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Friday, March 16, 2012

Review -- She Tempts the Duke

She Tempts the Duke
Lost Lords of Pembrook--Book 1
By Lorraine Heath
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 31, 2012





At fourteen years old, losing your father is devastating enough, but Sebastian Easton, the new Duke of Keswick, is absolutely crushed when he finds out his uncle wants Sebastian and his two brothers, Tristan and Rafe, dead. Lord David locks his nephews in the tower of their beloved home, Pembrook. Sebastian knows their minutes are numbered and believes the time is near when he hears footsteps. Help comes in the form of their twelve year old friend, Mary, who lives on the neighboring estate. Mary helps them escape and Sebastian makes her a promise to meet years later and seals it with a kiss. The brothers separate to protect themselves and vow to return one day. Sebastian went abroad as a soldier, Tristan became a sailor and later a captain, while Rafe stayed in the seedy parts of London and now owns a den of vice.

Twelve years later, Sebastian and Tristan finally return to London and reunite with Rafe. They make their first appearance together in society at their uncle’s party where they cause quite a stir. Lord David is shocked and angry as he has been petitioning to obtain the dukedom for some time. Lady Mary is in attendance and is overjoyed that her childhood friends are back. She speaks up for the brothers, her dearest and oldest friends, when no one else will. Mary, herself, had only recently returned to society after being sent to a nunnery for her own protection after she confessed to her father of Lord David’s evil intentions towards Sebastian and his brothers all those years ago. Shortly after her homecoming, she was proposed to by Lord Fitzwilliam, a future marquess, and accepted. Now she is torn between her commitment to her fiancĂ© and her reemerging feelings towards her childhood friend and love.

She Tempts the Duke is a good read, though isn’t among my favorites by Lorraine Heath. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between Sebastian and his brothers and also between him and Mary. When Sebastian and Mary see each other after twelve years, the emotion and passion was strong and palpable, which is typical of a Heath book. I admired the way she bucked decorum and stood up for Sebastian in front of everyone.

He thought of the way she’d not hesitated to speak up for him. She had always championed him, and in equal measure, challenged him. She was the reason he had climbed to the top of an ancient oak tree, only to take a tumble and break his arm. She was the reason he had learned to scale the castle walls. She was the reason that he and his brothers were alive to gather here now.

Mary did so much for him and I totally felt Sebastian’s sentiment throughout the first two-thirds of the book. Their romance, subtle as it was, was progressing and moving along so well. She didn’t care that Sebastian was so badly scarred and wished that he could see himself the way she sees him. By the last third of the book, I didn’t feel it quite as much. I’m not sure if it was just me, but I wanted to yell at Sebastian a time or two. I understood his wanting revenge—after all, his uncle wanted him dead—but he couldn’t seem to budge an inch from the past and try move on. He was so wrapped up in vengeance and getting back his beloved Pembrook that he couldn’t see what was right in front of him—Mary and her shining love. Then, Mary did something so silly and clichĂ©d right at the end, I shook my head. These issues are the reason for 3.5 stars. That being said, this will certainly not keep me from picking up the next book by Heath. I have been a long-time fan of her work and many of her books are on my keeper shelves. I recommend this one, but with a caveat.

~Andrea

16 comments:

  1. I just finished a book where the hero was eat up with vengence and couldn't see what was right in front of him. It definitely makes you want to smack them around a bit.

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  2. It does, Dianna. I wanted a bit more...progression from him. He was hell-bent and then--boom. I hope the next book delivers.

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  3. Not my favorite LH book, but I did re-read it recently and found Sebastian's "come around" really sweet. Ms. Heath certainly pours on the steam :) Looking forward to the next 2 in the series.

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    1. I'm looking forward to them, too, Christy. I read the sneak peek from her newsletter and the next one sounds good!

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  4. Revenge seems to be a particularly popular theme recently. I think creating a credible transformation is a common problem with this theme. I thought the villain in STTD was pretty one-dimensional too. But, like you, Andrea, I'm a long-time Heath fan, and I find the series premise interesting enough to look forward to the next two books.

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    1. I totally agree with everything you said, Janga. Revenge is a popular theme lately, along with heroes living/working in the London underworld/gaming hells. It'll be interesting to see what Heath does with Rafe's book.

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  5. This sounds really good, love her books.

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  6. I purchased this, but haven't read it yet. My only Lorraine Heath book was last year's, Waking Up With the Duke. Since I enjoyed it, I thought I'd try this one.

    I see she has quite a backlist. Someone told me I have to read her Texas books someday.

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    1. Yes, she has a very big backlist, Kim. I have so many favorites including her Rogues in Texas and Daughters of Fortune. If I had to choose, I would say that my two favorites by her would be The Outlaw and the Lady and Promise Me Forever (from her Lost Lords series). Both are terrific. :)

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  7. Hi Andrea, Thanks for the review and your honesty about it. I also appreciate the other book recommendations.

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    1. Thanks, Flora. I did enjoy it....just not as much as I have many of her other books.

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  8. I sometimes wonder how a book can start so well and falter. I have also read some that weren't that good at the beginning, but pulled things together and were quite good by the end. Like all of us, writers have their bad days. Like you, I have read many good books by Lorraine Heath and wouldn't let on less than good one scare me off.

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    1. I agree, librarypat! And just because it's not my favorite doesn't mean it won't be someone else's favorite. :)

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