I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Edelweiss+ but all opinions provided are my own.
There’s a special kind of magic in Julie Anne Long’s Palace of Rogues series. Earlier this year I fell in love with Lady Derring Takes a Lover—honestly one of the best romances I’ve ever read—and I only fell deeper with Long’s upcoming release, Angel in a Devil’s Arms.
With this book we’re welcomed back to The Grand Palace on the Thames, only the most wonderful place to stay in the world. Half-proprietor of the TGPotT, Angelique Breedlove wants nothing more than to continue living as she currently is: in safety and comfort, working hard with Delilah Hardy to make their business a success. (Pretty much as far from her previous life—at the mercy of men, including Delilah’s former husband—as possible.)
It seems like she might be able to do that until the arrival of Lucien Durand, a scandalous viscount presumed dead ten years ago. When he arrives at TGPotT, hell-bent on attaining the revenge against those who’ve wronged him & looking as gorgeous & dangerous as a snow leopard/Ian Somerhalder in any season of The Vampire Diaries, everything starts falling apart/coming together in the most glorious way.
The first thing that really needs to be said is that Julie Anne Long is an exquisite writer. This series has the feel of a classic in terms of how it’s written: the turns of phrase, the deliberation of the words, the precision, and yet, it’s modern, too. It’s beautiful and warm and beautiful in its warmth; Angel in a Devil’s Arms is unapologetically about love and kindness, acceptance, and I loved it. The lack of hypocrisy in the book’s leads, even at the lowest moment in the plot, is something to stand up and cheer about.
Then there’s the witty repartee, which is done so well that it comes across as aspirational and approachable. Angelique & Lucien's maneuvering with each other—by turns challenging and kind—takes place in the environs of TGPotT, one of the loveliest renderings of a place and community that I’ve read. Julie Anne Long writes fantastic romance, but she writes a fantastic ensemble, too. I think that I want boarder Delacorte to find someone as much as he does, and the sword scene in this romance is so sublime that I had to restrain my smile to less awkward proportions.
Lady Derring’s still my favorite (why do I feel the need to be so loyal to my favorite books by unnecessarily claiming them over and over again??) but this one only cements the initial impressions of the series for me. I could end with a string of adjectives that help describe my response to Angel in a Devil’s Arms, or I could just say: pick up this book, it will move you and you’ll be better all around for it.
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