Sorry for the muddled state of some of the older posts. Mist is slaving away to reformat them ASAP ; ).


The Devil Earl by Deborah Simmons

The Review In Which The Wol(f) Fingers The Raven('s) Scar

Reader described The Devil Earl as a prim writer gal/morally questionable hunk pairing sprinkled with gothic flair. How could my response be anything other than a resounding "Hells yes, gothic crack here I come!"?  

The Couple: Prudence Lancaster & Sebastien Ravenscar  

The Setting: Spooky Wolfinger Abbey above the cliffs  

The Challenge: Can Sebastien solve the mystery of his brothers disappearance? Can Pru break out of writers block? And most pressing, can their respective siblings cease being twats?
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 save her beloved Devil Earl from his own wicked legacy...
Prudence Lancaster is a published gothic writer, but she's been lacking inspiration for her next work. She takes a break to ponder her favorite muse Wolfinger Abbey from her window. She has adored the structure, the history, the legends of it; since childhood. Pru is interrupted from mooning over the creepy abbey next door by her chirpy younger sister, who gifts us with a dramatic account of the sparkly dandy she met in town; blah blah blah, he's one of the heirs of the Abbey, blah blah, and isn't it all grand *yawn*. Some too boring to rehash courting, visits, conversations, and attempts to finagle a visit to the abbey follow.

Then the clouds part and Earl Ravenscar bursts into the story, he's intense, tortured, and impertinent; and I tittered like any bookslut worth her salt lol. Sebastian's grandfather, The Devil Earl, was oh so evil. He was mean, violent, and handsy. There was also a little to do about locking his wife in a tower until she went mad. The combination of this bleak family history and some of Sebastien's own doings in youth, have all of proper society convinced that he's is cut from the same cloth. The fact that he often plays into the part society has assigned him, doesn't help matters. Before you can say "Holy complications, Batman" the yummy Sebastian is suspected of doing away with his brother and a meddlesome authoress is determined to clear his name.

 Five minutes into this book I wanted to beat Pru's sister Phoebe to death with a mallet. Phoebe's the quintessential one dimensional "the world revolves around me" empty headed sister; which makes her the perfect match for Sebastien's Bro the silly "ne'er can do right" spare heir. There is no explanation or hints to the cause of their character,  this vagueness of character motivation and plot seem to be a running theme in this novel. Prudence and Phoebe's background gist seems to be that the sisters' parents are deceased and they were then raised by their elderly grandmother who is also now deceased. But that's just a guess, all I know for sure is that the 2 young females live alone save for a servant or 2, with reputations in tact. Highly unlikely and though I'm not a hardass regarding historical accuracy, some insight to the situation would have been welcome.

The scenes between Prudence and Sebastien, chock full of tension and mirth, are where the book really shines. As a couple they're just the right blend of entertaining, adorable,and sensual. Pru's refreshingly sensible and perceptive. She doesn't temporarily spurn Sebastian for the heck of it, lose who she is, or resist the pull she feels towards the earl. From very early on she knows he's the man she's been dreaming of and trusts that he's a better man then he believes. Not even I can bring myself not to like her, despite her tendency to utter "Oh my" (13 times, and yes I'm anal enough to count lmao). After his initial combination of aloof maneuvers and insults, Sebastien shapes up into a right nice reformed rogue. He falls for Pru; spectacles, ink stained hands, eccentricities and all.

So in conclusion I adored this book when it focused on the the hero and heroine and was bored to tears during the rest,when the bleh cast of characters and many unconvincing coincidences passing for plot interrupted my fun.  

Bookslut Highlights
  • Heroine too sexy for her gloves
  • Bronze wolf abuse
  • Bitchy chaperones
  • Love is blind to bony feet
  • Smugglers a smuggling
  • Skeezy Ton folk
  • Secret tunnel shenanigans
The Grade

Liked the premise of this book but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy, generic read and has more of a library rental/swap quality rather than a keeper for my personal bookshelf.
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Wanderer Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:53:00 AM  

The Review In Which The Wol(f) Fingers The Raven('s) Scar

Nice line and nice review.

It also reminds me of my whole character name annoyance thing. Aside from ridiculous names ala Ward, I hate when main characters are named Prudence or some other pure and chaste name. Irks me. On the other hand, I luvs the name Sebastien :D

"Secret tunnel shenanigans"....double entendre? :P

Mistress Wednesday, February 24, 2010 1:34:00 PM  

; ) Oh yes Wand, oh yes. Rea(der) rec'd this book to me as one of her favs. I fell in love with the characters too, so I can see how. They are able to just balance out the sub par elements to the story. It's a very solid C read. When you don't have anything pressing in the works, you should give it a try.

Reader Tuesday, March 02, 2010 1:25:00 AM  

Mrs Giggles and I respectfully disagree with you. It's one her keeper shelf: Mine too :)

Corset Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5:30:00 PM  

Found this post by accident. But loved reading through it, especially the Bookslut Highlights bit. Very cool. Thank you.

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