I LOVED this sparkling, original and emotionally intense Victorian romance. Devil’s Return is the first work I’ve sampled by Sandra Schwab and after reading it I’m eager to become acquainted with her backlist and future works. Scroll down to read the blurb for this novella and read my review. Tina 🙂
Seven years ago Fran and Alex were very much in love. Yet because Alex was only a younger son with no prospects to speak of, Fran’s family pressured her into breaking the engagement and marrying a rich, titled man instead. Filled with bitterness, Alex left England for the New World.
Now he is back, more dangerous and more cynical than ever before. He has found fame and fortune as an adventurer, traveling the world from America to the Near East and writing about his travels for Allan’s Miscellany. He has come to London to drum up interest for his friend’s archeological excavations. Soon, he finds himself the darling of London society, admired by men, wooed by women.
Fate has not been so kind to Fran. After a disastrous marriage, which has left her with deep emotional and physical scars, she is widowed and now lives in genteel poverty.
By chance, Alex and Fran’s paths cross again. They have both changed so much, and past betrayals and past hurts still divide them. So surely there can be no second chance for their love…
Sparkling, Original and Emotionally Intense!
Oh My! What an emotionally gripping Victorian Romance! The novella was a pure delight to read and I’m now eager to become acquainted with Sandra Schwab’s backlist and future works.
Devil’s Return is book #4 in the Allan’s Miscellany series and the tale gives the hero Alex and the heroine Fran a second chance at love – before I go any further a box of tissues is an absolute must! My heart went out to them both – Fran, compelled by her family to walk away from Alex and marry an older man and Alex, a younger son with little prospects, who felt so rejected that he went abroad. Yet after seven years their fortunes have changed. Alex, the ‘devil’ of the title is a most eligible (not to mention sexy) gentleman, who has London at his feet after having his adventures and accounts of archaeological discoveries shared in the Allan’s Miscellany. After unexpectedly meeting Fran in London he is shocked at how she has changed and although initially determined to resist the pull she still exerts on him, fate has other ideas…..
Fran by contrast is now an impoverished widow, nursing many scars, physical and emotional, which we learn about as the plot evolves. Although I suspected some of what had occurred I admit I cried buckets when Alex found out the truth and more so when he confronted Fran with his knowledge. Bravo to the author for such an original and engaging plot, which I will not divulge any further in this review as it would spoil the read. Suffice to say that Fran has great fortitude and is a heroine who thoroughly deserves a HEA.
The novella is a far cry from doom and gloom however. It veritably fizzes with sparkling wit and repartee amongst the Victorian intelligentsia. Indeed, it makes for a totally charming, highly original and entertaining read. It is full of fascinating characters, whose own stories and romances I am eager to read about. I strongly recommend it to all readers who love romance.
I was given a copy of this novella for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
About the Author
Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances.
She holds a PhD in English literature and lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library. Her new series about the fictional magazine Allan’s Miscellany combines her academic research on Victorian periodicals with her love for story-telling.