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This is Georgette Heyer’s first book; it appeared in 1921, when its author was only 19 or 20 years old. In a letter to her agent two years later, Heyer herself called it "a very juvenile effort." That seems harsh to me, although the story is definitely over-the-top melodramatic. But even this early in her career, Heyer displayed a sense of humor and sophistication that lift this somewhat silly and highly implausible story above the average.
The Black Moth is Hugh "Devil" Belmanoir, Duke of Andover. Even in the presence of Jack Carstares, the oh-so-lovable, handsome, and honorable hero, we are drawn to the villianous Duke. It seems Heyer must have felt the same way; in 1926 she wrote "These Old Shades," one of her best books, in which the lead character is the amoral Justin "Satanas" Alistair, Duke of Avon. "Shades" takes place several years after "Moth" and is set primarily in Paris, but it's recognizably about most of the same characters. "Moth" is definitely the backstory to "Shades," even though for some reason Heyer changed all the names. (Heyer extended the Duke's story to the next generation in "Devil's Cub," and his grandaughter Barbara appears at the Battle of Waterloo in "An Infamous Army.")
"The Black Moth" is not one of Heyer’s Regency (c. 1800) novels, it is set around 1750. The language is arcane but witty. Rhind-Tutt, a narrator I’ve never encountered before (I would have remembered that name), takes some getting used to (he r-e-a-d-s r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w) but gets into the action as the melodrama escalates. The climactic duel between Jack and the Duke is great, Jack’s agonized rejection (for her own good, of course) of the woman he loves is heartbreaking, and the Duke’s hilariously impromptu dinner party at the book's end is a delight. These scenes are as good as any Heyer ever wrote. Thanks to Naxos for giving us this one unabridged. I thought I read somewhere that Naxos will be releasing more unabridged Heyers. If so, there go my credits!
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Heyer's wonderfully developed characters come alive perfectly with the voices developed by Julian Rhind-Tutt.
What other book might you compare The Black Moth to and why?
Georgette Heyers 'sequels' to The Black Moth - These Old Shades and Devils Cub are worth a read.
What does Julian Rhind-Tutt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Julian Rhind-Tutt does an exceptional job narrating this book as his voice characterisations are perfect. He understands each character and the way they speak and encapsulates their personalities so well. He's the best narrator I've ever heard.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I couldn't put it down!
Any additional comments?
Thank you Julian Rhind-Tutt.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This is one of the earliest Heyer novels, but it is simply one of the best. Fun, exciting, witty with enough villainy thrown in to keep up the suspense. Julian Rhind-Tutt reads this novel with charm, finesse and his interpretation of the characters give it real dimension. His delivery of Tracy, Jack and Miles is super. And I am already back at the beginning for listen 2. I particularly liked his villain! Great book, great fun, and laugh out loud. What more could you ask for?
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This early work by Heyer contains, 'in nuce' the essence of all her historical novels. Julian Rhind-Tutt's reading is masterful. A pity nobody told him how to pronounce O'Hara's recurring "asthore"... I was anguished with the "ee"that replaced the "o" every time it cropped up. A small blemish on a wonderfully paced and well-interpreted performance.
DOES AUDIBILE INTEND RECORDING ANY MORE OF HEYER'S BOOKS? Please do! UNABRIDGED!!!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful