Blue Ribbon Rating: 3.5 out of 5Original Review Link
Leopold Bailey was born a saddler’s son, but his intelligence, determination and ruthlessness have made him the Demon of the Exchange. But the lords, who are impressed by his business sense, still shun Leo for his “common” blood. So Leo does the most logical thing and marries the daughter of an impoverished baron. But quiet, ladylike Anne Hartfield isn’t a woman whom Leo can simply marry and forget. She makes him yearn for more than money or power – she makes him want to win her love. There’s just one problem…
Leo and his fellow Hellraisers have sold their souls to the devil in exchange for power. Leo doesn’t want to give up his power to see the future, not when he can use the magic to ruin those who would look down on him and not when he can use his wealth to give Anne everything she deserves. Leo’s determined to keep his pact with the devil a secret from his wife, but there are others who seek to help the Hellraisers, and they won’t let Anne stay in the dark for long. It’s only a matter of time before Leo will have to choose between unimaginable power and the bride who has stolen his heart.
The stakes that author Zoë Archer set in her first HELLRAISERS book, DEVIL’S KISS, are raised in DEMON’S BRIDE. The effect of the Hellraisers’ pact with the devil is spreading across London, which means DEMON’S BRIDE is packed with adrenaline-filled scenes.
At the heart of the story, however, are Leo and Anne. Of all the Hellraisers’ bargains, Leo’s is the one that I understand the most. He’s brilliant and hard working, but society seems to spit on him more often than not. Making a pact with the devil was obviously not the best idea Leo’s ever had, but Ms. Archer made his motives – and Leo himself – sympathetic. Anne, in turn, is a very different heroine from Zora, the heroine of DEVIL’S KISS. Anne is a gently bred young lady who doesn’t really believe in the devil or demons, and thus seems ill-equipped to handle a high-stakes battle of good versus evil. But Anne rises to the challenge, showing so much courage, love and strength that you can’t help but admire her.
The action in DEMON’S BRIDE is plentiful, and some of the twists and turns that Ms. Archer delivers managed to shock me. There was actually a scene that had me yelling “Noooooo!” at the book. And I definitely finished DEMON’S BRIDE with a number of questions, which isn’t a bad thing, except for the fact that I have to wait for the third HELLRAISERS book to see if my questions will be answered.
As I’ve said above, DEMON’S BRIDE is the second HELLRAISERS book, but for those who haven’t read the delightful DEVIL’S KISS, Ms. Archer provides enough information in DEMON’S BRIDE that readers new to the series can easily follow along, though the small, but significant, parts Whit and Zora play will definitely make you want to read DEVIL’S KISS. That being said, for the best reading experience, the series should be read in order. The influence the devil’s “gifts” has had on the Hellraisers is definitely more marked in DEMON’S BRIDE and thus the danger the men are in is made all the more clear.
I finished DEMON’S BRIDE with mixed emotions, and I won’t spoil the book by revealing why. However, I will say that Leo and Anne are two strong, endearing protagonists that readers will fall for and their romance was incredibly satisfying. Like its predecessor in the HELLRAISERS series, DEMON’S BRIDE is a unique, engaging read. Now, when can I get my hands on SINNER’S HEART?
Note: My review was written for Romance Junkies and is cross-posted here courtesy of Romance Junkies.