Cover for Devil and the Heiress: A woman sitting in a raspberry colored chiffon ballgown, from the waist down.

About the Book

Title: The Devil and the Heiress (The Gilded Age Heiresses #2)
Published: 2021

First Impressions: Raspberry Beret Chiffon
What’s Your Type? 
Innocent Lady, Devilish Rake; Forced Proximity; Fake Marriages; Nursing Someone Back to Health; Schemes and Machinations; Road Trips
The Lean: 
Lust At First Sight
We Need to Talk: 
Trope-tastic
Was It Good For You? 
Not Quite A Whimper, Not Quite A Bang

First Impressions: Raspberry Beret Chiffon

While this dress looks like a pretty, floofy raspberry cloud, I definitely prefer the more avant garde look to the first book.

What’s Your Type?

  • Innocent lady
  • Devilish rake
  • Forced proximity
  • Fake marriages
  • Nursing someone back to health
  • Schemes and machinations
  • Road trips

Dating Profile

Violet Crenshaw’s parents may consider their second-born daughter the more biddable and agreeable one, but she’s got her own hidden streak of independence and a dream to become a writer. When her father buys off her childhood sweetheart in order to promise her to a Lord who can secure him mineral rights, Violet realizes she has only one avenue available to her: run away.

And who gave her that idea? Why, none other than Lord Christian Halston, the disreputable Earl of Leigh, best friend to the Duke of Rothschild, and yet another man in need of money. He once told his friend, the Duke, that if a woman refuses to marry you, a little light kidnapping and quickie marriage in Scotland is never off the table. But while he may desire Violet’s money, it’s not the only thing he’s lusting after…

Meet Cute

Violet and Christian met briefly in the first book when they were supporting their sister and best friend, respectively. Most of their interactions are chaperoned until Christian catches Violet alone in a side room at a ball, where she quickly falls prey to his (entirely reasonable but not honorable) warnings about the despicable Lord Ware.   

The Lean: Lust At First Sight

From While You Were Sleeping, Bill Pullman explains attraction to Sandra Bullock

I gotta admit I was a little let down because I was hoping for some more will-they-won’t-they banter, but Christian and Violet are pretty smitten almost immediately, even if it takes some time before they’ll admit it. Basically, I wanted Christian to be more of a cad; he feels guilty about playing her entire too quickly! And despite valuing her independence, Violet is still a little too wide-eyed, trusting ingenue when it comes to actual romance. I felt that the synopsis gave me the impression that she was at least partially aware that Christian was trying to woo her and was refusing to play into it, but that wasn’t the case at all.

Dirty Talk

St. George doesn’t shy away from explicit imagery with little fluff (no velvet-wrapped steel metaphors) but she does a great job making it feel more romantic and tender than tawdry. Here’s a (slightly more tame because I’m blushing) moment:

Swallowing thickly, he watched as her head thrashed back and forth, eyes still closed tight against the pleasure. Placing a kiss on her breast, he scraped his teeth over her nipple, before moving down her body. If this was his one chance to touch her, he would do it properly. He would leave her knowing her taste.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

While the majority of her writing is pretty straightforward, I did notice some repeating imagery that made me giggle a little when I envisioned someone’s blood literally turning to honey:

He shifted as his blood thickened like honey in his veins. This was too much to ask of him. He was already drunk on arousal and need. It swam through his head like whisky, making his thoughts give way to instinct and consequences appear murky.

We Need To Talk: Trope-tastic

The Crenshaws deserve an Awful Parenting award for being such unfeeling, greedy little buggers. When Lord Ware tries to compromise Violet into marrying him, her mom is all, “Well, what can ya do? We already promised you to him, so it’s good anyway!” Eff off, Mrs. Crenshaw. Violet is a bit more mature about than I am, but I’m glad she doesn’t feel the need to forgive them for their own sake.

Christian and Violet’s relationship—and, indeed, the entire middle and end of the book—took a turn I wasn’t quite expecting, and…I can’t really tell you if that’s bad or good. I don’t think this book was bad, but my expectations were heading towards a particular destination, and the story, like Lord Leigh’s carriage, definitely took a side path I wasn’t expecting. I wanted more devilish Lord Leigh, someone who deserved the moniker of Lord Lucifer in Violet’s writings, and I’m not sure I got that. I don’t mind that Christian turned out to be a nicer person than that even if he did try coercing her into marriage, but, like, I wanted him to be a little more bad so the turn to good was that much more satisfying (questionable romance judgement-free zone, y’all). St. George also threw in a trope that I don’t particularly care for towards the end, but I know that’s more my personal pet peeve than anything the story did “wrong”.

Was It Good For You? Not Quite A Whimper, Not Quite A Bang

Jake and Heath looking at each other from Brokeback Mountain

It wasn’t the slam-dunk that I’d hoped, but I would nevertheless recommend it without hesitation, as the writing was still more engaging than many Regency romances I’ve read. And I’m still down to see Matthew and Helena’s story (I assume) in the future!

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Berkley Books. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. The Devil and the Heiress is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.