I am a lover of books. I enjoy losing myself in a fabulous romance and great story plot.
Jack is a mystery, AND dangerously delicious, AND savvy AND uniquely stylish…
I could just keep going, but the gist is that I think Jack is really appealing. So, after listening to about 20%, I skipped to about midway to jump to the nitty gritty of his relationship to the lovely duchess Olivia. Even though I got immediate gratification, it was nice to slowly listen to the complete book again.
Out of Feagan's lads, Jack is the most secretive and cunning of the bunch and yet he plays a vital role in the previous books as he helps his friends when they're in trouble (I've read the 1st book & 3rd book already).
One of the aspects I loved about this book is that the reader is invited to enter the labyrinth of psychological presses and motives that move the Leads forward. Jack is complicated because his life has been complicated. This book reveals the traumatic events that are responsible for creating the dichotomous person that Jack is. He is so giving, and takes boys off of the streets by providing them with employment and protects them. Yet, the other side of the coin (pun intended :-), is that Jack invests too much value in the absolute love and need for money, and lots of it.
So when Jack is named sole heir to a duke's personal possessions, and is appointed the guardian of the young, Duke Henry (I believe he's 4 or 5 years old), the beautiful, and well-bred lady Olivia (Henry's mother) is outraged. Olivia is forced to accept Jack into her home as the overseer of her most prized possession, her beloved son Henry.
The romance between Olivia and Jack is nicely paced. It was so touching when they both finally come together…the moments of indulgent romance are great. Both Olivia and Jack grow personally in this book and fulfill a need for intimacy, trust and healing in each other. The cat and mouse games they play were so cute and funny at the beginning of their relationship. And, the moments in which they bear their souls to one another was just so touching.
As always…I loved the camaraderie between the gang (Jack, Luke, Jim, Bill and Frannie). I especially enjoyed Jack's conversations with Frannie (I'm such a Frannie fan) and I felt as though he understood and "saw" her more clearly than the rest of Feagan's lad did. I thought his close relationship to Feagan was really nice and sentimental. Jack still looked out and cared for Feagan.
There are many shocking details and surprises in this book. There are heavy themes that are tragic and dark. Yet, perhaps the greatest theme is how life can sometimes balance the tragedies of childhood, by unlocking the weightiest and mot beautiful gift of all…..LOVE. And, Olivia and Jack most certainly find it.
I thought the narrator was good. Enjoyed her performance.
Sure, why not?
A different narrator from previous Lorraine Heath books. That may seem a trivial thing, but after listening to Anne Flosnick sound nearly comedic in previous Heath books (and ruining the enjoyment of the story in doing so), having a new narrator in this series (Susan Ericksen) has been a breath of fresh air.
None are particularly admirable. However, Ericksen as narrator instead of Flosnick means the males sound both believable and can be taken seriously.
Moved? No. However, Heath has touched upon pedophilia in previous books in this series but explores its horrors a bit more in this one as it is arguably at the root of the worst and most defining moments of Dodger's history. While historial fiction and romance will often delve into the conditions of the poor or those lacking in social stature, this was a particularly dark aspect of humanity to get in a Happily-Ever-After type of book but I'm glad to see it was not skirted. If an author is going to borrow from Dickens, they need to incorporate all the ills of that era.
I hope Lorraine Heath, if she has any care and influence, will ask for Susan Ericksen to read her future novels and not Anne Flosnick. I really, desperately hope for that.
Say something about yourself!
Read from April 14 to 19, 2013
Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.25
Story Rating: 4.25
Character Rating: 4.25
Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: Jack Dodger was super wicked and probably my favorite Scoundrel!
Story Thoughts: Historical romance must have two things to make me happy: a man to swoon for and a woman who puts him in his place. Between the Devil and Desire delivered on both counts. The story had the added kick of a little boy who brought out the best in Mr. Dodger. I cried at the back story, laughed at the shenanigans, and loved watching Jack/Olivia fall in love!
Character Thoughts: Normally I would start with the man but to me Olivia was the rock of Between the Devil and Desire. She was a woman who could have just cowered to Jack but instead she was a fierce mama bear who held her own. What I loved most? She was willing to expand her thought process even where her son was concerned. Jack was just awesome. I liked him the first book but loved him here. I am so glad he finally found love and a little peace.
Narrated By Susan Ericksen, Antony Ferguson /Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
Susan and Antony did a great job with Jack and Olivia. I do think they work really well together and really enjoyed this audiobook.
Final Thoughts: I am really enjoying this series so far!
The second book in the series was as good as the first. This author weaves a fast paced story with characters that come to life. I'm looking forward to the next book.
Wasn't sure how I could like Jack after the first story, but wow, loved this one even more. Really become involved with this group of adults who grew up with such hardships. As the secrets from their childhood are revealed, very skillfully, and their adult lives remain so intertwined, I find myself wishing there was a story for all of them. As with the first one, enjoyed the time period in which this occurs. I like the way rules of society are questioned, and the way the author brings in so many aspects of life outside of aristocracy. Could not stop listening to this one. The plot twists kept me from turning it off, in spite of not getting other stuff done! Can't wait for to listen to the rest in this series.
Lust! Desire! Satisfaction!
I loved the play between Jack and Olivia. They had issues with eachother from the beginning yet couldn't stay away.
I thought both Susan Erickson & Anthony Ferguson did a great job.
Jack Dodger, a boy from the streets now one of the wealthies men in London. Appointed guardian to a 5 year old boy he doesn't even know. A Dutchess who follows the rules except when it comes to lust.
I love the play between Jack and the other characters. When I laugh or snicker out loud its a good lilsten!
The book was mostly bickering as foreplay. The writer had some unique ideas, but the story didn't put them to good use. I just don't get the bickering part - what a turn off. The characters did change, and that part got better, but not enough to make it really good. It was OK, but nothing I will remember later. Romantic fluff.
Does it ever have to end? The narration and story line is superb, entertaining and page turning. Each character in the book is depicted with style, purpose and motivation.
Now, I'm moving on to the next review of Book 3 which, by the way shall be extremely positive.
This is book 2 in the Scoundrels series, and I enjoyed it, but the romance between Jack and Olivia started a bit slow. At first, Jack and Olivia were really mean to each other, which was a bit annoying, but the book picked up speed and captured my attention. The book did have some good twists, and Lorraine Heath is a talented author. There are some dark, evil aspects in the story, especially in Jack's background, but it made you understand Jack and his personality. The narrator is really good, and she also read book 1, which is nice for consistency. Overall, I am enjoying this series and I am looking forward to book 3.
It was a fun and captivating listen.
The story time with the heroine's son and Jack. It was about the Dickens story. It was so delightful!
It is an extra trigger for the imagination. Susan's characterizations were spot on. I'm all grown up but I still enjoy story time.
Whatever became of the Artful Dodger?