Overall: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Plot/Storyline: 📖📖 📖 📖 📖
Romance: 💞 💞 💞 💞 💞
Emotional Depth: 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔
Sexual Tension: ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️
Sensuality: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥
Sex Scene Length: 🍆 🍆 🍆 🍆 🍆
Another book that I fear may have ruined me. And maybe worse than any other, because this book both made me happy and completely wrecked me. I literally loved every second of this book. Every word. I was not bored for a moment. There wasn’t a sentence that didn’t intrigue me. There is usually something I don’t like about a book but honestly, this was absolute perfection for me. It ticked every box. Everything I look for, without missing a single beat. I did not want to put it down. I thought about it when I had to break from it. I think I may dream about it tonight, and probably for a long time to come.
Right from the beginning this book felt entirely different to me than the usual Sarah MacLean novel, and from the usual regency as well. The story is mysterious and dark and seductive from the first moment. She didn’t waste words with a long winded prologue but rather jumped straight in, setting the reader right into a tangle of complicated and curious characters and relationships. Everything about them felt deep from the very beginning and I knew I was in for masterful character development and the unfolding of an incredible love story.
I was initially a little hesitant to read this because I’d heard there was lots of set up for the series in this book. And there was. But where I often find that can take away from the romance, here it was woven so neatly into their story that I never felt like it was perfunctory. Instead, every moment had purpose unique to the main characters. This book was meant for them.
Devil, the hero, is absolutely delicious. He’s a man that hates the darkness and yet lives in the shadows. He uses them as if they’re his own creation. They respond to his presence like a tangible thing, cloaking him in their inky blackness and coming alive when he needs them. There’s an understated power about Devil. He’s a man you might not notice if you weren’t looking for him, but once aware of his presence you’d not be able to look away. Because the world around him responds to every twitch of his muscles, every nuanced expression on his face, every thought…without even speaking a word. It’s like the world is his. Owned. Controlled. Manipulated. And easily so. As if it simply does so because he exists, when in reality he has carefully crafted and planned and built his world to suit him and those he cares about. And punish those against him.
I love when I fall in love with a hero. And Devil has given me heart eyes. He’s magnetic and sexy and sinful. And what I love about him most is that he’s not a brute. In romance novels there always seems to be some comment about the heroine going breathless over the hero. This is the first hero I’ve read that I actually believe it. I think I would hold my breath if I found myself in the same room as him. Hell, I held my breath multiple times reading this book.
God, I could go on about Devil for ages and I’m leaving poor Felicity in the dust. I think she is the luckiest of heroines to have a man like a Devil fall for her. Although, she had to fight like hell for him. Felicity is the perfect counterpart to Devil. Where he is dark, she is light. She’s funny and witty…and perhaps the best of all, entirely herself. She’s a heroine that’s bold and brash without being annoyingly so. Felicity goes through such a great transformation in this book. I loved seeing her go from someone who thought she wanted society and to be accepted by the aristocracy, to someone who realized that she was better suited for a different world. And that the other world suited her.
What I loved most about this book is that it was unexpected. The characters did not do predictable things. I was regularly surprised. In the beginning it starts off with Devil planning to seduce and ruin Felicity. I don’t want to go into his reasons because it would ruin part of the mystery of the first few chapters. But what I thought would happen was that he would actively try and woo her. And I imagined that their relationship and their first kiss and a lot that follows would be wrapped in deceit, which honestly didn’t appeal to me much. But that isn’t what happened. Instead their relationship very much changed as a matter of circumstance. Their moments together unraveled in ways neither of them saw coming. And their first kiss and everything that followed were just things that happened because they were in a moment. It was something they wanted. It wasn’t forced or manipulated. And for that, I loved it. Because their love felt so real. They grew together and changed together and they gave each other what they needed most.
I also loved that this book was mostly just them. That their relationship was half secret. In Devil’s world only a couple people knew. In Felicity’s no one knew at all. Like he didn’t exist. He appeared and disappear like magic. Like he was a figment of her imagination. If I’d been in her place I might have wondered if I’d made him up. But their conversations and interactions were so heartfelt. His touch and kiss must have left an impression on her that was so sure that she could never doubt his existence.
Another thing I want to note that made this book unique and is part of what I adored about it is the fact that Devil didn’t have to become a Duke in order to end up with Felicity. There was no magical title that appeared or some way he was suddenly accepted by the ton. No. He stayed his dark and dangerous self, living in Covent Garden, where Felicity learned to thrive and found happiness along side him.
As for steam, technically, I’d say this is lower on the steam level than other Sarah MacLean novels, and a lot of other romances in general. There was only one love scene. And while I certainly would not have complained about having more, I honestly did not miss it one little bit. And that literally never happens for me. The love scene that was there was well developed and blisteringly hot, with beautiful, heart rending moments. Before that, I thought the sexual tension was off the charts. Their relationship gripped me from the first. And the butterflies and those feelings of falling in love began early and stayed with me through to the very end.
I want to talk about this book forever. I want to stay in it and see so much more. I don’t want these two to go away. Simply put, I loved watching these two fall in love. What more could I ask for?