Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Devil You Know by Victoria Vane (e-novella)

Consider A Wild Night's Bride and The Virgin Huntress as appetizers -- teasing our romance taste buds with the lives of five people and the adventure they take as they fall in love, at the center of their little circle, a man known as The Devil DeVere.

Who is Ludovic DeVere? How did he come to be known as The Devil?

And what's the story between him and Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley? As early as the first book, DeVere already warns his friend, Ned, (and the readers) not to jump to conclusions too early:

"There is much more to the story than you know."
- A Wild Night's Bride, p. 11

And this is the "more" --

Diana pretends her life is fine. She pretends her marriage is fine. She pretends she gets along with her husband and makes excuses for him to her friends and to herself.

Diana pretends she is happy for her cousin, Annalee, but she secretly longs for the same intimacy and connection her cousin has with her husband, Ned Chambers.

She accompanies them on a trip to Surrey, to the house of Ned's best friend, Lord DeVere. Despite her cousin's warnings, Diana's could not help but respond to Ludovic Devere. And, despite his outward show of indifference, Ludovic is just as affected by Diana's voluptuousness.

Determined to remain faithful to her vows, Diana steels herself against Ludovic's flirtation but, as the cracks in her marriage are revealed in a very public manner, as the very foundation that Diana has built her life on crumbles, she decides to finally do something for herself and succumbs to the devil's temptations.

The Devil You Know looks at Ludovic DeVere's past and shows us the events that have shaped the man now known as The Devil.

He has the devil's own luck at everything: be it cards or races or business.

The one area Vic seems to be unlucky at is at love. In his youth, he was betrayed by a woman he had hoped to marry -- Caroline weighed his title and wealth against that of the Duke of Beauclerc and heartlessly cast him aside.

But Vic is an exacting man -- he may outwardly project a devil may care attitude but he actually possesses a very noble code of ethics, as evidenced by his long-time friendship with Ned Chambers.

I felt sorry for Diana -- she keeps everything together and makes excuses for her errant husband, trying to pretend she's happy with her lot in life when, in truth, she's not.

...Diana was determined to maintain her sham, the precious pretense that has become indispensable to her life.
- loc 242

When things fall apart, and Diana realizes her cherished illusions have all gone up in smoke due to her husband's recklessness and irresponsibility, Diana decides to take matters into her own hands and step out of the box she has put herself in.

She approaches DeVere for a loan, though Ned already warned her to be careful:

"Simple?" Edward laughed. "That's where you are wrong my dear. Nothing is ever simple with DeVere. I fear any transaction made with him will be much more than you bargained for."
- loc 995

The strange thing was, Diana wasn't afraid to pay the price. She's had a loveless, passionless relationship with her husband -- she allows herself this one act of selfishness, something that is purely for herself.

When Diana's husband is found dead of mysterious circumstances, and DeVere is one of the first to discover his dead body, doubt sets in and Diana's questions and imagination take on a life of their own:

Had DeVere planned everything? Her husband's ruin? Her own fall? Did DeVere kill Reggie?

In this particularly story, the third person POV shows the dramatic irony unfolding: Diana and Vic DeVere are both innocent and are finally free to be together -- but they are also not free to be together -- thanks to Caroline's machinations and threats. (See Chapter 12) In the end, it is DeVere's own sense of honor that prevents him from ever discovering if what he and Diana had was more than just a physical connection.

And so they go their separate paths. Vic's path is a downward spiral to dissolution and deviltry. And Diana selflessly devotes herself to caring for her goddaughter Vesta.

But their paths do cross again -- when Vesta comes to town for her Season (The Virgin Huntress) --

Victoria Vane has crafted a wonderful series that is exciting and absorbing. How will the story of Vic DeVere and Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley end? I am dying to find out! ^_^

The Devil's Match, the fourth installment in The Devil DeVere series, is scheduled for release this August 2012. (For an excerpt, click here.)

To find out more about Victoria Vane and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review!
    I promise much deeper insights into Diana and DeVere in THE DEVIL'S MATCH!
    Victoria Vane

  2. Hi, Musing Sallie!

    Thank you for dropping by! I'm glad you enjoyed my review. ^_^

  3. Hi, Victoria!

    It was an amazing read! Really loved the backstory of Ludovic and Diana. Very excited for the next installment. ^_^



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