by Melanie George

February 2001
ISBN: 0-821-77008-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Can the perfect mate for a Devil be an Angel? That is the premise for this charming love story, featuring Lady Eden Spencer, virtuous maiden, who intends to give her life to the service of others and join a Convent. This is her choice - her parents are gone, and she has spent many happy years growing up in the company of the Sisters. However, she bows to the pressure of her uncle, who is also her guardian, and agrees to one season so that she may experience a little taste of life - it is his firm belief that she should marry and he intends to see that she does!

The fact that Damien Sinclair, Earl of Blackstone, is as dark as the Devil and has eyes to match probably helped him earn the nickname of "Devil", but his reputation had a lot to do with it as well! When Eden's cousin Reggie suggests that Eden should learn about the "full measure of life beyond the Convent walls" before making her life decisions, Eden sees the logic behind Reggie's suggestion, but is stunned to realize he thinks Devil Sinclair should be Eden's tutor!

Thus the stage is set for the hero and the heroine to embark upon a journey of discovery - Eden to learn of life and all its complexities from one who has "been there, done that", and Damien to learn about his true nature and the meaning of love from one who hasn't been anywhere or done anything - yet! For the historical romance fan, this story offers little that is original in the way of plot or character; however the tale is well told, and Eden and Damien are very likeable characters indeed. They grow along with the story, until they reach the end quite different to the people first introduced in Chapter 1. There are the obligatory villains (boo - hiss) who interfere quite nicely with everyone's best-laid plans and several other secondary characters who admirably fill out the pages.

Strangely enough, Reggie Spencer, though not the hero of this tale, is the one person who jumped off the pages and into my mind. His dialogue is faultless, both when interacting with Eden, and especially with Damien, who seems to enjoy verbally sparring with Reggie. Clearly there is a great deal more to Reggie than the delicate fop he appears to be on the surface, and I found myself paying extra attention to his scenes! I am sorry, in a way, that his story was resolved as part of this book; I would have liked him to have one of his own. I do note that mention was made of the Earl of Sinclair's two brothers, Gray and Nicholas, so if you enjoyed Damien's tale, you might want to try Gray's story (Devil's Due) and Nicholas' adventures (b>Handsome Devil). I must add, as a footnote, that Zebra has managed to select three VERY attractive covers for these books - possibly all the same gorgeous man. If I were a heroine in any of these stories, I'd be begging him to show me the "Sin" in Sinclair!!

Reviewed in January 2002 by Celia.

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