Series: Scoundrels of St. James #1
Published by Avon on June 24, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance
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They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.
Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart.
My first Heath novel not set in America didn’t disappoint. The same strong storytelling and well-developed characters show up here in England.
Lucian Langdon, known unaffectionately as the Devil Earl, is shunned by society because of his murky ancestry and dubious past. Lady Catherine Mabry seems to be the only one in their high circles who’s not intimidated by him or feels threatened by society’s disapproval of her acceptance of him. When she approaches him for help with an outrageous task, their destinies are sealed.
There are strong connections to Dickens’ Oliver Twist, even some hints that these characters may have been the basis for the story. Lucian’s closest friends are from his days in the streets of London and they strengthen and add spice to the tale. His relationship with Catherine is fraught with tension, adding layers of sizzle to their romance. The dialogue is pithy and the underlying danger and mystery are wonderful elements, making this an intriguing and delicious story. Other themes (spousal abuse, child endangerment, etc.) also add weight.
I’ve wanted to start this series for a long time, especially since there are now two more connected series out there. It exceeded my expectations and I’m anxious to continue.