July 18, 2021 04:07 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I didn’t get a ton of reading done in June, only completing four full-length novels. Out of those, two made it to five stars, but only one was a romance. It’s a historical by one of my favorite authors and it’s also a favorite book from a favorite series of hers that I’ve been rereading. Nursing a broken heart, Lizzie retreated to the country estate of the Dowager Viscountess Strathmore to work as her paid companion. She’s all but written off men and thinks that she can be content to live out her days as a spinster, working for her keep, until she earns enough money to open a bookshop. The wealthy Dowager has been paying all the bills for her favored nephew Devlin. When Lizzie see his extravagant expenditures and his seeming lack of attention to his aunt, she thinks that Devlin is a dissolute rake, so she hatches a scheme to get him to come for a visit by sending him a note implying that his aunt is dying. When Devlin arrives and Lizzie sees how much he actually does care for his aunt, she feels remorse for her deception, which is only compounded when she discovers his heartbreaking history. As Devlin and Lizzie get to know one another, they develop a surprisingly intimate bond in the short time they spend together, which the Dowager can also see. Wanting to make sure that Devlin has someone to look after him and love him after she's gone, Augusta makes a shocking stipulation in her will in order for Devlin to receive his inheritance. When she passes on and Dev discovers her scheme, at first he’s angry but later reluctantly agrees to go along with it to get the money he desperately needs to continue his quest for revenge against the men he’s certain killed his family. However, despite his best efforts not to love Lizzie, he finds himself falling for her anyway, but will he be able to give up his thirst for revenge before she becomes the next target?
Twelve years earlier, Devlin’s entire family was tragically murdered, along with dozens of other people, in a fire at a coaching inn, while on their way to pick him up from school. Devlin partially blames himself for their deaths, because it was his misbehavior that precipitated their trip. But throughout the years, he has also been planning his sweet revenge against the men who committed this atrocity. The copious amounts of money he’s been spending is for the purpose of setting a trap for his enemies. Nothing could have brought more sorrow and fear to Devlin than Lizzie's false note about his aunt's impending demise. He already feels utterly alone in the world, and Aunt Augusta is his last living relative. During the time he spends at his aunt’s home, Dev and Lizzie grow close, but when he finds out about the terms of Augusta’s will, he at first thinks that Lizzie may have had a hand in it. Later when he realizes he was being rash, he tries to make it up to Lizzie, but ends up making a number of faux pas along the way. As they begin to fall in love, Dev tries to keep his true feelings for Lizzie a secret, but soon the villains catch on to his scheme to take them down, placing her in danger. Devlin was the epitome of the romantic hero, the perfect blend of proper English gentleman and exotic adventurer gained from his years of traveling around the globe. Outwardly, he’s charming and intelligent, but within his gorgeous body, he harbors a dark tormented soul and an unquenchable thirst for vengeance. He has vowed never to love again, because all he knows of love is the pain of loss. When he meets Lizzie, he sees in her a kindred spirit who understands him in a way no one else does except Aunt Augusta and his valet, Ben. Devlin is, without a doubt, a thoroughly masculine alpha male, but he isn't afraid to exhibit just enough vulnerability to also make him thoroughly human, which is an irresistible combination.
Bluestocking Lizzie had her dreams of the future shattered by Alec Knight and she believes Devlin to be just like him. But when she finally meets Dev, she realizes just how wrong she was about him. She comes to understand his pain and feels guilty for adding to it with her manipulative note. During his brief sojourn with his aunt, Lizzie begins to open her heart toward Dev, but when he turns his anger on her after hearing the stipulations of his aunt’s will, she wonders if there can truly be anything between them. Soon, though, both Dev and Alec start to realize what an amazing woman they’ve let get away and begin wooing her in earnest. A girl of Lizzie’s background never would have expected to have even one, much less two titled gentleman practically falling at her feet. Having merely been the daughter of a land manager who passed away and spending her growing up years fostering with the Knight clan as a companion to only daughter, Jacinda, Lizzie has always been rather invisible, caught between two classes and never really belonging to either. In this book, she comes into her own, earning all the love and attention she so richly deserves. In the end, though, it’s Dev who captures her heart, but his single-minded pursuit of revenge could place her in mortal danger. Lizzie is a wonderful combination of gentility and tenderness toward anyone who needs it, intuitiveness and intense passion toward the man she loves, and ardent fortitude toward the world at large, making her a perfect romance heroine.
This book is quite simply one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read, with all the elements there to make it great. There are many marvelous scenes in the book such as Dev and Lizzie's first sensual interaction which was filled with tenderness and a deep trusting intimacy that was a joy to read, or Dev finally coming to terms with his parent's deaths which was heartbreakingly cathartic. I can't really say that this author is known for her humor, but there was even a pretty good dose of that in this book. I'm not usually a fan of love triangles, but the one in this book was so endearingly entertaining, I couldn't help but like it. Devlin and Alec's antics in vying for Lizzie's affections brought tears of mirth to my eyes. There was also a scene in which Devlin kidnaps Lizzie that was equal parts wry humor and dark sensuality, a heady combination. This was a well-rounded, engaging read that I cannot recommend highly enough, and one which I had an extremely difficult time putting down. That’s why I’m naming Gaelen Foley’s Devil Takes a Bride as my June Book of the Month. If you enjoy a tortured alpha hero paired with a bookish, bluestocking heroine in an emotional, heartfelt, steamy, and romantic story, then you should definitely give this book a try. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
In the quiet English countryside, far from the intrigues of London, Lizzie Carlisle slowly mends her broken heart, devoting herself to her new position as lady’s companion to the Dowager Viscountess Strathmore— until her peaceful life is turned upside down by a visit from “Devil” Strathmore, the old woman’s untamed nephew—a dangerously handsome man whose wicked reputation hides a tortured soul.
Read my complete review of Devil Takes a Bride.
If you would like to win a copy of Devil Takes a Bride to see how wonderful it is for yourself, just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. One lucky winner will receive their choice of an eBook or print copy of the book. If the winner chooses an eBook, I will gift it to them via the eBook retailer of their choice (Amazon or B & N). If the winner chooses a print copy, I will have it mailed directly to them via Amazon. Good luck!
International Entrants: You are welcome to enter my contest, but please note that not all eBooks are available in all countries due to copyright restrictions. If this is the case, Amazon does offer an option to trade for a gift card (I'm not sure about B & N). If you choose print, I can mail it to you via the Amazon website that services your country, pending availability and cost. Otherwise I will mail it to you via U. S. Amazon's standard international shipping, but it may take up to 6-8 weeks to arrive, and I may not have the capability of tracking the package.
Tags: Gaelen Foley