Twiggy's Reviews > Satan's Angel

Satan's Angel by Kathryn Atwood
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's review
May 22, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-romance, adventure, heroine-raped, girl-dressed-as-boy, spoilers

Warning spoilers:

This certainly opens with high drama to say the least.

We have the impetuous Jack O'Connell, thief, gambler, soldier of fortune, found in bed with an amoral French aristocrat, Victoree, by her vicious father, the Comte de Saint Martin. The enraged papa takes a whip to Jack and he is chased from the premises. He is rescued by his friend Father Liam, a drunken Irish Priest. Papa has good reason to be disenchanted with his 16 year old daughter, who we learn has already had two abortions. When she falls pregnant, he decides he cannot risk her having another abortion as he has plans for her to make a political marriage and insists the baby be born only to be killed. Victoree is not a young lady who seems to have a better nature and upon giving birth is demanding that the mad witch to whom they are giving the baby over, confirms her death within the hour.

In fact Ulrica plans to keep the baby as she is a devil worshipper and has dreamt that the child is Lucifer's daughter. She convinces the family that she has killed the child and eaten the remains ( as you do?)

in any event Angel spends her first 7 years under the tender care of the mad Ulrica, being taught that she is the devils child.

Father Liam happens to be riding by the swamp one day and comes across Angel and seeing her circumstances with Ulrica, he knocks the witch out and carries the child away to meet up with Jack, if only he could remember where..

He gets to Paris and Jack, who fails to recognise Angel as his off spring. They decide that they will keep her but dress her as a boy for safety, and call her Jackie after her 'father'. The first third of the book is spent detailing their adventures through her adulthood and the fact that they con, trick and thieve their way through much of France and Spain and Europe. On one occasion at versailles, Jackie is spotted by the evil Victoree but she gets away in time. that night Jack finally beds the wrong married woman and is fatally wounded.

Liam and Jackie go on further travels and eventually come to England.

They get caught whilst trying to rob the Duke of Avalon, known as Satan, and he threatens them with the watch unless they deliver a letter to Prince William of Orange at the Hague. They encounter the Lord Churchill on their way and Jackie becomes an Aide to Prince William as she and Liam assist in the Glorious Revolution.

They come to court in England and there continues to be tension between Jackie and Avalon. Emma Chruchill discovers her sex and arranges for her to come to Court as a distant cousin Jasmine Jennings. Avalon falls for Jasmine but fails to propose in time before Jackie has to resume her role as a boy, and this makes her even more put out with him.

The villain of the piece is the bisexual Michael Random, Earl of Malvern who is also an aide to Prince William. It turns out that Victoree is back on the scene in London acting as a spy of Louis xiv and remains unrepentantly conscienceless. She and Random are having an affair. Victoree spots Jasmine/Jackie and realises that they are the same person and likely to be her illegitimate child. Victoree makes up some bizarre story about Jackie blackmailing her and asks Random to dispose of him for her.

At the same time Random also fancies Jackie, who had managed to avoid him for some time. He gets her drunk and overpowers her and rapes her, discovering her secret. he then goes back to Victoree to blackmail her and she offers him money and position if he will help her kill Prince William on orders from the Sun KIng. (uncertain as to why he would think this a good idea or good outcome from the blackmail)

Avalon sees jackie stumble away after the rape but does not help her. Jackie is distraught at events and is withdrawn for over a month but then decides that she must get on with her life..

an initial attempt on William's life fails, and the plotters decide to blackmail Jackie and then dispose of her. They kidnap Liam and torture him in front of Jackie, threatening his life if she will not kill the King. She goes to court in the company of Random. One of the side characters Simon Martin, spots that something is wrong and discovers the plot. He sends a message to Avanlon , which gets garbled in translation and Avalon believes that Jackie is also a conspirator. When Simon confronts Random, he is stabbed and then Random, saying if thats what she wants, he will treat her like a man, attacks Jackie either raping/sodomising her (its not clear).

Avalon interrupts and thinks they have killed Simon and stopped to shag - and is pretty appalled ( he's not the most perceptive man about town!) .
He knocks Jackie down and then fights Random. Jackie realises she loves Avalon no matter what he thinks of her and stabs Random, killing him. There is a final denouement in the Kings chamber as the evil Victoree makes a last attempt to kill the King and Jackie is shot whilst saving his life.

The king brings everyone together and everything comes out. Avalon proposes and they all live hea...

Well this was rollicking good fun.

It reminded me a bit of one of the Georgette Heyer books (the Masqueraders & these Old Shades ) but camped up with a really nasty villianness, devil worship, rampant bi sexuality and dodgy sex , all be it there was none of this between the h & h. The hero was a distant character throughout the novel and this was very much Jackie's book but nonetheless it worked well.

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