Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Devil Earl by Deborah Simmons

Out of a midnight coach stepped Ravenscar…the perfect gothic mystery man.

Dark and brooding and rumored to have done murder, the Devil Earl was everything Prudence Lancaster’s imagination could conjure. But he was also flesh and blood, and infinitely more seductive than anything she had ever created. In his presence, the dreamy authoress became a sultry sleuth, hungry to solve the mystery of Ravenscar’s missing brother and to save her beloved Devil Earl from his own wicked legacy…

I was under the impression that this is a gothic romance, but it is not. It’s a Regency suspense that has some strong gothic elements. Nevertheless, I had enjoyed this book quite a bit.

Prudence is a writer – a gothic novelist, to be precise - and a successful one at that. Her gothic sensibilities are inspired by the mist-shrouded, eerie and bleak Wolfinger Abbey, the home to the earls of Ravenscar for hundreds of years. It is also her greatest wish to set foot within its dark gray stone walls and explore its secrets. When Sebastian, the Earl of Ravenscar, suddenly makes an appearance at his home, Prudence sets about to wrangle an invitation to visit the edifice that she has loved for so many years.

Sebastian, nicknamed the Devil Earl, is rumored to have inherited his ancestors’ black soul and penchant for murder. His menacing looks and forbidding demeanor only add to this allusion. But to Prudence, he is the handsomest man she has ever seen, certainly the most thrilling and alluring. He is the perfect template for the villain of her latest novel!

The story’s suspense comes about when Sebastian’s wastrel of a brother, James, mysteriously disappears one night. James’s disappearance is one more damning rumour to add to Sebastian’s long list – that he has killed his brother in a fit of anger and tossed his body over the wall of their home and down the sea cliff.

The story moves along at a brisk pace, from Cornwall to London, then back to Cornwall. The subplots do not distract from Prudence’s and Sebastian’s story, but serve to unfold their characters and highlight the progression of their relationship.

Prudence is a joy to read about – it is she, rather than Sebastian, who makes the story. She is intelligent, observant, unconventional, incredibly stoic and she loves Sebastian unreservedly. Sebastian uses his menacing looks and wicked reputation to hide his true self from the world. These two are so good together…their love is at once passionate and tender.

The author’s writing-style is very readable, evocative and witty. I’d love to read more of her books.

My rating4
Sensuality ratingWarm +


kevin 1809 said...

This blog senses romance..

Phyl said...

Hey cool, I have this in my TBR box! I'll have to dig it out and give it a try.

And thanks for stopping by my blog and for the nice words about my quilts. I started out doing everything by hand because I was afraid of my machine. Then I realized I'd never finish all the quilts I want to make if I didn't conquer my phobia, LOL.

But sometimes it's a real battle between quilting or reading!

Jace said...

Phyl, this book is a great read, and my first by Simmons too. It's difficult to find her books locally, so I'm searching online. I'm trying to find The Vicar's Daughter, which I heard is another great read.

Your quilts are wonderful...I mean it. They "almost" make me want to pick up quilting. *grin* But I don't think I want to embrace the sewing machine challenge just yet. LOL

Quilting or reading? Cross-stitching or reading? That's one difficult choice to make. *sigh*

Brie said...

This one sounds interesting. I like a little bit of mystery with my romances. And I love a great heroine. This book seems to have both.

Jace said...

Hi Brie,

The mystery is light, more of a filler. But the story-telling and the lead characters are great. The heroine, especially, is a wonderful character - spectacled, with ink-stained fingers, spinsterish, unconventional. *grin* An overall witty and fun read. Oh, the love scenes are steamy too, which kind of surprised me. LOL

katrin said...

that's a test, Jace.
I'm feeling like picking petals from flower: he likes me, he likes me not, he likes me........

katrin said...

yes, yes, yes
I did it!
perhaps I should print myself a T-shirt:

I finally succeded to post on Jace's blog!!!!!

have a nice day LOL

Jace said...

Yay, Katrin! I'm so glad that it worked! *huge grin*

A nice day to you too.

Kristie (J) said...

Although I haven't read her for a while, she wrote some really wonderful Harlequin Historicals a while back. The Devil Earl was one of them. She disappeared for a while but I heard via the grapevine that she is writing again. I hope so!

Karen said...

I wouldn't recommend reading "Vicar's Daughter". I read it with high expectations, and it just did not live up to them! It was very cliched and the ending was just rushed. I haven't tried any of her other titles though, and I haven't given up on her yet.

Jace said...

Kristie, I hope she does write again ... then it'll be easier for me to get her books! *grin*

Jace said...

Karen, thanks for the warning regarding The Vicar's Daughter!

katrin said...

Thank you so much for recommending this book, Jace.
It was such a great read.

Jace said...

Katrin, I'm so glad + relieved that you and Mel liked it. :) One more author for us to explore together!