Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: The Virgin Huntress by Victoria Vane (e-novella)



Vesta wasn't expecting her first Season to happen the way it did -- her father comes home with a new bride after spending three days in London looking for a townhouse. Unhappy with her new situation (and new stepmother), she and her aunt, Diana, escape to London by themselves.

London isn't what Vesta thought it would be -- she didn't expect there to be so many people and for the streets to smell -- and she didn't expect to fall in love with the first man she sees.

The unfortunate object of her love is Captain Hewett DeVere, younger brother of Ludovic DeVere -- who has just been charged (and bribed) by his older brother to marry and secure the DeVere line.

Vesta's not happy that Hewett's attentions are focused on her aunt and so the hellion conspires with the Devil and a plan is made.

There's drugging, a kidnapping, a locked door with no key and the unauthorized use of a yacht -- and it's not Vesta who's in peril but Hew!

According to my reading schedule, I wasn't supposed to read this book yet but, after I finished reading the first book, I didn't feel I was ready to leave Victoria Vane's Georgian-era London just quite yet. ^_^

So I started reading The Virgin Huntress, which is the second installment in her The Devil DeVere series.

And I finished the e-novella in one sitting. ^_^

I love how Victoria Vane has skillfully used gender role reversal to tell the love story of Vesta and Hew -- we usually have the heroes pursuing the heroines by fair means or foul -- but Vesta is not one to simper and wait for a man. Vesta is spoiled but incredibly focused and, when she set her sights on Hew, she didn't rest until she caught him.

This was my favorite scene:
(Hew wakes up after being drugged a little by Vesta in his brother's boat. They are out at sea.)

"...I've never been on a sailing ship before and would very much like to be above deck," she said wistfully.

"Then what is to stop you?"

Vesta considered the question and suddenly brightened. "Well, I hadn't considered it until now, but given we are well at sea, there's nothing. I suppose! It's not likely that you would jump into the ocean now, is it?"

"Then you can open the door."

She grinned. "I only needed to ring the bell."

He looked flummoxed. "The bell?"

"Over there." She indicated the bell pull he had overlooked in his agitation. Before Vesta could even rise, Hew had already given the cord a violent tug. "Et tu, Brute?" Hew exclaimed when the elderly jockey answered the call. "Even you knew about this?"

"Aye, Cap'n Hew," Pratt said, looking mighty green about the gills. "But when my lord commanded I was to be Man Friday to the little miss, I ne'er imagined 'twoud be shipboard."

"You get no sympathy from me, old fellow. Let the punishment fit the crime, I say. Now, pray bring me my clothes!"

Pratt handed the captain a bundle with a rueful look. "I was expectin' ye might be callin' for 'em."

Hew snatched them with a glare and then turned back to Vesta. "Some privacy, please?"

"But I've already seen--"

"Out with you!" he bellowed.

"Fine then." She threw her cards down with a scowl. "I'll be up on deck with Pratt."

Hew mumbled, "And may a great whale come and swallow you up."
- pp. 54-55

This was a light and diverting read -- one filled with pleasant surprises. It is a bit outrageous at times but, then, this is a romantic comedy and succeeds in what it ought to do: tell a fun love story between an odd couple and giving them a happy ending.

This is the second book in Victoria Vane's The Devil DeVere series. The series continues with the third installment, The Devil You Know is scheduled for release July 29, 2012.

A print edition that compiles the first two novellas, The Devil DeVere Volume 1, will be released this August 2012.

To find out more about the author and her works, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by the author. Yes, this is an honest and sincere review.

Final Note: Here's a quote from Shakespeare In Love, one of my all-time favorite movies.

"You see - comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want. "
- Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare in Love (quote copied from IMDB)

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