Expected Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Random House
Author’s Website: http://samanthakane.us
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, The Saint’s Devils Series
Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Favorite Tropes: Abused Heroine, On The Run, Affair Turns To Love, Courtroom Drama
One by one, the Saint’s Devils – Samantha Kane’s wicked, wonderful Regency heroes – continue to enchant the women who capture their rakish hearts.
Even though she is starving and destitute, Eleanor Enderby’s quiet beauty strikes Sir Hilary St. John speechless. He expects the woman he’s searching for to be skittish and plain. Instead he finds the picture of bravery – and willfulness – in his quarry. She gives away little, but Hil can see something is terribly amiss. And though he cannot say exactly why, he is determined not to let her come to more harm than whatever it is she has already survived.
Six months later, Eleanor believes she has finally found safety from the tyrant she risked her life to escape. Thought to be dead by society, Eleanor is ready to be reborn as someone new – someone whose life will never again be tied to the fate of one man. But her smoldering savior seems unwilling to leave her unprotected for an instant. Despite the threats he thinks he sees coming, the real dangers Eleanor faces in Hil’s arms are unmistakable: temptation, seduction, and maybe even love.
What Worked For Me:
- I’m always a sucker for an abused heroine, even when the abuse is emotional rather than physical. The abuse that Eleanor experienced at the hands of her husband were no less traumatic in the lack of physical bruises, and it instantly made her a very sympathetic character for me.
- On a similar note, one of my quirks is that I love it when characters are phsycially starving. I think this appeals to me because it shows the character has truly fallen on hard times, rather than simply having to wear shabbier clothing or not move in the same social circles that they’re used to. In this case, it really helped to illustrated Eleanor’s desperation to escape the clutches of her abusive husband.
- I also enjoyed Sir Hilary’s character. A historical Private Eye, complete with all of the cleverness and hubris one would expect from such a man.
- The murder mystery was quite a bit of fun, even though I wasn’t thrilled with the identity of the culprit. Ms. Kane did an excellent job of utilizing a ticking-clock so to speak, and the tension was lovely.
- How often do we get to see a “courtroom drama” in a historical romance? Almost never, right? That’s why I adored watching the proceedings of Eleanor’s trial, even if I’m not 100% certain the unfolding drama was historically accurate. I especially loved that she almost wasn’t allowed to even present a defense — the concept is strange to those of us used to modern American trial law, but seemed to really fit in with the times.
- I also really enjoyed the fact that Eleanor and Sir Hilary set out to have a rather uncomplicated affair rather than either actually seeking any courtship from the other. Eleanor wasn’t the “typical” romance heroine, and it fit that her goals in life would be different from a woman in different circumstances.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- As mentioned above, I wasn’t thrilled with the choice of the culprit for the murder mystery. On one hand, I could see that it was the right choice to have the villain be one who was more interested in taking down our hero than our heroine, but on the other hand, it almost felt as if it came completely out of left field. Then again, I haven’t read the other books in the series, and that was probably to my detriment as far as this issue is concerned. Perhaps it would have felt more organic to me if I had the other two books to use a background. As it was, it felt as if it were reaching a bit to give the villain this particular identity.
I admit, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I haven’t read the other books in the series, so I wasn’t certain of what to expect, but what I found was a dramatic tale of a heroine desperate to escape her emotionally abusive husband, the private investigator hired by her family to find her, and a captivating murder mystery, all wrapped up with a tense courtroom drama. That doesn’t even include the heat and chemistry between our hero and heroine, with both of them finding that keeping their hearts unengaged was more of a struggle than they’d anticipated.
I loved that even though she’d wound up poor and starving, Eleanor never once lost her determination or spirit, and it was that strength that really appealed to me from the start. Her plan to escape was actually rather brilliant, and when things took a surprising turn, I found myself glued to the pages wondering how she would escape again.
Hilary, too, was a favorite of mine, with both his cleverness and his own determination to see Eleanor free. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him tease out the clues of the murder mystery, and his own desperation to keep Eleanor safe was delicious.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one.
Recommended to fans of historical courtroom dramas, a strong heroine brought down by circumstance, and a hero that will do absolutely anything to save the woman he loves.