Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: SILVER-TONGUED DEVIL by Jennifer Blake

Lies and the tangles they engender abound in Silver-Tongued Devil by Jennifer Blake, a tale of revenge in antebellum Louisiana.

Injured in a steamboat explosion, Angelica awakens in an unfamiliar bedroom to find herself married to Renold, a man she barely knows. With her father and betrothed dead in the same disaster, she must depend on this stranger. But questions abound. She can't remember a wedding, and is her silver-tongued "husband" as kind-hearted as he appears?

With her trademark use of accurate historical detail, Ms. Blake evokes the Louisiana of the past in such breath-taking fashion as to make a fan of someone like me who doesn't care for romances set in America. Like all her other romances, they are fast-paced, gripping, and keep you reading right until the end as we wonder if our hero and heroine will find their happily-ever-after.

That said, I don't care for bad boy heroes. Silver-Tongued Devil also contains one of the motifs I like the least in romance--the hero who takes his revenge on one person by harming an innocent.

While I dislike Renold, I like Angelica. She is the pawn in Renold's scheme, but while she may start out as a puppet, adversary rapidly changes her into a woman more than capable of withstanding anyone's machinations. And the results of his plan surprise and also transform Renold.

The best romances not only knock you off your feet with the story, but also subtly intertwine deeper themes within the main tale. In Silver-Tongued Devil, the deeper theme is revenge. The novel explores its wrongness, its unintended effects, and how revenge changes both the perpetrator and the victim.

Now, as when it was first published in 1995, Silver-Tongued Devil remains an engrossing read.

Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks


Kaye Manro said...

I do like this cover, Linda. About the hero-- back in the 90's I think heroes weren't as deep emotionally as they are now, well some anyway. And the puppet quality of the heroine, that was also done. In this day of kick-butt heroines I don't like either the hero to be a jerk or the heroine to be a puppet. Usually back then though there could be an unfolding that saved the book.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Kaye. You're right about tastes changing. And there is an unfolding in the book. While Jennifer Blake's heroines may start out as doormats (they don't always), they always become stronger by the end. And if her heroes start out as jerks, they change for the better, too. Still, I never liked that kind of story.

As for the theme, I still see books where the hero hurts an innocent to take revenge on someone else. And I don't like it.

If you haven't read Jennifer Blake's MASTER AT ARMS series, run out and buy it. All the heroes are my favorites, decent men who've been kicked around and it's make them even better men. Real to-die-for heroes. And while the heroines are women of their time (antebellum Louisiana), they're never wimps.

catslady said...

I have one of her books in my tbr pile. I never seem to keep up anymore lol. Thanks for the review.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, catslady. You'll get to her books sooner or later. Preferably sooner.