Title: The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London
The Cabot Sisters Series Book Two
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From powerful love to sizzling passion, Julia London always delivers an incomparable Regency reading experience. Returning to her acclaimed Cabot Stepsisters series, we meet an earl who can only be tamed by one wicked lady…
A plan born of desperation…
Once the toast of society, Grace Cabot and her sisters now await the shame of losing high status and fine luxuries upon the death of the Earl of Beckington. The dire circumstances are inevitable unless, of course, Grace’s wicked plot to seduce a wealthy viscount into marriage goes off without a single hitch. But once a stolen embrace with the wrong man leads her to be discovered in the arms of Jeffrey, the Earl of Merryton, her plan takes a most unexpected—and scorching—twist.
…and altered by passion.
Governed by routine and ruled by duty, Jeffrey had no desire for a wife before he succumbed to Grace’s temptation. Though his golden-haired, in-name-only bride is the definition of disorder, he can’t resist wanting her in every way. But once her secrets meet his, society might consider their lives to be ruined beyond repair…while Jeffrey might just see it as a new beginning.
The ending of The Trouble with Honor left me very curious about what mischief middle sister Grace Cabot was up to, so I have been impatiently awaiting the release of The Devil Takes a Bride. This second installment of Julia London’s captivating Cabot Sisters series was well worth the wait and I absolutely LOVED this delectably steamy romance!
Like her sister Honor, Grace is trying to wed before word gets out about their mother’s rapidly declining mental state. She has devised a rather daring plan to ensnare a wealthy husband, but her plan quickly goes awry when she is caught in a torrid embrace with her intended target’s older brother, the Earl of Merryton. With little choice in the matter, she and Jeffrey quickly wed and begin married life at his country estate where Grace learns a lot about herself as she tries to understand her rather enigmatic husband.
Grace is a wonderful heroine despite her somewhat reprehensible actions early in the novel. She takes full responsibility for her exploits and while an apology cannot possible right the horrible wrong, she is pragmatic about their marriage. She makes every effort to learn as much as she can about Jeffrey, but he is very closemouthed about, well, everything. She is challenged by her efforts to get to know her new husband, and she soon discovers a life of attending and throwing soirees leaves her ill-equipped for a sedate life far from society. Determined to make a happy life for herself, Grace eagerly explores her surroundings and makes an unexpectedly fortuitous acquaintance who provides her with much needed insight into Jeffrey’s past.
Jeffrey is a very heartbreaking hero who is deeply scarred by his dysfunctional childhood. With the responsibility for his family resting on his shoulders, Jeffrey is often at odds with his brother who finds it impossible to live up to Jeffrey’s unbelievably high standards. Jeffrey suffers from severe OCD as he tries to meet his (long deceased) father’s expectations and Grace introduces nearly unbearable chaos into his perfectly controlled world. Having lived mostly by himself, Jeffrey finds it impossible to make what he considers unnecessary small talk and his almost desperate need to protect his family’s reputation forces him to keep his affliction a closely guarded secret.
There is a sexual component to Jeffrey’s OCD that he has tried and failed to suppress throughout the years. While the relationship between Jeffrey and Grace is extremely passionate, Jeffrey’s fears of losing control make their first encounters impersonal and unsatisfying for Grace. Once Jeffrey’s secrets are finally out in the open, he is pleasantly surprised not only by Grace’s reaction to his revelations, but the general improvement in his condition. Their lovemaking greatly benefits from Jeffrey’s honesty and as they find mutual satisfaction in the bedroom, their overall relationship improves as well.
The Devil Takes a Bride is a wonderful journey of self-discovery for both Jeffrey and Grace. Their problems are realistic and with very little angst, they struggle to make the best of their forced marriage. With a little determination and a whole lot of communication, Grace and Jeffrey find their much deserved happily ever after. It is an absolutely wonderful addition to Julia London’s Cabot Sisters series that is sure to delight fans of historical romances.
Read my reviews of the other books in the series HERE.