Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Title: The Last Hellion
Author: Loretta Chase
Publishing Date: April 1998
The Last Hellion begins when Vere Mallory, the seventh Duke of Ainswood spies two women in a physical confrontation. He believes that Lydia Genville is in trouble and in need of his rescue, since the area where this confrontation is taking place is in the worst sort of neighborhood, full of all sorts of shady characters. Lydia not at all appreciative of his efforts to rescue her and squarely delivers an upper cut to his chin, which lands Ainswood on his back. Dumbfounded by Lydia, he is determined to get revenge for the beating his pride takes. Unfortunately for Vere, he is no match for the “Dragon”, which he aptly nicknames Lydia.
Clever. If I could only use one word to describe this book, that is the word I think best suits it. There are just so many small details that add up to make this book the masterpiece that it is. Lydia is such a smart capable woman who does not need anyone, man or woman to come to her rescue. As a matter of fact, she has taken it upon herself to rescue others who aren’t quite so capable, such as runaway Miss Price.
Vere is completely fascinated by Lydia, because she is so unpredictable. Vere never knows how she will react to his jibes and can’t wait to see what outrageous, outlandish thing she will do next. Vere was a complicated hero. He is jaded. Life has not been kind to him with so many deaths in his family, all one after another. He hides his true feelings behind a brazen, reckless rogue. Some of the most touching scenes are when Lydia slowly uncovers the personality Vere keeps so carefully hidden.
Just when the reader thinks the story might get too sappy or sentimental, Chase turns the tables and explodes with a witticism so dry, it makes the reader smile or chuckle. The writing is beautiful, wavering back and forth between bold and direct at times, to subtle and poignant at others. The Last Hellion has a lovely cast of characters and several different plot threads running through the book that all coalesce at the end bringing everything together ingeniously. This was a thoroughly entertaining and charming story.