First, the blurb from Goodreads:
The daughter of a reformed jewel thief, Julianna Harte knows a thing or two about stealth. When the foundling home she provides for finds itself in dire financial straits, Julianna is forced to do the unthinkable. In a bit of misguided Robin Hood derring-do, she slips through the window of a wealthy rake to search for a treasure she knows is there: an invaluable pearl. But when the towering and very naked occupant of the moonlit bedroom ambushes her with a bargain—a night in his bed in exchange for the pearl—Julianna doesn’t know if it’s masculine heat or sheer desperation that makes his terms so tempting.
Alasdair Sharpe had no intention of keeping his end of the bargain. Planning to offer his little cat burglar carte blanche instead, he promptly loses himself in the delights of unexpected pleasure. But when he awakes the next morning to find his family heirloom gone, fury quickly replaces sensual languor. Of course, Alasdair is more than willing to use seduction to reclaim his stolen pearl—and find the key to Julianna’s heart.
This book has a lot of potential, but its style is, ultimately, not really up my alley. It reminded me of the only Julie Garwood book I’ve read (Guardian Angel). It has slightly disjointed, but very upbeat, dialogue, characters that are described as extremely intelligent and strong yet act like weak idiots on occasion, and mysterious character backgrounds that never get explained, etc. There seems to be a wide audience of readers who love these books, but I’m just not one of them. This book was a little bit too haphazard for me. My favorite bit was Sir Hilary–pretty much everything about him–and I would be interested in reading his story, but I just didn’t care about Alasdair and Julianna’s story.
I think this story might be properly called a romp. It’s an adventure story that should not be taken seriously but, instead, enjoyed in all good fun. It may be that I’m just not very good at having fun. I had a hard time getting into the story because weird little questions kept pulling me out of it.
- Why can’t Julianna think of any other way to save her failing orphanage than stealing a precious pearl from her neighbor?
- Once Alasdair offers sex in exchange for the pearl, why is he so damn angry when Julianna takes it? Seriously, what is the point of all that anger?
- Towards the end when all the dangerous elements coalesce into a whole danger stew, why does Julianna rush headlong into danger, full of the belief that only she can save everyone from certain defeat? Why, once Alasdair finds out that Julianna has run headlong into danger, does Alasdair take his sweet time getting ready to go rescue her, tossing around lighthearted jokes with his buddies as if there is no urgency whatsoever in the situation?
- Why, why, why?!?!
There were a few things that I really enjoyed. The secondary characters were great, and I loved Roger and Hil and their relationship with Alasdair. I loved the bakery girl, and I wonder if she’ll end up getting hooked up with Hil in a later book. Wiley was a lot of fun. I actually enjoyed the beginning of this book, even though it’s very abrupt. I liked Alasdair’s character, in general, although I found his anger to be somewhat incomprehensible, and I liked Julianna sometimes, when she wasn’t doing things that make no sense.
There were also a few things that I didn’t like. The dialogue between Alasdair and Julianna was just awkward, pretty much all the time. I was completely thrown by Julianna’s completely unreasonable “I have to go sneak into the murderous madman’s house because I’m better equipped to handle a death threat than Alasdair, who sleeps with a gun under his pillow and may, at some point in the past, have been a spy” notion. I’m all for lady characters being strong, saving themselves whenever possible, but this is just ridiculous. There’s no glamour or glory in rushing into a situation for which one is patently unprepared; if one does so, one is an idiot.
All told: meh. This book just wasn’t for me, but I’ll keep an eye out for Sir Hilary’s story.
The Devil’s Thief is available now as an e-book through Loveswept, a division of Random House. Click here if you are interested in finding out more about the book.
* FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher, Loveswept, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *