(Lost Lords of Pembrook #1)
Genre: Historical Romance
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.
She Tempts the Duke is the first book in Lorraine Heath’s new Lost Lords of Pembrook series. An intriguing storyline, a scarred, tormented hero and a spirited heroine – this book had all the elements for being another winner from one of my favourite authors but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
“Comparisons are odious” I know, but I couldn’t help comparing Sebastian with Houston, the hero from another of Ms Heath’s books, Texas Destiny . Both are scarred from their wartime experiences and share feelings of guilt, although for very different reasons, but I never felt drawn to Sebastian with the same emotional intensity as I did to Houston. Perhaps it was the way Sebastian’s character developed. I just wanted to shake him until his teeth rattled for his obsession with Pembrook and his desire for revenge which totally blinds him to everything else including Mary. It takes a somewhat predictable life-threatening situation to finally bring him to his senses and make him realise what is truly important to him.
I like Mary. She is loyal, brave, kind and determined; everything a true heroine should be. She never pities Sebastian and, whilst he tries to hide his scars away in the shadows, Mary is never repulsed by them and sees them as a mark of his courage. I love the way she looks beyond his outward appearance to see the man he can be. She does have one TSTL moment towards the end of the book but I was willing to forgive that because of how fearlessly she helped the brothers escape and her continued championship of them throughout the story.
I like the interesting relationship between the three brothers who all carry their own scars both visible and invisible. Sebastian is tormented by terrible feelings of guilt for having abandoned Tristan and Rafe. When they all meet again, it’s very much as strangers; strangers who have suffered greatly but refuse to confide in each other. I look forward to seeing how their relationship evolves during the course of next two books and I admit to being really intrigued by the enigmatic Rafe.
The villainous Uncle David seems rather a shadowy background figure who doesn’t feature prominently until the dramatic climax. For me he lacked any real substance and I never felt that a very clear picture of him emerged.
Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy this book but just not as much as some of her earlier ones. Overall, it is a good, solid 4 star read.
VERDICT: A VERY GOOD READ
RATING: 4/5 Stars
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read May 2013
The Lost Lords of Pembroke Series (Click on the cover for details):