Rînceanu
My Twelfth Georgette Heyer

There is a great adventure romance novel in this mess, but it's hard to find among such a rich tapestry of swashbuckling and ironically witty moments. A little too rich. Pacing problems aside, there is a great deal to like in this book.

Years ago, Jack took the blame when his younger brother Richard cheated at cards. Jack consequently faced social exile and fled to the European continent. He has now secretly returned, robbing carriages as a highwayman. He rescues Diana
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georgette-heyer
This books is salvaged only by the fact that it is Heyer and this is her first book. Otherwise, dreadful stuff. The main couple and their boring romance takes back seat to endless paragraphs describing how dark and handsome the villain is, or how obnoxious (ahem, free spirited) his sister is. It is interesting because you can see Heyer's style emerging and it demonstrates certain plot elements that appear in her later works, most notably These Old Shades and Devil's Cub. Dick and Lavinia's roman ...more
Kim Kaso
The book foreshadows her later book, These Old Shades, and is a solid first book for the young author she was. All the classic historical romance tropes are here without the bodice-ripping of our modern books. I adored stories of highwaymen and figures like the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh when I was young, and this reminded me of that youthful enthusiasm. Recommended for anyone who needs a little fun. Georgette Heyer has gotten me through many tough times. She is a blessing as an author.
Susan in NC
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a grand adventure! This was my first time reading this, Heyer's first novel, amazingly written at the tender age of 17; I read most of the book during a loooong car trip and it kept me turning the pages. It is melodramatic and cheesy in parts, with characters being rather one-dimensionally good or bad, but it was just the ticket for my mood and circumstance and I enjoyed it very much!

Fun, fast-paced, romantic and witty, with some wonderful characters - I think Jack Carstares may be one of m
Renee M
My first Georgette Heyer turns out to be the first she published, while still in her teens. I enjoyed it very much, although it was easy to lose track of some of the characters. I loved the couples though. Each in different stages of their love-match. I always like to see at least one example of a relationship that shows life beyond the vows. I very much enjoyed the audio version read by Sybilla Denton for Librivox.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was hard to get into at first. But about halfway through it picks up and gets interesting. I loved Jack and cheered for him. My favorite character was Molly O'Hara. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the author's other books.
This is a fun romp with Dukes, Earls, Ladies, damsels in distress, card cheats, highwaymen, duels, sword fights and true love. It also has wonderful characters, wit, humour, adventures aplenty and is thoroughly enjoyable.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal of re-reading all my Heyer books. I have all her books except for her eight detective novels, and I've read all but, I think, two - two of the more serious historical ones: My Lord John and, ah, forget the other. Oh maybe it was just the one then? Well, it's nearly May and so far my progress has been pathetic, to say the least. I read Heyer's books so many times during uni but it's been eight or nine years and I found I couldn't remember the st ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Georgette Heyer's Regency World
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • Lydia (Regency Trilogy, #3)
  • The Best Intentions (Country House Party, #2)
  • The Fortune Hunter (Lord Rival, #2)
  • Midsummer Moon
  • The Mésalliance
  • The Highest Stakes
  • Bluebells in the Mourning
  • A Loyal Companion
  • The Brigand Bride (Dangerous Masquerade Collection, #1)
  • Indiscretion
  • Swept Away
  • The Last Waltz
  • Bond of Blood
  • The Captain's Inheritance (Rothschild Trilogy #3)
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...

Romance Deals

  • Everything We Keep (Everything #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • A Merciful Truth (Mercy Kilpatrick #2)
    $4.99 $2
  • Before I Knew (The Cabots, #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • Spiraled (Callahan & McLane #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fatal Pursuit (Aegis, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Not Quite Dating (Not Quite, #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • The Laws of Gravity
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Claiming Bailey (Ace Security #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in Times Square: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Quite Forever (Not Quite, #4)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River Book 2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Quite Perfect (Not Quite Series, #5)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Fired (Worked Up Book 1)
    $3.99 $2
  • A Merciful Death (Mercy Kilpatrick #1)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Accidentally Hers (Sterling Canyon, #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • The Third Wish: A Novella
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Mighty Storm (The Storm, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • She Can Run (She Can Series)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Walking on Her Grave (Rogue River, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Repressed (Deadly Secrets, #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • Beautiful Broken Promises (Broken #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • From Sand and Ash
    $3.99 $2.00
  • Dreamology
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Curse Breakers (The Curse Keepers #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Gone (Deadly Secrets, #2)
    $3.99 $2
  • Out of Control (Troubleshooters, #4)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls, #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • The Devil's Love
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Chilled (Bone Secrets, #2)
    $4.99 $2.00
  • Not Quite Mine (Not Quite, #2)
    $3.99 $2.00
  • The Curse Keepers (The Curse Keepers #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Love, Chloe
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Bearly in Control (Shifters Undercover, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Love of Vengeance (Wanted Men, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • She Can Hide (She Can, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Quite Enough (Not Quite, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Sheltering Rain
    $9.49 $1.99
  • She Can Scream (She Can Series, Book 3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Someone like You (Someone to Love, #2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • All I Need Is You (Thrillseekers Anonymous, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Fraternize (Players Game, #1)
    $4.99 $2.00
  • Buried (Bone Secrets, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hidden (Bone Secrets, #1)
    $4.99 $2.00
  • Garden of Lies (Garden of Lies, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Beautiful Broken Mess (Broken #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Only for You (Sugar Lake #2)
    $4.99 $2.00
  • One More Night (Thrillseekers Anonymous, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Exposure (Midnight, #1)
    $3.99 $2.00
“I do not like your name, sir,” she answered.
“There was no thought of pleasing you when I was christened.” he quoted lazily.”
“She was up again at that.
"In love? You? Nonsense! Nonsense! Nonsense! You do not know what the word means. You are like a--like a fish, with no more love in you than a fish, and no more heart than a fish, and--"
"Spare me the rest, I beg. I am very clammy, I make no doubt, but you will at least accord me more brain than a fish?”
More quotes…