If you’ve read my reviews regularly, you know that characters named “Devil,” “Beast” or any other strange “I guess this is supposed to show what a bad boy he is” name really bothers me. It’s a pet peeve of mine; it just feels like lazy writing. Therefore, it is a testament to how much I enjoyed this book that I’m still able to give Devil Takes A Bride four stars. After all, Foley does nickname our hero, the Viscount of Strathmore, “Devil” (his real name, Devlin, by the way, is much better).
Our story starts out soon after Devlin has made his way back to London. When Devlin was a teenager, his parents were tragically killed leading him to go seriously off the deep end. In response, his Grandmother, the Dowager Viscountess, kicked him out of England to go find himself on a ship. And he did. Which is why, although most of London thinks he is back to his wild ways, in reality, Devlin is desperately searching for his parents’ murderer.
Lizzie Carlisle—lady’s companion to the Dowager Viscountess Strathmore—is one of those haters. She has a huge ax to grind with irresponsible men after getting her heart shattered so when she sees gambling bill after gambling bill sent to her employer, she decides its time to teach the Viscount a lesson by sending him a letter saying that his grandmother is dying.
And thus the hijinks begin (that I will not spoil)
This book, like many of Foley’s, almost sits at the edge of romance and thriller. The men Devlin investigates are seriously scummy—many have committed rape and murder. The danger faced by our two characters is real (there are no random unnecessary kidnappings in this book) and present throughout the novel. However, despite the fact that probably half of the book’s words are devoted the mystery, I never felt like the romance between Devlin and Lizzie was lacking. Foley does an amazing job of navigating these two plots and giving them both justice. I honestly felt like neither were rushed.
Devlin was such a complex hero. He was very singularly focused on avenging his parents and I loved reading how his relationship with Lizzie affected his mission. His emotions over his parents’ death and his reactions felt so real. I could feel Devlin’s guilt and burden as a reader.
At the same time, I appreciated that the book didn’t drown in Devlin’s angst. The interactions between Lizzie and Devlin often left me smiling and I even giggled at a few points. Pretty remarkable when you consider just how heavy the plot was at times.
Lizzie was the perfect heroine for Devlin. She was kind and caring while also having a backbone of steel. While initially wary of Devlin, she soon let go of her first impression and trusted the goodness in him instead of his reputation. That said, I wish we had gotten to know Lizzie better: Devil Takes A Bride was primarily Devlin’s book and oftentimes it felt like Lizzie was just a supporting character.
In conclusion, this book was beautifully written with interesting characters. It is the kind of book that you will stay up to finish with a smile on your face.