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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Redemption for the Devil by Jillian Chantal

Redemption for the Devil by Jillian Chantal
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (134 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Azalea

December, 1920: Mary Margaret Kincade, known as Peg, a devout Catholic, is the only child of an Irish adventurer presumed dead in an Arctic expedition gone awry. When her odious cousin comes to take over the family business and presumes to force Peg into marriage, she decides to make a new life in America by working her way across the ocean on a cruise liner.

Liam Cormac, a Protestant member of the Irish Republican Army, fighting for freedom from English rule, signs on to the same ship with the intention of blowing it up in the middle of the ocean.

Liam and Peg encounter each other in the first class passenger lounge and the attraction is mutual. When Peg is taken hostage by Liam’s partner, Liam has to make a decision about where his loyalties lie- with his country and his mission or with an Irish Catholic lass.

Can an Irish Devil shed his troubled past and find love? Liam Cormac hopes so, but the path to redemption may be too steep.

Four years after the 1916 Easter Rising, Liam is released from jail and returns home only to be told he is not welcome. As a Protestant fighting with the Rebels, Liam has disgraced the family. Because he is an expert with explosives, he returns to the men he fought with and accepts an assignment from leader Michael Collins.

Mary Margaret Kinkade, Peg to her family and friends, is devoutly Catholic. When her adventurer father sets off on an expedition to the Arctic Circle and is later deemed missing, Peg tries valiantly to hold things together. But the Cork house and her father’s business is entailed and must pass to a male heir. Enter Archibald, an odious cousin who wants the house, the business and Peg. After an attempted rape, Peg is protected by a neighbor and the family priest who exacts a second-class passage on a liner sailing to America.

Enterprising Peg turns in her ticket and hires on as a cabin maid with plans to use the refunded passage money to get started in the new World. On board, Peg meets Rena, and they become friends as well as cabin mates. She also meets a rude young man, Liam Cormac, who tends bar in the First Class lounge. She is both attracted and repelled by the good-looking Irishman who seems to bait her at every opportunity. When the lounge singer becomes ill, Peg is summoned to take her place. Peg in inexperienced and shy, but she has an amazingly good voice and knows the latest songs; besides, the extra in her pay packet will come in handy when she docks in new York.

Liam isn’t the only man who finds Peg irresistible. His partner, Devlin does as well. And Liam can’t allow himself to fall for a girl who may have only days to live. Liam’s and Devlin’s mission is to blow up the Mauritania as retribution for the British massacre at Croke Park. The problem is, Liam is having second thoughts about murdering innocent civilians. Fenian he may be, but what is acceptable during hostilities, is hard to justify any other time. Then, as he contemplates his options, fate steps in and forces his hand.

Ms. Chantal's novella is compelling and well paced. The troubled period in Irish history is one not generally seen in romantic fiction. I truly enjoyed Chantal's descriptions of the steamship Mauretania and life below decks. Ms. Chantal has created a highly entertaining and emotional read worthy of a few tears.