The Devil's Pearl (House of Trent #0.5)
by Jennifer Haymore
by Jennifer Haymore
Publication date: 07 May 2013 by Forever Yours
Category: Adult Historical Romance
Keywords: Historical, romance, second chances, revenge
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook
Source: e-ARC received from Netgalley
Sir Devlin Vaughn will never forget the sweet, sensual pleasures of his beloved “Jewel.” Charmingly naive in the ways of love, she had blossomed under his guidance to become the most skilled lover a man could ever desire. And desire her he did—especially after she disappeared, leaving him alone and longing for her touch. Now, Devlin will do anything to get her back. Even kidnap her…
Julia Beaumont will never forget the man who unlocked her deepest desires and made her crave things no decent woman should. Fearing she would never be more than his mistress, she left, vowing never to see him again—until one reckless night, when a stranger in black appears from the shadows and sweeps her away to his bedroom chamber. Now, she will be his courtesan, his captive, his slave. Can she free herself from Devlin’s thrall, or will their passion be her ultimate undoing?
The Devil's Pearl is a prequel novella in the new house of Trent series by historical romance writer Jennifer Haymore. While I enjoy Haymore's writing style, this novella didn't do much for me. Neither of the main characters were particularly compelling and the kidnapping element pushed the romance into creepy and not sexy.
Devlin Vaughn is furious for Julie Beaumont. The two start a passionate affair which is cut off when Julie suddenly leaves Devlin in a very public and humiliating manner. A year has passed but Devlin hasn't forgotten Julia and he still wants his revenge. When he finds that she has returned to London, he decides to kidnap her and in the hopes of rekindling the physical passion that they once shared without the emotional attachment.
I feel like this story could have been called "Poor Communication" because that's really the root of Dev and Julia's problems. Both of them failed to communicate their feelings and fears during their brief affair, leading to pain, embarrassment and public ruination. Now I know misunderstandings are quite common in romances and that they are great catalysts for drama and emotion. However, it just didn't seem very believable to me in this case.
I blame Devlin more than Julia for their initial demise though. He was older and much more experienced. We don't learn too much about their initial romance but it sounds like he pursued Julia (not unwillingly) then met with her secretly once a week to continue their affair. He never told her he loved her or talked about the future. His excuse is that he assumed that she knew his feelings were. This seems a little naive on his part. I just can't believe that he wouldn't understand that he was treating Julia like a mistress and not someone he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. I don't really blame Julia for leaving while she could. Sure, she could have handled it better but Dev didn't give her much hope to begin with.
I also did not approve of Devlin's method of revenge on Julia. Kidnapping's not cool, even if you love the person. He fully planned on locking her in a room (which he actually did for a bit) and forcing her to become his courtesan. Julia didn't seem very upset about this, which also bothered me.
There were a few really tender moments between Dev and Julia and I am glad that they sorted everything out in the end. However, the elements of this story never really came together for me and I finished the story feeling pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. There is quite a long excerpt for the first full length book in the series, The Duchess Hunt, at the end of The Devil's Pear which seemed pretty interesting. I still want to give Haymore a chance but I've only read her novellas thus far. I think a full length novel will showcase her talents better.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.