Queue My Review

April 13, 2008

Review: To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Filed under: Review — jjmachshev @ 5:56 pm
To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

I think we all enjoy reminiscing on fairy tales from our youth. The downtrodden heroine saved by what turns out to be a handsome prince. At least, those are the fairy tales of my youth before the era of political correctness. I even remember when either Cinderella or Snow White was re-released by Disney in the 80’s and women’s groups were encouraging mothers with daughters to boycott the film because it taught girls to “wait for a man to rescue them”. Uh… hello? IT’S A FAIRY TALE! Anyway, that’s part of what was enjoyable about Elizabeth Hoyt’s books is her inclusion of a fairy tale within the story and somewhat mirroring plot lines. She continues this tradition with her new series, The Legend of the Four Soldiers and this first novel, “To Taste Temptation.”

Our first fairy tale soldier is Iron Heart, mirrored by our book hero Samuel Hartley. He’s a wealthy, successful, rakish, and “uncivilized” businessman from the Colonies who isn’t ashamed of his humble beginnings. His backwoods background enabled him to act as a scout for the British in the French and Indian War, and it was there he served with our heroine’s brother. He’s come to England ostensibly on business, but in reality to identify the villain who betrayed their Regiment which resulted in a massacre that very few survived.

Samuel finagles an introduction to our heroine, Lady Emeline Gordon, whose brother was one of the officers killed in the massacre. She also serves as a chaperone for young ladies navigating the ton. Samuel has brought his sister, Rebecca with him and soon maneuvers Emeline into acting as her chaperone. He’s also soon maneuvering Emeline into a shockingly passionate affaire.

Emeline is the picture of titled British sophistication. She’s also been deeply affected by the death of her much-loved husband, brother, and father in short succession. This has left her with an ageing Aunt, a young son, and all the cares and burdens associated with acting as head of the family. She’s lost the ability to trust, is frightened to love, and is perfectly willing to settle for a secure marriage without passion…until Samuel. He’s wrong for her in every way, and she’s everything he is not. So why, oh why, is he the only one who sees her as she truly is? Who understands her? Who can pull these confusing, exasperating, exciting emotions from her so easily? Is she willing to give up her life in the ton?

Each chapter of the book begins with a snippet from the story of Iron Heart and the progress of the mystery and the relationship between our lead characters seems to in some way echo our fairy tale. It’s a story within a story within a story. There’s a truly American budding romance between two secondary characters and I think I caught a glimpse of one, if not two, of our future soldiers. I’ll be waiting for their stories too.

Reviewed by Julie

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