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REVIEW: Love’s Revenge by Monica Burns

The bitch had done her work well the day she’d convinced Baron Townsend that Quentin was the father of her bastard child. It had set Townsend off in a wild frenzy to avenge his youngest daughter’s so-called honor. Almost overnight, the man had set out to take from Quentin as much of the Devlyn fortune he could.

Quentin Blackwell, the Devil of Devlyn, has returned home five years after a bitter betrayal by the woman he loved. He’d like nothing better than to extract his pound of flesh and when the opportunity presents itself, he’s more than eager to accept the challenge. Especially when it means exploring Sophie Hamilton’s delicious curves. He’s determined not to give his heart away, but there’s something about Sophie he can’t resist. At forty-one, Sophie Hamilton is beyond just sitting on the shelf. Hopes of love and family are a lost dream at this stage of her life. But her inexperience in the ways of the flesh can easily be remedied, and the Devil of Devlyn, despite his tender age of thirty-two, is just the man to accomplish the task. As she finds passion and pleasure in the arms of a younger man, she struggles with the notion of a love that can bridge the age difference between them.

Dear Ms. Burns:

Here’s my short review of Love’s Revenge: I have better wallpaper in my house than found in this book.

Love's Revenge by Monica BurnsLove’s Revenge isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read in the past year but it’s one of the least credible. Apart from the reasonable writing, there’s nothing else in this book I could take seriously.

Sophie Hamilton is a never married forty-one year old who suddenly–for the reader is just plunked down into her life with no real background information given–propositions a notorious rake whom her evil father and sister ruined five years earlier. The rake, Quentin Blackwell, a man who constantly suffers from a headstrong hard-on, is, was once engaged to Sophie’s much younger half-sister Eleanor whom Quentin caught being ridden by a lowly stable boy. Eleanor was promiscuous and dishonest and, when she discovered she’d been knocked up, she blamed Quentin. The Hamilton patriarch, Baron Townsend, believed Eleanor and demanded that Quentin marry her. When Quentin declined, Townsend began a successful campaign to beggar the Devlyn coffers. The bad Baron also married off Eleanor to Sophie’s one and only suitor, a milksop of a man named Shively.

The novel begins when unescorted Sophie calls on Quentin and offers him a deal.

“And exactly what do you have to offer me that will enable me to extract revenge on your father and sister?”

“I’ve kept a copy of my father’s illicit financial dealings for the past five years.” Her voice was not more than a whisper as she sat rigid in front of him. “I am willing to turn those ledgers over to you for a price.”

“An interesting proposition.” Interesting? Fuck the woman was offering him manna from heaven. But why? He narrowed his gaze at her. “You’re willing to betray your father?”

“Yes…” She paused slightly. “And Eleanor.”

In return for her family’s destruction, Sophie wants to get even and get laid.

“You say you want revenge. How would marrying me give you that?”

“It wouldn’t, or at least not much,” she said as pink color crested over her cheekbones. “I confess marrying you would infuriate Eleanor given her inability to trap you into marriage.”

“What else?” Quentin narrowed his gaze at her.

“I wanted…wanted to experience what it’s like between a man and a woman.”

Quentin, whose dick is at high alert at the thought of tumbling Sophie, thinks her idea sounds grand and the two are married three days later although not before they have multiorgasmic sex in a cabin in which Sophie took refuge to escape a sudden rainstorm. 

Sophie’s father is unhappy at her choice of spouse and, when he discovers their marriage, he storms into Devlyn’s salon and begins beating her. Sophie tries to without success to fight him off with a fireplace poker and is rescued by an enraged Devlyn and his two massive hounds. After Quentin tosses the bad Baron out the door, Sophie, moved to compassion by her father’s cruelty, realizes that revenge won’t heal her or Quentin’s wounds. Quentin, unsurprisingly, vows to continue seeking vengeance.

Will Sophie and Quentin come to consensus? Will all the coming Sophie and Quentin do lead them to love? Will there be a scene where Eleanor successfully tries to make Sophie jealous? Will Sophie suddenly become the most beautiful woman of the ton causing Quentin to sulk? Will the reader ever learn how Sophie looks as though she’s decades younger than she is? Will Quentin be able to manage his manhood? I didn’t care.

The book concludes with an epilogue replete with miraculous fertility, near-death, and declarations of delirious devotion. None of which are remotely believable. I give Love’s Revenge a D.


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I loved romances when, back in the mid 70's, in junior high, I read every Barbara Cartland novel I could check out from the library. Then, thanks to a savvy babysitter, I got my hands on the hot stuff. To this day I can remember how astonishingly steamy I found Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love. I abandoned romance when I went to college and didn't pick one up again until 2007 when I got my first Kindle. Since then, I’ve read countless romances; loved many, liked more, hated some. Most of what I read is historical and contemporary romance, but I’m open to almost any genre. I like my books to have sizzle, wit, and plots that make sense. I’d take sexy over sweet any day. I’m a sucker for smart heroes and smart-mouthed heroines. When not reading or writing about reading, or wishing I could rule the world, I'm meddling in the lives of my kids--I have four, ages 17 to 21--, managing my husband's practice, doing bossy volunteer work, and hanging out with Dr. Feelgood.


  1. Willa
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 08:25:46

    So, you enjoyed it then :D

    Scarpers . . .

  2. Dabney
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 08:54:30

    @Willa: I confess part of my fury was generated by the miraculous fertility at the end. Plus, the heroine become more beautiful as the book went on. The combination of the two was, to me, exceedingly off-putting.

  3. mari
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 09:59:25

    I don’t mind baby epilogues at all, but at forty-one, its a bit ridiculous.

    Two questions, was getting an heir ever a concern for the hero? How was that dealt with? Next question, was the heroine’s “blossoming” at forty -one, only in the eyes of the hero (I’ve seen this done before and it works, if done well) or did the Ton suddenly realize the beauty in their midst?

    Thanks for the review.

  4. Dabney
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 10:41:17

    @mari: I wouldn’t have minded if it had been one easy baby at forty-one. It’s worse.

    The heroine, who had only one marriage proposal her whole life, after her marriage at forty-one (in Regency times), becomes so hot that men are propositioning her as they press for dances with her every time she takes the floor.

  5. Willa
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 10:55:11

    The heroine, who had only one marriage proposal her whole life, after her marriage at forty-one (in Regency times), becomes so hot that men are propositioning her as they press for dances with her every time she takes the floor.

    Ah yes *nods sagely* the afterglow following a good rodgering :D

  6. Mari
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 11:25:19

    @Dabney: Oh my! That sounds…..unbelievable. Why couldn’t the heroine have been beautiful and fertile believably? One “late in life” baby? Or adoption. Or fostering. Or been beautiful in ways that forty-one year old women are beautiful? How stupid. And rather insulting to the intelligence.

  7. Dabney
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 11:30:18

    @Mari: Well, very few women easily conceive two babies several years apart in their mid-forties so that’s a no go inherently. It’s a sore point for me in that I think infertility is so painful for so many. As for the beauty thing, why does she have to become a beauty? Couldn’t she just be like the quasi-insulting song goes “You are so beautiful… to me.”? I wouldn’t have minded if she grew in beauty for her spouse. It was annoying that the ton became agape as well. Combined with her randy man’s jealousy, well, I just said no.

  8. Maura
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 12:00:18

    If the first two words of the cover copy of a historical romance are “The bitch,” I’m probably not even going to make it to the first chapter.

  9. Lucy Woodhull
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 12:13:40

    Dabney, thank you so much for addressing the problematic points of this from an infertility perspective. That’s so rare, but well appreciated. And I’m with Maura — I recoiled at “the bitch,” too and skipped the rest.

  10. cleo
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 15:03:32

    “I didn’t care” – the three most damning words a reviewer can write. The book sounds like a trainwreck but the reveiw made me lol.

  11. JB Hunt
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 16:48:48

    I’m not interested in reading the book, but the comments did prompt me to read more about “older mothers” and the dramatic increase in births to women over 35. This gives a good overview:

  12. Dabney
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 17:09:21

    @Maura: With you all the way.@Lucy Woodhull: @JB Hunt: It’s harder–not at all impossbile, but harder– to get pregnant over 40 any way you look at it. Here are the numbers:
    “At 40 your chance of conceiving within a year of beginning to try is about 40 to 50 percent, compared to a woman in her mid-30s, who has a 75 percent chance. By age 43, a woman’s chance of pregnancy plummets to 1 or 2 percent.”

  13. wikkidsexycool
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 18:04:01

    Wasn’t the life expectancy for both males and females shorter during the time period the book is set? I wonder if the author researched that, because in addition to the pregnancies, what makes this a stretch is the age factor back then fertility wise and health wise (not the May -December romance, just wondering how much her age would really matter back then).

    I did read the Look Inside on Amazon. Thankfully, “the bitch” isn’t in the first line. That comes a few paragraphs later.

  14. cbackson
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 20:13:16

    My grandmother gave birth to my mom at age 42, which was pretty unusual in 1945. But it was a second pregnancy (my uncle was born when she was 34), and although I have no data for this at all, I kind of feel like maybe the odds are higher for a second-time mom than a primipara…

  15. Jane Lovering
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 04:38:07

    It’s not so much the conceiving late in life (there is often a sudden burst of fertility just prior to pre-menopause), but the carrying and safe delivery of a healthy child. Also the effects on the health of the mother of a later in life delivery. I was 36 when my last baby was born (although I lost a baby in early pregnancy at 46), and was almost permanently exhausted until she was…well, she’s 16 now, and I’m *still* pretty knackered!

  16. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 08:25:23

    @wikkidsexycool: Life expectancy is often misunderstood. The reason for the low life expectancy was mainly child mortality. If you survived until your fifth birthday, your chances of living to eighty was increased hugely. If you coped with smallpox (and by the mid 18th century innoculation existed) and giving birth yourself (being a woman), if you were at least moderately well off, then you were good to go.
    It wasn’t like Logan’s Run, where everybody, rich, poor, male, female, dropped dead at thirty, or were carted off to make Soylent Green.
    Fertility rates varied hugely. It’s possible. There are some people who managed it. And in my book, if it’s possible, it’s doable. Jane, I know what you mean about exhaustion, but she could have handed the baby to the wet nurse or the nanny when she got tired. Or one of the army of servants around.
    In pre-rubber condom and Pill eras, fertility could be as much of a problem, ie, the couple might enjoy sex, but not be able to prevent pregnancy.
    I’ve just read a (contemporary set) book where a heroine had a virulent incurable cancer. She not only had a miracle cure, but we got a pregnancy epilogue. Now that irritated me.

  17. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 10:38:11

    @Lynne Connolly: Just checked the details on the book. It’s not a Regency, it’s set in the late 19th century. Huge difference. Don’t know why I thought it was Regency! Medicine had advanced a great deal by then, mainly in the anesthetic and hygiene areas, and the cult of the older woman was well underway, mainly because of the Prince of Wales’s many affairs with more mature females and the fashion for a heavier female (the ideal weight, according to the Cunninghams, was 12 stone).

  18. Katie T
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 06:13:37

    @Maura. Yes, yes, yes. The author lost me at “The bitch.”

  19. Maura
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 15:53:32

    @Katie T: To be fair, the author probably didn’t write the copy– but it turned me off so badly that I don’t care who did.

  20. k8899
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 06:13:44

    Lost me at ‘the bitch’ too, and most of the rest of the book sounds like a wallbanger as well.

    I don’t mind the pregnant at 41 thing – my great great grandma had a healthy baby at 46, and @Dabney’s figures make a lot more sense to me than the ‘you’ll never get pregnant after 35’ thing that gets bandied around a lot lately.

  21. MrsJoseph
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 09:50:46

    Yuck. This sounds atrocious.

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