Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Devil’s Daughter

Friday, August 16, 2019

Devil’s Daughter (2019) Lisa Kleypas

Set in England in 1877

This is a sequel to Devil in Spring, which I really liked, and enjoyed Hello Stranger so this ended up on my wish list.

Phoebe, Lady Clare married her childhood best friend and love, even knowing he would make her a young widow. Now that she is out of mourning, one of her first society events is the marriage of her brother Gabriel to Pandora (of the first book I mentioned above). There she meets the man who made her husband’s life a misery for the two years he spent at boarding school, West Ravanel. She has always hated West (despite never meeting him) because he made Henry so miserable.

West Ravenel spent several years as a scoundrel and a wastrel, but learning to care for his brother’s estates saved him from himself. But he assumes that he is beyond redemption, and that his past will haunt him for the rest of his life.

There are funny and cute things that happen here.

“Gabriel has been urging her to take a stronger hand in the management of the Clare lands—just as Mr. Ravenel advised a minute ago.”

“But she doesn’t want to?” Pandora asked sympathetically. “Because farming is so boring?”

West gave her a sardonic look. “How do you know if it’s boring? You’ve never done it.”

“I can tell by the books you read.” Turning to Kingston, Pandora explained, “They’re all about things like scientific butter making, or pig keeping, or smut. Now, who could possibly find smut interesting?”

The problem is this story just didn’t hold my attention.

“Many of your old friends will be there.”

“Yes and no. I want to see them, but I’m nervous. I’m afraid they’ll expect me to be the person I was.”

Ernestine paused in the midst of unfastening the buttons on the back of her dress. “Pardon, ma’am . . . but aren’t you still the same person?”

“I’m afraid not. My old self is gone.” A humorless smile tugged at her lips. “And the new one hasn’t turned up yet.”

I mean, that’s a nice and wise piece of self-realization, which is probably part of the problem. The only real conflict was her childhood hatred of a boy who had been abused and unloved in his own childhood. Which is initially understandable, but she really quickly gets over it, seeing how kind he is now, but without any real understanding of what made West the child he was (even if we see a bit of that.)

There was no tension. No worry. She was perfectly nice, and he was a reformed rake. There were bits that were problems, but they came to seemingly nothing. In fact, Edward seems to have gotten completely away with being a terrible human being.

“Surely it’s not wrong of them to want their work to be less grueling. They could be more productive with less effort, and perhaps gain some leisure time in the bargain.”

“What do they need leisure time for? What would they do with it? Read Plato? Take violin lessons? These are farm people, Phoebe.”

“I’m not concerned with how they might spend their leisure time. The question is whether they have a right to it.”

“Obviously you think they do.” Edward smiled fondly at her. “That’s evidence of a soft heart, and womanly sympathy, and I delight to find those qualities in you.

Not that his father is much better.

“Phoebe, complex accounting is a strain to the female mind. If you tried to read one of those ledgers, you would soon have a headache.”

“I keep the household account books and they don’t give me headaches,” she pointed out.

“Ah, but household expenses are in the feminine realm. Business accounting pertains to matters in the masculine realm, outside the home.”

But really, Edward is an ass and a jerk, and I really wanted something terrible to happen to him, and nothing really terrible DID happen to him, which was a TERRIBLE disappointment.

I guess I’m saying that the problems all felt minor and almost manufactured. They didn’t feel as if there were any consequence to the issues. I liked the characters, I just didn’t care about their relationship, other than wanting West to see that he deserved happiness and for Bad Things to happen to Edward.

So: meh.

Publisher: Avon
Rating: 6/10

Categories: British, Covers, Historical, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    

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