Book Review: The Devil’s Delilah by Loretta Chase

Book Review: The Devil’s Delilah by Loretta Chase (Amazon Link)

I would like to continue writing about the Chase regency books because I don’t feel that I gave them enough reverence in the previous review. 

In order to fully appreciate the male protagonists in the second books, you will need to read the first books in both series as those characters play a prominent role in both. The Trevelyan Family Series and the Regency Noblemen series have male secondary characters that become main characters in the second book. This is helpful because it leads to the fleshing out of the character where we inevitably begin to see their vulnerabilities and start empathizing with the asshole within. Why in the world would we empathize with assholes, you ask? Well, know thy enemy, know thy self, blah yada blah, and I’ll let you infer or interpret that as you will given my fondness for assholes and my occasional joy in being one myself. 

Vulnerability is a topic we, dear reader, need to philosophically explore more as the concept that males are weak when they show any type of emotions, love, empathy, or vulnerability, permeates an already diseased mindset of maleness that leads ultimately to other ugliness. I’ll use the term ugliness since some of y’all have decided that the phrase toxic masculinity is pernicious. Ok, whatever, regardless, men have a problem with vulnerability. They choose to think of it as a sign of weakness. After having listened to this podcast with Adam Grant and Brené Brown, I am not the only one that thinks so. The podcast was informative and I would recommend it. I have Grant’s and Brown’s books on my Kindle that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet and have no clue if they’ve produced solid material that would educate and benefit or if they’ve manufactured that frothy tasteless foam that’s artillery for manipulative and shady scam artists. I make it a habit to challenge my own cynicism on, well, everything, and to not adopt or fear condescension by confronting it head-on in relation to, well, everything. It ultimately makes you more adaptable and knowledgeable and less an asshole. 

Hopefully. 

Of the many reasons men should read historical romance novels written by women is because they are basically brilliant books of strategy and openness. These are how to books and it still strikes me as the most stupendous strategic error that males do not read these books. 

Enough about that. 

With Isabella, Chase explores but hasn’t really found her voice yet. She’s all over the place and name-drops so many characters your head will spin. That, however, doesn’t negate the vivacity at which she writes or the wit and intellect she delivers. The voice is there but just out of reach yet still as potent. She dispatches those errors quickly with the next book (that or her editor), The English Witch, and delivers a redemption trope with Basil that makes my toes curl. I love a good redemption trope. She administers this with a pure shot of chemistry and humor—a trifecta of charm; the good charm not the bad. If only, and this is where I lament the lack of the four joys that make for a successful romance story. 

With the Regency Noblemen series, once again, the second book delivers a fantastic secondary character as the lead in the form of Jack who is mocked for being a male bookworm and whose deceptively quiet demeanor hides a cache of passion. Again, the characters and the story are brilliant but not enough—never enough, and this is where I decided to not ever read another regency romance because they always leave me wanting. This is not Chase’s fault and I thank her for her lovely words and stories. My plea for rewrites is that of what was versus what could have been. It’s not an author’s problem to deal with my wants. I am to thank her for her lovely words and move on even when that loud obnoxious voice in my head screams BUT THESE CHARACTERS DESERVE MORE! 

These books are the start to a brilliant and beautiful career and oeuvre and I urge you to read all of them. What are my favorite Chase books? I loved all of them. I cannot think of any that I didn’t appreciate fully nor read slowly. Multiple rereads are hopefully in my future, and yours. Thank you, Madam, for such lovely, lovely words. 

© 2023 Matilda London/Pamela Gay Mullins

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