Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Devil To Pay by Liz Carlyle

TDTP was the second Liz Carlyle I read in December for Keishon's TBR Challenge which was a long time ago. I started this review a while ago so I thought I'd better finished before I forgot the important parts. Although Keishon has decided that Carlyle does not work for her, I like Carlyle's writing style quite a bit.

Sidonie Saint-Godard lives a double life. By day, she is a meek and respectable widow. But by night, she disguises herself as a prostitute to steal from wealthy aristocrats and gives to those women who they exploit and mistreat. She has become notorious and has been dubbed the Black Angel by her victims, kind of like a female version of Robin Hood. Sidonie carries wounds from her childhood. Her mother was impregnated by one of these a**holes while working as a governess and was eventually forced to become his mistress because no other options were open to her. Sidonie still carries a huge amount of resentment towards her aristocratic father for how he treated her mother.

But Sidonie makes a big mistake when she targets Aleric, the Marquess of Devellyn as her next victim. Disguised as Ruby Black, she seduces him, ties him up, then steals his most prized possession. Devellyn vows revenge, tells her that she'll have the devil the pay (nice tie-in to the title) and determinedly sets out to find her. At first Dev seems like your typical rake who drinks, gambles, and whores too much, but later we see that he is fighting his own demons and guilt, and seeks to punish himself and his father.

All the characters were well drawn and engaging. Sidonie's brother, George Kemble, who we know from other Carlyle books, makes another appearance and I hope he eventually gets his own story. The writing was crisp, and the mystery had just the right touch without overwhelming the romance. It was fast-paced and a quick read. Their first love scene was powerfully intense and emotional. Initially I was a bit torn as to whether he actually forced himself on her. You'll have to read it yourself to form your own opinion. Carlyle writes wonderful steamy love scenes and TDTP had many of them.

Usually I despise heroines as thieves (e.g. Honest Illusions by NR) and dissolute rakes who are on the road to ruin with their drinking, gambling, and indiscriminate sex. But Carlyle has taken these irritating character types and made them sympathetic and interesting. This book was not a keeper but still thoroughly enjoyable.

My grade: B+

8 comments:

Reese said...

You do a good job with your reviews, Renee. I like the way you keep them short and to the point (not that your writing is unpleasurable to read - just that my eyes are usually hanging out of my head by the end of the day, and a short read is all I can handle.)

Thanks!

ReneeW said...

Thank you, Reese! I make an effort to keep them short, but I don't always succeed.

Avid Reader said...

Here, here! Very insightful. I couldn't agree more.

romancelover said...

I agree with this review. The book was excellent. I once e-mailed Liz Carlyle (you can get her address off her site) and begged her to write a book with Kemble as a hero; she said she wouldn't. Argh! I think he's got so much potential...

Tara Marie said...

I am officially announcing I'm a Liz Carlyle fangirl. I promise not to be a crazy fangirl, but I love her books.

Her characters are always fully developed and her writing voice is fabulous. No more gushing.

Like Romancelover I've wondered about book for Kemble, but after this one I wondered if he was straight, bi, or gay.

ReneeW said...

romancelover: Yes, I think Kemble has great potential.

Tara: I'm just getting started with Carlyle and I'm wondering why I didn't start reading her sooner.

'straight, bi or gay'??? Did I miss something or am I just clueless? Will need to get this back out and reread some stuff.

Tara Marie said...

Well, his friend the tailor leaves me scratching my head, always there, and then talking about measuring the gentlemen of the tons inseams or arranging "things" for a proper fit. Then I couldn't remember if he's ever been mentioned with a woman, so that gets my over active imagination going. So the idea is probably completely in my head.

ReneeW said...

Hmm, interesting theory. I'm going to read this one again.

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