Review: The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

Thursday, May 26

Title: The Devil in Disguise*
Author: Stefanie Sloane
Series: Regency Rogues #1 ( Book #2 The Angel in My Arms 6/28/11, Book #3 The Sinner Who Seduced Me 7/26/11)
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format:  mass market paperback
Date/Year:  May 24, 2011
Reviewed by: Booklover1335

*This book was provided to me by Amazon for review

Summary from the publisher:

Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a wicked rake with little regard for society—a most unlikely suitor for the prim and proper Lady Lucinda Gray. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot and to do this, the notorious “Iron Will” must get close to Lucinda, and convince her that he’s a man worthy of her attention. It is a simple enough task to use his devilish charm to seduce her, but William never would have guessed that he’d become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey—or that he’d lose his own heart in the bargain.

Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. His rugged features, sinfully sensuous mouth, and piercing eyes are as alluring as the champion thoroughbred he tantalizingly offers in exchange for the honor of courting her, and she finds it hard to resist either temptation. The feelings he stirs in her both excite and arouse, urging her on despite the very real danger he represents. But when the truth is revealed, will Lucinda risk her heart and her life for a chance at everlasting love?

My Musings:

I love historical romances! And while most historical romances have the same themes you can usually find something about the story that makes it unique and different from all of the other ones you've already read. Unfortunately, I don't think Devil in Disguise really had that "something special" that distinguishes it from all of the rest.

Heroes will make or break a romance for me, and while the Hero in Devil in Disguise has promise, he doesn't really live up to the potential that the story held. William, the Duke of Clairemont was raised by a controlling and abusive father and learned at a very early age to repress his feelings for the people and things that he loves in order to protect them. He is a natural protector, so when asked to join a league of special agents named the "Young Corinthians" he sees it as his life calling, and is assigned to protect the heroine from the the villain that is endangering her life.

Lady Lucinda Grey is a twenty six year old wealthy spinster who believes that there really isn't such a thing as love and happy endings. She relates love with the stories of Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra;  love and romance with tragic endings.  Therefore, love is not not worth the emotional pain, that is until her best friend married for love...and is shockingly happy. She lives with her Aunts, who are dubbed "The Furies" by the Ton and she secretly breeds race horses. Lucinda is content with her life, and while constantly being approached by suitors she doesn't see the need for marriage. Until she meets "Iron Will", the Duke of Clairemont, an infamous rake who mysteriously decides to court her with marriage in mind. What she doesn't know is that he has been sent to protect her and the only way a rake with his reputation can court a respectable woman like Lucinda is to "court" her.

The Devil in Disguise had lots of promise. I loved the idea of the "Young Corinthians" unfortunately you don't really learn much about the men that make up this secret group of agents. I think this part of the story really lacked depth, especially since the series is based on other agents. I didn't feel like I got to know any of the other future heroes in the series beyond their names, which doesn't leave you desperate to know the next hero's story in the series.

I also loved "The Furies", Lucinda's Aunts. They were an interesting mix of women and experiences. Unfortunately they play a very small part in the book. I wish they would have played a larger role somehow in the story. There was also promise in the villain. I just wish more of his evilness would have been pitted against the Corinthians since they were opponents on several other occasions.

One of the biggest things about the story that didn't really work for me, were the relationships between the characters. For instance, the believability that Lucinda so easily and quickly fell in love with Will. While he is supposed to be undeniably irresistible, our heroine is somewhat skeptical of love, the benefits of marriage, and is very independent. I didn't believe that within just a few days of courtship that she changed her opinion about love and marriage. Will was charming, but not to the extent to justify her about face and willingness to give up her freedom. In fact many of the relationships between the characters seemed very superficial without a lot to support them...Will and his mother and brother, Will and the other "Young Corinthians" and especially Will and Lucinda.

Another disappointment was the ending to the story. Devil in Disguise is very much a plot driven book that relies on the danger revolving around the heroine and the hero's need to save her. So when the heroine saves not only herself, but also the hero from the villain, it kind of made the hero seem somewhat impotent and negated the need for his role in the book. Don't get me wrong, I love a strong heroine, especially in historical romances, but this time I felt that it came at the expense of the hero being "heroic" and that I didn't like.

I can't say that I didn't enjoy reading the book because, while The Devil in Disguise is not original, it was interesting enough to want to keep reading until the end. I don't consider reading it time wasted, but it more than likely could have been spent on a better romance. Because in the end, Devil in Disguise was just... ordinary.   Like so many other books that I have already read with nothing really special about it to make it stand apart. And when the plot is something historical romance readers have read before, and possibly even done better, then the relationships between the characters really needs to be stellar to rise the book from the average/ordinary, to something special, and I didn't really believe in Lucinda and Will's love.

The second book comes out in June and involves another Young Corinthian, but I think I will wait to see what kind of reviews it receives before deciding whether or not to pick it up.


Overall:  3.25 stars
Sensuality level:  2.75 sensuality (one very brief love scene that lacked emotion)

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Artemis May 26, 2011 at 7:40 PM  

A great review, thank you. This book showed so much promise too. The cover is yummy. No, I don't like a heroine saving the hero. And I too would want more story about the Corinthians. So glad you read this one for us. I pass.

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