The Devil Drives – 3.5 stars
As a new bride wed to the man of her dreams, Una should be bursting with happiness. But it turns out that her husband had ulterior motives in wedding her – chiefly, to revenge himself on her for the death of his young cousin.
Leave aside the rather convoluted premise, as Zante’s reasons for blaming Una and plan for revenge against her alike are pretty silly, in the manner of olden time Harlequins. But the writing is lovely, bringing idyllic Greece to life, and the tension between Una and Zante crackles throughout, lifting an otherwise straightforward book into a quite enjoyable reading experience.
The way the so-called other woman was handled made me laugh too – she’s perhaps not to be tarred with as black a brush as the book’s blurb would have you believe, though she is just as empty-headed as you’d expect.
Sweep Me Up, Baron – 4 stars
Cordelia Bennington expects to have an easier season in London than her older sisters have had. Unlike them, she only has one requirement of the man she will wed: that he will be a great beast of a sporting man. But when she falls for the intellectual Baron Harveston, both of them wonder if they must reconsider their current interests and lifestyles.
This is the fourth book in this series, which follows the close-knit but unworldly Bennington sisters as they take Regency London by storm. The heroine here is Cordelia, the sister who keeps setting housefires as she tries to perform Desdemona’s death scene from Othello.
It was interesting to see the decidedly unintellectual Benningtons keeping company with bookworm Percival, and how he and Cordelia came to appreciate each other’s merits and work as a team. There’s rather less drama in this book than previous ones, but I enjoyed the slower pace. Percival’s misunderstanding about the identity of Lord Darling and Juliet’s snarky attitude toward her sister’s husbands absolutely cracked me up. I did feel like the ending was a bit abrupt though, maybe because I’ve become spoiled by the drawn out epilogues of the previous books.