Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TBR Challenge: Debra Dier - Devil's Honor

When Isabel Darracott went to London to meet her guardian, the Duke of Marlow, she never expected to be ravished in the library by a half-clad barbarian--or that the rogue would turn out to be the duke himself! Though she found herself devastated by his kisses, prim-and-proper Isabel knew she could not give in to temptation... for he was the devil in a very handsome disguise.
Known as the Devil of Dartmoor--the most man in London--Justin Trevelyan preferred the company of widows and prostitutes to the charms of innocents. The last thing he needed was this impertinent maiden and her two young sisters under his wardship. Yet from the moment he laid eyes on Isabel, he was captivated by her sweet beauty and somehow needed to protect her as well as possess her. But before he could gain an angel's trust, he'd have to prove his...DEVIL'S HONOR

Comment: Another month, time for the challenge post. This time, it's the new-to-you author theme and once again, I had lots to choose from, but decided on this not only because I have had it for years in the pile, but also because I felt like getting it over with, therefore strong reasons to finally read this one. The author is new to me, I no longer remember why I got it in the first place and I had hopes this would be amazing enough that, 1) I'd feel glad it was good and 2) I could make others envious over my good luck, so glad to have read something good.
However, it wasn't as pretty as that.

Te story follows Justin Trevelyan, a duke famous for his reckless ways and not proper behavior. The story starts when he is awakened by a young lady asking about his late father. Thinking the lady is a prank sent by his brother, they kiss - because that is what strangers did in the 19th century - and after making things right, the lady leaves Justin with the news he is now a guardian to three females and they need his help to have means to survive. Justin mans up and goes after Isabel, the recently met and apparent older ward of his.

There's something between Isabel and Justin from the start, although they tend to deny it even when they kiss - again - and among some arguments here and there. Many cliched in historicals to go through, the older friendly grandmother, the gold diggers, the true love knows it all, the innocence meets the experience, real feelings change it all, among other expected things, all until the more than known HEA, something that proves true love exists, as does life after lust.

Well, this book has all the expected elements in historical romances. The story is from the late 90s, so it's not characteristic of older times where women behaved in a certain way. But it looked like the author tried to insert all the things one wants to see in historicals and make a go at it. If it's certain she did a much better job than what I could ever aspire to do, I also think in the end everything sounded a bit boring. I mean, I liked it overall, but there wasn't any detail any new thing, new elements that changed this from cliché to a fresh historical, timeless and amazing. I don't mean only the action or the character's personalities. I mean the behaviors, the plot, the feel one historical has... I wasn't engrossed by the story although I admit it didn't take me long to finish it. But this happened more because of my rhythm of reading than by the story itself.

The plot is more of the same. After all the obstacles are dealt with, true love beats it all. But there wasn't anything about this that made me think, wow the author was so clever by writing it this way or by making me think about this character like just went through the motions.
The characters did their part, both in action and in thinking. I liked them on the surface, but it seemed they didn't have more than just the expected reactions to the usually seen scenes in historicals, jealousy, lack of self confidence, wrong images of themselves, I don't know, everything.
Isabel had her moments but she didn't move me as much as I feel she could. Her attitude was just too plain. And Justin was seen as a libertine, but in truth he wasn't one, despite trying to maintain that image. Things that, with another take, could have been a good challenge, but in reality no, because everything was done only on the surface, it lacked some depth I think.

The author did a good effort, she tried and she delivered a story with the right elements, but all things considered, her writing just wasn't special enough for me. And I think the fact some of the character's actions being there just to fill some apparent expectations of what a romance should be like in this era of sexual content everywhere, where characters act very sexually although certainly it wasn't so in those days, and by putting in evidence the sex side of things instead of the romance and the seduction, well, it was a bit of a let down. I understand the appeal and some author do it well. But in this case it felt something seen so many times... perhaps a different take would have been better, I don't know...

In the end, a good effort yes, but several things that, having been different, could have given a different and better take on tis desired timeless novel.
Grade: 6/10


  1. Looking at the cover, this one looks like an oldie... funny though because I thought it was more a Western. Also, never heard of the author ^_^;

    Too bad it wasn't as good as you'd hope. Authors have to learn that putting everything you think readers want to read is not the way to go. Choose one or two and make it really awesome instead!

  2. I think I might have known about this one from the AAR reviews....but I'm not sure. I got it a long time ago too, one of those cases where the waiting wasn't lost.
    And yes, despite not being a big book, too much happened I think!