RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane


Title: The Devil in Disguise
Author: Stefanie Sloane
Publication Info: Random House 2011
ISBN: 978-0345517395
Genre: Historical: European

The Devil in Disguise This review was written by Sara Lindsey. This story was nominated in the Best Regency Historical Romance and the Best First Book categories.

The summary:     

Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake with little regard for society—a most unlikely suitor for Lady Lucinda Grey. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot. To do this, the notorious “Iron Will” must use his devilish charm to seduce Lucinda and convince her he’s worthy of her attention.

William never planned to become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey—or to lose his own heart in the bargain. Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. She’s tempted by his sinfully sensuous mouth and piercing eyes, and finds it hard to resist the champion thoroughbred he offers her in exchange for the honor of courting her.

Can she keep him at arm’s length when his touch begs her to let him so much closer?

And here is Sara's review:

Plot-in-a-Nutshell: Super-secret spy/rakish Duke with troubled past must protect beautiful, witty, aristocratic heiress with no interest in marriage from crazy French kidnapper. There’s meddling from endearing, eccentric aunts, a wager involving a horse, and some late night lovin’ in a library. A few tense moments with the kidnapper when it’s hit or miss—literally—but in romance, everything ends happily. Er, except for the wacked-out Frenchman. Not so much for him.


To be completely honest, I picked up The Devil in Disguise because Julia Quinn claims to have written one (or more) line(s) while helping edit this book before it sold. I wanted to see if I could pick it (them?) out. I found a couple of sentences early on that seemed particularly “Quinnish”* to me, but in a testament to Sloane’s skill as an author and Quinn’s deft editorial touch, I was soon too caught up in the story to remember to look.

Much about Sloane’s debut is reminiscent of JQ’s style: her prose is clever, her banter witty. There’s an archetypal underpinning to both the characters and plot, which is at once engaging and comforting. The relationship developing between the hero and heroine is central; while there is clearly a suspense element, it does not overwhelm the romance.

My one quibble with the book is that I, personally, would have preferred a little more sex. Devil is sexy and sensual, but the actual having of the sex—what my best friend’s mother would call “the full excitement”—is brief. Then again, if you’ve ever read one of my books, you know I like my love scenes long and fulfilling. (Yes, I know that sounds like a bad innuendo.) For those readers who dislike the increasingly sexual content of today’s historical romances, this will be a welcome change.

I truly enjoyed this debut from a talented new voice in the historical romance genre. The Devil in Disguise is entirely deserving of its recognition by the Romance Writers of America.

*Let it be known for the Bitchery record, my top choices for sentences written by JQ: “Quite blue. Really, truly very blue.” and “I must retire. Immediately, if sooner.” (both page 4 of the ARC).

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Vicki says:

    The story sounds charming and I like my sexting more implied so this sounds like a great book. My Nook thanks you for this review; my bank account not so much….

  2. 2
    PhyllisLaatsch says:

    I was disappointed with it. Tons of copy editing errors and historical inaccuracies. And things like one of the aunts is a Dowager Duchess and she keeps being referred to as “the Dower”. “Dower” is a noun for the provision made for the widow, not what you call the widow herself. (It’s also a verb, as in provide a dowry for someone). I did like it MUCH better than the 2nd book. I never read the 3rd book.

  3. 3
    Dawn says:

    I also enjoyed this book but with one big issue. My paperback copy was replete with typos including lots of misspelled words, misplaced grammatical symbols, occasionally no spaces between words, and even the villain’s name being spelled differently on different pages (Garenne vs. Gareene). That bothers me when reading a book, but maybe I’m just too picky. Could that have been corrected with the digital editions? I don’t know enough about publishing to understand how editing works. But I still enjoyed the story. I bought the second book in the series (also paperback) and it did not have those issues, thankfully.

  4. 4
    Sara Lindsey says:

    I wouldn’t say the sex is implied, exactly, but it’s less in your face than in many historical romances. Or should I say, in your womb? I think you’ll enjoy the book!

    Dawn and Phyllis,
    I read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), which is an uncorrected copy of the book. I did notice the typos, etc. but I assumed they were corrected before the book went to print.
    I didn’t notice historical inaccuracies, and I’m very picky about that, though I actually just noticed a problem with the back cover copy – though the author is usually not responsible for writing the copy. I *do* know that Stefanie worked with a wonderful researcher and historian, Franzeca Drouin (http://franzeca.wordpress.com/…, so she definitely tried to get the details as accurate as possible.
    Don’t know about the Dower/Dowager issue—I probably read “Dow” and my mind supplied “ager” without my reading the rest of the word. That’s why 5 readers can proofread a book and mistakes still slip through. In my first book, I even had mistakes that got introduced when the typesetters misread what I’d been trying to correct on the page proofs…and I have neat handwriting, I swear!

  5. 5
    Amanda says:

    None of the typos were corrected for the final product, at least in the paperback copy I read. It didn’t look like it had even been carefully spell-checked. But among the grammatical mishaps it contained one gem: since the hero is a duke, there are lots of instances of “Your Grace” and “His Grace” popping up, and at one point when he’s thinking of the heroine’s effect on him, the text refers to “His Groin.” That’s right, His Ducal Groin. Oh delightful (lack of a) copy editor, how you amuse me.

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