When he was ten, Devlin O’Neill witnessed his father’s murder, and from that moment on hid life was dedicated to one thing only – revenge. Now, fourteWhen he was ten, Devlin O’Neill witnessed his father’s murder, and from that moment on hid life was dedicated to one thing only – revenge. Now, fourteen years later, his vengeance is about to be complete with the help of a young American, niece of the man who murdered his father. Little did he know that by kidnapping Virginia Hughes and holding her for ransom would be the turning point in his life…
I have really mixed feelings about this book. On one hand it was a long, historical swashbuckling adventure, with multi-layered and well-developed characters and a great love story (albeit long in the making), which I like (historicals used to be my favorite genre), while on the other hand it was a tad too long, too unevenly paced, and those characters had a few layers too much on them, alternating between annoying and plain stupid.
I love reformed-rake storylines, but Devlin was a bit too much of a bastard for almost the entire story with just a few "sunny" moments in between, for me to actually appreciate him as a to-die-for, love-until-death kind of hero. And Virginia, was just perfect as the heroine, with all her idiosyncrasies a suitable counterbalance to Devlin and his many idiosyncrasies. I felt like I was watching a tennis match, he was a brute, she was naïve and loving, then he decided to mellow a bit, and she turned into a little bitch in the making. The tag-o-war between them was rather headache inducing. He pulled stunts, she pulled stunts, he hurt her, she loved him, he tired to be nice, she hated him, because he hurt her too much. Make up your mind already!
This strange love story was a bit reminiscent of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s bodice-ripper from the seventies The Flame and the Flower with a reluctant sea captain (without the revenge angle) hero and a young, naïve lady heroine (though the marriage came a lot earlier).
The gripping moments couldn’t compensate for the slow, dragging ones, the romance was too sparsely interwoven into the story, the hero was too much of a (whoring) bastard for me to actually like him (I wanted him to be bashed on the head with a heavy, blunt object…and they say women cannot make up their minds), the heroine was too mercurial and too glutton-for-punishment for my taste, and the ending was too abrupt, Devlin’s change of heart too sudden to actually be believable. He had an entire, and very thick, book to see reason and he decided to in the last couple of pages? Unbelievable!
This book was too long, too convoluted, a tad sadistic, a lot masochistic, and I just wasn’t convinced. 2 ½ stars...more