8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Hellion

Title: The Last Hellion

Author: Loretta Chase

Review number: 10

Genre: Romance – Regency

Stand alone or series: Stand alone, although many characters were introduced in Lord of Scoundrels.

Summary: Amazon.com says In 1820s England, 28-year-old Lydia Grenville is a few inches under six feet tall and mind-numbingly beautiful. Clever as well as gorgeous, she is the author of a London newspaper’s most popular adventure serial and has also penned scathing articles about the prostitution trade in the city. Her less-than-ladylike occupation, checkered past, and questionable lineage make it highly unlikely that she will ever marry a member of the Regency ton. However, in keeping with a long legacy of hell-raising ancestors, Vere Mallory, the notorious Duke of Ainswood, has a reputation for flaunting society’s dictates. Besides, one look at Lydia and he loses his heart, although at the time, it doesn’t occur to him that love is what he feels. He terms it lust and sets out to bed the beautiful Lydia.
What follows is an endearing, hilarious contest of wills between a woman determined to hold her heart and body safe, and a man just as determined to conquer her. In a final, winner-takes-all contest, Lydia and Vere come to terms, but neither is sure just who won and just who lost the wager. Is it possible they may both come out winners? Meanwhile, Lydia’s very public crusade against the worst offenders in the city’s illegal prostitution business has earned her dangerous enemies. Just when it seems that Vere and Lydia may resolve their personal contest of wills, the dark forces at work in the seamier side of London threaten not only Lydia, but also Vere’s beloved nieces.
The Last Hellion has a cast of well-drawn characters who play out their scenes against a backdrop of Regency England that’s both lushly rich in descriptions of the wealthy and darkly gritty when traveling the back streets where poverty rules.

Why did I read the book: It says Loretta Chase in the cover. I need no other reason.

Loretta Chase is one of my favourite writers. I loved her Carsington series and Lord of Scoundrels is my all-time favourite romance novel. So when I read that The Last Hellion had connections with the latter I rushed to get it.

Vere Mallory is the last Mallory Hellion. History says that the family name means Trouble and no one could be more of a hellion than Vere: the obnoxious, conceited, conscienceless, et cetera, et cetera, Duke of Ainswood. But the family name also means Sadness – in the past 10 years Vere has been to more funerals than he would have liked, the last one being that of his beloved cousin Robin, the previous Duke. So, on top of being the obnoxious, conceited, conscienceless, et cetera, et cetera he is also Sad and Lonely. His has been a life of Dissipation and Debauchery ( along with his childhood friend Sebastian, Marquess of Dain) that got even worse after he inherited his title after the death of so many family members. He cares not for his title or for his wards (Robin’s two sisters). Until he meets Lydia Grenville.

Lydia is a 28 year old spinster who works as a journalist for a London newspaper – her articles talk about social problems like prostitution and her research usually takes her to not so good parts of the town where she tends to get into trouble. This is how they first meet – she is trying to save a girl from being co-opted by London’s most famous female pimp and a fight is in the making. Vere tries to “save” her without realising that this woman does not need saving and is rewarded with a punch in the gut that knocks him down. What he doesn’t know yet is that what really hit him was love with capital L. Over the following weeks he can not avoid bumping into Grenville, who is an independent and intelligent woman that knows what she wants. And what she wants is to remain independent even though she can’t help falling in lust and in love with Vere and when he first proposes to her she says no. And so they fight and they argue and the sparks fly until she relents and their story enters into a second phase.

This was my favourite part of the book – where Vere is in love and feels connected to a woman for the first time in his life. He is completely shaken on his wedding night because they made love and not sex and his turn from obnoxious, conceited, conscienceless, et cetera, et cetera to a loving man was ever so sweet. The night he presents her with tools of her trade was the epitome of what any hero must be – an adoringly husband who respects the individuality of his beloved and is not afraid to show it.

But then a lot of other things get in the way of their story and I got frustrated because I wanted to see more of this Vere but had to endure: a plot about Lydia’s past and how she is related to Dain and the Ballisters; a plot about some jewellery stolen; a plot about Vere’s two wards and their disappearance; even Bertie Trent (Jess’s brother from Lord Of Scoundrels) gets a storyline and all of a sudden it’s too much happening at the same time and the plot is all over the place.

I loved Vere, I love Lydia, I loved the usual witty banter, loved to see Dain and Jess again but I thought this is not Loretta at her best. But hey, even though The Last Hellion may not be one Great Book like Lord of Scoundrels or Mr Impossible, there is still enough Lorettachaseness to make this a smart and enjoyable read.

Notable quotes/parts: Towards the end of the book when all is solved and all is fine, they are joking around and Vere says: ”I can’t be replaced. I’m the only man in all the world who possesses the right combination of qualities for you. (…). You can turn your Ballister stare upon me all you like, but you can’t petrify me. You can knock me about to your heart’s content without worrying about doing any damage. You can perpetrate any sort of outrage your wicked mind conceives and be sure I’ll join in, with a will. You’re a troublemaker, Lydia. A Ballister devil. Nothing less than a Mallory hellion would ever suit you.” And this is a perfect example of what I call pure Lorettachaseness.
Additional thoughts: I went back to read Lord of Scoundrels again after I finished this book. Le sigh. I love Dain and Jessica

Verdict: A keeper. Recommended to any Loretta Chase fan.

Rating: 8, excellent!
Reading next: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer


  • ames
    February 4, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I love LoS too! Loretta has a way of writing great characters. Glad you liked this one. 😛 I haven’t read it yet, but it’s my massive tbr pile.

  • Kristie (J)
    February 4, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    While I really enjoyed this one – it isn’t quite the same caliber of LOS is it? Still – a mighty fine book.

  • kim
    February 4, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I loved this book! Susan is the best side-kick ever! I haven’t read LOS yet, I have been scouring the book stores for it and can’t find it anywhere. *sobs*

  • Jennie
    February 5, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I’m definitely reading this one soon. Lydia sounds like a great heroine.

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