Tuesday, March 25, 2014

She Tempts the Duke, by Lorraine Heath

Rating: 3/5
384 pages
Publisher: Avon
Source: Library book

Description: Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Sebastian Easton always vowed he would avenge his stolen youth and title. Now back in London, the rightful Duke of Keswick—returning from battle a wounded, hardened, changed man—cannot forget the brave girl who once rescued him and his brothers from certain death.

Lady Mary Wynne-Jones paid dearly for helping the imprisoned young Lords of Pembrook, and she remembers well the promise she made to Sebastian all those years ago: to meet him once more in the abbey ruins where they shared a bold, forbidden kiss. While Mary is now betrothed to another, a friendship forged with dark secrets cannot be ignored. Unexpected passion soon burns dangerously between them, tempting Sebastian to abandon his quest for retribution and fight for a love that could once again set him free. (from Goodreads)

Review: Since I read books two and three in this series, I figured it was about time I read book one and see how the brothers took care of their murderous uncle.

To say the evil uncle plot of this book was a let down would be a vast understatement. What should be an interesting plot is basically a handful of forgettable instances. He is essentially filler after the first couple of chapters, which makes the big climatic scene at the end kind of fizzle. When the bad guy hasn't really come across as anything other than pathetic for 250-300 pages, its hard for me to view them as a credible threat, even when they're actively threatening to kill someone.

I also felt let down by the other plot of the book, which involves Mary being engaged to another man, yet finding herself drawn to her old childhood friend Sebastian. This could have been a love triangle, but instead we got her struggle to choose between the man she loved and the man who was just kind of there. Other than the potential scandal, her fiancée seemed very disinterested in the whole thing. Granted, most marriages between nobility wouldn't be love matches in this time period, but since this is a romance novel I'd expect him to care a little bit more.

What does save this book is watching Sebastian struggle with the fact that just because he's received horrific injuries which left him badly scarred (unfortunately for the cover artist, on the left side of his face) and that the woman he loves isn't repelled by him. He's deserving of love and she's not going to let a little thing like physical appearance put her off. They're nice people who deserve a happily ever after, I just wish they'd been in a more interesting book.

By far, the weakest of the Lost Lords of Pembrook series.

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