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Handsome Devil (Zebra Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 2001
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Nicholas Sinclair, a little the worse for wear because of a night finding the bottom of a bottle, stumbles across Danny one night on the docks. Her ship has just docked two days early. He is entranced by her from the first, and gets to meet her when she is attacked by a dock hand. Although it is difficult to say if Nicholas saved Danny from the dockhand or if she saved him from a beating.
Danny and Nicholas spend the night together. When Nicholas awakens, he recalls that he spent the night with a delightful Irish girl whom he thinks (correctly) is of the serving class. He is more than a little put out when he finds she has vanished, and he's told it's with another man. Without knowing she's gone to save her uncle, Nicholas jumps to the conclusion that Danny is a woman of easy virtue.
And then, he finds out she is his house guest...
This book is a great deal of fun to read, primarily because of the delightfully eccentric characters that inhabit it. Nicholas and Jules are played relatively straight - although for members of the aristocracy they have relatively speaking open minds with regard to race or class. Uncle Finney, Aunt Aggie, Emery the deaf butler and Scally the foul mouthed mynah bird add mayhem and hilarity to the mix. The brief glimpse we get of the Delaney's before Sheridan leaves for London is a treat. And Danny is a female lead to be admired - tempestuous and with a quickly fired temper, she is loyal, trusting and not one to back down for a fight. She will say what is on her mind, and will do anything for a friend. Considering her position at the time, that of immigrant Irish worker, it is even more amazing that she is such a strong character. The Irish / English thing is more the resentment against the Irish by the English and Americans, and less an issue for either Nicholas or Danny, which I'm not sure would be very accurate but is certainly typical of both.
I don't know how authentic the tale is; there being more than one strike against Danny and Nicholas ever meeting, yet alone having a romance in this time frame, but it is very funny. The romance is told well, and the story moves swiftly along. To my mind Danny falls in love a bit too quickly, before she even knows the character of the person she recognises as being 'the one', but this is a small flaw in what is otherwise a very original tale.
Handsome Devil is the middle of a trilogy of the Sinclair romances, but it is not necessary to read the previous book, it works well as a stand alone story.
It wasnt a ground breaking book, but it was plesant and with few surprises which is sometimes just what one needs in a book.
The polital references between the English and Irish which arose in the book where never really followed up, just hinted at.Danny, the heroine, had very little worries about falling in love with the dispised 'English', nor did her family seem to think it wrong.
Ms G seems to have felt it was necessaary to point out that there was an Irish/English problem at the time she set her book but didnt know how to include it in her story line.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is never dull, quite often its hilarious, heartbreaking, sensual, romantic and just plain good.
Sheridan Delaney, Nicholas' cousin's best friend, presents a freshness and genuineness lacking in the English women of Nicholas acquaintance. With a perchance for mischief and the aid of an aunt and uncle that are equally bent upon discovering trouble, Sheridan finds herself always in a fix despite her well meaning intentions. She just doesn't fit her family's notions, nor society's, of what is proper. When Nicholas arrives at the jail to retrieve his cousin's friend, he realizes she's the beauty of the passion-filled night. She is at once pleased and mortified to face the man who took her virginity. Her fiery temperament and sparkle take Nicholas by storm, and her own heart can't resist this handsome devil. But many conflicts must be resolved before these two can truly yield to their hearts.
The majority of the conflict between hero and heroine is self-created as they bicker incessantly due to the underlying passion they share. On one hand, while the dialogue is amusing and arousing, it also becomes wearing for the reader. On the other hand, the antics of the aunt and uncle create humor and tension that keeps the reader in stitches. This character driven tale that spans oceans and cultures does present spirit and pizzazz, resulting in a poignant and humorous read. Recommended.
Negatives? Yes, the pairing is farfetched, but George writes it so well that you can suspend your disbelief. There are some too-modern-sounding words and phrases and some Americanisms used by the British, but again, a minor issue. George doesn't tell us what happens to Nicholas' odd and charming servants. And I wonder at our lovebirds living arrangements, so far from what Nicholas has known (or his horse breeding). I personally would have liked to see Sheridan NOT be so strong at a couple of the really painful moments. And some people may be put off by Nicholas' hurtful remarks to Sheridan when he's been hurt, even though the reader understands the lingering pain from the past and the misunderstanding that are at the foundation. Still, ALL of these things are minor, very minor.
This book was delightful from beginning to end and is a definite keeper.