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Dangerous Joy by Jo Beverley Review

Title: Dangerous Joy

Author: Jo Beverley

First published November 1, 1995


ISBN: 9781614174875 (ISBN10: 1614174873)

Rating: 3.83


Lady Arabella Larke just wants to live quietly in the countryside, but instead, she finds herself caught up in a scandal that could ruin her reputation and destroy her family’s honor. Refusing to let her family suffer, Arabella agrees to a marriage of convenience with Miles Cavanagh, a notorious rake and scoundrel.

But Arabella’s determination is proving equal to his. As their wills clash and their passions ignite, Arabella faces a choice: pursue her own happiness or trust the man she’s come to love.

With danger lurking around every corner, Arabella and Miles must fight to protect their love and their future together. Reviews call it “a thrilling ride of passion and adventure” and “a must-read for fans of historical romance.”

About the Author

Mary Josephine Dunn, born on September 22, 1947 in Lancashire, England, attended an all-girls boarding school called Layton Hill Convent in Blackpool when she was eleven years old. At the age of sixteen, she wrote her first romance novel with a medieval setting, which she finished in installments in an exercise book.

Mary went on to obtain a degree in English history from Keele University in Staffordshire from 1966 to 1970, where she met her future husband, Ken Beverley. After completing her degree, they tied the knot on June 24, 1971.

Mary secured a job as a youth employment officer until 1976, where she worked in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, and then later in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.

In 1976, her husband was invited to do post-doctoral research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. However, Mary’s professional qualifications were not usable in the Canadian labor market, so she decided to raise their two sons and began writing her first romance novels.

Mary moved to Ottawa, where in 1985, she became a founding member of the Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association, which she considered her “nurturing community” for the next twelve years. In that same year, she completed a regency romance novel, which was rejected by several publishers.

This led her to focus more on learning the craft. Finally, in 1988, her novel was sold to Walker and published as “Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed”.

She consistently appeared on bestseller lists, including the USA Today overall bestseller list, the New York Times, and the Publishers Weekly list. Throughout her career, Mary received numerous awards, including the Golden Leaf, the Award of Excellence, the National Readers Choice, and two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times.

She also won the RITA award five times, which is the top award given by the Romance Writers Of America and was a member of their Hall of Fame and Honor Roll.

Sadly, Mary Josephine Dunn, also known as Jo Beverley, passed away on May 23, 2016 after bravely fighting cancer for an extended period of time.

Editoral Review

Dangerous Joy by Jo Beverley is a historical romance novel that was first published on November 1, 1995. Beverley was a prolific writer of historical romance who published more than 40 novels during her lifetime.

She was a five-time winner of the RITA award from the Romance Writers of America and was known for her strong female characters and deeply researched historical settings. Set in 1760s England, Dangerous Joy tells the story of Lucinda, Lady Denbigh, who is forced to flee her home after her husband dies and leaves her deeply in debt.

To make ends meet, she becomes a highwaywoman, robbing travelers on the road with her band of outlaws. When she encounters a young man named Sir William Chance, she is drawn to him despite his disapproval of her criminal ways.

As they navigate their feelings for each other, they also face external threats from those who seek to capture Lucinda and her followers. Beverley excels at portraying the Georgian era, with its elaborate social rules, political intrigues, and class divides.

She brings to life the world of highway robbers and the dangers they faced, from the everyday risks of banditry to the brutal punishments inflicted by the justice system. The romance between Lucinda and William is both passionate and fraught, as they grapple with their conflicting loyalties and desires.

One of the strengths of Dangerous Joy is Beverley’s ability to create complex and compelling characters. Lucinda is a remarkable heroine, fiercely independent and resourceful, yet vulnerable and haunted by her past.

William is a worthy match for her, with his own strengths and weaknesses, and a deep sense of honor. The secondary characters, including the members of Lucinda’s gang, are also well-drawn and memorable.

However, the plot of Dangerous Joy is somewhat uneven. While the novel is well-paced overall, there are moments when the action flags, particularly in the middle section.

Some readers may find the resolution of the main conflict to be too pat, with a convenient solution that stretches credibility. Additionally, the depiction of some characters veers into stereotypes, particularly the villains who seem almost cartoonish in their wickedness.

Despite these flaws, Dangerous Joy is a satisfying and engaging read. Fans of historical romance will find much to enjoy here, from the richly detailed setting to the steamy romance between the main characters.

The novel also touches on themes that are still relevant today, such as the struggle for women’s autonomy and the tension between society’s expectations and individual desires. In conclusion, Dangerous Joy by Jo Beverley is a well-crafted historical romance novel that transports readers to the world of Georgian England.

While not without its flaws, the novel is a testament to Beverley’s skill as a writer and her dedication to creating compelling characters and settings. I would recommend this book to fans of the genre who are looking for a satisfying read that will transport them to another time and place.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I would give Dangerous Joy a rating of 4 stars, based on its strong characters, evocative setting, and compelling themes.