Guest Review: The Devilish Montague by Patricia Rice

Posted February 1, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Devilish Montague (Rebellious Sons #2) by Patricia Rice

All Blake Montague wants is to save Europe from a tyrant. But as the penniless youngest son of a baron, he needs a marriage of convenience to provide the money he requires for a military commission. Then he meets a blonde beauty who can fulfill all his needs-especially those satisfied by a wife…

On the face of it, the story, the plot, and the characters appear to be repeats of what a reader would find in most historical romances set in the time of the Napoleonic War. However, there are significant differences that make this story stand apart and which made it a very entertaining read for me.

First, Blake may indeed be an impoverished third son who can never hope to attain to his father’s title. But he is not just a man who wants wealth in order to support a life of a rake while deciding to settle down. Rather, Blake Montague is a man of such shining honor that he stands out among all the men of the ton. He doesn’t gamble or drink excessively–no money to spare and thus it would be dishonorable for him or his family to do so. He wants to use his unusual gifts at solving puzzles to decipher coded messages that are being secreted back and forth from England to France and giving the enemy information that is hampering Wellington’s efforts to defeat Napoleon. His parents are proud of him but he is thankful for their kindness and support. But he is also aware that his mother believes that he is “cursed” and will die before he is 30 years old just as her mother ‘s other male relatives did. All because he has a peculiar streak in his hair. With no money and not prospects of any in the future beyond his small allowance, Blake has to find a wife if he is going to have enough money to purchase an officer’s commission and become a part of Wellington’s staff. Otherwise his desire to use his considerable code-breaking talents will never be taken seriously.

The heroine is also not often seen in Regency romances. She is a younger sister who has been abused emotionally, verbally and psychologically by her older brother, put out of their ancestral home–the only home she and her brother have ever known–and has had to become the protector of her “weird” brother (he would have probably been diagnosed as autistic in today’s world) and a mother who renounced her life as a countess in order to do academic historic research and bury herself in books. Blake offers an opportunity to regain her home for herself, her brother and mother because her brother has lost their family home in a poker game to Montague’s father. But it will not become hers if Blake dies during the first year of their marriage. So it is in her best interests to prevent his purchase of a military commission so that he cannot go to war.

This is a marvelous novel that has all the glitz and glamour of the early 19th century along with the tension and strife that came with the war in Europe. It also contains the reality of marriage as political and financial gain rather than a love relationship. However, even as Blake and our heroine are married, there are still significant bumps in the road to happiness and contentment for both of them. Even though there are snags financially, Blakes bride is remarkably adept in using her connections to draw attention to his extraordinary talents as well as assist in slowly dismantling the mystery that makes an appearance from time having to do with African parrots who use profane language, efforts to steal them, the involvement of some of the nobility with French citizens, and more.

This book is full of vim, vigor, and vitality–people who live honorably and who use their wealth to benefit others. It also has its share of bad guys and there are happenings that come out of nowhere and really surprise the reader. There is love and lust, desire and fear present. All is not well between Blake and his bride–she refuses to consummate the marriage for fear of pregnancy, of losing her home before she and Blake have been married a year, of failing to protect her brother and mother plus possibly having a baby to care for. I think it safe to say that the frustration in the bedroom is fairly high.

The is the second of Patricia Rice’s books I have read. I really enjoyed the first book in this series but I think I enjoyed this one even more. She writes so well, and the story never lagged for me. It has significant size and to be able to keep the spirit of the story as well as the level of tension throughout is not easily done. It is a historical romance that is well worth the time and effort to read. Such a truly good book!

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Signet. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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