- Title: The Irish Devil
- Author: Donna Fletcher
- Length: 329 pages
- Price: about 3 dollars as an e-book, really cheap used, not available new
General Plot: Eric of Shanekill is known as the Irish Devil because of his Viking father and Irish mother and his childhood training in how to fight like one of the “barbarians.” When he is given his choice of Lord William’s daughters as a reward from the king, William and his new wife are happy to stick him with the girl they consider the worst of their daughters, Faith. Faith is happy to be leaving her father’s and stepmother’s home, where they constantly tell her she should be dead and they wish she was, even if that means marrying the Irish Devil.
My Review: This was actually a fun read and I enjoyed it a great deal. I found it as I was looking through Amazon for romances set in Ireland and this is part of a series of what seems to be at least 15 books, all set in different times with a wide variety of plots. This is one that jumped out at me and I decided it would probably make a good NSR recommendation, even though it was originally published about 11 years ago.
Faith was the victim of an attempted rape several years before we join the story and that attack left her with one large physical scar and some severe emotional ones. She has been ostracized from her father’s home at the wish of her stepmother, who is convinced that she was actually raped and thus a fallen woman who will never marry anyone of any note. However, when Eric visits the household and sees Faith, he is instantly attracted to her and thrilled to marry her rather than her stepsisters who are all cold and prickly, according to him, although we never have a chance to get to know them in the text.
The plot deepens when Eric realizes she has been attacked and asks her if she is still a virgin and she refuses to tell him. He doesn’t want to sleep with her if she isn’t because then he won’t be able to get the marriage annulled. She doesn’t want to tell him because she wants him to love her enough to consummate their marriage no matter whether she is still technically a virgin or not.
It takes them a long time in the story to work through this issue, but once they do, then a servant girl is killed in the same way Faith almost was, and Faith realizes that she needs to face up to her fears and tell the truth about what she remembers from that terrible night.
I did find the whole “I won’t be married to you if you aren’t a virgin even though it was rape” thing a bit over the top, even if it is set in the middle ages. Part of the reason virginity was so important in those days among nobility was that DNA tests were not available and neither were ultrasounds, so being able to date the time of conception and ascertain who was actually the father of a baby was impossible. If a woman wasn’t a virgin, then who was to say who the father of her first baby was, and of course it was the firstborn that needed to carry on the family name and title. However, in this case, where it had been several years, I think Eric could be certain the rapist’s time had passed.
Also, the game the author played with us about their attempts at consummating their marriage (before Eric found out about the attack) constantly being interrupted was a little ridiculous. But it did make me laugh a few times, so maybe that was her goal.
The Tingle Factor: The love scenes in this book were pretty hot and steamy and I would not recommend this book to a young teenager. Some couples in the book have sex and are not married, but Eric and Faith are safely married from the beginning and the language isn’t over the top. However, some of the sexual encounters are described in detail. All this served, in my opinion, to really deepen their love story and I definitely enjoyed the sexual chemistry between Faith and Eric. Because of the delays caused by the plot, they come to appreciate each other on an emotional level before the physical, and that is always what really gives me the great tingly feeling I love in a romance.
Tingle Scale: 8/10