The Devil's Delilah, by Loretta Chase

>> Monday, August 28, 2006

Loretta Chase's single titles have worked much better for me than her Trad Regencies, but The Devil's Delilah came very highly recommended.

Sure to be ruined by the tell-all memoirs of her father— society's most infamous rogue—Delilah Desmond is determined to suppress the manuscript. She enlists the aid of bookish Jack Langdon—whose rumpled brown hair and poetic gray eyes hide a most passionate heart…
This one was better than most of her other Trads, and quite good, but nowhere near as great as single titles like Lord of Scoundrels, Lord Perfect or Mr. Impossible, to mention just three. Still, I liked it enough for a B.

Jack Langdon and Delilah Desmond meet at an inn, when Jack finds Delilah holding his best friend's father at gunpoint. Jack jumps to exactly the wrong conclusion and tries to interfere, only to find out later, to his chagrin, that Delilah is no criminal, but the daughter of a well-known former rake, and that she's not trying to rob the Earl of Streetham, but defending herself against him (the lovely man had assumed she was a maid, and thus fair game).

Delilah is worried, very worried. All her chances of making a good, respectable marriage (thus providing for security for herself and her parents), are hanging in the balance, because her father has written his memoirs, and it's obvious that if they were published, the scandal would be enormous. To make things worse, he's actually gone and offered them to a publisher, and now the man is chasing them, alternating between trying to convince her father to hand the manuscript over and trying to steal it.

Realizing that Jack is a really nice guy, Delilah asks for his help with hiding the manuscript. At the same time, the Earl of Streetham, who has an interest both in making money from the manuscript and in getting some revenge on Devil Desmond, enlists his son, Jack's friend to help him. And so starts a huge farce, in which people cross and double-cross each other, steal, hide, bury, unbury and rewrite the manuscript and, last, but not least, fall in love.

What I loved:

  • Jack: I loved this absent-minded bookworm of a hero, who finds himself captivated by this young woman who couldn't be more unlike him if she tried. And the way he falls for her, despite his best efforts not to, is vintage Loretta Chase. It reminded me a little bit of Benedict's reactions to Bathsheba in Lord Perfect.

  • Delilah's father, Devil: I just loved that the absent-minded bookworm was the love interest, while the dangerous, feared rogue was the heroine's father. Devil's reactions to some of Delilah and Jack's more clumsy attempts at romance were hilarious.

  • The writing: Chase is a genious at smart and witty writing, and her dialogue sparkles.
What I didn't much care for:

  • The whole to-do about that cursed manuscript: So and so has it, so and so hides it, so and so is pressured by yet another so-and-so to steal it, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. After a while, I didn't know (or care) who had it and where, and wanted nothing more than for Chase to forget about it and concentrate on Jack and Delilah.
Of course, the good parts were many more than the annoying one, and I quite enjoyed TDD.


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