Sunday, February 1, 2015

THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE (The Cabot Sisters) by Julia London

Publisher:  HQN Books

Date published:  January 27, 2015
ISBN:  978-0-373-77890-4
Historical Romance
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher
Rating:  5

THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE by Julia London is a dazzling reading experience. 

Grace Cabot and her sisters, Honor, Prudence, and Mercy were once the toast of society, until the death of the Earl of Beckington, their stepfather.  Uncertain of their future with their stepbrother, Augustine, who is engaged to be married, the Cabot sisters   now await the shame of losing their status in society and the fine luxuries they are accustomed to.  To avoid this, Grace takes it upon herself to snag for herself a husband of quality by plotting to seduce a wealthy viscount into marriage.  Unfortunately, her plans backfire, and she suddenly finds herself in the arms of another man - the wrong man - and one who is, shockingly, one of the most disagreeable men in England.  Jeffrey, the Earl of Merryton.

Merryton is a tortured soul, a man governed by routine and ruled by duty, a man who prefers solitude and...order.  He never intended to marry, until he finds himself passionately caught up in the arms of a beautiful temptress with golden hair, a woman he can’t resist wanting in every way.  Then, as fate would have it, he finds himself in a position that is necessary if he is to protect his good name and that of his family.  A position that will disrupt his orderly life and perhaps ruin it beyond repair.

THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE by Julia London is a marvelously entertaining read, a work of sheer genius.  London’s skill in characterization and detail, particularly of Merryton’s madness, is unique and well presented.  The plotting is exceptional, and the story kept me glued to the book and quickly turning pages to see what would happen next.

Grace Cabot is a clever young woman whose motives are in the right place, her fears warranted because of her mother’s illness, yet is so innocent as to believe her plan at snagging a rich husband would work out in the end and take care of all of her problems.  The fact that it does, although she marries the wrong man, makes for an interesting read.

I loved how Grace makes every attempt to settle into Merryton’s ordered home, of how she begins changing it to suit her own needs.  The bad pianoforte playing and the dogs were a nice touch, which added some humor to the story. 
It is fun to watch how Merryton handles all of the disruptions invading his life.  More importantly, it is great to see how London helps Grace slowly wheedle her way into his heart, making him want her so badly that all other women are pushed from his mind.

The characters in THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE by Julia London are realistic and likeable, and London subtly and skillfully weaves changes in our hero, Merryton, especially in his thought processes and odd behaviors, as the story progresses, just as the reader hopes will happen, in the end.  The fact that Grace grows to care for him as she is intent on becoming a good wife to him, since it was her stupidity that brought them together in the first place, makes this story all the more wonderful.  Also, London does a superb job in tying up all the loose ends for a grand finale that had me smiling...a lot.

I absolutely loved THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE by Julia London and was very disappointed when the story ended because I had come to really care about Grace and Jeffrey.  In fact, all of the characters.  It is well written, fast paced, very original in its scope, and with a satisfying plot that contains many twists and turns that will keep the reader definitely wanting more. 

I eagerly look forward to reading the next book in this series, on Grace’s younger sister Prudence’s own romance, and I hope other readers will enjoy THE DEVIL TAKES A BRIDE by Julia London as much as I did.

Well done, Ms. London.  Another winner, to be sure.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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