02 August 2010

Georgette Heyer: The Alastair Trilogy - Devil's Cub

Summary: Dominic Alastair, Marquis of Vidal, is the rakish, hot tempered son of the Duke of Avon. Vidal is a chip off the old block, following in his father's wild exploits of youth. Forced to depart for the continent after wounding a man in a duel, he fancies taking some company along with him. This young, beautiful little miss, Sophia Challoner, he correctly surmises will willingly accompany him.
Mary Challoner, the practical older sister, sees the great impropriety in this situation that her sister is so willing to agree to involve herself. She is determined to remedy this problem and separate Vidal from Sophia forever. She accompanies Vidal through a disguise in her  sister's place expecting to be released once the hoax is up. But has Mary risked her own future and reputation in an attempt to save her sister.

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Thought {Spoilers}: To date, this is my favorite book by Ms. Heyer. I've always said that I like her heros most when they are bad and Vidal does not disappoint in the least.
Had it not been for the common sense (perhaps not best applied) of Mary Challoner, her vapid sister Sophia would have brought them family into ruin. After the switch is exposed Vidal shows every bit of his reputation as a "young fire-eater." Furious with the deception, he deems Mary a easy woman and plans to take advantage of her virtue. Until he realizes at the end of a gun, that she is earnest in protecting her virtue and finding some way out of this most awkward situation.
Mary Challoner is smart, level-headed and unwavering, but she is also kind, caring and endearing. Slowly (slowly) Vidal comes to see these qualities that make her an extraordinary woman -  Perhaps one too good for him.  When he realizes that by honor he should marry her to save her reputation … she says no, much to his surprise and aggravation.
Mary would like to attempt to stay in France where she is unknown to make her own way, no matter how modest that may be. Finding that a school friend of hers, Juliana Marling, is Vidal's cousin and currently in Paris, she persuades Vidal to take her there hoping Miss Marling can help her find some work so she may free herself from Vidal. All the while Vidal is attempting to find an English priest to marry them. Miss Marling has a suitor that has followed her from England, but she has spurned him in a fit of spoiled girl bad temper. Her suitor, Mr. Comyn is a true gentleman and realizing the trouble Mary is in, and with a bit of spite at the rebuff from Juliana, offers to take Mary to Dijon where Vidal expects the English priest to be so they can marry. Mary accepts.
And the chase, as you can imagine, is on. I'd love to spoil the ending, but shall not. There are two scenes I have read over and over again since I finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago. One involves a duel ; the other a long conversation over supper with and unknown (at least to Mary )gentleman of her own country.
I realize I have only read 14 books by Miss Heyer so far, but this is far and away my favorite.
Read. This. Book!


  1. Frequently in Heyer, a romance blossoms while a young lady attends to her hero's gunshot wounds, but out of all her books that I have read, Mary Challoner is the only heroine to fire the gun! It's a rollicking tale, but I prefer These Old Shades. One would hope that such brilliant characters as the Duke of Avon and Leonie would produce a more intelligent son than Vidal.

  2. No, he's intelligent, but just a spoiled child - as I think Miss Challoner describes him. :) But aren't all men a little spoiled until they find what they really need?

    I do so love his grace though... sigh and Leonie is just a peach!


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