The Devilish Mr. Danvers (The Rakes of Fallow Hall #2)
By: Vivienne Lorret
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
For the first time in her life, Hedley Sinclair holds the keys to her own future. She’s inherited the crumbling Greyson Park, but the disrepair does nothing to dissuade her. No one will ever lock her up again or attempt to take away what’s hers. No one except Rafe Danvers—the charming, fiendish man from Fallow Hall. He’s determined to claim Greyson Park, but if Hedley isn’t careful, he’ll claim her heart as well.
Rafe has every intention of ridding Greyson Park of the conniving Sinclairs once and for all. The last thing he expects is to find the beguiling Hedley—the younger sister of his former fiancée—standing in his way. With drastic measures called for, he plans to marry her off in order to regain control of the estate. The only trouble is, he can’t seem to stop seducing her. Even worse, he can’t help falling in love with her.
I can’t remember if I came across this book through GoodReads or Kobo, but either way the premise of the novel intrigued me–an inheritance, pride wounded with a bit of revenge, two people thrown into a tussle over an estate–and the reviews seemed favourable. Granted, this is the second book to a series, but this was the interesting of the three so I ended up picking it up first 🙂
As I mentioned, this was the second book in the trilogy but the book does a good job in explaining the basic rundown to the wager made by three friends not to marry. One has already fallen in love and gotten married so he’s out of the running, but Mr. Danvers and Lord Montwood are still hedging to win the bet. The wager’s a little ridiculous, and the women do comment on it, but it sounds like there’s some deeper reason behind the creation of this bet that I think will be explained in the final book. It was amusing nonetheless how Danvers and Montwood try to egg each other into losing the bet.
But anyway, I digress now. Simply put, I enjoyed reading The Devilish Mr. Danvers. From the first page I was immediately sympathetic to Hedley’s plight and situation. I could almost cry reading what Hedley went through: her family is absolutely horrible, I’m surprised they got away with some of the things that other characters witnessed over the course of the novel. The reasoning behind why the family treated her the way they did could’ve been a bit more fleshed out and I agree with other reviewers that said that the explanation was a bit flimsy; if anything, the reasons for them not acknowledging her existence and locking her up just shows how nutty they are, not Hedley. But I love how resilient she is, how untouched she is by social behaviour and etiquette, how simple her dreams and goals are. She doesn’t care for riches or treasure; she just wants something of her own, a home to live in. But I was afraid for her a lot of the time as she had this crumbling estate and it was only her a lot of the time with her wretched family coming in and out as they pleased; I just wanted to hug her and keep her from harm. Her story in some ways felt rather Cinderella-like, except Hedley is much more determined to do it alone.
Danvers is an interesting lead. There’s of course tension between him and Hedley at first given his own desires for Greyson Park and his history with the Sinclair family, but despite of it and his rakish ways he has a good heart. He also has a very interesting backstory and family set up, I think; his family has no title but they are landed and he can move through society more or less without too much difficulty (financially, etc.) except for one particular incident that left his family on the outs. Nonetheless he comes from a family of artists–and he himself is an artist in his own way–which is a nice change of backstory for a romantic lead. Apparently Lorret’s first series features Danvers’ sister and best friend, which I’m curious now to read as his family seems quite lovely 🙂 But yeah, his budding romance with Hedley was just wonderful to read, especially as he struggles to figure out his feelings and priorities.
I loved all the other characters in this novel–from Calliope and her friendship with Hedley to Lord Montwood and Lord Everhart (lmao at him helping Danvers escape his in-laws)–except for Hedley’s family, of course. They deserved worse than what they got at the end.
So yeah, I really liked The Devilish Mr. Danvers. The pacing was pretty quick, there wasn’t a dull moment to the story, I loved most of the characters, the villains should’ve had more page time, a better reason for locking poor Hedley up (though they’re the villains and they’re douchebags, I think that’s reason enough), and the romance was lovely (Danvers’ declaration at the end was yeah, pretty romantic :)). I will definitely check out the rest of the book in this series, as well as the author’s other works!