by Elizabeth Hoyt
Review by Kwana Jackson
Haters beware. I adore romance. I read it, I watch it at the movies and I even attempt to write it. So have you read any romance? How about historical romance? Okay, if you’re a friend of mine or coming over from my blog maybe you have. But we here at Booksquawk review all different genres and that is what makes us so exciting. So if you’re, say, a thriller lover, this type of review may be new to you. Hang in there, you’ll make it through and hopefully pick up a great new read.
I’ve long been a ridonkulous Elizabeth Hoyt fan, since a friend handed me her well-read copy of THE LEOPARD PRINCE from her Princess Trilogy back in 2007. The love story between Georgiana and Harry touched me like no other that year and it was a hella sexy book. But more than anything it was the smooth, lyrical and slightly spell-weaving style to Ms. Hoyt’s writing that really pulled me in. Though it was the second book in the series, I had to quickly grab book 1. After that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book 3. Ms. Hoyt did not disappoint.
So I was thrilled when her Legend of the Four Soldiers Series started with TO TASTE TEMPTATION in May of 2008. This historical romance series follows soldiers as they return to England from a war in the colonies after facing a horrific betrayal by what they think is one of their own and many in their company are massacred.
Now finally book 4, the final one in the series, has come out and fans are either rejoicing or terribly sad the world over. Me, I’m quite happy because: 1. I was surprised to get an advance copy in the mail so yay to that and 2. I love a happy ending and can’t wait to see what Ms. Hoyt comes up with for her next idea.
TO DESIRE A DEVIL (Don’t you love that title? Don’t you wish you thought of it?) Book 4 is the story of the long-thought-dead Reynaud St. Aubyn “Viscount Hope” and Beatrice Corning, a relation distant enough that it’s of no consequence to their intense attraction. Either way, it’s 1765 and she’s not a blood relative, so no matter. But really, she’s the niece of the present earl that living in his house and holding what he considers his stolen title.
Poor Beatrice’s life is ever so dull, political teas by day, and nights spent wandering the halls of her great house mooning over a dead relative’s handsome portraits, but when the supposedly dead Reynaud charges into the latest tea looking very much like a wild savage with a dangling earring, spouting in French and then he literally collapses at her feet, life takes an interesting turn.
Turns out it’s no simple, “yay the Viscount is home, long live the Viscount!” type of thing. The problem is he looks very different from the young man that went off to war and the only person who recognizes or wants to recognize the man beneath the hair and (gasp) face tattoos is Beatrice. How could she not recognize those dark eyes that she stared at for so long from the portrait?
But then there’s the question of Reynaud’s sanity, which is sketchy at best. He’s a man who’s been traumatized. Held captive by Indians all these years, he’s had to fight for survival and he’s brought that survival instinct back home with him to England in the form of poorly-timed flashbacks. But it’s a good thing he’s ready to fight, since his arrival home draws out the traitor, and now Reynaud finds his life, as well as Beatrice’s, is in danger. He’s back under attack.
I enjoyed the chemistry between Beatrice and Jeremy. There was a nice reverse Taming of the Shrew/Beauty and the Beast thing going on here. Beatrice, an unmarried woman of four and twenty, had to show her metal plenty of times as she tangled with Reynaud and he snarled and was generally intimidating, keeping a knife by his side at all times. Luckily, he’s darned sexy, otherwise why stay around and put up with all that crap? Oh yeah, she and her uncle need a home and he’s so tormented. So she hangs in there to see if she can get to the heart of the man inside.
Reynaud’s captivity and torment make this book and hero different. He’s really seen some things and been through a lot. Torture, forced slavery—all not easy stuff to get over—so you can forgive him his erratic outbursts and subsequent tight hold on his emotions. I could have even seen a bit more of this.
The love scenes are lovely indeed and quite sexy. They also help to bring the growing romance forward as Beatrice convinces Reynaud to trust her with his emotions and with sharing his past.
Ms. Hoyt brings back the old favorites in this book, as the chase is on to finally bring the traitor down. All in all, TO DESIRE A DEVIL was a satisfying ending to a lovely series and I’m looking forward to what’s next from Ms. Hoyt.