Devil Black

Devil Black

by Laura Strickland

Marilyn Baron (06/08/13): Devil Black A Compelling Read

This historical romance set in Central Scotland in 1608 reminded me very much of the work of one of my favorite historical fiction auto-buy authors, Julie Garwood. It was so compelling; I didn’t want to put it down. The characters are well developed (especially the hunky hero), and the story completely satisfying in every way.

When the “disgraced” heroine, Isobel Maitland, goes to Scotland to stand in for her sister in marriage, she is abducted by the bandit Dougal MacRae, aka Devil Black, a handsome, brooding laird who plucks her out of her coach to spite his longtime rival because he holds his sworn enemy responsible for the death of his only love. He’s also been ordered by the King to marry, so Isobel becomes a pawn in his game of revenge.

MacRae is called “The monster without conscience; the destroyer; he who ruins whatever he touches.” But he is, at heart, an honorable, misunderstood, man. And he feels his heart is so full of hatred it has no room for love. Isobel finds herself physically attracted to the tortured, untamed Dougal (and you will too when you see the cover) but longs for his love in return, which he no longer believes in and honestly cannot give.

I enjoyed the hero’s struggle to let love back into his heart and I thought the heroine was very patient to put up with his devotion to his dead ex-love, Aisla, a specter that haunts both the hero and heroine throughout the book. In the end, Isobel finds her way into Dougal’s heart and he offers everything he has to free her when she is captured by his enemy. The villain, and he’s really evil to the bone, gets his in the end, well actually, in a more fitting place, in a fate almost worse than death.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, too, Dougal’s beautiful sister, Meg, (reminiscent of “Taming of the Shrew,)” whom he calls “his accursed sister,” and a “harridan,” who poisoned her first husband and fights with all she has to resist the affections of Dougal’s best friend, Lachlan. I hope they get their story, too. Isobel’s sister, Catherine and her husband are also interesting characters in this fully realized novel.

Laura Strickland is an excellent writer. She really brings the setting and the characters alive and I’d like to read more about these characters or her next books. Laura Strickland is an author to watch. Devil Black is definitely a 5-star read.
Rating: *****

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