Some classical romance this time!
Author: Georgette Heyer
Title: Devil's Cub
Release date: 2011
Series: Alastair-Audley #2
Published by: Ajakirjade Kirjastus AS
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Historical
Pages: 320 in paperbook format
Source: Bought from a local book store
Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal is a bad lot a rake and seducer, reckless, heedless, and possessed of a murderous temper. He is known by friend and foe alike as the "Devil's Cub." Yet as the handsome and wealthy heir to a Dukedom, he is considered a good prospect on the marriage market. Vidal currently has his eye on the young, lovely, and unintelligent Sophia Challoner, and Sophia's greedy mother is more than happy to encourage his dubious attentions.
When lovely, saucy Mary Challoner had practiced her hold deception upon the hot-blooded, fiery-tempered young Marquis of Vidal--substituting herself for her young sister he had thought to carry off to France--she had little notion he would grimly hold her to her part of the bargain. Now he had left her, and she was alone, a stranger in a strange land, prey to the intrigues of glittering, heartless, 18th century Paris.
Only one person could rescue her--the Marquis himself. But how could she ever trust this man? How could she even hope to overcome the contempt in which he held her? And how could even the sudden flowering of her love ever bridge the terrible gap between them?
I’ve never read any books by this famous romance author, furthermore, I hadn’t even hear of her, even though she is supposedly a widely known, loved and productive writer. I only noticed her books because they had such gorgeous historic covers that I got curious, and I’m very grateful I did. Reminiscent of Jane Austin, but taking things several steps further in the entertaining aspect, my first meeting with her stories was incredibly successful. I kept asking myself oh where had she been before in my life and how could this author fly under my radar for so long. And I call myself a quite knowledgeable reader, I’m ashamed.
The context, story and the high society portrayed in the book was on the outside so proper, discreet and well-mannered, but it was a thin facade and couldn't for long hide the fun and shameless scandals, dastedly deeds, wittiness and quirkiness of the characters. The dialogue was also sharp, sassy and a joy to follow. The story read like your typical historical romance, but with heaps more refinement and minus the lovely dovely rated scenes. In a sexual sense, the book was quite tame, but other wicked non-polite actions and thoughts weren't uncommon, especially for our bad boy hero Dominic. Killing, not being a bit bothered by it, leaving the body to lie there, ruining or trying to ruin young pretty girls, not giving any thought on what others would think of his actions, careless gambling and so on. The first scenes of the first chapter, where you get a without restraint honest and flat-out cold and slightly cruel picture pained of him, is a very effective introduction to this "evil" hero. He had a devil may care, a freezing show-not-remorse, no care or consideration for mostly anyone except himself and his desires attitude. Despite these not so appealing characteristics, he was very intriguing and I thought he was awesome in a non-awesome way, you know you shouldn’t like him, but can’t help but. I did adore his relationship with his mother, he was such a charmer with her and she chose to turn a blind eye to his faults.
I thought the humor in the book was noteworthy, it had top notch banter covered with a veil of sophistication, dripping with sarcasm, full of japes, had spot on comic timing and simply made the story colorful and enabled the characters to be interesting. Prim and proper people in historical romance bore me greatly (well, in every other genre as well). The character immersed with and representing the word "funny" was the uncle of Dominic, though unintentionally most of the time I presume, but he was such a random, jolly old wacky fool, that I couldn't even get annoyed with him blabbing about the most ridiculous things in tense situations or at the most inappropriate moments. For example, him wanting, trying to buy and get the load of wine home was hilarious. I also enjoyed the combo with him and Dominic's mother. I also have to mention the Duke, the hero's father, who had quite a distinct and carefully hidden sense of humor, but most of all, he had such a powerful all silencing and scary/chilly presence that you actually felt it through the book, a mammoth of a character.
I really appreciate opposites attract couples and good girl/bad boy romance, but it has to be brought across as believable and natural. The story itself is nothing overly original and I would have hoped to see more time spent on the couple getting to know each other, creating romantic tension (it feels kind of wrong saying sexual tension in this context for some reason) and growing on each other. Nevertheless, I thought they were adorable together and I loved Dominic being head-over-heels smitten with her. It requires a though cookie of a girl to put up with his attitude, lifestyle and nastiness and she proved to be just the girl to get him to put someone else's needs and wants before his own for once. Mary was humble yet brave, sweet yet she didn't hesitate to pull a gun on Dominic when he was "begging" for it. The final tying of loose ends was to a degree too convenient and there were some silly easily avoidable obstacles and misunderstandings, but I can turn a blind eye to that since I genuinely enjoyed this story.
I discovered a great classic historical romance writer and have bought four of her other books already. A must read for all lovers of the genre!