The Devil's Love
Have you ever wished for something to be true so much that you convinced yourself it was, even though all signs pointed to the contrary? This is what happens to the heroine in Julia London’s The Devil’s Love. Abbey Carrington has convinced herself that Michael Ingram, Marquis of Darfield, has been waiting years to marry her. Unfortunately Michael remembers, none too fondly, what Abbey was like as a child, and is only marrying her under duress. While this book has a nice ending, the hero’s behavior is difficult to tolerate at times.
In order to save his family from financial ruin, Michael Ingram made a deal with Abbey’s father. Captain Carrington loaned money to Michael so that Michael could pay his debts. If the debts were not paid back by the time the Captain died, Michael had to marry the Captain’s daughter, Abbey. Michael remembers Abbey as quite a hellion and has only dislike for the girl. Considering the fact that he hasn’t seen her in years and that children do grow and change, this blatant dislike seemed a little unfair. Abbey, thanks to her father, believes that Michael has been waiting to marry her for years and has built up a fantasy of him in her mind. Even when she is presented with the cold hard facts of the marriage, she does not give up her ideals right away. Michael tries every cruel trick he can think of in order to get Abbey to back down, but pride and the fact that she’s not ready to give up the fantasy keep her at Michael’s home, Blessing Park.
Abbey is rushed into marriage and then quickly abandoned by her husband. While Michael is gone, Abbey begins to make a life for herself at Blessing Park, charming everyone with whom she comes into contact. Just as she is beginning to accept the hand dealt to her, Michael comes home. He makes it quite obvious he neither likes nor trusts her, and he seems to think she may have been aware of her father’s schemes. Eventually, Michael does come to love and trust Abbey but there are people who want to see Michael ruined – and they have no qualms about using Abbey to get to him. Once again Michael thinks Abbey may be part of the scheming. Can he ever learn to trust her completely?
Michael’s lack of trust grates. It took me a while to warm up to him in the first place, and just when I was thinking that he wasn’t such a bad fellow, he decided not to trust Abbey again, and treated her cruelly besides. While I could accept that Michael had a problem with trust, his quick rush to judgement was unjustified. Even more troublesome was his extreme cruelty to Abbey when he had no real proof behind his accusations.
The good thing about the trust issue is that it is not resolved within a couple of pages where the heroine just blithely forgives the hero for all his transgressions. Abbey is deeply hurt by Michael’s behavior and she makes sure he knows it. Michael does change at the end of the book. When someone asks him why he always wants to wait for Abbey, he says “If I don’t wait I may well forget why I wait for her.” I would definitely say he is a man who has learned his lesson. But is it worth waiting for Michael to come around? It’s pretty much a toss up.