Pub Date: 1973
Illustrator: Don Sinclair
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #5
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
More at: Goodreads
Purchase Book: Buy on Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
MILD SPOILERS 😉
Violet Winspear certainly had sympathy for the Devil. Several of her book titles contain the words Demon, Lucifer, Satan, or Devil–including Harlequin Presents #5, Devil in a Silver Room.
It also features another male main character named Paul, like the hero from The Honey Is Bitter. This Paul is French, however, not Greek. And also, like the Honey Is Bitter, Devil In a Silver Room was reprinted many times over, proving that Winspear was a powerhouse writer for series romance.
There’s good reason this book had so many reprints: it’s an enthralling, hypnotic love story that pulls you in from the moment the hero enters the story. And oh, what a hero he is!
Five years before the Devil In a Silver Room opens, a teenaged Margo Jones fell in love with the wealthy, handsome, and carefree Michel Cassalis. Michel only toyed with Margo’s heart, as she was a brief fling to discard. Margo was a simple English au pair with no family, and Michel eventually married a French lady from his own social class.
Now Michel is dead, leaving behind a young son. His widow is confined to a wheelchair.
Because Margo still loves Michel, she cannot bear the thought of his child alone and abandoned. When she hears he requires an English nanny, she offers the Cassalis family her services. First, Margo meets Michel’s haughty mother, Madame Cassalis. Then Margo heads to the Cassilis family home, ominously named Satancourt.
As prickly as Madame is, she is nothing compared to Michel’s older brother, Paul. Margo meets the domineering Paul Cassalis upon her arrival, and sparks fly. Soon Michel will be a faint memory.
Paul is like night to Michel’s day. Margo wonders how two men so different could have possibly been brothers. Paul’s dark looks and menacing nature paradoxically both intimidates and intrigues her.
Margo forms a strong bond with Desi, Michels son. In due time he becomes attached to the loving nanny.
But not all is well at Satancourt. People whisper rumors about Paul causing a girl’s death years ago. They say her ghost haunts the castle. Perhaps there are more deaths for which Paul is responsible?
And just what is Paul’s position at Satancourt? All the workers and residents treat Paul as their lord. But despite being the oldest male Cassalis, it is his young nephew who will rule the chateau one day.
“I work the terraces, Miss Jones. I bring forth the champagne and the wine. I ensure that the chateau remains a perfect example of French architecture. I pay the wages of the workers. I give the orders and flourish the phantom whip, but I am only the caretaker of Satancourt and its cellar.”DEVIL IN A SILVER ROOM
Paul, the Hero
Although Paul is a steward, he resonates with an aura of authority and power. He is a man who commands respect, no matter how low his station is. He reminded me of Felipe Tristan, the sigma-male hero from Teresa Denys‘ other masterpiece, The Flesh and the Devil (which I will review soon), although Paul is more of a leader than a lone-wolf type.
Margo is drawn to Paul’s demonic allure, even as she fights her desire. Her infatuation with Michel is supplanted with a more tremendous passion for his brother.
In the end, Paul reveals to Margo that his servile role at Satancourt is because he is not a true Cassalis. His mother was pregnant with another man’s child when she got married. So Monsieur Cassalis excluded Paul from his will. But still, Paul’s heart belongs to Satancourt.
Ultimately, he remains a humble vintner. Paul does not get the castle, but he does get the girl.
Suddenly all the loneliness was gone and she could surrender herself, her life, all her future, into the keeping of this man…not quite an agel, but not altogether a devil.
Final Analysis of Devil in a Silver Room
For me, Devil in a Silver Room is one of the best examples of an early Harlequin romance novel that is erotic despite the lack of sex. There are plenty of passionate kisses but no consummation.
The tone is deeply Gothic, from the chateau’s name to the dark, brooding hero to the heroine who flees from him even as she longs to submit to his embrace.
It’s incredibly old-school in style and representative of its time.
Paul is autocratic and proud; Margo is dignified and strong-willed and a perfect match for him.
Devil in a Silver Room may be my favorite Violet Winspear yet.
Margo Jones had loved Michel Cassalis, but her love had brought her only pain. Michel had married someone else.DEVIL IN A SILVER ROOM by VIOLET WINSPEAR
Now, five years later. Michel was dead. And Margo was at the Cassalis’s remote French Chateau, Satancourt, to look after Michel’s small son. She wanted nothing to do with men, especially with Michel’s ruthless brother, Paul Cassalis.
But what if Paul wanted her? As master of Satancourt, would he exercise le droit de seigneur – the right of the master to take whatever he desired!