Thursday, March 22, 2018

Brenda Joyce’s THE PRIZE – Arrogant Irish Hero Takes His Revenge

Set in 1812, this is the story of Devlin O’Neill, a daring sea captain in the British Royal Navy, who is Irish by birth and loyalty. He only for Ireland and taking revenge on the Earl of Eastleigh, the English soldier who brutally murdered his father when Devlin was only 10. Devlin becomes a success for the wealth it brings and the opportunity for revenge.

Devlin has risen to become a well-educated, successful officer, recently knighted. He frequently flies in the face of his orders, but the British need him for the coming war with America so they put up with his antics. Acting more the pirate than the officer, Devlin is ready for the final blow to Eastleigh, bankrupting him by requiring a ransom for his American niece.

American Virginia Hughes was born and raised on Sweet Briar, a tobacco plantation in Virginia. With her parents gone, she has one goal: to pay off her father’s debts and rebuild her beloved Sweet Briar. She sails to England, hoping to convince her uncle, the Earl of Eastleigh, to lend her the funds. On the way, Devlin abducts her.

For most of the book, Devlin is a man who has steeled himself against all emotion to accomplish his daring sea adventures and his revenge. Cold, uncaring and willing to use anyone he must to meet his ends (for 6 years, he takes the Earl of Eastleigh’s wife as his mistress, caring nothing for her). And, for most of the book, it’s a tug of war between Devlin, who shamelessly uses Virginia as well as others, and his captive.

At the end of it, Devlin finally realizes he has fallen in love with Virginia and wants a family, but it was a fairly abrupt turnaround. And Virginia just kept hanging in there through all his abuse (except for brief periods of sanity). It reminded me of Stormfire but lacked Monson’s fine touch or the angst of that story or a courageous heroine. Still, it held my attention.

It’s a part of the 13-book deWarenne Dynasty but you can read it as a stand alone. If you like bold, arrogant Irish heroes, you just might love it.

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