Handsome Devil
by Melanie George, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7009-8


Okay, I confess: I don't like accents. The only exception is when everyone is speaking in accents. In Handsome Devil, while the hero Nicholas Sinclair and his friends and family speak English as I know it, the heroine Sheridan Delaney goes around "Ye! 'Twas! Och!" Okay, so she's Irish, and maybe we want to give some atmosphere by having her showing her accent. But her accent comes and goes at the oddest of moments, and it becomes an annoyance.

The story is simple - Sheridan is a tomboy, hellion, and she has a head so hard you can probably crack walnuts with it. Her fed up parents and siblings, after Sheridan's latest almost-skinny-dipping escapade, decide to give in to her request to visit England and her friend Jules Thornton. Let England handle this problem. Hence our almost-eighteen heroine is on her way, chaperoned by dotty old people whose function is comic relief.

In England, she meets the rakehell Nicholas Sinclair. Nick is looking for a docile, agreeable wife (yes, yes, that old story). but alas, he keeps getting tangled up in Sheridan's mad escapades. What to do, what to do?

Handsome Devil won't appeal to those who are already grumbling about the wide age gap between the hero and heroine in this author's previous books. Really, I mean, it really shows, this age gap, and I, for one, cannot imagine why Nicholas will even want the impetuous, rather braincell-free, dash-headlong-into-danger-and-always-need-rescuing Sheridan. Sheridan is annoying as the heroine who just cannot think with a measure of common sense.

There are some cute comic relief moments from the ever-typecasted old people, but the main romance in Handsome Devil is more akin to a long-suffered man with a forced smile on his face trying his best to keep a young harridan in line. Fun for those with babysitter-sex fantasies.

Rating: 68


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