Becka's Impromptu Book Review - THE DEVIL WHO TAMED HER
I must confess, I'd been excited to read this story ever since I knew of it's existence. But since I personally cannot stand hardbacks, I waited until the paperback came out. In fact, I had no idea this book was out in paperback until I went to my local Fred Meyer's and saw it on the book rack. Immediately my Inner Impulse Buyer squee'd like a schoolgirl.
Why have I been looking forward to it? Because I fell in love with Rafe, the heir to a dukedom in another of Johanna's books, aptly named "The Heir". The book wasn't about him, however, it was about a Scot who finds love with his best friend. Rafe was merely a secondary character in that book, along with the hateful shrew Ophelia Reid. Putting those two together in a single book and watching the sparks fly was interesting to say the least. And I must say, I enjoyed it a lot because I did read the previous book first a few years ago, but this book can stand alone without first reading "The Heir".
Basically, the plot is this: Rafe takes it upon himself to show Ophelia her "shrewish" ways and reform her to be a nice, loving woman. She's superiorly beautiful, and because of this, she's been made callous and cold-hearted, because none of her friends are genuine, and every man on the planet swoons at her feet due to her "bane of a face".
Of course, Rafe decides the best way to do reform her is to whisk Ophelia off to his Secret Underground Lair... **cough**cough** no, no, his family's secluded cottage in the middle of BFE.
Now, the premise, while kind of shoestring in and of itself, is actually kinda fun. I enjoy the bantering back and forth between the hero and heroine, as stories with a lot of heated passion can then erupt in heated passion of a different kind if you know what I mean (wink wink nudge nudge). This story does indeed have that, however, I was a bit disappointed by the love scenes.
Perhaps it's because I'm "spoiled" by being e-published, by reading/writing hotter stories, or perhaps I've just "forgotten" the heat level of a Lindsey book. Or maybe, Johanna is writing a little less steamy these days. I seem to remember certain hot scenes in "Hearts Aflame" that made my face flame, that's for sure. This book didn't quite have that heat level. While I don't read romance strictly "for the sex" (quit rolling your eyes, my male friends who have my blog on their RSS feeds...), it is the crux of a good romance, the culmination of the sexual tension, the climax (no snickering back there) of the relationship. I felt Ms. Lindsey "told" me rather than "showed" me what the characters were feeling.
Another peeve I had about this book was that so much time was spent talking about the heroine's beauty, that the hero gets pushed to the sidelines as far as his good looks. Oh, she talks about his golden hair and how handsome he is, but I never got a clear picture of him in my head of a romance hero, because no one was falling over HIM, other than some random mothers at the "ball" who wanted him to meet their daughters - and even that was glossed over. His characterization suffered due to all the time spent on Ophelia's characterization, and in fact, the scenes written in his POV (point of view) were few and far between. I would have LOVED a love scene in his POV.
Also, when they do return to London (which was too soon for me, I wanted them to spend a little more time at the secluded cottage/mansion), the book then felt like the movie Return of the King to me, with each new chapter someone else the heroine "makes up with" for being so rude and spiteful. Not that the plot is even remotely similar as RotK, but that the 500 endings Peter Jackson made us sit through was reminiscent of the last few chapters of this book. (Lubs Peter Jackson and LotR films to death, so don't be hatin'.)
The book started with a bang, a great lead up, fun times at the happy hideaway, only to be cut short to go back to London where tensions are high. I enjoyed the "taming of the shrew" aspect of the plot, but I did feel the book was a little long, and that the dark moment of the book went on for longer than it should have.
The book is predictable, so don't go into it thinking you won't see what's coming. However, just like a train wreck, you can't help but look! Not that this book is a train wreck, per se, because I did enjoy it and it was better than a few recent Lindsey offerings (A Man to Call My Own, anyone?).
To sum up, I wish the love scenes had been a bit hotter - and you know, I DO remember Johanna writing hotter. Chandos and his heated words... Challen and his arrogant ways... Royce and his erotic "play"... Angel with his sexy boots... Why was Rafe and Ophelia short-changed here? I don't know, but it saddened me.
I wish there had been more scenes in Rafe's POV. I don't want him to be a wallflower hero! Ms. Lindsey did try, but it fell flat, in my opinion.
I loved the scenes at the cottage at the beginning of the book, but when they got to London, it kinda dragged for me, because that one-on-one intimacy was lost.
All in all, I enjoyed the book, and it gave me something to do today when I wasn't feeling too good to do much else. For a light day read, it's great. If you're looking for something meaty, you might be disappointed. But the cover is GORGEOUS and it was an entertaining read, even if I did nitpick it to death. LOL
Ms. Lindsey, I give your book three and three quarter stars (3 3/4 *'s) out of a possible five stars. Thank you for writing Rafe and Ophelia's story. I enjoyed it and it kept me occupied all day. You missed 4 stars only because I wanted Rafe to... gah, I don't know what I wanted him to do. Most romances revolve around the sex appeal of the hero and I just wasn't feelin' it. You would have gotten 4 1/2 stars if the sex scenes had been as hot as your previous works. The book would have been worthy of 5 stars if they'd stayed at the cottage longer. :P All those factors, however, knocked it down to a 3 3/4.
If you're a big fan of Johanna Lindsey, you shouldn't be disappointed by this book, except, perhaps, the factors listed above. :)