Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bookish Thoughts: The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London (Audio)

At the end of the hunting season, before the winter set in, the Earl of Clarendon hosted a soiree at his London home for families of Quality that had come to town. ~ Opening of The Devil Takes a Bride

The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London, narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Recorded Books (Audible) (HQN); 2015
Romance (Historical); 9 hrs, 45 min
Source: Purchased for my own listening pleasure.

Since I began reading romance again a couple years ago, I have a better idea of what I like and don't like in the genre. I tend to prefer what's called "sweet" romances--heavy on the romance, light on the sex. I also have found that historical romance is not among my favorite sub-genres of the romance genre, although occasionally one catches my fancy, and I decide to give it a try.

Add to that my being relatively "new" to audiobooks. I listened to six last year, my most ever, if that tells you anything. I am still working out what works best for me in that format, and so I thought I would dip my toe in a romance audio. I can't remember why I used an Audible credit for The Devil Takes the Bride, in particular. Maybe one of you recommended it on your blog? If so, thank you! It was a good choice.

There was much I liked about The Devil Takes a Bride. How often do you run into a historical romance novel that deals with mental illness? And not just in a secondary character, but in a main character. Not that I have read a lot of historical fiction recently, but it's certainly not something I've run into a lot. 

Our hero, Jeffrey, the Earl of Beckington suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which obviously wasn't well known as a disorder at the time. I thought the author showed sensitivity and compassion in her writing of the character as well as that of his heroine, Grace Cabot, and how she helped and coped with her husband's illness. Kudos to the author for not taking her heroine and have her sweep in to "cure" her husband. 

The way the couple met could have hurt my opinion of the main heroine. And yet I found myself falling under her charm just as most everyone else in the novel. Besides how much of my feelings were related to modern thoughts as opposed to the limitations of the past? Women in her situation didn't have a lot of options, and she was feeling desperate at the time.

There was one scene in particular that bothered me in the novel. It's early on in the couple's marriage, and, okay, I'm going to spoil it right here. Highlight the bracketed text if you want to know anyway. [Jeffrey thought she was afraid of him the first time he had sex with her. He thought she didn't want him. Still, he proceeded. She wanted it as much as he did, sure, but the fact that he had sex with her thinking she didn't want to bothers my modern sensibilities quite a bit.]

In many ways, this was a novel in which certain misunderstandings or assumptions could have been circumvented if everyone would have just communicated with each other. However, Neither the hero nor heroine really knew each other all that well, and they each have secrets they are ashamed of. Secrets that would send most perspective suitors running in the other direction. It is no wonder they weren't so forthcoming with each other from the start.

Despite my problem with the one scene, I enjoyed this novel nonetheless. The author has crafted fully developed characters whom I grew quite attached too. There was depth to their individual stories and they felt real to me. I enjoyed the narrator's reading of the story. It was easy to lose myself and forget I wasn't part of the novel. And I admit, I'm now curious about the other Cabot sisters and their stories.

To learn more about Julia London and her work, please visit the author's website. You can also find her on Twitter.

To learn more about Rosalyn Landor and her work, please visit her on Twitter.

© 2017, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. That is true you do not often have a historical book dealing with mental illness. Great review! This book sounds good.

    1. Cindy - Thank you! I don't read a lot of historical romance, but I also hadn't heard mention of main characters dealing with mental illness much in them either.

  2. Your review reminds me I haven't read a historical romance for a long while. I really miss those days when I could read them back to back without getting tiring of them.

    I don't think I've came across romances which deal with mental illness and this one sounds like the author has put in much thoughts in creating her character with it. Thanks for your thoughts, Wendy!

    1. Melody - I don't read them very often, but I had heard such good things about this one. I'm glad I gave it a chance!

      I was glad the author decided to create a main character with mental health issues. It doesn't happen often enough.

  3. I love audiobooks and I love historical romances but I don't think I have ever listened to a historical book. This sounds great!

    1. Carole - This was my first audio romance, so I wasn't sure what I would think when I started it. I hope you like this one if you give it a try.

  4. I just commented on your most recent post about covers. This is a book that I wouldn't give a second thought to because of the cover, and yet your review does interest me!


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