Six months ago, I finished reading The Heiress Gets a Duke, the first in Harper St. George’s Gilded Age Heiresses series. I really enjoyed it, and I was thrilled to learn that the second book in the series, The Devil and the Heiress, would be published so soon after. This followup has been one of my most anticipated books this year, and I excitedly dove in as soon as it arrived.
|The Devil and the Heiress by Harper St. George|
|Series||The Gilded Age Heiresses (#2)|
|Number of Pages||273|
|Format I Read||Paperback|
|Original Publication Date||June 29, 2021|
Sparks fly when a runaway heiress bargains with a devilish rogue to escape a marriage of convenience.
No one would guess that beneath Violet Crenshaw’s ladylike demeanor lies the heart of a rebel. American heiresses looking to secure English lords must be on their best behavior, but Violet has other plans. She intends to flee London and the marriage her parents have arranged to become a published author–if only the wickedly handsome earl who inspired her most outrageously sinful character didn’t insist on coming with her.
Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, has a scheme of his own: escort the surprisingly spirited dollar princess north and use every delicious moment in close quarters to convince Violet to marry him. Christian needs an heiress to rebuild his Scottish estate but the more time he spends with Violet, the more he realizes what he really needs is her–by his side, near his heart, in his bed.
Though Christian’s burning glances offer unholy temptation, Violet has no intention of surrendering herself or her newfound freedom in a permanent deal with the devil. It’s going to take more than pretty words to prove this fortune hunter’s love is true….
When I found out that The Devil and the Heiress would star Christian Halston and Violet Crenshaw – both of whom appeared in the first book – I wasn’t sure what to expect. I (inexplicably) didn’t much care for Christian in his few scenes in The Heiress Gets a Duke, but I was still willing to give him a chance here. So I was delightfully surprised to discover that I ended up loving The Devil and the Heiress even more than the first book!
Much like in The Heiress Gets a Duke, The Devil and the Heiress starts with the Crenshaw parents aiming to marry off their daughter Violet. But in contrast, Violet doesn’t have her older sister August around to save her this time. After rejecting a weak offer from Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, Griswold Crenshaw decides on the smarmy Lord Ware instead. Never mind that he’s odious and Violet is quite uncomfortable around him. But don’t underestimate their youngest daughter: Not only will Violet refuse to marry Lord Ware, she’ll run away if she has to.
Christian, for his part, is undeterred from winning Violet, and he’s willing to take matters into his own hands to do so. He and Violet have already been developing a friendship of sorts, and their mutual attraction is undeniable. He’s also prepared to seduce her, and what better opportunity than when she is on the run from her ruthless parents? Christian gains his knowledge of her plans through some slightly devious methods, then just so happens to be around to help Violet on her journey north. Naïve and innocent as Violet is, she mistakes his careful scheming for generosity and kindness.
What I love most about The Devil and the Heiress is these two main characters, how different they are, and how well they fit together. In addition to being naïve and innocent, Violet is also sunny, fanciful, and a bit of an oversharer. She’s also a writer, and as she works on her second novel – with characters heavily inspired by the people in her real life – she justifies a lot of her interactions with Christian (Lord Lucifer in her novel) as necessary for her “research.” I love seeing writers in fiction, and it’s extra fun to see how it impacts Violet in her day-to-day life. Also, shoutout to her love of Jane Eyre – one of my favorite classics!
In contrast, Christian is a fairly serious and guarded man. With a difficult backstory relating to his family and upbringing, he’s had to forge his own way in life. He’s smart, charming, and certainly a rake, but underneath it all, he truly is kindhearted and good. Violet can see it’s true, even if he can’t. Another thing worth pointing out about Christian is that he has a slight disability: Due to an injury when he was younger, he walks with a limp and uses a cane. It’s always nice to see some diversity, and seeing a disabled hero in a romance is something I haven’t seen before, so bonus points for this!
More so than in the previous book, The Devil and the Heiress has a surprisingly slower burn than I expected. Despite Christian and Violet’s mutual attraction – and Violet’s (perhaps misguided) eagerness to get physical with Christian – he holds off from doing anything inappropriate. This is borne out of his respect for Violet and his aim to treat her honorably. He truly wants her to want to marry him, and despite historically being a rake, Christian is determined to do right by her.
After being on the road together for several days – and slowly solidifying their friendship and falling in love with each other – a catastrophic event drastically alters their journey. The subsequent rescue, recovery, and furthered intimacy is my favorite part of the book. If you like seeing a true hero and him later nursing his beloved back to health, this book is for you.
As much as I adored their deepening love for and devotion to each other, I knew it was just a matter of time before the big bad secrets finally came out. Unlike in The Heiress Gets a Duke, which had a somewhat unnecessary third-act dilemma, in The Devil and the Heiress, we see that drama coming from miles away. It’s not if, it’s when, and it leads to Christian’s necessary and complete reform. We love to see it.
Both Violet and Christian have a lot of growing to do, and they seem to bring that out in each other. Christian is eventually racked with guilt over deceiving and manipulating Violet, and rightfully has to work hard to earn back her trust. This is a classic trope of reforming a rake, and it’s done very well here. I especially love that his redemption comes in the form of him publicly advocating for women’s rights. Woohoo, 1870s feminism! For her part, Violet needs to mature and grow up a bit, and though it’s brought on by unfortunate circumstances, she is ultimately able to retain her sense of joy and optimism.
By the end, Christian and Violet have a heartwarming and fulfilling reunion. It’s a perfect ending that neatly wraps it all up… even if I’d happily read more about these two!
P.S. – After finishing The Devil and the Heiress, I went back and reread the scenes with Christian in The Heiress Gets a Duke. Not only could I seriously not understand my initial dislike of Christian (what was I thinking?), I actually found his scenes swoon-worthy and loved the foreshadowing of book number two. I think I’ll need to properly reread both books before the third one comes out!
P.P.S. – I don’t know what’s come over me, but I’m just so excited about these characters that I wanted to make a visual of them. My artistic abilities are severely limited, so I’ve decided to build them all in The Sims 4. Dorky, I know, but I just love these characters and need to see them outside of my imagination! This will also keep my excitement high as we wait for the upcoming books in the series.
As you can see from my glowing review above, I absolutely loved The Devil and the Heiress. As much as I enjoyed The Heiress Gets a Duke, this one surpassed it and will hold a special place in my heart as a favorite book.
I’m excited to read the rest of the Gilded Age Heiress series, too! The next installment, titled The Lady Tempts an Heir, will focus on brother Max Crenshaw and the young widow Lady Helena. It’s due out on February 22, 2022. Following that, book number four is called The Duchess Takes a Husband. It focuses on Jacob Thorne (Christian’s half-brother) and Camille, Duchess of Hereford (who is currently married to a mean old man… hmm….). I’m guessing that will be out in the second half of 2022. Stay tuned for my reviews of both next year!
About the Author
Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since.
She lives in Atlanta area with her husband and two children. When not writing, she can be found devouring her husband’s amazing cooking and reading.