(Roxton Series, #4)
Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian, 1777)
Opposites attract. Appearances can deceive.
A dashing and rugged facade hides the vulnerable man within. He will gamble with his life, but never his heart.
Always the observer, never the observed, her fragility hides conviction. She will risk everything for love.
One fateful night they collide.
The attraction is immediate, the consequences profound…
London and Hampshire, 1777: The story of Alisdair ‘Dair’ Fitzstuart; nobleman, ex-soldier, and rogue, and Aurora ‘Rory’ Talbot; spinster, pineapple fancier, and granddaughter of England’s Spymaster General, and how they fall in love.
Awards for this Book
2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Medalist: Romance-Historical
2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist: Fiction-Historical
Series: Stand-alone fourth book in the highly acclaimed ROXTON family saga
Classification: Parental Guidance Recommended (mild sensuality)
Style: Classic romance with a modern voice.
A beautifully crafted, deliciously romantic love story from Lucinda Brant, superbly performed by the hugely talented Alex Wyndham – what more could I ask for?
Dair Devil is the fourth book in the Roxton series and, although it can be read/listened to as a standalone, I cannot recommend the other books in the series highly enough.
Lord Alisdair (Dair) Fitzstuart, cousin to Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, is a former major in the British army who fought bravely during the American Revolutionary War and survived despite having a reckless disregard for his own safety. Since returning from the war, he has garnered a reputation for drinking to excess, womanising, never refusing a bet and involving his friends, Cedric Pleasant and Lord Grasby, in all sorts of outlandish pranks. Not commonly known is the fact that he works for Lord Shrewsbury, England’s Spymaster General, as a spy for the Crown. Although Dair is heir to the Earl of Strathsay, his father, who has lived on his sugar plantation with his mistress for years, has given the Duke of Roxton control over Dair’s inheritance and all decisions regarding the estate. In the meantime, the estate is falling into disrepair, his father refusing to allow any money to be spent on it, and Dair is left playing a waiting game…
Waiting for his father to die. Waiting to inherit. Waiting to do something other than wait.
Aurora Christina Talbot is Lord Shrewsbury’s granddaughter and Lord Grasby’s sister. Born with what we now know as a club foot, Rory walks with a pronounced limp. At the age of 22, she has no expectations of every marrying , instead…
With no fortune and not enough beauty to overcome a meager dowry, Rory was resigned to living her days as she had begun them, as her grandfather’s dependent.
Both her grandfather and brother love her very much but are often overprotective. So she lives a safe, boring, conventional existence, only alleviated by her interest in the cultivation and caring of her precious pineapple plants.
I love the scene at the beginning where Rory and Dair get all tangled up (literally), Rory having become innocently involved in one of Dair’s escapades which goes dramatically wrong. I won’t spoil it for you because this scene is hilarious and reminded me of one of the old slapstick comedies. Of course, although they have met on occasion socially, Dair has never taken much notice of Rory and fails to recognise her. He is totally captivated by the lovely, witty, honest young woman in his arms and they share a passionate kiss… a kiss that that will turn both their worlds upside down.
I totally fell in love with Dair and Rory and watching their romance gradually unfold was a delight… unashamedly romantic but with just enough hurdles confronting the couple to maintain an element of tension. Rory sees through Dair’s devil-may-care façade to the vulnerable man beneath, whose childhood experiences, especially the reason for his fear of rowing Rory across the lake, are truly heart-breaking. Dair sees past Rory’s disability to the wonderful woman she is and realises how much she has changed his view on life.
Here was a young woman who, through no fault of hers, lived with an impediment every day. It was a circumstance out of her control, and yet she had not allowed it to rule how she viewed the world. She was not bitter. She did not blame others. She was joyful and full of optimism. He needed that in his life. He needed her in his life.
I love the scene on Swan Island where Dair and Rory finally consummate their love because Ms Brant weaves a lovely romantic, playful and sensual atmosphere without being explicit. I also love the story of the tapestry which has special significance having read Noble Satyr.
Dair and Rory have a champion in Antonia, now Duchess of Kinross, and when Lord Shrewsbury refuses to allow the marriage, she is more than a match for the England’s Spymaster General. As she tells Dair – “All men have secrets, Alisdair. Even spymasters.” – and when she confronts Shrewsbury with his secrets, she is just magnificent.
I thought that Dair’s interactions with the Banks’ family and his acknowledgement of his illegitimate son showed what an honourable man he is. At the same time, I was very relieved that the storyline didn’t veer in the direction of a Big Misunderstanding.
Ms Brant has drawn together an excellent cast of secondary characters, all adding colour and depth to the story. There is also an element of mystery and intrigue as Dair works to uncover the identity of a traitor within Lord Shrewsbury’s spy network, and someone thought long dead is very much alive.
As other reviewers have commented, it is impossible to think of superlatives to describe Alex Wyndham’s performance that have not already been said. He does an amazing job of giving each character their own distinctive voice and literally breathes life into Ms Brant’s characters making listening to her books such a wonderful experience.
MY VERDICT: Another winner from the magical team of Lucinda Brant and Alex Wyndham. Highly recommended!
REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE
Read/Listened to August 2016
Roxton Series so far (click on the book covers for more details):
**I received a free download of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review**