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Devil's Bargain Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 2004
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"A luscious bonbon of a read-the education of an innocent, hot sensual, romantic, and fun!" ~USA Today bestselling author Thea Devine--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Inevitably, the book contains some steeming scenes but these are tactfully written. Overall an enjoyable book with an interesting storyline, although it is a bit thin on the historical background.
I gave it 5 stars neverthless because Marlock & Lynette are two complex characters and the interaction between them is very well done.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
To begin with, I was a bit put off by the premise of the story: impoverished parson's daughter, trying to help her siblings, decides she needs a rich husband and makes a "devil's bargain" with an indebted, degenerate viscount who turns innocent young women into courtesans to marry them off to wealthy old men for profit. It seemed contrived and not very historical. What of honor? Ah well...you can read Candice Proctor for the honorable heroes. But I also did not find it very alluring from a sexual point of view. To be fair, however, it is well written and Lee gives you a feel for what, one assumes, is the Regency period.
Our heroine, Lynette Jameson is a thinking female determined to stick with her bargain, especially since it is abundantly clear she is now quite ruined and has few options. Adrian, Viscount Marlock is a dark, jaded creature, indifferent to his vice if not the comely Lynette. Having led six other young women down this path, he's, ho hum, ready for another. At this point in the story, I'm thinking 3 stars.
I'm sure some readers love this kind of "historical" romance (Lee sells a lot of books), but it's not the kind of historical I love to read. Most of it took place in a single rundown estate. There were four main characters. It was well over half way through the book when Lynette thought she might be attracted to the Viscount. And that after his aunt told her "all the girls" fall in love with him. His role was that of a pimp...oh the girls might be sold as verifiably pure, but they were sold nonetheless. And the sexual tension? Well, the book I just finished, SEPTEMBER MOON, had a better sexual tension in my opinion. Here the sexual tension didn't pick up until the last half of the book.
Having said all that, I must say that the last third--maybe the last fourth--of the book was masterful. Lee brought the human dilemma to the foreground and shed light on the ghosts that haunted Lynette and Adrian. So you see my quandary. I give the first half of the book 3 stars and the last third 5 stars--hence the rating I came to.
Based on that scenario, Adrian sounds terrible. But as this book progresses the true nature of Adrian slowly unfolds until the reader sees an honorable man who has been abandoned as a child and dealt many blows. He sees the path he's taken as a way not only to teach women how to take control of their lives but also to take control of his own life by amassing enough money to save his estate. He does not enjoy the indignities he puts the women through but wants them to understand that no matter what happens to them, their lives are what each woman makes of them. He cares for all the women he's taught and worries whether he did the right thing by them.
With Lynette, we also see her character unfold from a seemingly priggish daughter of a clergyman to a woman who was abused by her father throughout her life but did not loose her sense of self and her spirit. We see a woman who has a sensual nature but who's father has always punished her whenever he thought she exhibited any signs of this. With Adrian and his hands on training, she acknowledges this side of herself and is able to loose her shame about it.
The ending was beautiful - I new the author would have to find a way to allow Adrian and Lynette to marry but I didn't see a whole lot of options since both of them had no money. But she came up with one that left the main and secondary characters with a wonderful future.
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