The Black Moth last night, and in spite of my new/old book challenge, chose to immediately dive into another "old" GH title: These Old Shades, while I had all the characters from The Black Moth still fresh in my mind. (I promise I'll make up for it with two "new" reads next!) Although the names are changed between The Black Moth and These Old Shades and a few relationships are altered (the brothers in The Black Moth are no longer related in These Old Shades), it is nevertheless clear, upon reading these books together, that These Old Shades was intended as a sequel to The Black Moth.
I have not read The Black Moth often, and admit it is not one of my favorite Georgette Heyer titles. I compared the copyright dates this time round, and it appears that The Black Moth was published after These Old Shades (1929 vs 1926). And yet, as I read The Black Moth this time, and wondered at the lack of depth and cohesion that so many of Ms Heyer's titles have, I found myself wondering if, perhaps, The Black Moth might have been written first, perhaps before Ms Heyer had fully developed the rich and splendid storytelling abilities so evident in the majority of her Regencies. It had the feeling to me of an "early work", lacking the maturity of the books that followed. I have no way of knowing if this is so. I merely share with you the thought that passed through my mind while reading it.
Now on to one of my all-time favorite Georgette Heyer titles, These Old Shades! Here is the back cover blurb:
The gentleman in question is Justin Alastair, the Duke of Avon, known by friends and enemies alike as Satanas--the devil. On this particular evening, the dangerous rake crosses paths with Léon, a red-headed youth of low birth who is fleeing a certain beating at his brutal brother's hands. On a whim, Avon buys the boy and makes him his page. It soon becomes clear, however, that Léon is not what he seems, and that Avon has an ulterior motive for bringing him into his household. Set in pre-Revolutionary France, These Old Shades follows a twisting course as young Léon (or is it Léonie?) is swept up in a dangerous mystery: how to account for the page's amazing resemblance to the sinister Comte de Saint Vire, for example; and why will this man go to any lengths to get the youth in his power?
I will share a Tuesday Teaser from These Old Shades on Tuesday.
If you'd like to join my 2010 New/Old Reading Challenge, it's not too late! Click here and here for more information. And remember, there are prizes involved if you join us!