Lord Tristan Easton has been known as Jack Crimson since the tender age of fourteen, when his uncle plotted his death and that of his two brothers and he was forced to flee home for years on end. Now accustomed to the sea, he can’t imagine settling anywhere or with anyone, until Lady Anne requests the private use of his ship to visit her fiance in the Crimea. Though he knows she’s taken, Tristan can’t resist Anne, and asks for just one kiss in payment for her passage, envisioning much more. But what he doesn’t know is that Anne’s fiance is dead and buried, and the lovely lady has been lost in mourning herself for two years.
I’ve never read a historical romance by Lorraine Heath before, but I’ve seen her books around and the synopsis of this one intrigued me. As usual, it’s not particularly appropriate for its time, and did suffer from a fairly typical romance novel flaw, but it was an absorbing, entertaining read nonetheless. It has elements that go along with a standard sea-faring dangerous captain story and other elements that fit more in a story that takes place entirely in society ballrooms, making for an intriguing mix and a book that kept me up late reading.
One thing that immediately caught my attention as I began reading was that Anne regretted not giving herself to Walter, her dead fiance, prior to his death. He asked, but being a proper lady, she refused until they were married. This regret, even though it would have ostracized her from society, is one of the drives that she has to say goodbye, and to avoid regretting anything that she does with Tristan as she discovers this new passion for him. She knew she loved Walter and how rare that was in contemporary society; she has no expectations of feeling quite that way again. So when she does discover a new passion, she embraces it with open arms.
Tristan, on the other hand, has obvious issues with loving anyone; having everyone he loved taken away from him at the tender age of fourteen, he hasn’t really recovered. His recovery is actually quite heart-warming to watch; even though this book does have its share of sex scenes, they’re also backed up by the couple’s discovery of one another and the reveal of their emotions for one another.
That brings me neatly to the stereotype the book falls into. It’s one of those where the hero / heroine don’t decide they love the other themselves. Instead, it’s up to someone else to tell them, only at which point do they realize it is actually true. This happens very frequently in this type of book and always kind of annoys me, I guess because it was obvious to me when I fell in love and certainly no one could have told me so. That aside, I can give these characters a bit of allowance because, actually, there is a reason for both of them not to want to admit that love to themselves. As a result, in this case I didn’t mind, except that it reminded me of all those times when I found it irritating.
There was another stereotype that the book just narrowly skirted, but which I was quite pleased about, so I have to give the author a lot of credit for neutralizing a potential issue and making a really great ending instead of an ending that caused me roll my eyes and disbelieve. I won’t say – because though we all know the couple gets together, part of the fun is how they make it there. But I was very pleased with this particular ending and I finished the book with a smile on my face.
Lord of Temptation certainly won’t be the last novel I read by Lorraine Heath – I just went and bought the first of this series, and I am most certainly looking forward to the third. Highly recommended for those who enjoy romance novels.
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