If you've been following my blog, you probably already know I'm a big Jade Lee fan. Typically Lee writes historical romances that are placed in Shanghai and deal with the collision between European and Chinese culture (no big surprise, as Lee herself is half-Chinese). This book, however, is a romance set in Regency England, so it's a little out of Lee's typical ouvre.
The book is okay. The plot is based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale: a poor minister's daughter, Lynette, goes to London hoping to find a wealthy husband; only to discover that she will be trained in the //ahem// wifely arts by the roguish Viscount Marlowe. He will literally sell her to one of his rich friends, thus gaining enough money to get himself out of debt.
What will happen when the scandalous Viscount meets the innocent Lynette? I just don't know!
Overall, I liked this book, mainly because I like Beauty and the Beast. Marlowe is very beasty because he only comes out at night, and during the day Lynette has to deal with his mysterious servants (both of whom she naturally wins over with her kindness and innocence *smile smile smile*). I liked Lynette's character, even though her emotional breakdowns sometimes seemed nonsensical. Spazzing out over whether or not you can pick out your own clothes? You've got bigger problems than that, honey, hate to tell you.
The big negative point in the book for me was actually Marlowe. His character and personality never seemed well-defined. Also, he is the most un-roguishly roguish viscount I have read in a novel in recent memory. To present just one example, he cries. A lot. I'm not saying guys can't cry, but 1. I'm pretty sure roguish viscounts don't cry, not unless it's absolutely necessary for advancing the plot; and 2, this guy cries like every 20 pages. It's odd. But on the plus side, he's not completely despicable, so there's that. But there just wasn't any chemistry between Marlowe and Lynette. How is she supposed to reform the wicked viscount if he's not wicked, hmmm?
The Devil's Bargain is an okay book. I wouldn't tell you to go out and buy it immediately, but if you like twists on Beauty and the Beast, you'll probably enjoy it.
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