I enjoyed this book so much and I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it justice with my review. I just feel like I can’t articulate what it is that I loved. But here’s my honest to goodness try.
First of all, we’re introduced to our guy, Dominic Alastair, Marquis of Vidal, the son of the Duke of Avon. He is also a rake. We’re first introduced to his character when he shoots a highwayman dead and leaves the body in the middle of the road. The servants are the ones who worry and actually go back and move it. LOL And there’s Sophia, the girl who is at the edges of society and someone he has no hesitation in trying to seduce – with no thought to marriage.
And then there’s our girl, Mary, Sophia’s wiser and more respectable sister. Mary can see both sides of the story between Dominic and Sophia. Sophia and their mother want Dominic to seduce Sophia so they can force him to the altar. Mary can also see that Dominic, also known as the Devil’s Cub, has no intention of doing the right thing after he ruins her sister. So when Dominic plans to flee to Paris (the result of a duel) with Sophia, Mary stealthily takes her place with Dominic realizing too late he has the wrong sister.
But you see, Dominic is the kind of guy who just doesn’t care so even though he’s angry at Mary, he’s like “huh, any woman will do, actually” and proceeds to kidnap Mary and flee to France anyway! Mary is a practical girl and so realizes there is nothing for it, she’s going to have to save herself. She plans to escape into Paris, assume a new identity, and work as a governess.
When this odd pair lands in France, Dominic finally realizes what he’s done. You see, Mary is very unlike her loose-moraled sister. Mary is respectable. And even Dominic realizes he has to marry a respectable girl whose reputation he ruined (even though no one else has realized her reputation is ruined yet). And so Dominic tells Mary he will marry her. She says no thank you. Dominic is befuddled and then gets angry – why won’t Mary marry him? Lots of women want him! This is where things get interesting, because Dominic starts to fall for Mary and here she is trying to get away from him!
Rounding out this superb romance are the characters surrounding Dominic and Mary. Dominic’s cousin, Juliana and her secret fiancé, Comyn, his parents (everyone is afraid of his dad and his mom is just awesome), his rakish Uncle Rupert, his Aunt Fanny and Mary’s mother and sister. What these characters go through to find Dominic and Mary is quite the adventure and I love how no one had the full story about what actually happened. Dominic’s mother was at one point trying to save Mary from Dominic’s clutches and then Dominic from Mary’s (seeming) gold digger clutches.
This book worked for me on so many levels. The writing, in typical Heyer style, is great. And the characters. I loved ALL of them. Imagine when finishing this and being so intrigued by Dominic’s parents’ story to realize they have a book too! (These Old Shades, if you’re curious. And the next GH book I’m planning on reading). At the heart of this great book though is Mary and Dominic. This is the best kind of romance. Mary makes Dominic a better man and Mary herself is practically perfect. She falls for him, but realizes she’s beneath him (socially) so she won’t make him marry her in case he gets disowned. And she can see that at his core, Dominic is a spoiled little boy and she knows exactly how to handle him. I love the scenes where Mary gets her way.
ALSO-we know how I love jealousy. But only if the heroine can handle it. And Mary can more than handle it.
He came up to her, and gripped her by the shoulders. "If you don't want to see a hole shot through that damned sof-spoken fellow you'd best keep your hands out of his. Do you understand, my girl?"
"Perfectly," said Miss Challoner. "You'll allow me to say that I find you absurd, my lord. Only jealousy could inspire you with this ill-placed wrath, and where there is no love, there cannot be jealousy."
He let her go. "I know how to guard my own."
"I am not yours, sir."
"You will very soon be. Sit down. Why are you not at the ball?"
"I had no inclination for it, sir. I might ask, why are not you?"
"Not finding you there, I came here," he replied.
"I am indeed flattered," said Miss Challoner.
He laughed. "It's all I went for, my dear, I assure you. Why was that fellow holding your hands?"
"For comfort" said Challoner desolately.
He held out his own. "Give them to me."
Miss Challoner shook her head. There was a curious lump in her throat that made speech impossible.
See – these two are perfect for each other, and seeing their journey from people who don’t like each other to people who can’t live without the other is awesome. I’m so glad I read this book and can kick myself for not reading it sooner.
And there’s a fight scene at the end that just makes me swoon! I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
Devil’s Cub gets a solid A from me. Go read it.