Been a busy year so far, and I’m now in the middle of sorting and packing boxes to go into storage, for work to be done on the house.
This does mean a large amount of books are going into boxes; do I really have that many historical romance paperbacks?
The answer is yes…
There are a few on my Kindle too, so I have been working my way through my to be read list when I need a relaxing read at the end of the day.
Stephanie Laurens is on my favourite authors list, but I’d put off buying her latest Devil’s Brood trilogy until all three books were available.
These are connecting stories concerning the two sons and daughter of ‘Devil’ Cynster Duke of St Ives and his Duchess, Honoria. Years have passed and their children are now grown up and living in early Victorian times.
While you can read each book as a stand-alone story there is an ongoing plot involving gunpowder and more that link the books together.
Whilst this trilogy called The Devil’s Brood, is also part of the ‘Cynsters Next Generation Series’ as book 4, though book 1 in the ‘Brood set’…
(I’ll avoid spoilers as best I can.)
Each book immediately follows on from the end of the previous story, so the events take place over a short time span.
Personally, book 4 was my least favourite.
Of course the ongoing plot needs to be set up and the associated characters, I don’t think Sebastian (the Marquess) appealed to me as much as the other heroes.
For me Sebastian was overshadowed by the enigmatic Drake Varisey, and the story didn’t really keep my interest until the first major incident, and the developing relationship between Sebastian and Antonia Rawlings, an Earl’s daughter.
The map of the grounds of Pressington Hall (where the story takes place) between chapters 3 & 4 surprised me. Likely because of being used to seeing this type of extra toward the front of a paperback.
BUT, by the last quarter of the book I wanted to keep reading. And yes I was eager to read the next book…
Book 5 moves on to Michael. He has second son syndrome, no pre-determined role to fill, bored and eager to help when Drake Varisey needs assistance.
This is a just one more chapter book. I didn’t want to put it down and ended up reading to the end at 1.30 am.
Cleo Hendon works in her parents shipping office managing everything, but wanting some excitement in her life; and along comes Michael Cynster seeking information. Cleo is intelligent, daring and not afraid to take the lead and guaranteed to upset any Cynster male.
(Cleo’s parents are Kit and Jack from Captain Jack’s Woman.)
There are lots of twists and turns and misdirection as the gunpowder search continues; as the pace builds toward the conclusion of Michael and Cleo’s adventures.
By the end I wanted to start the next book as soon as I could.
Of the 3 books, book 6 The Greatest Challenge of Them All was my favourite.
Drake (the Marquess of Winchelsea, and heir to the Duke of Wolverstone- from the Bastion Club series) is in charge of defending Queen and country from those intent on causing harm.
When he refers to Lady Louisa Cynster by the name given to her by the ton, ‘Lady Wild’, you can sense his dread, and it’s clear that sparks are bound to fly between two such strong-willed and devious characters.
That gunpowder has moved again, and every time they seem close to getting answers another barrier springs up to stop them as they race toward the answer to the ongoing mystery.
The developing relationship between Drake and Louisa is in some ways complex, but in others simple. He’s the one in charge and she refuses to be relegated to a troublesome assistant, but they each have depths that you know would take their lifetime to discover.
There were a few moments that made me laugh, because I could see what was about to happen and knew Drake would not stand a chance against a determined Louisa. (You’ll know when you get to it!)
Yes, this was another just one more chapter book, and was a further late night.
Each book has an author’s note so you can discover more about the background elements of the story and it is interesting.
I’m glad I didn’t give up at the end of book 4. The running gunpowder plot was intriguing enough to make me want to know what would happen next, so I was willing to give book 5 a chance, and it was worth it.
I also enjoy a happy ever after…
Book cover images from Amazon.uk