Kisses Like a Devil was a difficult book to ever get into; in fact, I'm not sure that I
ever did. The setting, in 1900 in a small Germanic state called Eisengau, could have been interesting but sadly never feels entirely convincing, its inhabitants largely Germanic stereotypes. The plot involves stolen blueprints for a special new gun and various nations' machinations to buy the guns or, failing that, to come by the blueprints. Our heroine, Meredith Duncan, is the copyist who created the blueprints.
She has them in hiding, wanting to use them only to improve the lot of the workers at the foundry and their families. Unfortunately, there isn't really anyone she can trust, not even her mother and stepfather.
When Meredith meets the American who has come for talks about the gun, she finds him interesting, her idea of Americans having been shaped by some of the magazines she's read. Brian Donovon has a mission, to prevent the Russians from invading Alaska, and he knows the guns would help. Are his mission and Meredith's mutually incompatible?
A lot of unlikely events mar this story. I wasn't convinced by the relationships between Meredith and her parents or her friends, and other characters behave in rather strange and naïve ways. The whole events surrounding displaying the guns to bump up their price for sale reads unconvincingly. Finally, I found little interest in either Brian or Meredith, nor in Brian's over-perfect family. The romance side of this book
is fairly minimal, missing any true exploration of the feelings of the central characters. Overall, this
is a rather emotionless - and in places rather dull - book.