Yes, I know I should just rename my site the Georgette Heyer Review, but I promise this will be the last of hers, at least for a short while.
Devil’s Cub is the sort-of sequel to These Old Shades, but equally a book in its own right. The main characters are the strait-laced Mary Challoner, and the gambling, shooting, downright misbehaving Dominic, Marquis of Vidal. She’s a good girl, he’s a bad boy, and from the beginning it’s obvious how things are going to go down.
After attempting to elope with Mary’s younger sister, Vidal finds a different woman on his hands. What follows can best be described as a fantastic and frolicking piece of frippery.
“What do you want to talk about?”
“My future, if you please.”
He looked frowningly at her. “That’s my affair, ma’am.”
She shook her head. “It is kind in you, my lord, but I do not aspire to be your wife.”
This is book full of fine clothes, jewels and lace, but for all its lavish loveliness, it’s not quite as good as some of Heyer’s other novels.
Not that this is a bad book, but it doesn’t have quite as much charm as Shades. Dominic is a convincing love interest, but he’s not as compelling as his father, and Mary, whilst spirited and engaging, falls short next to Léonie.
It doesn’t help that the plot of Devil’s Cub is considerably less original than its predecessor, and I think the more generic alpha bad boy/good girl pairing turns the predictable into something slightly pedantic.
But I’ll grant I’m being harsh. There are some lovely scenes in this book, and its romance charms in the first degree. Reading it, I spent a lot of time grinning, especially when my favourites from Shades made reappearances.
Dominic is rougher than Justin, in voice and deed, spoilt and immature, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t likeable. One of the things I find most impressive about Georgette Heyer is that for someone who wrote a lot of romances, she wrote a variety of love interest types. I have yet to find one character who entirely resembles another, despite the repetition of settings and events.
“Almost the only evidence of intelligence I find in you, Rupert, lies in your ability to pick a wine.”
I really enjoyed this read. It is as delightful as a macaroon. The perfect sweet treat for unwinding with after a long day, and the sort of book that it doesn’t really matter if you’ve read it before. It is a warm, comforting cushion for a tired mind to sink into.
I just think maybe I’ve read one too many of Heyer’s romances in rapid succession, and the magic is fading next to my voracity.