Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: The Ravenals #5
Published by HarperAudio on February 19, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 8 hours, 51 minutes
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Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself...as none other than West Ravenel.
West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.
Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?
Only the devil's daughter knows...
The Ravenels meet The Wallflowers? Are you kidding me? This is a OTP for fans of historical fiction and I did a little dance of joy when I read the tag line for Devil’s Daughter, the fifth book in The Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas. Of course, West Ravenel has long been one of my favorite secondary characters. His dry wit and banter are the comic relief of the series. I was happy to find he was finally getting his own story.
Officially out of mourning, Phoebe’s first venture back into society after the death of her beloved husband, Henry, is the wedding celebration of her brother, Gabriel. Henry was her childhood sweetheart, and his delicate constitution and lingering illness necessitated that they live sedately. She dreads being in the company of strangers, especially West Ravenel, who, as a boy, tormented her dear Henry at boarding school, and as a man, has the most deplorable reputation. However, from their first meeting, she’s immediately put at ease by the handsome, amiable West. Although she tries to avoid him, circumstances (and some people) conspire to throw them together at every turn. She sees West for the compassionate, intelligent man he has become, rather than the mean bully he was.
West Ravenel has managed to turn his life around in the two years since taking over the management of his brother’s estate. He’s no longer a paunchy, perpetually drunk, scoundrel, although he describes himself as a “burnt out libertine whose only remaining pleasure is breakfast food.” The rest of the world, especially the tenants, servants, and tradesmen he interacts with daily, see him has a fine, upstanding man who cares about the livelihood of the estate and community. He’s drawn to Phoebe’s beauty and kindness, especially the love and consideration she has for her two young sons. He knows he can never have her, as he is far beneath her in consequence and his reputation is deplorable, but that won’t stop him from helping her.
While Phoebe has to learn how to move on from her life with Henry, West has to overcome his feelings of inadequacy and to believe he is worthy of the love of a good woman. There is a sort-of villain, adorable children, bull-dodging, and some swoon-worthy romantic scenes in a cottage that had me sighing with delight. All the Wallflowers and their spouses have cameos, however, there were plenty of appearances by the Devil himself. Sebastian (formerly Lord St. Vincent), actively works to bring Phoebe and West Together, because, in his own words, “It’s not meddling; it’s parenting.”
Although I feel the ending was a little abrupt, I still enjoyed the story immensely. While Devil’s Daughter could technically be read as a stand-alone, West’s story unfolds throughout the first four installments of The Ravenels series, and therefore, I wouldn’t skip them. I also think reading the Wallflowers would allow a better appreciation of the characters and family dynamics.
Mary Jane Wells did an excellent job with the narration. I adore her voice and how she manages to give each character so much distinction. I wish she had slowed down a bit while narrating West, who often makes quick-witted quips, if only to make the book last a little longer.
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