Kisses Like the Devil-Diane Whiteside

Kisses Like the Devil

Diane Whiteside

Kensington Brava, Feb 2009, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758225153

 

In 1900 Vice President Teddy Roosevelt meets with a former subordinate soldier from the Cuban operation Brian Donovan to ask for his help.  Teddy knows the influential Donovan family is gathering in Europe to make efforts to rescue Brian’s brother trapped in Peeling.  Teddy wants Brian to attend the annual Grand Duchy of Eisengau armor sale to buy a gigantic cannon for the American army.

 

It has been four years since Meredith Duncan began working for Colonel Zorndoff, head of the Foundry and Cannon Sales sector of the government.  She has stolen the plans for a gigantic cannon because she will use them to obtain freedom for the working class.  She attends a meeting of her working class party but is shocked to see Russian agent Sazanov as a guest.  She does not trust the Russian and tells everyone she has not stolen the plans yet.

 

At a beerhouse, Meredith and her friends hold a rally.  The cops break it up and Brian who was there helps Meredith escape.  He escorts her to the Grand Hotel where to her regret her parents catch her.  They are unhappy to see her with an American though they somewhat hide their feelings as he is a weapons buyer.  The next day her parents inform Meredith that they are aware of her seditious activity and have accepted a marriage proposal from Zorndoff, whose first wife was beaten to death by him.  Meredith asks Brian to ruin her by making her his mistress.  Shocked he agrees.  As they fall in love, they remain divided over her belief that his father exploits the workers.

 

The weapons competition is fascinating as countries compete for the best armor.  Readers will admire the heroine, a courageous idealist who risks her life for her beliefs, and her dog Morro who is always protecting her.  The actions of the good guys lead to the deaths of many innocent people adding realism, however, their remorse never comes across as more than an afterthought.  Still this is a fascinating late Victorian era romantic suspense.

 

Harriet Klausner

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