Black Sheep

Black Sheep - Georgette Heyer This is Georgette Heyer at her best... delightful, witty, fast-paced, and laugh-out-loud! In fact, it's almost a satirical look at Regency England and the ton... a tongue-in-cheek slam at all Society's "rules" and ideas about propriety, especially for the not-so-young set (over 21).Abigail Wendover is 28, considered a spinster (never having married), and is the youngest in a titled family. She and her sister, Selena, live in Bath and are the every-day guardians of their eldest brother's only child, Fannie. Fannie is only 17 and an heiress in her own right. But she's not due to receive her full fortune until she turns 25.Of course there's a rake and probable fortune-hunter after Fannie. His name is Stacy Caverleigh, and he's 28 or 29 years old. Stacy's father put his inheritance in jeopardy by bad gambling debts, and Stacy has run through the rest of the money not only gambling but by living it up in high style with all the dandy gentleman's clothing and living habits of the time. The only thing he has left is the family estate, which is crumbling down, and the lands, which are making virtually nothing for lack of care. Stacy desperately needs an heiress to marry. He's already tried to elope with one a year or so before, only to discover that the girl had no real fortune. Now, he's used his arts on both Fannie and Selena to convince them that he's never known true love before Fannie... and he knew nothing of her fortune!Enter Aunt Abigail, who's returned to Bath from an extended stay with a married sister. She smells a rat in Stacy C immediately, but she's wise enough to realize that if she speaks against him, Fannie is teenager enough to put her back up and not only defend Stacy, but fall more in love with him. Abigail stumbles upon Miles Caverleigh, 40-ish, who turns out to be Stacy's uncle. Miles has just returned from a 20 year exile to India; seems Miles was a wild child in his day, and after he tried to elope with Abigail's eldest brother's fiancee, Miles was unceremoniously put on a ship to India. Miles is devil-may-care about virtually everything, except Abigail. He sees a kindred spirit in her, and he has a way of making her laugh when she wants to scream.The question is, will Miles help Abigail put a stop to Stacy's suit before he convinces Fannie to run away and elope? Will Abigail be able to admit she's in love with Miles? Will Abigail risk being shut out of her family by marrying him? Thankfully, Ms. Heyer wraps it all up nice and neat for us, her readers. And the resolution that she has Miles come up with is priceless!