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Devices & Desires (The Lyons Pride Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 367 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
Gervase Lyons, reserved and often ignored third son of the Duke Of Whitborough, has been in love with Margaret Carlisle, eldest daughter of the Duke of Langdale, since he was 19 and she 17. First she was engaged to his oldest brother Hal, then after Hal’s death Margaret eloped with another man before Gervase could begin to court her. So Gervase hid his feelings again and resigned himself to a life that was romantically unfulfilled.
Devices and Desires begins with a Lyons Christmas party, the first one in five years with all of the Lyons and Carlisle family members present, even Gervase’s formidable mother, who is estranged from the Duke and living in France. As Gervase and Margaret travel to Yorkshire together to attend the party, with Gervase determined to make his move and Margaret starting to recognise her attraction to her old friend, I was full of anticipation for a touching romance.
Despite the smooth prose I started to feel vaguely dissatisfied with the book, a dissatisfaction that grew as all the family members were introduced. It was caused by the dialogue, which was overloaded with murmuring, remarking, commenting and retorting, yet its content was often trivial. There was so much unnecessary small talk about everyone's journeys to Yorkshire, clothes, meals, greetings, questions about where people were all the time and making plans for the day, until it became seriously irritating. It felt like the reading equivalent of a fly-on-the-wall reality TV show, with the viewer forced to endure all the tedious social chitchat that is edited out of a scripted drama. Only rarely would an amusing or insightful comment emerge from the sea of conversation to actually advance the plot.
There is a large cast of distinct characters and I appreciated that the siblings are not all perfect sequelbait just waiting to star in their own books, but there are some caricatures among them: the Duke of Whitborough obsessed with the succession beyond feeling or common sense, Jason the whining spoiled brat youngest brother who behaves more like eight than eighteen, and Margaret’s beautiful but dimwitted sister Alicia.
I waded through all the social niceties for the sake of Gervase and Margaret, but even the path of their romance was a bit of a disappointment. Margaret becomes aware of Gervase’s feelings and suddenly they’ve become lovers by the 50% mark of the kindle edition. That is the moment in a romance novel when my compulsion to keep reading often wanes unless there are still internal conflicts between hero and heroine. Here though, Gervase and Margaret are secure in each other’s affections with only some questions about their future still to be resolved, so they are reduced to watching from the sidelines and then being drawn into the more dramatic developments involving other characters. Chief among these are the tempestuous relationship between Duke and Duchess and the current heir Reg’s insulting reluctance to marry Alicia.
I have to say that in the long, long second half of the book I found Reg the most interesting character, perhaps because he doesn’t say much and a hint of mystery is more appealing than banality. Even Gervase started to irritate me with his slightly pompous and often trite remarks and his habit of endlessly quoting poetry. I felt that the focus on the conflicts between various family members diluted the emotional impact that Gervase and Margaret's relationship could have had if given more attention. And the eventual resolution of all the family drama was quite sudden and rather unsatisfying given the previously entrenched positions of the key players. Even the long hinted-at explanation for Margaret's elopement made no sense at all.
If this book had been about half as long, had omitted the inordinate descriptions of mundane daily minutiae and possibly a few siblings/spouses/children as well, and had featured more meaningful dialogue between hero and heroine instead of them trading quotations all the time, I may have given it a solid three stars. Apparently the author plans another novel covering these same events from the viewpoint of the Duke and Duchess. I can't imagine why. Once was enough for me.
Can their second chance be more that a fling together?
"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Blue Castle Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.
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