No one would guess that beneath Violet Crenshaw's ladylike demeanor lies the heart of a rebel. American heiresses looking to secure English lords must be on their best behavior, but Violet has other plans. She intends to flee London and the marriage her parents have arranged to become a published author--if only the wickedly handsome earl who inspired her most outrageously sinful character didn't insist on coming with her.
Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, has a scheme of his own: escort the surprisingly spirited dollar princess north and use every delicious moment in close quarters to convince Violet to marry him. Christian needs an heiress to rebuild his Scottish estate but the more time he spends with Violet, the more he realizes what he really needs is her--by his side, near his heart, in his bed.
Though Christian's burning glances offer unholy temptation, Violet has no intention of surrendering herself or her newfound freedom in a permanent deal with the devil. It's going to take more than pretty words to prove this fortune hunter's love is true....
Caz and Dabney both read The Devil and the Heiress. Here's what they have to say.
Caz: Harper St. George’s The Devil and the Heiress is book two in her series of novels about Gilded Age Heiresses, wealthy - or potentially wealthy - young American women who come to England to search for a titled husband. Laura Lee Guhrke’s An American Heiress in London has a similar premise as does Maya Rodale’s Keeping Up With the Cavendishes; all feature American heiresses and the Transatlantic culture clash as they struggle to adapt to the rigid conventions of English high society in which, despite their enormous wealth, they are looked down upon because their money is “new” and their breeding questionable. I haven’t read the previous book (The Heiress Gets a Duke), which was well received - our reviewer gave it an A - but I read this one easily as a standalone so anyone choosing to jump in here won’t find it difficult to do so. Did you read the first book, Dabney?
Dabney: I did. I enjoyed it. I thought the first half was very strong. The second half faltered--a silly insistence by the heroine and an unnecessary Big Mis--but I was excited to read this one.
Caz: Thankfully, there's no Big Mis in The Devil and the Heiress, but it does have a hero who is - at first - out to win the heroine by underhanded means. When Christian’s request for Violet’s hand is rejected by her father, and another suitor seems to be favoured, Christian decides he’s going to charm Violet into falling for him. It’s not an uncommon sort of plotline, so I wasn’t particularly bothered by the fact he was setting out to deliberately deceive her. Also, the author makes it fairly clear that he’s actually interested in Violet for herself, and isn’t one of those heroes who thinks he’ll marry the cash cow and then leave her in the country while he heads back to town to pick up his rakish lifestyle. It might not make the deception okay, but it does soften it around the edges a little bit.
Dabney: His deception didn’t bother me - in fact he was my favorite part of the story. Sadly, after Violet seemed so promising in The Heiress Gets a Duke, here she was rather blah. What did you think of our leads?
Caz: I was rolling my eyes at Violet being yet another secret-author heroine, but her situation as a young woman subject to the dictates of parents who didn’t really care about her or her happiness evoked sympathy. She wasn’t anything special - and certainly didn’t seem like the “rebel” of the blurb - but she wasn’t horrible either. As for Christian - he’s much more strongly written but is also another in a long line of devilish/roguish/rakish heroes with reputations sufficient to make one want to clutch one’s pearls in horror the moment he walks into a room… who is in fact nothing of the sort. I didn’t get why he had such a terrible reputation; there’s no mention of his being a gambler, drunkard or womaniser - the worst thing about him is that he’s an earl and he’s *gasp!* in trade (because of the club he co-owns - I should have made a drinking game out of all the “and here’s yet another…” - because here’s yet another hero who owns a scandalous club). I liked him, but he was in no way devilish or depraved or whatever he was supposed to be.
Dabney: Yeah - that was a mystery. And, Caz, you know that secret clubs were as rife as rats in VIctorian England….. #not
Caz: Hah! But those Victorians really were a super-repressed bunch! (I did notice the reference to the special “room” at the club ;) ) But in HR right now, almost all the secret clubs are run by noblemen (or heroines who long to be “different”) and that got boring ages ago. That aside though, what of the romance between this not-Devil and his Heiress?
Dabney: It was fine but forgettable. As in, I read this over a month ago and now I can’t recall much about it which means nothing in it struck me as worth recalling. In both St. George’s books, I’ve been very distracted by how much I hate the heroines’ parents. As I read this book, I kept wishing Violet would dump them and run away.
Caz: Well, I finished it less than two days ago and I'm having the same problem! The book is well-written and the chemistry between the couple is nicely done, but the romance is very… ordinary. Perfectly pleasant but unmemorable. And the ending annoyed me. [spoiler title="Show spoiler"]The separation so Violet could have a good sulk went on for too long and not telling your husband you're pregnant (unless for very good reason) is a rotten thing to do. [/spoiler]
I agree about the Crenshaws - they were horrible. And horribly devoid of nuance.
Dabney: Not to digress but honestly, if you are more struck by the terrible behavior of the heroine’s parents rather than with her getting jiggy with the hero, that’s a problem. I did like this book and I’ll definitely read whatever St. George writes next--I’m very interested in the story of the tragically married friend whom I assume will be the next lead. But I found the first book more engaging than this one. This one is just fine and, well, I always hope for more than that.
Caz: Yep - it's always a problem in a romance novel when other characters - good or bad - make more of an impression than the principals! I might pick up the next in the series - I'm guessing it'll be about Helena and Max, and I generally like enemies-to-lovers romances, but I hope it's got a bit more oomph! than this one. I'm giving it a B-; basically okay but nothing special.
Dabney: That’s my grade too. I do think readers should keep St. George on their radar. We gave The Heiress Gets A Duke a DIK - I’d have given it a B+ - and I suspect she’s capable of doing very good work.
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