The Devil to Pay Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Sensual and suspenseful, the newest entry in Carlyle's Regency-era Devil series (following A Deal with the Devil) contains plenty of heated romance and an engaging heroine who lives two lives. By day, Sidonie Saint-Godard is a respectable young widow, but at night she becomes the seductive Black Angel, robbing wealthy men who mistreat women. Sidonie, the illegitimate daughter of an aristocrat, is painfully aware of the plight of unwed mothers and believes she can right society's wrongs by robbing vain men to help the women they harm. Her successful run falters when she targets the marquess of Devellyn, the notorious Devil of Duke Street. Disguised as a lusty street trollop, Sidonie seduces Devellyn, but the encounter kindles real passion, which complicates matters when Sidonie learns that she stole not only items of monetary worth from Devellyn but also something of sentimental value. Tension escalates sharply as Sidonie, realizing that Devellyn is in a vengeful rage, unwisely risks returning his items. Other revenge seekers close in on Sidonie until Devellyn's proposal becomes the only solution to guarantee her safety and reputation. A few contrived plot twists bring about a satisfying denouement, but this is a small flaw in an otherwise lively and absorbing romance.
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Connie Brockway award-winning author of My Pleasure Sweep-you-off-your-feet romance!
Publishers Weekly Carlyle delivers great suspense...sensual scenes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The heroine, Sidonie Saint-Godard, is refreshingly unusual and very well-drawn. Sidonie's motivation for her dangerous behavior is complex and rooted in her resentment of her powerful father's treatment of her mother. She is a very independent, intelligent and imaginative woman, but she is far from perfect. Sidonie is a risk-junkie and driven by demons from her past--some of which she does not even acknowledge to herself. She is headed for trouble when she selects the cynical and dissolute Marquess of Devellyn, Aleric Hilliard, as her next target.
The Marquess is called "The Devil of Duke Street" (but don't hold that against him--he is a much less hackneyed character than that name might suggest to historical romance aficionados.) He is a wealthy, dissolute rake, but he is not the standard-variety polished, charming "romance novel" rogue. Aleric is a man *literally* wasting his life on drinking, gambling and meaningless relationships--thereby punishing himself and his father for mistakes made in the past. He is very rough around the edges but he has a good heart, as Sidonie comes to realize only *after* she has victimized him. Aleric finds himself becoming obsessed with both Sidonie, his elegant widowed neighbor, and her alter-ego, the Black Angel, without realizing that the women are one in the same (somewhat similar to the theme of Connie Brockway's excellent "All Through the Night".)
The development of Sidonie and Aleric's relationship is very well done, and the plot is interesting (although it does bog down just a little at the end) and the romance is edgy and hot (as usual for a Liz Carlyle novel.)
In summary, this is a well-written historical romance with unusually good character development and a unique, compelling plot. Highly recommended, especially for those who like slightly darker, more complex, character-driven romance!
Maybe it's the tension that radiates from each book. Maybe it's because her stories are just a bit darker, a bit more suspenseful and a lot more seductive than most other romance novels?
I'm not sure, all I know is that ALL of her novels have grabbed me in a way most others can't, no matter how much I enjoy them.
THE DEVIL TO PAY is no exception!!
The storyline seems simple, but the story is not.
Sidonie Saint-Godard, sister of the fascinating George Kemble whom we know from previous novels, teaches deportment by day but isn't quite as respectable as she outwardly seems.
As the Black Angel she takes revenge on less than honorable men who've hurt women in one way or another.
When she sees how the Devil of Duke street, Devellyn, casts off yet another one of his mistresses who live across the stree from her, she decides he will be her next victim.
When the Black Angel leaves him tied naked to the bed in a seedy bar, Devellyn is livid. He vows he'll find Ruby Black and take what she cheated him out of.
In the meantime, he is forced to take up residence in his former mistress's house and meets his neighbor, the lovely French widow Sidonie. While he is still obsessed with earthy Ruby, he becomes fascinated by feisty Sidonie.
Sidonie is equally intrigued by Dev and soon starts to realize she might have made a mistake...
There are so many elements in this story I loved, but I'll try to keep it simple.
Aleric, the Devil Duke is my favorite kind of hero - a seriously tormented, big, brawny man. He is convinced his soul is "just a shade from black", and with good reason. This doesn't keep him from being honest about his feelings though. And he feels deeply. He's a complex character who's both cynical to the marrow and yet surprisingly open.
Sidonie/Ruby is a strong, independent woman with a mind of her own. She knows what she wants and acts without hesitation. Like Devellyn she has demons of her own that have shaped her.
Both Dev and Sid/Ruby were real persons to me. Fleshed out, with substance. I completely understood Dev's fascination, or obsession, with Ruby from the minute she opened her mouth. I thought they were perfect for each other.
While this is an intense and sexy read, there are lots of laugh-out-loud moments. I was giggling when Sid and Aleric first "officially" met, I laughed out loud at their second conversation and the scene when they got together after that was just plain hilarious. I won't get into what else made me sputter, but you'll know when you read it *eg*.
Buy this book, get comfortable and enjoy!
If you're looking for a compelling read, complete with two angst filled principal characters and a few highly sensual love scenes, "The Devil to Pay" has your name on it. Well written and briskly paced, this was a fast and completely absorbing read. Liz Carlyle did a wonderful job of "fleshing" out her heroine and hero and making them seem like real (with both good points and hang-ups) and likable (in spite of Devellyn's rather over the top reaction when he discovers who the Black Angel really is). Some readers, however, may feel a little leery about the hero and heroine's first sexual encounter which starts off with the hero more or less forcing himself on her. I'll admit I'm still of two minds about that scene, in spite of the fact the author did salvage that scene completely. All in all however, a really good read.
The relationship between the leads is endearing. I found the characters to be multi-dimensional and the author weaves a mystery into the story without slowing it down or interrupting the romantic flow. The love scenes are ample & steamy, and the plot is a good one. A fast paced book with an intricate plot that I cannot help but enjoy. The interaction between the leads was great. Liz Caryle has found a perfect match for the notorious Devellyn with feisty Sidonie. They are well matched in temperament and intelligence. Devellyn is a bad boy that you just have to love. It was an interesting. There is enough conflict to make the story line interesting and not so much that your left wondering why they ever got together. This book is sharp and fast-moving. I was sad to have it end, but satisfied at the ending! The Devil to Pay is historical romance at its best. Engaging characters, attention to historical detail, and humorous dialogue will keep you reading long into the night.