This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by St. Martin's Press
Released on August 27, 2019
A gritty, sensual, and suspenseful opening book in the Devil You Know series has me absolutely salivating for the next installment. And, kicking myself for not picking up this author’s books earlier. If you are looking for the extraordinary extra spark and haven’t found it yet in your historical romance reads, I challenge you to pick up one of Byrne’s.
The book, and I suspect the series, opens with a dark, heartwrenching prologue scene that becomes a defining moment for three young genteel women in their last year at a French finishing school. Nothing will ever be the same after that night and particularly for Lady Alexandra Lane. When your schoolmaster assaults you and you take his life, you can’t go on unscathed. Her dearest friends, Cecilia and Francesca have their own dark secrets and vow to keep hers. But, someone knows and they have been blackmailing her for years.
Alexandra got her degree at the Sorbonne and began traveling the world in lieu of marriage and family with a man of rank. Men… she avoids them and covers any remaining charms that her age hasn’t removed so she never has to be touched by one again. But, now she is home after her father declares the family is out of money. And, so is she where her blackmailer is concerned.
But, then an unlikely solution drops in her lap if she can resolve to take it. A marriage of convenience with the Duke of Redmayne could help solve many problems for herself and her friends. If she can just get past those uncomfortable and unwanted flashes of attraction and liking for the man who has no idea about her dark past, but wants to protect and help her.
Piers is not your typical duke. He can’t stand society and all the games they play and he wants even less to be treated like fresh meat on the market because of his title and wealth. He is disfigured and has rough manners so he knows that he has no honest appeal to any of them, either. A marriage of convenience suits him just fine. More than fine if he is honest about the spark between him and Alexandra from their first meeting. His past has left him who he is now, but her strength that was never completely broken by her past pulls them together.
As I said in my intro, this is my first encounter with the author’s work. Whew boy! I was flabbergasted with amazement at the way this story pulled me in and never let me go. I loved the characters even though I got to a point where I wanted to tweak Alexandra for continuing to hide her past from Piers when he had proved himself completely as on her side. Piers was all that a dark, brooding, alpha hero should be, but he also matched well with Alexandra. He respected and was attracted to her intelligence and strength of spirit as much as her looks. The pair of them didn’t shy away from going for what they wanted even if Alexandra had to be treated carefully because of her abuse. It was sizzling once things got rolling.
What came as a delightful surprise was the suspense element. It was strong and welcome. Danger, excitement and lots of intrigue peppered this story. I loved trying to figure out who the blackmailer was and who was trying to kill Alexandra.
I can’t wait to get the rest of the stories in this series and you bet your knee breeches I’ll be headed to check out the author’s backlist when I get the chance. I can highly recommend this one to those who like strong characters, spicy romance, and an addicting plot in their historical romances.
My thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #120
COYER Summer #59 eARC from Net Galley