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Monday, October 25, 2010

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (389 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Fern

They called him the devil…

With his seductive golden eyes and sin-black hair, it’s no wonder Lord Alex Trevegne has earned himself the sinister title—not to mention his reputation as one of the most notorious rakes in England.

And she’s the only one who can conquer him…

When fate throws Alex and Elysia into a scandalous situation, Alex suddenly finds it surprisingly difficult to tear himself away from her.

As an unexpected passion blossoms between them, Elysia begins to wonder if after a lifetime of heartache she’s finally found heaven in the arms of the devil.

When I read the blurb for Devil’s Desire, I was extremely excited to review it. Historical romances are a personal favorite, and this one sounded like a book I would certainly enjoy. Unfortunately, I struggled to get through the first seventy-five pages or so. It was a battle to keep going and, as a consequence, I wasn’t certain the book was right for me. Then, finally, the hero and heroine meet, which brings a spark to the page. There was some good to be found in Devil’s Desire, but as I soon discovered, there was also some bad.

I’ll start with the good. The story, when our protagonists finally meet, engages your attention. Alex and Elysia clash from the onset, and their battle of wills kept me on my toes. After they find themselves in a compromising position and marry, I kept wondering which one of them would give in first. Both are proud and unwavering, to the extent that you know at some point something terrible is bound to happen. This kind of tension is fabulous in historical romances with a gothic feel and is done very well. Also, as secondary characters are brought in, you are given a rich tale with various subplots that deliver a refreshing amount of mystery, suspense, and tension. When combined with the flourishing romance between the hero and heroine, it makes for an exciting read.

However, the very things that make the story strong also take away from it. I found there were far too many “convenient” happenings that take place in regard to the heroine. I can’t state which these are, aside to mention that a prized possession she was forced to part with following her parents deaths was acquired by her groom some time before, along with a revelation that a beloved member of her family she once thought dead isn’t dead at all (and just so happens to be nearby when Elysia finds herself in a spot of danger). There are other examples, but again, I can’t reveal them without divulging spoilers.

Another issue I had with the story is the hero. Alex Trevegne starts out callous and difficult to like and remains that way throughout the story. I found nothing redeemable about him and found it hard to believe that someone as proud and strong as Elysia would forgive his actions and consider remaining with him knowing he would continue to see his mistresses on the side. I really wanted to like Alex, to the point that I kept looking for something that would elevate him in my eyes. This never occurred and it took away from the story and my enjoyment of it.

Although the pace is slow at times, the writing is good, especially if you’re a fan of this genre. After looking into the story I learned that it was released in the late 80’s, which revealed a lot about the style and structure of the characters. For that reason I would recommend Devil’s Desire to those who enjoy books from an earlier period when heroes are not as easily likeable and make no apologies for it.