"I've no intentions of killing you. Just incapacitating you," I continued, "so that you can't shoot Geoffrey."
After losing heavily at the tables, Georgiana Morland's brother incautiously challenged the honor of London's most notorious duelist. It's up to Georgie to save her brother from his own folly, not only by paying his debt out of her meager funds, but also to convince the implacable Lord Garth not to shoot her brother. That should be the end of it, except for a certain visit to Vauxhall Gardens and the complications that aroused there.
Georgiana is an exciting as well as funny story with a plethora of well drawn characters, ranging from a pious father to an irascible grandmother, boring suitors, hopeless relatives, gossips, dissolute rakes, ladies of the night and inebriated guardsmen. The book is written in first person, a tricky thing to do, but in this story it works. Do have a looking in Georgie's world and see for yourself what the poor girls is up against!
First published 1981 by Fawcett Crest Books
The Rogue's Lady
"Miss Linnell, will you marry me?"
When her father dies a pauper Alexandria Linnell's betrothed breaks their engagement and she is forced to become the companion of her horrid great-aunt Augusta. That is until Harry Romney needs a convenient bride and proposes to his childhood friend Alex. But life is more complicated than either thought and the elopement - in a curricle of all things - is just the beginning of the trials that beset the young couple before true love finally finds them.
I really enjoyed this book, the characters are well drawn and likeable and the story high spirited and humorous. If you want some light reading this book is perfect.
First published 1982 by Jove Books
The Widow of Bath
"Well, well. The even more beautiful Miss Joanna Carrothers. Your father must be whirling in his grave. But then he always was a slow-top, was he not? Now it appears that, true to form, he backed the wrong matrimonial horse for you. But possibly that's not fair. Who knows - if you had married me, perhaps Gerald might not have met such an untimely end."
At eighteen Lady Joanna Welbourne had tried to elope with her childhood love Jack only to be intercepted with her irascible parent and made to marry Jack's despicable cousin Gerald. Now Gerald is dead, Joanna an impoverished widow, when Captain Jack returning home as the conquering hero, decorated by Wellington and the new Lord Welbourne - and a heart filled with hatred against his former love. Trying to cope with the bitter Captain, her niece improper behavior and her brother’s infatuation, a visit to Bath seems heaven sent. Unfortunately the Bath scheme only confirms the saying that you take your problems with you as the situation fast escalates out of hand
One of Devon's finest stories, not perhaps as funny as some others but with depth and heart. A book to read again and again.
First published 1982
"I'm prepared to offer you a thousand pounds to turn down Adrian's proposal." He dropped her wrist, reached into the recesses of his coat, and pulled out a sheaf of banknotes.
Louisa Faircot's biggest mistake in life was defying her father and running away with Nicholaus Varley. Not only was the man a fortune hunter, who never forgave her for getting disinherited, but he was already married! Stranded, disgraced and without money in Brussels at the time of Waterloo, she took up the acting profession, much to the distress of the young Lieutenant Adrian Grayson, who wanted to marry her and protect her by his name. But Louisa knew how cruel it was to selfishly accept his offer and held him off, until that last battle, when she granted him his dying wish and married him on his deathbed.
The title of this book is completely misleading as it has nothing whatever to do with mistresses. One of the more serious of Marian Devon's books yet a very satisfying read.
First published 1983
Miss Armstead Wears Black Gloves
"I will say this for you, Frankie, when it comes to picking fiancés right out of the blue, you certainly don't stint. Just think, Frankie, this so called fiancé of yours, that you managed to make up out of the whole cloth for yourself, is not only not drowned and eaten by the fishes; he's alive and well and a full-blown hero. And just what do you plan to do now, Miss Armstead?"
Frances Armstead had a problem. Her guardian was trying to marry her off to his neighbor's second son but Frankie wanted none of it. It wasn't Bertie that was the love of her life but his older brother Evelyn. To stop Uncle Matthew from carrying out his plan, she told him she was secretly betrothed to Lord Wainwright's heir, safe in the knowledge that Greville was miles away fighting the French. When news came that Greville was lost at sea, Frankie went into mourning for her fake betrothed. But Greville was very much alive and coming home for good. Soon he would find out about Frances' deception. At no time could either have foreseen what happened next.
A fast paced story that starts out in quiet Hampshire and moves to the glittering world of London, as we follow the outspoken Frances on her winding way to true love.
First published 1985 by Fawcett Crest Books
Miss Romney Flies Too High
"I mean I already have a daughter. She ain't a child though. She's twenty-one. Or maybe twenty-two." He beamed at his nephews, awaiting congratulations for his brilliance.
"Don't you get the point, lads? I'm leaving the hall and the bulk of my fortune to whichever of you marries my little Sarah."
Thus Lord Petherbridge sets afoot his plan to provide for his natural daughter by having her marry one of his nephews. All three have compelling reasons for wanting the inheritance, compelling enough to marry an actress. Unfortunately, nobody bothered to consult Sarah, who is no milk and water miss but have strong views on love and marriage.
The story of the courtship of Sarah take us through third rate theatrical performances, daring rescues, things that go bump in the night, balloon flights, amateur theatricals and a high society house party on the way to true love. A likeable cast of characters make this book one to cherish.
First published 1986 by Fawcett Crest Books
M'Lady Rides For a Fall
"You're wrong, Cassie. Gwendolen don't want to run the household. Would bore her to distraction. She's depending on you to go on as before. And so am I."
That's how Cassandra Devenham's father saw it and nothing could convince him that his spinster daughter, with no interests outside horses and the country, would be delighted, at the advanced age of four and twenty, to acquire a worldly stepmother. Then her father mistakenly thinks her cousin George offered for her. Poor George had more than enough on his plate, what with having to give up his excellent valet for the dubious skills of his friend Charles Denforth, squeezing out of the betrothal to his cousin and keeping a Bow Street runner in the dark. Nor is Captain Denforth's life a sinecure, as he tries to balance his growing attraction to Cassie, avoid being thrown into Newgate, keeping his father ignorant of this most recent scandal, staying clear of his host's amorous intended and surreptitiously prepare for the all important steeplechase. The happy bridal couple, or are they? hardly gets the look-in as the situation spirals out of control.
This is a very exciting and fun comedy, filled with amusing characters and mind-blowing plot twists, with an unpredictable ending. I laughed out loud several times!
First published 1987 by Fawcett Crest Books
"Oh, we've won! We've won! We've won!" Antonia chortled, bouncing up and down on the red leather seat in her exuberance. "I never thought we stood a chance, and we've beaten him to a standstill Oh, you really are a nonesuch! I'd no idea what a curricle race would be like. I tell you, it was famous!"
Newly arrive in England, Antonia Lewis is astonished to receive a proposal from a total stranger. Mr Denholm, trying to please an exacting parent, has promised to offer for the neighbor's daughter. Little does he realize it's not the insipid, but rich, Rosamond he offers his name and future but her poor cousin Tonia. While making good of his escape, he encounters Tonia on her way to London to take refuge with the grandmother she has never met. Life takes an unexpected twist when Antonia finds her grandmother, who has secrets of her own.
A likeable story with a convoluted plot containing tiresome uncles, scandalous grandmothers, vapid cousins, secret fiancées, former lovers and sly fortune hunters. Everything sorts itself out satisfactory in the end but Ms Devon has lead us on a very merry dance getting there.
First published 1987 by Fawcett Crest Books
A Question of Class
"I've a better idea!" The Sprig, who was most definitely castaway, clapped his hands with sudden inspiration. "Why don't you go in his place?"
"Of course! Why didn't we think of it before? It's the very thing. You have to leave London. Win don't want to. You take his place"
Before he knows it, out of work actor Nicholaus Forbes is on his way to Bath, impersonating the chance met Major Garreth Wincanton, while the major continues to lay siege against Amabel, the most delightful actress and a darling of theater. Little does he know that Wincanton's aunt has hatched a scheme to get rid of her tiresome, youthful companion by marrying her off to her nephew. The plot thickens when the major also arrives in Bath. Soon the actor and the major both befriends the companion, lovely Lady Venetia Lowther - as each other! Then Amabel decides to take a hand...
This is a ridiculously funny book with many excellently drawn eccentric characters. A perfect read for any gloomy day.
First published 11988 by Fawcett Crest Books
"Would you please give back my dog, sir?"
Although a great admirer of Madame Blanchard, the balloonist, Maria Carlton had never expected to soar above the clouds herself, particularly not with an inebriated lord and a fat peke, on a perilous flight across the English Channel and without a sou in her pocket. Surviving the hard landing, Maria's life becomes even more entangled as she cares for her injured companion, hides a fugitive, finds herself the victim of blackmail, sneaks off without paying her bills at the inn and that is just the beginning.
More adventure than romance, this story moves along at a fast clip, sprinkled with amusing situations.
First published 1988 by Fawcett Crest Books
"We mustn't keep our hostess waiting. The sets are forming. By the by, you haven't by any chance seen the other Miss Haydon, have you? I need her to play the pianoforte so I can stand up with her sister."
When mother's away her daughters will play. While Mrs Haydon attends to her oldest daughter, her two youngest are left to their own devices. Hark, two young and presentable men arrive in the Sussex neighborhood of our heroines and instantly make a play for the beautiful sisters. Or do they? Who is Mr Drury, really? Is he a free-trader or a preventive or something else entirely? Will the wealthy Mr More marry lovely Camilla Haydon or is he the here-and-thereian his friend paints him? What with teaching music, carriage rides, smugglers, kite flying, ghosts in the graveyard, seashore excursions and midnight kisses, Lucy has an unusually adventurous summer for a parson's daughter.
Fast paced and absorbing with both serious moments and pure farce, this book is one for keeps.
First published 1988 by Fawcett Crest Books
Fortunes of the Heart
The, when finally informed of the latest addition to her household, Sydney had merely shrugged.
All her life Mary Anne Hawtry has been expected to trade her beauty for a rich husband, but now that she's landed one of the biggest catches on the Marriage Mart, she finds she can't bear to live with him. Particularly since she's still in love with Anthony Rodes, the local vicar's son, who's marriage proposal she turned down due to his lack of fortune. When she realizes love is more important than money, Captain Rodes has unexpectedly inherited a fortune and won't believe Mary Anne's protestations of undying love. Even worse, he's already engaged to another!
Not as heartbreaking as it may seem, this book is more farce than drama, with both slap-stick comedy and serious moments.
First published 1989 by Fawcett Crest Books
Miss Osborne Misbehaves
There was a brief struggle in the dust, the former Newgate resident released his victim and rose to his feet clutching a reticule. "I think this belongs to you."
The very proper Miss Eliza Osborne had never done anything out of the ordinary until she runs away from a despicable marriage proposal. Traveling on public coach for the first time in her life, she is robbed and becomes acquainted with an ex-convict. This is just the beginning of Eliza's adventures as she becomes involved with the Wenham family. What should have been a quiet visit to her aunt in the parsonage is soon spinning out of control among stolen jewelry, boxing matches, balls, a rascally old lady, a jealous mother, a crippled heir and an illegitimate son.
Basically sweet and adventurous at the same time, but with a serious undertone, this one has it's moments. The boxing scene is well researched and realistic.
First published 1990 by Fawcett Crest Books
Lady Harriet Takes Charge
Colonel Sir Rawdon Melford stepped inside the hall and shook the raindrops from his beaver. Lady Harriet Fane dropped her stack of book.
The new Lady Fawcett has made a grievous social faux pas: Unknowingly she had invited the couple that eight years ago set the countryside aflame with gossip, when Lady Harriet dumped her fiancé, and the woman she caught him kissing at their betrothal party, in the pond. Unmarried and living on strained means, the last thing Lady Harriet wanted was to be cooped up in a house with the man she has never forgotten and who can still make her heart beat faster. Was it perhaps finally time to forgive and forget?
This rather serious story is entirely set in a sleepy country village, the sense of place is excellent and we get to meet many interesting characters, as well as experiencing bucolic amusements, on this rocky road to the happy end.
First published 1991 by Fawsett Crest Books
Mistletoe and Folly
"And just what, sir, makes you think you own the highway?"
Jemima Forbes first meeting with the celebrated Lord Montague was stormy indeed. When her older sister Clarissa got the measles, she reluctantly took her place at her aunt's Christmas house party, to meet the priggish young man Aunt Lawford thought a suitable match for her impoverished niece. While Jemima knew she had to make a prudent marriage, she couldn't like Mr. Newbright; not that she had much time to think of marriage, what with his lordship's possible involvement with an escaped prisoner, her friend Jane's love affair with the unacceptable Edward Baldwin, sick servants, impossible cousins and a traditional Yuletide celebration with all the trimmings.
Amusing and original, this is a fun tale at any time of the year!
First published 1991 by Fawcett Crest Books
A Season for Scandal
"I'll take that one." Jenny Blythe's eyes had settled upon a distinguished, rather bored-looking gentleman who towered over the crush.
The four beautiful Percival sisters had been a smash hit at their come-out in 1797. Now, twenty years later, they are set on having their daughters repeat the success. Although Sylvia is all that their chaperon Lady Freemantle could hope for, she is in despair over the chubby Claire and the beanpole tall Jenny. While all the young bloods gather around Sylvia, her cousins catch the attention of some of the gentlemen as well, although perhaps not in a romantic way. As the season progresses Lady Freemantle is more and more convinced that bringing out her sister's progeny is a disaster. What if none of the girls find a husband?
I liked this book a lot. It's very tightly written and has three love stories yet you don't feel shortchanged as all three stories are allowed time to develop.
First published 1992 by Fawsett Crest Books
A Heart on His Sleeve
"By the by, Miss Prior, to what do we owe the honor of your visit? As I recall, you were mostly used to coming with the robins and the apple blossoms and all those other harbingers of spring. Oh, the devil!" For a moment he actually looked disconcerted. "I forgot. Your father hared off to the Continent to escape the hounds, hasn’t he? You had to come here."
While waiting to join her father in France, Andrea Prior is to spending a few weeks with her dearest friend Emiline and her redoubtable grandmother on the Blakeney estate. It's almost S:t Valentine's day and romantic Emmy drags Andrea into one mad escapade after the other in pursuit of old Valentie's Day customs. Some are just weird, while others land both girls in trouble up to their necks. The season is further enlivened by Lord Blakeney himself, who still appears to be the same childhood tormentor who dropped frogs down their dresses, his handsome friend Beau Austen, the stuttering Sir Nigel Lucomb and the unspeakable Lord Gresham. But Cupid has some tricks up his sleeve neither could have guess.
If you're into childhood friendships and the boy next door stories, this is the book for you. Not one of Devon's best but quite funny in spots.
First published 1993 by Fawcett Crest Books
An Uncivil Servant
The locks of flaxen hair that had strayed from beneath the mobcap were curling in damp ringlets. The figure was neat and trim. But when his lordship placed his hands upon the trim waist and lifted the lithesome woman around for a closer look, he was greeted by a shriek a mere split second before he was deluged by a pail of dirty water.
Lady Lavinia Pickering is bored. At fifty life has got into a rut and it's time for a change, which is why she starts the Pickering Club with her two closest friends. Also recruited is Catherine, obviously of gentle birth and hired as the new upstairs maid, but in reality a fugitive, who's story is yet to be told. Sent to spy on his aunt is Lord Jeremy Pickering, intrigued by Catherine and soon trailing behind the Club as it starts out for Bath. Nobody goes to Bath these days, proclaim Lavinia's friends, it's so slow; something the club, and in particular Lady Lavinia, will soon rectify.
An absolutely hilarious book from start to finish. In Lady Lavinia, Devon has created her most distinct character that dominates not just those around her but this story as well. Dickens fans will also note the tribute payed to his famous The Pickwick Papers. If you want to laugh this is the book for you.
First published 1994 by Fawcett Crest Books
"You wish employment?" She laughed derisively as she took in his Bond Street attire. "Just what sort of employment are you seeking?"
Lord Worth had killed a man, or so the world thought, and had to make a run for it. Now Worth is in hiding, while trying to flush out who framed him. And what safer place than behind the mask of an actor in the pantomime? Persey McCall is not best pleased. Knowing it takes years to perfect one's stage craft, she wonders if her stepfather has taken leave of his senses hiring the noble lord. When the company is invited to direct amateur theatricals at a house party, the situation becomes even more complicated. Particularly after Lady Lavinia Pickering lends a hand to the proceedings.
Hilariously funny, this tale of the further doings of the Pickering Club, introduced in An Uncivil Servant, is a hoot.
First published 1994 by Fawcett Crest Books
Deck the Halls
"I say, I think all you gentlemen may wish to stand closer to the doorway." With a mischievous grin he pointed to the clump of mistletoe placed strategically above the entrance.
Sir Jervis Brougham had decided he was dying and invited all his family for Christmas. There was his ward, Anne Welbourne, his daughters, Audrey and Judith, alongside Audrey's stepsons, Lord and Captain Hunt, and Judith's daughter Regina, together with her fiancé, Lord Elliot. All tried to make it a festive season with skating parties and slides, mistletoe and waltzing, but under the surface darker feelings fermented as new love battled with old, sibling rivalry and animosity came to the surface and, to top it all, a valuable diamond necklace went missing. The one person to really enjoyed the house party was Sir Jervis, who proved remarkably spry for a man on his deathbed.
Extremely funny and lighthearted. I wished a fuller development of the different plot lines as 185 pages is a tad short to unentangle all these relationships, still it's an enjoyable read.
First published 1995 by Fawcett Crest Books
Miss Kendal Sets Her Cap
He had reached out both arms to catch her, forgetting one was gone. As a consequence of this miscalculation, Thorpe was thrown off balance, stumbled, tried to steady himself with the arm that wasn't there, and collapsed full-length, still clutching Freddie atop him.
When Frederica Kendal jokingly told her closest friends that she intended to set her cap for the new Lord Thorpe, little did she know that it would turn into a wager, not at all suitable behavior for a vicar's granddaughter. Meeting the reclusive Lord Thorpe was her first problem, staying out of his arms was her second, and third, and forth. But the situation really got out of hand when Lord Thorpe told a dedicated fortune hunter that the poor Miss Kendal was a great heiress.
This is a lively romp with fast paced action and a likeable main couple, who shine the more brilliantly in the company of their rather tiresome friends and relations.
First published 1996 by Fawcett Crest Books
On the Way to Gretna Green
"I need to speak with Lord Thornton. Urgently"
When Claudia Wentworth discovers her sixteen year old niece has run off with Thornton's brother, there's nothing for it but to enlist his lordship in a mad dash after the eloping couple. With Thornton fast asleep on her shoulder, Claudia drives his carriage through the night, just to find the young people at daggers drawn and more than ready to be rescued. All would end well, except for the vicar's gossipy wife, who's threatening to undo all their reputations.
This book has a somewhat older heroine than most of Devon's other books. See if you can spot the minute tie-in with Fortunes of the Heart.
First published 1997 by Fawcett Crest Books
Other titles by Marian Devon:
Historical romance set in Scotland
The Heather And The BladeHistorical romance set in Scotland
First published 1989 by Fawcett Crest Books ISBN: 0-449-14561-1
Copyright notice: Excerpts from the books are italized and copyrighted property of Marian Devon, the author. These are used in accordance with copyright law that allows for short excerpts to be published in book reviews. All other text on this page is copyrighted by the site owner and may not be reproduced except with the site owner's written consent.