Review: The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane

The Devil In Deguise
The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane
Series: Regency Rogues (# 1)
Release Date:  May 24, 2011
Publisher: Ballantine
Pages:  320
Source: won in contest at http://www.romanceatrandom.com/

Filled with espionage and intrigue, Stefanie Sloane’s witty and sexy debut is a Regency historical—the first novel in a back-to-back Regency Rogues trilogy that features seductive spies and the ladies they must protect.

Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake with little regard for society—a most unlikely suitor for Lady Lucinda Grey. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot. To do this, the notorious “Iron Will” must use his devilish charm to seduce Lucinda and convince her he’s worthy of her attention. William never planned to become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey—or to lose his own heart in the bargain.

Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. She’s tempted by his sinfully sensuous mouth and piercing eyes, and finds it hard to resist the champion thoroughbred he offers her in exchange for the honor of courting her. Can she keep him at arm’s length when his touch begs her to let him so much closer?

Review: So this book is Stefanie Sloane’s debut and also the start of her Regency Rogues series featuring a bunch of English spies.  Since I’m a huge fan of Regency romance and series, this book should have been right up my alley.  But I think it fell a little short for me, but all in all a solid debut.

Will and Lucinda aren’t your typical Regency leading players.  Will is more interested in his spy work than his role as a Duke in English society.  And Lucinda, a wealthy woman in her own right also doesn’t particularly care for society and really just wants to concentrate on her horse breeding program.  But when Lucinda’s life in threatened, Will is assigned to protect her… and what better way than to court her.  Of course, Lucinda doesn’t want to be courted so Will basically bribes her with his prized horse.  OK… I’m on board.  Seems like a pretty solid and interesting plot up to this point.

But then we are introduced to the evil villain, Garenne (or is it Garrene or Gareene?  Unfortunately all these spellings were used in the book).  I didn’t care for him as the bad guy.  His motives and well, just him, were unbelievable.  Then when it came to wrapping up the story, it was too short and neat to be satisfying.

And speaking of satisfying, the romance was on the light side.  Don’t get me wrong, we know Will and Lucinda are falling for each other, but really all you get is the tension and never the payoff which is expected in romance novels these days.  And when we do get to “the payoff”, the scenes don’t flow and left me unsatisfied.  I’d rather the action have stayed behind closed doors than to have it be lackluster.

So, I liked the basic plot and most of the characters, but what really pushed my buttons was the errors in story.  The editing was horrible in places.  I mean, come on, how did “riding havit” or “Hrace” slip through spell check?  And as I pointed out earlier, the villain’s name was misspelled several times.  These aren’t things you’d expect to see from a major publishing house and the editor in me cringed each time I came across one.

The book had potential, but ended up being just a middle of the road read for me.  I am curious enough about the series and Ms Sloane as an author to move on to the next book in the series.

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