Till Dawn With The Devil
by Alexandra Hawkins
(St. Martinís, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-312-38125-7
***
Till Dawn with the Devil is the second book in Alexandra Hawkins Lords of Vice series, which will be popular because of its very likeable group of male leads.

This is Reignís story. Gabriel ďReignĒ Housely is the Earl of Rainecourt, but his lofty title has brought him no happiness. He is rumored to have killed his wife Beatrice some years ago, a story perpetuated by his former in-laws. His family had also been whispered about for years, with suspicious circumstances, insanity and murderous tales surrounding their name. Reignís adopted his friends, who have nicknamed themselves the Lords of Vice, as his family and Hawkins thoroughly illustrates the menís bond in this story.

Reign attends a boring society ball to placate his friends, and there he meets the beautiful Lady Sophia. Reign dances her out to the terrace, where he learns that the object of his newfound affection is nearly blind, having been in an accident as a child. Reign is moved by her plight and kisses her, only to be torn away, being caught by Lady Sophiaís very angry brother, the Earl of Ravenshaw. While Sophia had quickly figured out who Reign was, he didnít know that his dance partner was the daughter of the couple that his father had supposedly murdered in cold blood before taking his own life. Reignís very surprised that Sophia continued their association after knowing who he was, and heís intrigued.

Sophia wonders about Reign after meeting him, but soon she learns that her brother has done a poor job as Earl, and their family finances are in the toilet. Sheís to be married to a gentleman sheís never met in exchange for money. Reign swoops in to save Sophia after hearing the rumors, and they are married by special license.

Reign decides to bring Sophia back to his ancestral home, knowing full well that itís the place that Sophia received her nearly blinding injury, and lost her parents. He then leaves her to seek out her irate brother. Sophiaís bothered by Reignís behavior and by her own unfounded suspicion that the estate might be haunted. Will these two come together even with the pile of issues between them?

Till Dawn with the Devil had its good and bad points, which is why it finished with a strong three heart rating.

The good: Reign is delicious, a perfect bad guy type of hero, oozing catch-me-if-you-can sexuality while being a good friend, and an honest type of husband. Having been through a bad marriage, he seems remarkably rational, not bitter about attempting to start over again. However, he also knows when he comes across as inattentive, insensitive and even occasionally as a bully. While this points to his honest character, this portion of him is not particularly attractive. Also, kudos to Hawkins for writing a less than physically divine heroine. Though itís frequently noted that Sophia is beautiful, itís lovely to have a heroine with physical limitations who doesnít pity herself. The parts of the story where the Lords of Vice got together were particularly amusing, their banter reminded me of brothers who love each other but canít help but harass one another when the perfect opportunity presents itself.

The bad: Sophia is incredibly naÔve, she almost seems dull witted at some moments, while not all the time. Her association with Reign in the beginning is laughable as their connection is nonexistent before their wedding, and afterwards his treatment of her at times would hardly lend itself to falling in love. Also, the business of their families shared history is addressed in detail but it was all muddled up, and hard to understand. I never really did get what really happened.

While there are undoubtedly fans of the Lords of Vice, Hawkins isnít doing much to attract new readers aside from writing interesting male characters. While I liked this book, I wonít be waiting with bated breath for the next installment.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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