Devil Takes a Bride, by Gaelen Foley

>> Saturday, November 06, 2004

Devil Takes a Bride (excerpt), by Gaelen Foley, is the latest in the author's Knight Miscellany series. The characters here are not actually part of the Kight family, but the Knights do take part in the story.

In the quiet English countryside, far from the intrigues of London, Lizzie Carlisle slowly mends her broken heart, devoting herself to her new position as lady's companion to the Dowager Viscountess Strathmore---until her peaceful life is turned upside-down by a visit from "Devil" Strathmore, the old woman's untamed nephew---a dangerously handsome man whose wicked reputation hides a tortured soul.

Devlin Kimball, Lord Strathmore, has spent years adventuring on the high seas, struggling to make his peace with the tragedy that claimed the lives of his family. But now he has uncovered the dark truth about the so-called accident and swears retribution. Then, to his astonishment, his eccentric aunt's will forces him and Lizzie together, and Devlin finds his path to vengeance blocked by the stubborn but oh-so-tempting Miss Carlisle. Her passionate nature rivals his own, but disillusioned once by love, Lizzie will accept nothing less than his true devotion. . . .
Devil Takes a Bride was a bit disappointing to me.

It was especially disappointing because some things about it were really excellent. I just adored the romantic triangle, with Devlin and Alec Knight, Lizzie's first love, competing for her attention. When I'd read the previous books in the series, I feared Lizzie was actually going to end up with Alec. I was not anxious to read that story, as I couldn't see Lizzie as anything else than a kind of mother figure to Alec and I'm not interested in reading about a romantic relationship in which the guy behaves badly and the woman takes care of him. So, seeing him get his comeuppance and Lizzie getting the better man was very satisfying.

Unfortunately, I had a lot of problems with the rest of the book. First of all, pacing. Dev and Lizzie's relationship was pretty much solved long before the end of the book. They'd exchanged "I love yous", they'd decided to marry, all done. All was left to provide conflict was the plot about the killers of Devlin's family, which I just wasn't that interested in. The result was that the last 100 pages were simply not interesting to me, even if it was fast paced and included a lot of "thrilling" moments. No romance, no Alec suffering *bg*. To be honest, I wasn't too crazy about that suspense subplot at all. It was very reminiscent of the one in Lord of Fire, but that one was much better.

Another problem I had was actually with the romance. Most of it I loved, but there were certain moments which were kind of sacharine sweet, way over the top. Devlin and Lizzie raptly staring into each other's eyes for hours... stuff like that. Over the top. And Devlin's characterization was sometimes a bit too melodramatic.

My grade would be a B-. I was close to giving it a C+, but then I remembered how much I loved the triangle, and how rare it is to find a situation in which two men who are basically "hero material" competing for the heroine. If the hero has competition at all, it's usually someone who's so obviously horrid that there's never even a contest.


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