I love books and love to get lost in the fantasy. I'm always looking for a new good story to bury myself in. :)
This was a very good story. I liked Olivia from the start. Jack acted like a real jerk for the first part of the story but he did grow on me and I liked him as well by the end of the story.
Olivia is the widow of a Duke with a 5 years old son who is heir to the title. She grew up being the dutiful daughter and her father married off a much older man (one of his friends) but she wasn't much more than a broodmare for the Duke to get an heir with and then pretty much ignore until his death (making her wonder if maybe she shouldn't have been so dutiful). Now she doesn't intend to re-marry unless it's for love.
Jack was born in one of the poorer sections of London. He didn't have a good life or parents that cared about him so he ended up in a group of child thieves, stealing to survive and protecting the younger kids as much as he was able. Jack got an unexpected windfall when he was younger and used it to open a "Gentleman's club" where the rich men of London can go to gamble and have contact with loose women. Jack has grown rich from his business but is always looking for ways to get more money.
When the story begins, Olivia's husband has just died. She's waiting for the reading of the will but is shocked and confused as to why the infamous Jack Dodger is there as well. The attorney makes it clear that it's a requirement of the will that they both be there. He then reads out a will that gives Jack just about all the property that isn't "entailed" as part of the titled holdings being saved for the heir, Henry, to come of age. All Jack has to do to get these riches is to agree to be guardian of Henry until he grows up of Olivia remarries. Jack isn't sure why this Duke would ask him of all people to be guardian of his son. Jack met him a few times but didn't know the man but the large amount of wealth being offered makes Jack consider the offer. Olivia is shocked and angry about the will and thinks her husband must have gone mad to do this not to mention that fact that he pretty much slighted Olivia in the will...leaving her just enough to live off of comfortably but much less than what most would consider right. Jack finds Olivia's anger fun and decides to increase his enjoyment by doing everything in his power to piss Olivia off, as if everything that's happened isn't enough and Olivia needs more stress to deal with. Jack doesn't care about anyone but himself though and goes about doing everything he can to make her life miserable.
Olivia is horrified by the fact that Jack is her son's guardian and now owns the home they live in. She wants to leave but can't "legally" take her son away because Jack's his guardian. TBH, I think Olivia's late husband should have been ashamed of himself for what he put her through (Both before and after his death) and I can totally understand her being horrified by her circumstance because Jack goes out of his way to behave like a beast to her. Olivia does realize pretty quickly that Jack might not be such a bad guardian after all (after getting rid of a secretly bad nanny and getting Henry a puppy). She starts to accept Jack more and tries to make peace but it doesn't come right away because Jack takes great pleasure in torturing her. After a while though (and an unexpected sickness), the walls come down between Jack and Olivia. They start to respect each other and the attraction that was buried is now coming out in full force for them both. They do try to resist the attraction but this doesn't succeed for long. Jack was intending to marry Olivia off so he could get out of the agreement ASAP but as they continue to see each other, those plans don't seem like such a good idea any more. As Jack and Olivia are trying to figure their relationship out there's another twist that comes in to the plot that brings a bit of danger/suspense with it. Olivia and Jack go through a bit of difficulties but come through it alright and they start their HEA.
I enjoyed this story very much. I liked how Jack and Olivia came together and was happy for them once they worked things out. In the beginning of the story, Jack's actions and attitude just pissed me off but that did stop and it was probably my main complaint about the book. Outside of Jack's early attitude I liked the book and am glad I read it. I'm planning to read the next book in the series. I'd recommend this story. Thumbs up. :)
I love to read but have little time to do it. Recorded books are just perfect for me. Romance, especially Christian Romance is my favorite
Exciting and Entertaining
Jack Dodger quickly became my favorite character even though in the first book I didn't think much of him. He is inspiring and elicits your support right from the beginning.
I have listened to Susan Ericksen before and this is one of her best.
Between the Devil and Desire, men will desire to be him, women will desire to be with him.
Love it! Love it! Love it!
Story was too slow. I had to skip chapters just to get to the main plot..as one of the readers said most of the story was just argue, argue, argue...
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.
AKA The Geeky Blogger
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.
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.