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Welcome to all Georgette Heyer fans!  Famous for creating the historical romance genre, I know many a  blogger who adores her Regency romances.  She is also famous for her mysteries and in general her detailed research.  I have never had the pleasure of reading anything written by Ms. Heyer, so I was truly excited about the chance to finally pick up one of her works.  Because I had it on hand already, I chose to start with Ms. Heyer’s Devil’s Cub.

 Devil's Cub Book Cover

Title: Devil’s Cub

No. of Pages:  310

First Released:  1932

Synopsis (Courtesy of Goodreads): “In this acclaimed followup to These Old Shades, Dominic Alastair, fiery son of the Duke of Avon, is forced to flee England after a duel. He intends to take and set up as his mistress the young lady whose attentions he’s been courting, but her virtuous sister Mary gets in his way and finds herself carried off to France instead.

Discovering that he has met his match when she shoots him in the arm to protect her virtue, Dominic tries to persuade Mary to marry him, but she’ll have none of it. A chase ensues that in the end embroils the Duke of Avon himself and his passionate and impetuous wife, Leonie, who is forced to admit that Mary might just be the best thing in the world for her beloved son.”

Comments and Critique: I love romances, and I love history.  I particularly love when those two come together into one book.  Knowing how many people love Georgette Heyer, I was absolutely convinced that any of her Regency romances would be exactly what I love.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  Before you draw and quarter me, let me explain.

From a purely historical perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed Devil’s Cub.  The detail was phenomenal.  The pomp and circumstance afforded Dominic, the morals of the society portrayed in the book were foreign to today’s society but understandable given the historical context of the book.  Ms. Heyer paints a tremendously vivid picture with her words, so that I knew exactly what each character was wearing, what it felt like to ride in a carriage, what it was like to attend social events in high society and what it was like to travel.  From that aspect, I was highly impressed.

My issue with this book was the familiarity of it.  My opinion of the book may have been different had I not grown up reading as much historical romantic fiction as I possibly could.  It has been said that as creator of the genre, modern authors have sought to copy Ms. Heyer’s style.  I believe this to be true because I found Devil’s Cub to be predictable, formulaic and even eye-roll inducing.  Another caveat is that I have always avoided Harlequin romances, and this smacked of the Harlequin style.  Yes, it is important to remember that this was written before modern romances, including the Harlequin branch of books, but my distaste for that genre was something I really had difficulties overcoming.

Another bone of contention that distracted me from the story was the grammatical errors scattered throughout the book.  Much of the book is in dialogue, and I honestly thought that if I read “she don’t” or “he don’t” one more time, I was going to scream.  I also found that Dominic’s name was spelled about four different ways throughout the book, including the very feminine way of adding a -que to the end of his name.  Again, it bothered me.  Perhaps it should not have, but I found it distracting.

Given the popularity of historical romance novels, it is completely understandable why Georgette Heyer ranks up there as one of the most popular romantic authors.  I will admit that I did find Devil’s Cub to be charming and witty at times.  The characters are so over the top that one cannot help but laugh at their dramatics.  I even suspect that because the whole novel is so exaggerated, Ms. Heyer may be slyly mocking the Regency era.  However, I believe that this type of novel is just not for me.  I prefer my historical romance to be a bit edgier, more suspenseful, saucier with the romance more a backdrop to the overarching story.  I am glad I got to experience my first Heyer novel and look forward to reading what others have to say about her works as the tour progresses throughout the rest of March.

This book fits selections for my 100+ Reading Challenge and my Read ‘n Review Challenge.  I also purchased this with my own money.  Sorry FTC.

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