*Whew that title is quite the mouthful, isn’t it?! 😛
Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.
West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.
Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?
Only the devil’s daughter knows…
This book was like a warm hug. I loved cousin West in Hello, Stranger and I squee’d when I read the excerpt included in the final of Hello Stranger, so I knew I absolutely wanted to read Devil’s Daughter and was desperate to get my hands on it. (I even liked him from his very short appearance in Devil in Spring!) Cousin West! Phoebe! I adore the Challons too – I’m Team Sebastian + Evie forever. While I hadn’t read many historical romances in the last few years, exactly, (although I’d venture to say high fantasy romances are also historical…) I always want to read the new one out by Lisa Kleypas. And as I said, this one didn’t disappoint. If a book could be a hug, Devil’s Daughter would be it.
Phoebe, Lady Clare was a delight. I loved how warm but matter of fact she was with Gabriel in Devil in Spring. I also loved her interaction with Gabriel at the beginning of her own book. It’s lovely to see a warm, healthy, supportive sibling relationship. In fact that’s how it is for most of these characters, which is just so nice. Phoebe while a bit mulish (I mean, consider her parents – it’s basically been bred into her) – is also willing to admit her own faults and change. Perhaps I haven’t been reading “the right” books, but it’s unusual for a historical heroine to be a mother, and I loved seeing her interact with her sons. (I also loved seeing how much West loved what he observed…) Justin, as a four then five year old was perfectly precocious. Of course she isn’t entirely reasonable all the time – and she is a little blind about how [her] estate is being run, but she’s also not willing to let pride ruin her son’s future. And when needed she’s quite take charge. Go girl.
West Ravenel … now here’s a hero. He’s definitely a reformed rake, and feels very badly about his past. (To some degree I felt it was overdone, considering how things went for Sebastian … plus we know he’s the hero, so obviously it works out … But at the same time, he’s a “mister” – not a Viscount or Earl, so that does make things much more difficult for him, despite his connections.) I love now devoted West is from the start, and how simply affable he is. We’ve seen through the course of a few books he’s a good time – and that he’s entirely changed his life around. He runs his brother’s estate, and puts in actual labor. He keeps his promises, apologizes when he’s wrong, and quite self aware. Oh I liked him very much.
One … I hesitate to say complaint but … about this book would be … the sex, actually. While there is something of a lot of it, pages, I didn’t find it sexy or engaging, I suppose? I felt it was more descriptive of the physicality rather than the emotions and connection, what Phoebe or West were feeling, what made them hot and into it – so I wasn’t engaged. This all very well may have been my mood, so there is that too. I was quite happy to see them having relations, and sneaking around, and being free and happy.
I loved the domestic scenes of Phoebe, West, Justin, and the Stephen, spending dinner and afterwards together, then the children going to sleep and Phoebe and West connecting. What I guess felt lacking to me was we all know they’re going to end up together. It’s the entire point of the book. However, both of them… then West definitely is “we can never happen, and this is only temporary.” I mean really early on he tells her he’ll never [insult her by proposing]. So we’re kind of in stasis and I felt there wasn’t enough development there. It was almost as if I was reading a drawn out HFN (happy for now). She leaves, he leaves … and then the ending is almost rushed for me.
That being said, of course there isn’t a HFN and I ADORED how them being together is resolved. There’s also some meddling from Sebastian, Phoebe’s father … and I was actually disappointed because as I said, the beginning states there’s meddling on his part and … I mean there’s some but I felt it was quite minimal. Maybe if I hadn’t been promised meddling I’d have been happy – but since it was put out there, I was left feeling unsatisfied. In fact, when Weston was visiting Phoebe I kept thinking ok when is her dad going to step into the picture!? … While I love them these “kids” clearly can’t figure their shit out! (And yes he does meddle. Some. And all of that is wonderful.)
When West leaves! I loved his misery (get over it, I’m a cruel bitch) – and that scene at Jenners. I absolutely will be re-reading that a bunch.
Apparently Ms. Kleypas gave an interview wherein she said Tom Severin will be paired with Cassandra, Pandora’s twin as the (last) Ravenel book and … I can’t wait! Even though he only had a very minor part Mr. Severin almost stole the show! Not to say I didn’t like West and Phoebe – I really liked them both! I just felt there was maybe a bit of a gap in development or groundwork for me, personally. I a tiny bit felt Tom Severin, was shoe horned in just to show he’s the next hero … but that actually didn’t bother me so much because I quite liked him – in fact what my “issue” would be I suppose is I wanted more of him. And of course the duke and duchess. I was promised meddling and I would have loved more of it.
One big win was the humor though. I was literally chuckling out loud so many scenes – I think for one of them I even snort laughed. I know it seems like I’m being critical, or even nitpicky … but these are like the only issues I had for it. I was also expecting to read another “favorite book of the year” like in Gabriel and Pandora’s book. I also had wanted to re-read the book before posting my review, but alas time didn’t allow for that. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I know I’ll be re-reading it. The humor, the antics, cameos from friends and family … and just how very much Phoebe and Weston belong together. This book warmed my heart. As I said – it’s a hug in book form.
Avon has also very generously offered a giveaway to someone in the US or Canada, so if you’re interested in a copy, do let me know, and some lucky reader will one!