- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Pocket Books (Dec 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671020722
- ISBN-13: 978-0671020729
- Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.6 x 2.2 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,897,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Relatively new author Victoria Malvey's third book is a December release from Sonnet books. I will first admit that, although I have met Vicky several times, I had not yet read any of her books before Temptress. Now that I have, however, I will definitely be gloaming her backlist and anxiously awaiting her upcoming releases. She is an author to watch - a very talented storyteller with a gift for words.
Temptress is a story of how a person's perceived past indiscretions can form not only society's opinion but also your own opinion of the person. In this case, both the hero and heroine were wrongly judged by the actions of their parents. Rosaleen Fleming's mother was her father's mistress before they were married which, of course, makes them and Rosaleen the objects of scorn by the Ton. Although their family life is happy and filled with love, Rosaleen has trouble controlling her temper when the grand dames of the Ton mock or belittle her family.
Lucien St. Cyr comes from the most distinguished of families, or so he thinks. However, the shock he suffers when he finds out his family bloodlines are not exactly as he had been raised to believe they were is more than he can handle. His own perception of the changes this news make on him and his life are what drive him down into the dregs of acceptable society.
When Rosaleen and Luc get together, their chemistry is exciting, their wit and conversation is entertaining, and the rightness of their love is visible to the reader immediately. However, the obstacles thrown into their path of love, including a mysterious trail of murders to be solved, keep them from believing that they can be happy together. Vicky does a great job of making each of them perfect for the other, but not in any way boring. I can believe that Rosaleen and Luc will have a happily ever after not only because the heat between them is so real, but the intelligent conversation, respect, and friendship between them is binding.
Regency-era historicals are very popular these days and you can find lots of books in this genre to satisfy your yen. As a long-time lover of these stories, however, I have to admit that some of the recent books are not what they should be. However, Victoria Malvey's Temptress is definitely a Regency-era historical in the best of traditions. Like an early Amanda Quick or Mary Jo Putney, I can see that this book will have staying power and be popular for many, many years. Great job, Vicky! I can't wait for the next one.
To complicate matters further Rosaleen has her own troubles. Raised by kind an loving parents she must suffer the slings and arrows of society because circumstances had made her mother her father's mistress before his wife.
Lucien had been the only one who had been kind to Rosa and she had fallen for him almost at once, but he had fled unable to deal with his true heritage and Rose's parents had sent her on a grand tour of Europe hoping that she would find a husband who would not hold the circumstances of her birth against her.
Both have now returned to England and courtesan's are being murdered, a note decrying each as temptresses of the flesh is left beside each brutal slain body. A warning note is sent to her mother and then when Rose is seen in an embrace with Luc on a public street early one morning she receives one as well. He vows to protect her and also to marry her but when his birth father is implicated he removes himself fearing his own bad blood. Rose attempts to end the betrothal fearing Luc's withdrawal each time he doubts himself. This she can not bear. But the plot takes a dramatic twist and Luc learns that he can be whatever he choses to make of himself and that whatever his faults he can not live without Rosaleen.
Ms. Malvey's ablitity to weave her romances through various subplots is a gift that will hold her in good stead for the future. After all the true test of love is the ability to survive life's trials together.
I find the story entertaining, and the murder case is quite original. But, the book will not be one of my favourites due to the characters. They continue to be strangers throughout the book, and some of their actions don't seem to correspond with the characters they are supposed to be. All in all, an easy read that is soon forgotten.
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