Black Sheep

I believe I can say with full confidence that Georgette Heyer's Black Sheep will be my last book read of 2010. I'm pretty happy about that because I loved Black Sheep. It's also a relief because my second last read of the year was Heyer's An Infamous Army and I wasn't fond of it at all. While reading Black Sheep I had the urge to declare that I was excessively amused. It even made me laugh out loud.

Abigail Wendover is 28 years old and firmly "on the shelf" has they liked to say back in the day. Her niece Fannie, however, hasn't even had her first season out and is already falling prey to a fortune hunter, one Stacy Calverleigh. Of course, Fannie doesn't realize that he's after her fortune. She's convinced that he's utterly in love with her and she with him and she will not allow you to think otherwise, especially if you are Abigail. All this happened while Abigail was away with other members of the family and when she attempts to introduce herself to young Calverleigh in the hopes of scaring him off she instead accidentally introduces herself to his rogue of an uncle Miles Calverleigh, aka the black sheep of the Calverleigh family. The elder Calverleigh is just returned from India, where he was hustled off when he was barely of age due his scandalous behaviour. Miles Calverleigh and Abigail Wendover form a bit of a connection that soon has everyone's tongues wagging and Abigail's head to swim.

Black Sheep is a great example of the Heyer I love. The high-spirited, witty female protagonists who sometimes, or flat out, exhibit behaviours that the rest of society would frown upon, such as speaking their mind. I do like women who don't behave properly. Then there's  the men that exasperate them and that they exasperate in turn. Abigail and Miles were the best of both. Then there's the snappy dialogue that makes me laugh, sometimes even out loud.

The only thing I didn't really love was the ending but only because I didn't want it to end. I wanted more of their story.

It hasn't kicked The Grand Sophy from it's spot as my favourite Heyer (probably largely due to the fact that The Grand Sophy was also my first Heyer) but it came close. Very, very close.  I know that this is one that I'll reread in the future. A most excellent way to end the year.