Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

historical romance review

Devil's Desire by Laurie McBain
Rating: two-half-stars
Published: 1975
Illustrator: H. Tom Hall
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 428
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain


The Book

For me, Devil’s Desire was an ok Regency romance written by Laurie McBain. It’s alright, but nothing special. From the writing, you can tell it’s a “first book.”

The back blurb claims Devil’s Desire “Plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate…

How I wish.

evil's desire hall back cover
Devil’s Desire, Back Cover
(I prefer the back illustration to the front)

The Plot

The bland heroine Elysia, is fleeing from bland, evil enemies. Lots of clichés abound, including:

  • The rakish hero, Lord Alex Trevegne (who’s really not that much of a rake)
  • An evil ex-mistress
  • A Cinderella heroine, Lady Elysia Demarice, with emerald-green eyes and red-gold hair, who’s the most beautiful lady in all of England, and pure as the driven snow. (Clichés in a review are appropriate for a book riddled with them!)
  • The heroine’s evil, greedy relatives

Lady Elysia has escaped from the clutches of said greedy relatives who would steal her fortune. Worse, they would marry her off to someone she wants nothing to do with.

For she is a woman of spirit and will not be controlled!

On the run, she meets the handsome Lord Trevegne, who falls in lust with her dazzling beauty. It’s the Devil and the deep blue sea for Elysia.

Marriage to Lord Trevigne would offer protection, but it will come at a price for Elysia’s independence.

“I would not regret putting a hole in your arrogant chest, only it would be deflected when it hit that piece of rock you call a heart.

My Opinion

I don’t know how Laurie McBain ever got categorized as a bodice-ripper author because she’s not. As she was one of the original Avon ladies from the 1970s, that label stuck to her.

Yes, some of her books were epic in scope, spanning years and/or continents, although not here in Devil’s Desire). However, in her books, there was never forced seduction by the hero, her heroines were virginal and didn’t bed-hop, and bodices were rarely–if ever–ripped.

Regardless, she deserves recognition as one of the first “old-school” romance pioneers, as her books influenced many authors and thrilled millions of readers.

Legend has it McBain co-wrote her novels with her father. It sounds kind of weird to be writing romance novels with your dad, but hey, that’s just me. After he passed away, she stopped publishing books.

Final Analysis of Devil’s Desire

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain was not a memorable read. Not bad, but so-so.

I much preferred her second novel, Moonstruck Madness, which is more well-known. It was more action-packed, with a heroine who’s quite colorful and courageous and a truly rakish hero.

2.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 2.7


[A] rousing, unforgettable saga that sweeps across the valleys and peaks of human destiny, the stormy alliance of beautiful young and plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate… Out of the turbulence of their clashing wills comes one of the greatest love stories ever written, as their twin passions mingle at last, in a rippling tide of liquid fire!” 


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