SLIDER

Along for the Ride


Back in March, I found myself craving some historical romance. Anne Gracie immediately came to mind, and I just so happened to have her Devil Riders series on my shelves. After loving her Merridew Sisters and Chance Sisters series, I had high hopes for these older releases. But I was a little nervous because I saw that they weren't quite as highly rated as some of her other books. Well, I had nothing to fear! 

I don't know if it was my mood or that I just had lower expectations going in, but I thoroughly enjoyed this series. Unlike the other books I've read from her, this series is centered on four men who became friends during the Napoleonic War (plus a fifth man who is a family relation) and have since returned home. I'll keep my thoughts brief, but here's the gist of it: I think Gracie is so underrated, and this series was a total gem! That's the main thing you need to know. Now, if you'd like a few more thoughts on each book, keep reading:

The series starts with The Stolen Princess, which features a princess and her son on the run in disguise. They're from a fictional country, and I liked that Gracie didn't use a place – though it added a tiny bit of "fairy tale" feeling to the story. The hero is the estranged younger son of an earl, and I loved the way he wanted to protect the heroine. He was too overbearing for me, but the heroine did call him out! The secondary characters stole the show, however, and got me excited for the rest of the series. It wasn't my favorite of the bunch, but I So Liked It overall.

His Captive Lady was my favorite of the series, and I can still remember entires scenes from it weeks later. With my terribly bookish memory, that's saying something! The hero is the illegitimate son of an earl, and he's got so many mental and emotional scars from his upbringing. My heart broke for him, and I loved that he fell in love with someone who was the opposite of what he wanted for himself. Her backstory made me cry, and I was so invested in their relationship. I couldn't put this book down, and I'm already anxious to re-read it. I So Loved It, obviously.

I'd been looking forward to To Catch a Bride because the hero was one of my favorites, and then I was surprised by the change in setting. A large portion of it takes place in Egypt, and I found that part very slow. Everything changed once the characters got on a ship headed back to England, and the last half redeemed the more boring beginning for me. I did like the spirit of adventure that pervaded the story, and it was interesting to see a change in location. The romance made me swoon enough that I can say I So Enjoyed It, but it had to grow on me.

When I picked up The Accidental Wedding, I was surprised to see that the hero wasn't the fourth friend/solider. Instead, it was a sibling of two of the other heroes... and I honestly had to get over a bit of disappointment because I wasn't interested in him. He got better with time, but he's the reason this one was my least favorite in the series. The heroine was a sweetheart, and I got frustrated by the way he was treating her. I'm getting annoyed again thinking about it. I So Liked It because the heroine and her siblings were precious, but this guy didn't deserve her.

Oh man, what a great way to end this series! Bride by Mistake is basically tied with the second book as my favorite in the series, and I loved almost everything about it. This one is primarily set in Spain, and I adored the description of the setting. The premise of the story had me immediately invested, and Gracie delivered on all the emotions. I loved this couple, and it was fun to see them butt heads. This heroine was the perfect match for the hero, and I swooned (and laughed! and cried!) multiple times. I So Loved It and am so glad I finished this series on a high note.

Objectively, I think I can see why this series isn't as popular as some of Gracie's others. But I was a huge fan – and it just cemented my love for her writing and characters! I flew through all my five books and immediately convinced Kelly to read them all, too. Thankfully, she can second my recommendation if you need another push to give them a try. They aren't perfect, but they were just right for my mood. If you're a historical romance fan, give them a shot!

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