Book Review: DEVIL’S MISTRESS by Heather Graham

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Publisher: Dell
Released: July 1, 1986
Source: Purchased from Amazon

If there was ever a devil who could lure and seduce the innocent, Lord Sloan Treveryan is that man. Captain of the Sea Hawk and bound to the king’s business, Treveryan may be a lord but he is no gentleman. Yet even he cannot ignore a lady in distress—or the temptation she provides.

Bewitched by Brianna MacCardle’s beauty, Scottish inquisitors have called her the devil’s own. Though Treveryan saves her from the witch-hunter’s clutches, how can she be grateful? He has carried Brianna off to America, claimed her, and taken her innocence. She vows that he will never capture her heart. But against her will she begins to fall in love—while swearing to reap revenge against the arrogant lord who has made her the devil’s mistress.

———

Part One: Enter the Devil

DEVIL’S MISTRESS is set in Scotland and Colonial America in the late 17th century. The book has an exciting beginning with Brianna on the run from a psychotic witch hunter on the streets of Glasgow. She encounters sea captain Sloan Treveryan in a tavern and pretends to be a prostitute so that she may hide out in his room. Of course, when Sloan discovers that Brianna was a virgin (up until he got her in his bed), he knows something is not right. She confesses that she is the witch being hunted and wants to go to her family in England for help. Sloan knows the witch hunter will easily find her there, so he ends up kidnapping Brianna and holding her captive on his ship.

Sloan is more than a Welsh lord and sea captain. He’s also a loyal supporter and informant of sorts for William and Mary of Orange, currently living in Holland. He is one of many who want them to replace Mary’s father, James II, as rulers of England, Scotland and Ireland. Sloan intends to leave Brianna with Mary for protection. Brianna will not hear of it, and escapes Sloan’s ship only to be captured and nearly killed by the witch hunter. Sloan saves her again, and though the two form a passionate relationship, he refuses to marry her. Brianna is devastated and escapes from him again, this time running away to the Colonies with her cousin.

Part Two: The Devil in Salem

Of all the towns in the Colonies, Brianna chooses the worst one to settle in for a woman once accused of witchcraft. Salem. When the hysteria of the witch trials begins, Brianna’s cousin urges her to keep quiet and hope that they avoid attention. But, it’s only a matter of time before both Brianna and her cousin are arrested on false charges. The situation seems hopeless until Sloan comes looking for Brianna in Salem.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I’ve always had a morbid fascination with the Salem Witch Trials, and I thought that the author captured the craziness and cruelty of that time perfectly. The plot was suspenseful and fast-paced. There were a couple of intriguing plot twists along the way to keep me engaged.

My main complaint was Brianna and Sloan’s very tense relationship for most of the book. There was plenty of passionate pledges of love, and then lots of bickering between them. Most of the blame falls on Brianna. Her behavior was so ridiculous and dramatic at times. Sloan wanted to protect her and be with her, he just couldn’t marry her. Brianna’s solution was to keep running away (even though she loved him) and nearly getting herself killed. I wanted to smack her myself a few times. In my opinion, Sloan was no “devil.” He was a good guy who got a raw deal in life that was out of his control.

Though DEVIL’S MISTRESS did not fit the typical “historical romance” formula, it was an enjoyable story worth reading. It would definitely appeal to fans of old-school romances.

Rating: 3½ Stars

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