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I read. Mostly Romance. I like to talk about books. The end.

Devil's Cub

Devil's Cub - Georgette Heyer Closer to 3.5 stars. This book is my first Heyer. I've been reading Romance for 20+ years, but never had any interest in Heyer (I decided early on that anything labeled "traditional Regency" must be boring) until twitter. There seems to be a lively Heyer discussion at least once a month, and the description of Devil's Cub interested me enough that I decided to take the plunge. I'm glad I did.Devil's Cub is unemotionally written. It didn't feel like an author crafting a story; it was more like a reporter diligently recording everything said and done without any commentary, letting me come to my own conclusions. That's not a criticism. It was weird at first, but once I got used to all the dialogue I found I liked having to judge the characters by nothing but their words and actions. There's only a few instances where I felt I was in a character's head at all, and while that's not something I'd want to read all the time, it made the story seem more real, somehow. It's one thing when you know what the characters are thinking and feeling no matter what they're saying, but we don't have that outside of fiction, and not having that knowledge in this novel reminded me how much risk and faith is involved in love and relationships. Because of that distance, however, I never felt emotionally invested. I was thoroughly entertained, I wanted to know what happens next, but I didn't really care about Dominic and Mary. I was interested in them because they just happened to be the protagonists of this story, but if they hadn't ended up together, well, that would have been because that's what happened. No point in complaining about the facts, you know? Devil's Cub doesn't feel like a romance; Dominic and Mary don't actually spend much time together on the page, and Heyer doesn't spend any time on their feelings. Mary falls in love in the space of one sentence, and while we do get some glimpses of Dominic's changing feelings, it wasn't enough for me to consider this book a love story. That said, I can see why Heyer is considered the mother of historical romance. Everything felt so familiar. I instantly recognized Dominic--the rich, titled rake, a crack shot who wins every duel and always comes out on top when gambling. Unlike most "bad boy" heroes, though, he's actually shown to do bad things without any justifications to make his actions palatable to readers. The guy's an asshole in many ways, and with his money and upbringing and enabling mother, what else could he be? He's not a caricature, though. He does have his good points, it's just that Heyer doesn't try to bullshit us with a "bad boy with a heart of gold" plot. Mary was also familiar to me as the only level-headed member of a family made up of an ambitious mother and twit of a sister, who sacrifices herself for her sister. She's not a martyr, however. Most of her actions come from a sense of bone-deep practicality. There's definitely an alphahole tamed by love vibe, which is ubiquitous in the genre. It's not so much that Dominic changes because he's in love, it's that he's with a woman who isn't weak, which makes his behavior tolerable. Take this exchange between Mary, Dominic, and his father:'You will be married,' said his grace, 'in Paris, at the Embassy.''But sir-''A little coffee, my lord?' said Miss Challoner.'I never touch it. Sir-''If his grace wishes you to me married at the Embassy, my lord, I won't be married anywhere else,' stated Miss Challoner calmly.Mary clearly won't be putting up with any of his nonsense. There's so many other hints of common Romance tropes and characters and Devil's Cub felt almost satirical near the end. I kept smiling, thinking, "So this is how that got started." I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.