The Devil and Miss Webster by Julia Parks

DEVIL
The Devil and Miss Webster by Julia Parks
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (176 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Will the devilish Captain Stephen Ransom ruin Christmas, or will he prove to be Miss Webster’s most cherished gift?

The Devil and Miss Webster

Eleanor Webster is never afraid. Not until the Devil invades her home and threatens to turn her world upside down. But what scares her the most? Losing her carefully guarded position and family? Or her heart?

As a captain, Stephen Ransom has always done his duty to the best of his ability, serving king and country. But what is he supposed to do with this harridan who wields such power in his late brother’s household? Terminating her position would be the wise thing to do. Wisdom, however, can be highly over-rated.

It opens with a shared – and shocking – secret. The plot promised to be interesting right from the start. Then, in very short order, we start to get a grasp of exactly the kind of person our heroine, Eleanor, is. She is magnificent and atypical for the times: making her own choices, selecting her own role, that kind of thing. She also won’t be bullied and is one to seize the bull by the horns.  I liked her more and more as I read, and the plot was thankfully equal to this excellent character.

Eleanor is best friend to the Viscountess Ransom (Laura) who, one might kindly say, has made a mistake. Eleanor is not going to let her pay forever for that mistake – but, there are indeed some other, very motivated characters in this tale. If you begin reading this, you will not stop until you finish.

Captain Ransom, Laura’s brother-in-law, is set at odds with Laura’s (and so also Eleanor’s) decision almost immediately. It only takes the Captain’s mere appearance for reader expectations to begin to ratchet up. There is a romance coming – but where, and who, are the vital questions. And even before any possibility of romance, we wonder at what will happen when this Captain Stephen actually arrives.

Both in terms of the problem, as well as the romance, ‘the Devil and Miss Webster’ remains continually intriguing. The setting is also delightful – the English country house, and much of it during Christmas. The atmosphere, children’s excitement , attitudes and related conversations, all are very perfect.

My one complaint is that some physical descriptions are artlessly dropped in. This does create moments that feel heavily contrived–people more so than locations.

Fans of the regency will certainly enjoy The Devil and Miss Webster.

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