Once Upon A Romance

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The Devil She Knows by Diane Whiteside

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Cover art: The Devil She Knows Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: The Devil She Knows
Author: Diane Whiteside
Publisher: Kensington Brava
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-2517-7
Release Date: June 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Year/Setting: Constantinople, 1887
Overall Rating: 4.75
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Diane's Website/Blog: www.dianewhiteside.com


Gareth Lowell headed west as a youth to get away from the demons of his past. He met Portia Townsend then and although he is older than her, they practically grew up together getting in one scrape after another. Portia has loved Gareth since she first met him and always waited for him to realize she had grown up. When they meet again on a dangerous ride trying to get precious gold through Indian Territory and Gareth delivers on a promise he makes to Portia, she realizes he will never see her as anything but a little girl.

Fast forward to her wedding day when she is about to gain a British title for her family. Sheís marrying an Earl and is anxious to become a proper English wife. When Gareth appears before the ceremony to warn her about her groomís ill treatment of whores, she tosses Gareth out and goes through with the weddingÖthe biggest mistake of her life.

Fast-forward again to her freedom. She decides to venture around the world to get out of public scrutiny before returning to the states. After almost becoming imprisoned in Constantinople, Gareth swoops in to rescue her at the last moment. He insists they get married so he can temporarily offer protection to her until she can get out safely. After finally experiencing the passion thatís been building between them for all these years, will she be able to walk away when itís over and still keep her heart?

I know this book is part of a series and while I could see moments where we were catching up on past characters, it didnít feel like a series book. As itís the first one Iíve read from this series, I found it easy to fall in with the back-story and the book truly stood on its own. Portia is an interesting lady and while I was sad to see her lose some of the optimism of youth, her character truly gained depth from these experiences.

I want to forewarn readers that there is one scene at the start of Portiaís marriage to the Earl where we see exactly how demented he is with regards to sex. It felt like rapeóat least mentally in the way he treated Portia. I wanted to mention that so it doesnít take you by surprise, but assure you it only happens once. It gives a crystal clear picture of the Earl and his lack of compassion. This moment gives total clarity to events that continue to unfold throughout the story and we understand why Portia sometimes makes choices that arenít good ones.

This story also has a great deal of intrigue woven into it as we try to figure out what is in the trunk Portia has been given by the Earl. Itís obviously important enough to kill for and itís part of the reason she has to marry Gareth for a while. She needs his protection to stay alive. This mystery and intrigue really add dimension to the story.

Then thereís Gareth. Heís still running from the demons of his youth when he hooks up with Portia in Constantinople. He knows that his past will forever make him unlovable and so he lives life on the edge. Heís always just a step away from death and destruction since he feels itís all he deserves. As we get to know him, the layers of his complex nature keep being revealed. I must say that a sexy man who lives on the edge makes him even sexier. Heís a hot man and he demonstrates his sexiness for us throughout the book.

What a great story in the "Devil" series. Iím very interested to go back and read the prior books to see how this big, boisterous and tight-knit family developed. I also look forward to reading more about the Donovan family in the future.

Robyn

Question or comment regarding the review or the book? Click here and let Robyn know.





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