STORY: Emily Grantwich lives quietly with her crippled father and eccentric aunt, managing the family’s land, until the fateful day she walks down the main street of Melton Mowbray and is showered with Poudre de Violettes, thrown by a lady of loose morals at the handsomest man Emily has ever seen.
He is Piers Verderan, known by many as the Dark Angel. His friends lay the blame for his scandalous ways on his troubled past. No decent woman should be seen in his company, but Emily must dutifully manage her father’s estate-which Verderan’s land adjoins.
Soon Emily learns that the Dark Angel is very dangerous, especially to her sanity and her heart…
REVIEW: Our heroine, Emily Grantwich, is a spinster of twenty-six, intelligent, nice and witty. She has run her crippled father’s house and property for three years in hopes of her brother’s return from the war. She’s a sensible woman who strives always to do the right thing and never crosses the line of respectability. Emily’s innocence was refreshing, and that innocence let the author have fun with her character. I just loved the “pudding” scenes.
Much of the book centers around Devonshire during the hunting season. Since I’m not familiar with this subject, I just loved Ms. Beverley’s background history of it. From this book, I gather that most Englishman of that era had a passion for it. It was very enjoyable and enlightening to find out about.
Piers Verderan is there for two reasons: the hunting and his inheritance. He’s inherited a property bordering Emily’s home. With a nickname like Dark Angel, our hero is very much a rake. He’s a man who is reputed to have abandoned his own mother to a life of poverty.
I loved the way these two meet for the first time. It was such a fun scene. While walking home from a business meeting, Emily gets almost run over by our hero, who’s leaving his lover’s house. She’s caught in the crossfire of the two bickering lovers, but instead of bullets flying, only Poudre des Violettes ends up covering them head to foot. Piers feels guilty and responsible for bringing this folly on Emily, so he offers to walk her home, and against her better judgment, Emily accepts.
At first, Emily finds it hard to trust him as people around her worn her of him and his reputation. She’s a bit baffled by those stories because he’s been so helpful and kind to her. Piers is making her feel desirable and good about herself. Emily can’t help but feel drawn to this very unique man. She struggles with her feelings for him, but eventually she realizes that her “Dark Angel” is not so dark at all. She can’t help but fall in love with a man that helps her break out of the mold that the society of that time had put her in.
Both Emily and Ver are very likeable, and the events in which they find themselves in are truly fun and full of laugh-out-loud moments. We also get to catch up with Lord Randal Ashby and his wife Sophie from THE STOLEN BRIDE as they make their cameo appearance. It is one of the few books which had me laughing out loud.
EMILY AND THE DARK ANGEL is another of Ms. Beverley’s well-written and well-plotted stories, with sharp dialogue and full of witty and fun characters.
I found out that this book is part of a series which began with LORD WRAYBOURNE’S BETROTHAL, continued withTHE STANFORTH SECRET and THE STOLEN BRIDE. Besides EMILY AND THE DARK ANGEL, LORD WRAYBOURNE’S BETROTHAL is the only other one I’ve read. I’ll make it a point to get the other two, as I’d like nothing better than to find out the love story of those characters as well.
Melanie for RRAH