I recently began to re-read These Old Shades which I remember quite well. I was soon engrossed in the book, but before I could read more than a few chapters, I got the chance to read the sequel Devil’s Cub. I was intrigued because I couldn’t remember my first reading of it at all and I began to read eagerly. I had given it five stars, so I was curious to know the story.
Well, I finished reading it and I must say my second impression is somewhat different than the first one. For one thing, although I find the characters are very well etched and Georgette Heyer hasn’t hesitated from being true to the characters at the risk of alienating the reader and making the hero appear less than likeable, still it rankles that the hero’s character has little to none redeeming features. In fact…
*warning spoilers* here
… you might almost say that apart from being in love with the heroine – a kind of possessive love – he doesn’t have much to recommend him. GH upholds the nobility of his birth and we’re supposed to understand that it excuses much of his excesses which also make him less boring, which in turn is a sin greater than even attempt to murder. *disclaimer * in case this appears as a negative review, I should assert I’m a fan, and enjoy GH romances very much. Maybe because this was a sequel, she didn’t have much room to play with.
Her style, wit and the flow of narrative is impeccable. Sadly, I found Leonie very silly in the book. She had no role at all. The part which the Duke of Avon played even more mitigated the relevance of putting her in the story. She comes across as a blindly devoted mother and when it’s a son as irredeemable as Vidal is, that doesn’t put her in a good light. There is no motivation for Vidal to be the way he is. If he had to face cruelty or neglect or even being over indulged…but well *shrugs*
That this tale is an extremely readable and enjoyable one, no one will deny.