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The Devil's Web (Web #3)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  2,070 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Mary Balogh's The Secret Mistress.

Sensual. Seductive. Emotional. No one stirs the heart and imagination like Mary Balogh. In this classic novel, the New York Times bestselling author weaves a spellbinding tale of two people haunted by desire, unable to resist the love that has become their most passionate obsession.…

When James
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
3.5 stars for this 1990 offering from Mary Balogh. I enjoyed it but overall found it a little too emotional and angsty for my tastes. I feel as if with this book Balogh had not yet reached her best, but a lot of groundwork was there for better books she was yet to write when this was one published.

James has arrived back in London after several years in Canada. This was an interesting addition to your standard Regency. James has some guilty secrets in his past, and during his years in Canada he h
Sep 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
*The Angry Reader*
This one is tough to review. The story was deep, thoughtful, full and serious.

Madeline and James met in a prior book. They didn't like each other much. Circumstance throws them together repeatedly to make bad decisions about one another.

The book takes place over roughly a year or more. The relationship grows and crumbles and changes. James is mean - for a reason. Madeline is likable, but she lets him get away with some annoying shit.

As always I loved the side stories. And all of the series wa
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-book
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
Dec 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone over 18; romance & "non-romance"
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mary-balogh
(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
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I cannot agree with the other reviewers that said this book is too dark or the hero too dark or the heroin too weak, life is not just about roses and sunshine. and skip to my loo rainbows, it about real people with real problems and their very real reactions to their past and how it shapes them. It's about how the grow and learn and forgive, and I'm grateful to this author for writing about them and giving us real characters with flaws and all.
It get tiresome to read novels that are predict
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My wife called this book "whiny". I was desperate for reading material so I read it anyway. I agree with the other reviewers: I wanted to shake the protagonists - especially the male. How can you offer to share your life with a woman without also sharing the single most important thing in your life that's driving everything you do? The only thing (apart from desperation) that kept me with it is that, unfortunately, there are real people in the world like this. I don't usually want to read about ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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. ;)
Feb 27, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lady Wesley
May 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: public-library
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.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.....
Jan 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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).
Jun 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mary-balogh
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!
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a challenge in some ways. I wanted less pain and more gain in the relationship between Madeline and James. The inner dialogue kept me going. The ending is a cliffhanger until the last few pages. The resolution includes some completely satisfying wrap ups for secondary characters.
Jun 29, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Tiffany Graham
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
much too dark. did not believe love existed between them at all ...
Yessenia Andaverde
Oct 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointed, so-so
I had great expectations of this book. The story has been his

being in the making since the first book in the series. I am not completely satisfied with the end result.

Some of the most important moments did not appear (view spoiler)
Mar 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I feel.bad about giving a Mary Balogh novel a one star rating, but this is not a romance novel. They keep saying they are in love with each other, but there is no evidence of that love. They are routinely mean and hurtful, they don't try to do anything nice for each other. They aren't even friends. It doesn't even make sense as not a romance novel, because it doesn't make any sense for the characters to think they are in love. Like, I honestly don't understand this pairing of characters. The ent ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was my least favorite book in the series. James is cruel and insensitive and I kept wondering why Madeline loved him. She was such a vivacious and stong woman and it saddened me that she was willing to be belittled and humiliated in the name of love. James eventually changes, but men in the "real world" who are like him rarely change. Definitely not a hero I wanted to fall in love with.
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Mary Jenkins was born in 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...

Other Books in the Series

Web (4 books)
  • The Gilded Web
  • Web of Love (Web, #2)
  • A Promise of Spring (Web, #4)

Share This Book

“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.” 52 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?” 29 likes
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