on 3 February 2009
This book was much, much better than the description on the back suggested to me. Yes, it's a story about a courtesan and a rake and a wager between them, but it's much more than that. What was noticeable about this story was the incredible concentration on the two main characters. They were the focus of every scene, there were just a handful of episodes that involved people other than Olivia Raines or Julian Southwood, the Earl of Erith. This led to the book having quite a claustrophobic feel as we were admitted into the thoughts and feelings of these two people in great depth.
In terms of actual plot there wasn't a great deal but it didn't seem to matter as so much focus was given to the characters of both Olivia and Julian. Both have parts of their lives that they don't like to bring to the light, both like to feel in control and to exert their influence on others, both have found themselves in behaviours that are different from their natural natures. There was a great deal of emotion in this story as Julian learns about Olivia's past, what led her to being a courtesan, and she begins to understand the source of his rakish and emotionless behaviour. Both characters were appealing although Olivia at times felt a little too distant and I had a tiny suspicion at the end that Julian had been slightly emasculated by Olivia's requirements and because of his deep love. But overall this was a very enjoyable story and I'll be looking out for more books by this author in the future.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2009
on 17 April 2009
After having read Anna Campbell before I had no hesitation in buying this book & I was not dissapointed. What makes AC exceptional is her ability to explore the characters in depth which creates an exceptional read in a story that has very little plot, few characters & fewer place settings. Its the talent of the author therefore that still manages to grip the reader throughout. As the relationship develops & you discover that Olivia was sold at a very young age to pay her brother's debt & hence the reason she becomes what she is & for that reason meets Julian, you become embroiled in the complexity of the emotions that begin to develop between them. Olivia made the no kissing rule but it was so "finely" handled & you begin to love both of these characters immensely & feel sad when the story ends.
Each episode is reaped with emotion rendered through Julian's determination to "cure" Olivia & accept herself. This task almost destroys their relationship but Julian has this dogged aim to prove Olivia worthy.True exploration of feeling & the reader witnesses the build of true love between these two central characters. What makes the story a sincere joy is that there are no distractions, no inane silly secondary characters & plot but just the ability for the reader to get to know & enjoy & then to miss these two at the end!!!Surely this is true grit & power of AC's pen. Very few authors have the ability to just focus a novel on the meeting of 2 people over a short term & succeed in captivating the reader & to keep her completely enthralled.
For anyone that loves well written characters & loves the build of romance & love please go read this as you will love it & keep it to read again in future.You will love the conversations & the expressions that Julian uses - which I beleive is always the true sign of an exceptional writer!!
Cannot stop enthusing over this book- GREAT JUST FANTASTIC!!!
on 17 January 2009
With the openings scene of Tempt The Devil, where the Earl of Erith, Julian Southwood meets the reigning courtesan of de demimonde, Olivia Raines, the sparks start to sizzle from the pages. Sometimes when two people meet an electrical current awakens that inexplicable draws them together. No force will stop them though the two people in question might not even realize for what it is. The introduction of the Earl of Erith to Olivia Raines holds the beginning of a non-stop emotional ride fueled with dominance and surrender but most of all, it contains a seduction in its purest form.
I was pulled into a liaison that from its inception was an entanglement of wills, temper and pride with secrets to uncover from both sides. I often speak about the courtship of trust between the leading couple in my reviews but I must say that in Tempt The Devil this excelled. The story of Erith and Olivia lured me into the intimacy of the bedroom which became a platform where they told their striking stories. Don't think for one second that these were bedtime stories. The physical was often functional as to bare the steep emotional scars or to emphasize when trust was gained. The innate characters of Olivia and Erith provided for a continuous verbal clash that was invigorating to read.
I totally fell for the charisma of Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith. He exuded an arrogance that matched his confidence, virility and strength. With these traits he appealed to my femininity but it was with his determinate way of wooing Olivia that appealed to my romantic beating heart. Olivia is as mysterious as she is strong-willed and bend on doing things her own way. I quickly figured out what the foundation of Olivia's secrets was and instead of wanting to find out the details from those secrets I was spellbound by the journey of her as a woman. While they are both flawed in their own way, together they achieve a fragile bond that becomes stronger with every step forward. As a challenge presents itself they will not back away from it and with that, they changed the rules of the game.
The plot speaks of life's journey, the choices made, the consequences, perhaps the regret and what was lost on the way. They are such identifiable theme's that it didn't miss its effect on the reading experience as a whole. Tempt The Devil is almost exclusively about Olivia and Erith. There is Perry, Leo and the daughter of Erith, Roma as additional characters whom all reflected something from the personal lives of the primary couple. The story didn't need much more, I was solely focused on the building relationship between a courtesan and a rake. Tempt The Devil takes the essentials from a romance, like physical attraction, courting one another, working out issues, falling in love, insecurity, verbal sparring etc and magnifies this by 10 on the intensity scale.
So it is safe to say I was mesmerized by Erith, his deep founding need for Olivia and her response to that need. There is a delicate balance between all the struggles, the zealous interaction and the progress of love. Never once did I feel I wanted to skip a page, never did I get bored with what the characters were going through, not once did I feel it was over the top or unbelievable. I felt the joy when Olivia wrapped herself around Julian in a protective gesture of comfort...or when Julian understood there was more to Olivia then he first thought. Again I completely yielded to a story of two star-crossed lovers that found ultimate bliss when they least expected it.
Anna Campbell knows how to write historical romance and every time she delivers one that packs a raw and passionate-laden punch. She makes me feel in tune with the characters, the personal growth, their fierce sensuality but most of all the moments where Olivia and Erith bare their past towards each other are moments that became an ultimate celebration of love. I can't help but be swept away into this emotional maelstrom each time I read a Campbell novel. This tale is not so much about the splendor from the regency era as it is about the intricate characters living in the regency era whom capture the attention.
Claiming The Courtesan will always be my favorite but I feel you can't go wrong with a historical novel from this author, it will simply be a matter of how much the story or characters appeal to the personal tastes of the reader. Tempt The Devil is a more than a worthy addition and one for the keeper shelf!
PS: Upon reading the final page I screamed for an epilogue, another page that would tell more, but instead Anna Campbell invites you to let your imagination soar. And so I did...
Reviewed by Leontine
Courtesy of Realms On Our Bookshelves