As you can tell by the title, this Regency Romance was ta-cky! By Sydney Ann Clary and published by Zebra Books. This was a second printing in 1991, copyrighted 1988. Surprisingly, this is the first of this box that has actually been a smutty romance novel. I half-expected most of the them to be smutty and was happily surprised when they weren’t. Eh, it would only have been a loss of $5, anyway. Because written porn is just as bad as the visual kind, I did not finish the book, but I do have some comments, so enjoy.
Clary is a great writer and storyteller. A lot of romance novelists are, but romance is given such a bad rap, not many maybe know this. It’s the smut that does them in, I’m pretty sure. Also, the majority of the stories follow the exact same formula: Man and woman meet, hate each other, then like each other, then fall in love. Why this is exciting over and over again, I can’t really explain, but there’s just something satisfying about either winning the other person or both winning each other together.
Our hero in The Duchess and the Devil is Deveril St. John, the Duke of Castleton. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, and has a temper and mommy issues. Groan. His mom’s a totally harlot. Double groan. Our heroine is Bryony Balmaine, also tempestuous, and used to doing as she pleases. Both are connected to her uncle, Lord Ravensly, who somehow gets each to promise to marry the other.
I’m sure that farther into the book the two do actually fall in love, but the fighting, fighting, fighting was just so irritating here. In everyday life this would be exhausting. Bryony is very annoying. Refusal of common sense just to refuse. Blah. Worse, Deveril forces himself on Bryony and later, though at least they are married, he thinks it’s ok to bed her while she totally out of it. I mean, he didn’t actually have a bottle of the date rape drug, but he might as well have. And this is our hero?
Due to his woman issues, Deveril also assumes that Bryony is basically a prostitute or has slept with many men. He concludes this simply because she had an poor and unconventional life in France. Deveril is a jerk. Any man who assumes this about a women is a jerk. Any woman who assumes the same about a man is a jerk. Thus, Deveril thinks Bryony is experienced enough that he doesn’t need to be gentle! Seriously, I can’t even.
He even says, and I quote: “Only a woman would risk further injury to herself to protect her virtue.” Doubtful that only women are concerned with virtue, but casting that aside, Deveril, dear, sometimes virtue is the only thing we woman have! And it should be considered as gold. It used to be considered as gold.
I’m sure as the story goes on, both behave better, but I didn’t really care to find out and had to retreat to an Agatha Christie mystery to recover. Christie’s great, because although her romances happen rather quickly in her stories, they are actually romantic.
Anyway, tacky, tacky, tacky! Did not finish.