Update on the Limited Edition Barbie US cover (above): Unfortunately, it is based on a gown the heroine wears at the beginning of the book, so I have to concede the cover designer was paying attention. However, the image still makes me shudder. Definitely NOT Victorian!
Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.
West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.
Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?
Only the devil’s daughter knows…
Devil’s Daughter is – like every other book in this series – (and everything I’ve read by this author) good. It has some of the funniest dialogue I’ve seen in a Lisa Kleypas book, and does justice to hero West Ravenel, who has been a fairly prominent character and much anticipated future hero in the past four books of the series. I also love the characters’ hard-won maturity, which is in stark contrast to many a historical romance lead. However, there is FAR too much sex in this book.
Devil’s Daughter is also the first instalment in this series where I’d recommend reading the others first. This is especially so because the characters from Kleypas’ earlier Wallflowers series also make appearances, alongside all the Ravenels. There are some sections that are more about revisiting past books than about the plot in this one.
And, interestingly, books #3, #4 and #5 all take place at the same time, so there’re some crossovers in the plot.
I really enjoyed the relationship at the heart of this story. Both hero and heroine have had some tough life experiences that have changed them, and they are both cautious at first. Overall, it makes the pairing so satisfying as it develops. Phoebe is a widow and a mother of two young boys, which is something I wouldn’t have loved that much in the past (I’ve loved teaching children in a few different countries, but have never had any desire to have my own), but something I really loved in this book. And West is a former school bully who has some things to atone for where Phoebe is concerned.
I am also a fan of the widow trope when the first husband was a sweet man who had his life taken too soon. On the other hand, one thing I don’t especially love is the “the second guy’s so much better” trope. That’s present here, but Kleypas does a better job of it than most.
I liked the well-written children, and I liked the cat. She (and, yes, even the cat has some character development!) reminded me of one of our strays who turned up one day and decided she was part of the family.
And I also LOVE the little bits and pieces of research Kleypas includes in her books. Despite what many readers seem to think, this series is not Regency; it takes place in the second half of the Victorian era. The new technologies, all the little bits of everyday life, and the precarious future of the aristocracy all fascinate me.
Kleypas’ books are getting increasingly steamy – as are many authors’ as the market changes. She writes those scenes well, and always makes them about the characters, not the actual smexy stuff, but it’s getting to be a little too much for me. Though most of the steamy stuff doesn’t happen until near the end, when I reached it I just didn’t want to read about that much sex in a romance, rather than an erotic romance. However, I know many readers give low ratings to books without all of that, so authors can’t win.
This was an interesting book for many reasons, and I will reread it to pick up on things I missed out on the first time. Lisa Kleypas is the author who converted me to historical romance, and whenever she has a new book out I always drop everything to finish it – that hasn’t changed.
Now, I just wish US writers and editors would stop using the word “gotten”!