The Devil's Web (Web, #3)
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The Devil's Web (Web #3)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,438 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The last time Madeline Raine had seen James Purnell, she had been but a chit of a girl, and at his mercy. Purnell had held her helpless in his arms - but protectively above the abyss of her own dangerous hunger for him.

He had left her then, not taking her innocence but taking her heart, as he vanished from England. Since then Madeline had reigned as society's most dazzli...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Dell (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

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When I want an emotionally intense story with rich characters, I chose Mary Balogh. This book was intense...intense in my dislike for the characters, plot, and especially the ending. This is an old school romance wrapped in a 2008 cover. By page 50 I was begging Madeline and James to just have an uninterrupted conversation about their feelings. By the middle of the book, I was ready to hold a gun on them and force the conversation. I thought I would get rewarded in the end, but instead got a sho...more
Aug 17, 2008 Mojca added it
Recommends it for: not even my worst enemy
I'm an avid reader and a very stubborn one, so there has never been a book that would make me put it down after a few pages and never pick up again. I always fight to the end.

Not with this one.

I came to the half of the second chapter and just couldn't read more.

It started well enough. A man who left it all behind four years before, was coming home. He had mixed feeling about it, though, who wouldn't. Apparently his father was a real pain to live with, and the only person he was looking forward t...more
If you’ve not read the first two books, especially the first one, ‘The Gilded Web’, I guarantee you that you will not understand our couple’s past, present and future behavior. It really is imperative you at least read book one.

In this book we watch Madeline, sister of Edmund and Dominic, mature, yet when it comes to planning and mapping out her future, she hasn’t changed a bit. She is still kept back with her conflicting feelings toward James and is hurling herself from one plan to another, onl...more
I first read this book nearly six years ago, during winter break of my senior year of college. It was a total change of pace for me. I was in the middle of an honors thesis for an English degree, and trying to become motivated to finish my graduate school applications. This was my first romance novel -- and there was some confusion at first because I hadn't read the first two of this trilogy. But I liked this story then. It's a story of violent passion between two people who love each other so m...more
(First impressions) It's been some time since I first read this in 2009, so my comments might be somewhat incoherent ... All I can say about the book is that the story is horrible - the "hero" mistreats the heroine dreadfully, even though she deserves only the best from him because of the way she keeps her faith in him (until she can no longer stand it and runs away). The way the hero behaves over the years towards the heroine (starting in "The Gilded Web") makes me doubt that there is any sort...more
When reading this one I was heavily reminded of Wurthering Heights, but only for one reason. The myth goes that Emily Bronte's sisters wagered her that one could not write a love story that featured an utterly unlikable hero and heroine. Well, Balogh seems to have taken up that wager as well. And succeeded. Although, in her defense, the hero and heroine this case are complete train-wrecks. They're mostly unlikable to each other.

I loved this story because the hindrance to the romance (there alwa...more
This is an excellent book with a deeply troubled hero and a painfully ambivalent heroine. The unhappy couple find a happy-ever-after but must go through years of torment, apart and together, to achieve it. James Purnell has suffered for years over a mistake he made, which he believes has destroyed the happiness of another. It ruined the relationship between himself and his father, who dies without reconciling with him. In the grief and guilt of the moment, he compromises and marries Madeline Rai...more
Dec 08, 2012 Kyra rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: noone, avoid this
Shelves: regency
If I had not loved other books by M. Balogh, this book would have convinced me to never ever read another one of her novels again.

This was NOT a romance novel. It was a novel of abuse, some kind of obsession/lust, maybe even codependency... but NOT love! Both characters were sick-in-the-head and cruel to each other. There was a rape scene (and yes, it WAS rape) despite the almost MORE disgusting mental revisions of the pathetic wife.

Just because they admit their love (and on what basis was that...more
I forced myself to finish this book only because I was recovering from an accident and couldn't just return it to the library for another book (and I really didn't want to reread anything on my shelves at the time).

I kept thinking, OK ten more pages and then we'll get to Balogh's usual meaty characters and good plots. We'll find some redemption for the hero and heroine. There will be some good news in this book. There will be something... even if its a bolt of lightening that strikes them both...more
I'm a little surprised I stuck with this one to the end, but I did. I haven't had much patience for less-than-enjoyable books lately. In fact, I stayed up late reading it, I think perhaps because I was dying for the tension and unhappiness to end. There had to be a happy ending, right? But the main characters were not likeable, and I'm never fond of books where the h/h refuse to communicate openly and honestly. And the happy ending felt rushed, false and not at all satisfying. I'm glad I know Ma...more
“Because I love you,” she said. “Not just because of the baby. I could manage very well on my own with the baby. But because I love you and don't think I could live without you. Because I have died a little every day since I left you. Only because I love you, James. Don't lift my face. It is a dreadful mess.”

Enough said :)

P.S. this book is best read in the chronological order of the series as the back stories are many and may confuse a first time reader. ;)
I couldn't finish it. I was forcing myself to wait out the unremitting cruelty of the main characters and their inability to communicate with each other until a friend reminded me: you don't have to keep reading this book. So I stopped. I couldn't hang on until the hero and heroine finally - and inexplicably, given the things they think and say about each other - confess that they love each other and go on to live happily ever after.
God....Mary Balogh is usually my "go to author" when I want a smart-trashy romance novel...but I really think someone else is writing these! This seemed like it was written by someone totally different than the author of the "slightly" series! I had to literally force myself to finish the book, and I had to skim it at that! Ugh! Maybe it's me...maybe I'm over this genre....who knows.....
Lady Wesley
It's rare for me not to like a Mary Balogh book, but this one, originally published in 1990, is just not up to her more recent standards. The hero and heroine love one another but refuse to say it. In fact, they refuse to have any rational conversations whatsoever. Neither is very likable. I'm glad that found it at the public library and didn't spend any money on it.
I hated James. I hated Madeline. I hated that they couldn't have a damn conversation. I hated all the effing obstacles in their way. I cannot think of anything I liked about this book. I had to check the publication date several times, convinced I was reading Old Skool Romance (which I detest).
This book was a chore to read. Both the main characters were unpleasant and annoying. I kept slogging through the story, hoping it would become more upbeat, but it didn't. I've enjoyed practically all of Mary Balogh's books, but this one was terrible!
Good thing I have read others by Mary Balogh or this would be my last. This love story was very negative and boring... The two can never say or act as they really feel until the end where they spill their guts and live happily ever after. BORING!
Tiffany Graham
This is one of the worst novels I have ever read. The hero is a jerk, the heroine apparently enjoyed abuse, and the fact that they ended up together was too stupid or words. Don't waste your time.
I haven't read this book in ages, but you know what I remember? Wanting to PUNCH SOMEBODY. There was a moment in my romance-reading life when I loved Mary Balogh, but oh my God, this book was the worst. The plot was implausible, the characters were detestable, and I do not understand how these MCs could possibly have been in love. Unless you enjoy taking mental showers after enduring a book about years of emotional abuse (and no, it's not even a little bit sexy), avoid this book like you would y...more
much too dark. did not believe love existed between them at all ...
I have just reread this book for the second time and I must say that out of the trilogy, this one so my favorite. When I first read the trilogy, I read book 2 first and then book 3 and then book 1...and so I was out of tune. Balogh's writing captivates me, but I didn't pay much attention to the Raines. Even though the plots have been memorable to me. What I liked most of about this particular one were the characters whom we met in book 1. The minute that Balogh introduces Purnell looking at Made...more
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Floriana Amoruso
Amori e destini è un volume che racchiude le vicende di tre fratelli, il conte di Amberley, lord Eden e lady Madaline Raine, trilogia chiamata anche Web.
Nel primo romanzo La tela dorata Alexandra è una giovane donna alla sua prima stagione londinese, non è abituata ai fasti delle feste essendo stata educata rigidamente a osservare la parola di Dio, in una versione più di angelo vendicatore che portatore di amore e gioia. Quando per un puro caso viene rapit...more
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Wow! This is the book I have been hoping to come across while reading through dozens of other books of variable standards. It was full of emotional tension so highly strung it cuts, as I ached for the protagonists, sharing with them their love and pain in equal measures. Sure, James was all ice and spite on the outside, yet the author also allowed us to glimpse inside his soul, to sense his self-doubt, to understand that his actions were not intended to hurt Madeline, but to punish himself, for...more
I apparently also read this in 2009, but when I read it in 2012, I did not remember it. Or only remembered it vaguely.

James and Madeline have a kind of obsession with each other--he's always rude to her, she's always too bright and flirtatious, until one night when she kisses him and tells him she loves him. They go a little too far, and he runs away to Canada. This book opens when he's coming back from Canada to settle things with his father and some other things from his past. And there is Mad...more
To date I have read 5 or 6 other novels by Mary Balogh and enjoyed most of them. "The Devil's Web" however was a disappointment. The emotional turmoil of the hero and heroine very quickly became tedious as they just go around and around in circles. They were portrayed as intelligent people, but emotionally, I thought they were idiots.
Love this book. It is my favorite of the series, though I wish there had been more about James and Madeline's relationship after their reconciliation since this is the last book in the series and they seemed to have the most difficult relationship of the three couples in the series.

James has some deep wounds from his childhood and beyond that he brings into this relationship and marriage and sometimes I wanted to smack him upside the head, but I could empathize with his difficulties in his relat...more
Amanda Osborne
Surprisingly enough, I actually enjoyed this book. I hated the previous two of this trilogy and I wasn't looking forward to finishing this one, but it ended up being my favorite. Very heartbreaking at points and true-to-life in a marriage that should have never come about and had horrible foundations, but came through in the end.
Lin Stepp
Another great Mary Balogh novel. James Purnell has run from home, from England, to the wilds of Canada to try to escape family hurts. Returning at last, he is forced to face the problems he ran away from ... and the love he hasn't been able to forget. Madeleine Raine tried hard to forget James, her young love, and is purposed to marry for less than true love ... but then James walks back into her life again. You'll like how both fight the old attraction that still exists between them ... and how...more
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Mary Jenkins was born on 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high-school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curl...more
More about Mary Balogh...
Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga, #6) Slightly Married (Bedwyn Saga, #1) A Summer to Remember (Bedwyn Prequels, #2) First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1) Slightly Wicked (Bedwyn Saga, #2)

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“I'm terrified that I will never be able to put him from my mind. I don't love him but I'm afraid that he will make it impossible for me ever to love anyone else.” 42 likes
“Occasionally we all do wrong things from right motives. Only time can prove us right or wrong. The past is the past. Nothing can change it now, and who is to say that it was all wrong, anyway?” 24 likes
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