Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long

DEVIL
Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long
Pennyroyal Green Series
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (233 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Hollyhock

She might look like an angel…

The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she’s destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn’t be more infamous…or less interested.

…but it takes a devil to know one…

A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?

…and Heaven has never been hotter.

When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart…and be brought to his knees by love.

Sometimes first impressions can be quite misleading…

At first glance, Miss Titania Danforth seems like an angel. Her eyes, as her guardian the Duke of Falconbridge notes, are the color innocence would be if innocence had a color. But as he soon finds out, Miss Danforth is not quite what she seems. Titania, known as Tansy, is an incorrigible flirt who can’t resist trying—and generally succeeding— to captivate every man she meets. When she meets the duke’s brother-in-law Ian Eversea, however, her polished charm deserts her.

Ian has plans for his life after the army and the East India Company. He intends to sail the world—China, India, Africa, Brazil—and he’s saved enough to money to be gone for years. His plans definitely do not include falling for an innocent young miss, no matter how vigorously she pursues him. Ian is a rugged, strong, battle-scarred man who doesn’t necessarily fit the traditional Regency mold, but that just makes him a perfect match for the equally unconventional heroine.

When Tansy and Ian meet, it doesn’t go well, and I loved that she makes such a negative impression on him because she’s trying too hard. He’s unimpressed with her because all he sees is a forward, importunate miss who’s too innocent to know what she’s playing at, and she’s too dazzled by his looks to see beyond them or even maintain her poise. As the book unfolds and they begin to know each other better, they see beyond those initial impressions to the real person underneath. Each of them is burdened by the past, and eventually they see their own pain reflected in each other. It’s a depth of characterization that makes for a satisfying romance.

I will say this story may not be for readers who like lots of authentic details and atmosphere in their historical novels. The author presents nineteenth century England as an essentially classless society where sergeants move in the same circles as captains and duchesses hang out in kitchens. Despite its light-on-history feel, though, I enjoyed the story for its own sake. Nor had I read other books in the Pennyroyal Green series—this is the ninth one—but I never felt confused or left behind. The author often refers to the stories of other characters, but she gives enough detail that I don’t think familiarity with the previous books is necessary for the enjoyment of this one.

Overall, this is a fun, absorbing read that presents a lovable heroine and a sigh-worthy hero. I think any historical fan will enjoy it.

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