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Tempt Me Not Paperback – 1 Jun 1995
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Damien and Max are both sons of Dukes and best friends. The Duke of Basset and the Duke of Westbury have always watched each other's backs through out history. Jillian is Damien's sister. All through her life she has considered Max to be part of her family but when she gets older she discovers that she also has come to love him as a woman. Max has watched Jillian grow up from a child and now he has noticed her as a woman. Circumstances find Max and Jillian in a passionate embrace by Damien who demands that Max never come to their home again. Jillian sees her family being torn apart and takes drastic measures to keep it intact. She allows her encounter with Max to become public knowledge so that Max will be forced to marry her. She knows he loves her but now she's just got to get him to admit to it. Plus she has to get Damien and Max to be family again. I could not put this book down! I read it in one afternoon it was so good! The characters are richly drawn and you get involved with them very quickly! This one's a keeper for sure!!
Max the Duke of Basset has always been Jillian’s friend. He is her brother’s best friend and as long as Jillian can remember Max has been there, teasing her and protecting her and being brotherly. Jillian has seen how Max has become emotionally reserved because of his strained relationship with his father but Jillian has always understood where the source of his hurt originated and she has never stopped being his constant friend. As Jillian grew up, her feeling toward Max changed and she now sees a man who is becoming cold and disbelieving that love can exist in a marriage of peers. She falls deeply in love with him because of their shared past and she sees the goodness in him too.
Max has always had a soft spot for Jillian and when he sees her in a new light, it jars him. Jillian is a young woman not a girl and his feelings at times almost feel overwhelming. He wants the best for Jillian, someone who will love her and that is not him. He wants the non-emotional marriage of the ton.
Jillian and Max sail through some stormy waters in their journey to a happily ever after. Jillian is ever the optimist believing that Max is capable of so much more than he realizes. She knows he could be a good husband for her because she knows he truly loves her, he just is not aware of his feelings. Jillian is unstoppable in her faith in Max.
For his part, Max wonders how Jillian could ever imagine that they could be a happy couple. He just does not know what to believe. It is nearly impossible to stay angry at Jillian too long, she is just too sunny and he truly likes her and does not want to change her nature.
There are some lovely scenes where the leads just discover each other in simple ways and the reader can see how comfortable Max is with Jillian and how much he cannot help but fall in love with her. Yes, there is some angst in their relationship but there’s also joy and sweetness too.
Firstly, unlike the average historical romance which focuses only on the present predicament, this book spans over a longer period of time. It tells the story from Jillian's birth; it details Max and Jillian's interaction over the growing years and the circumstances which builds up to their marriage. Eve Byron has taken her time to build the foundations at the beginning which enables her reader to understand the characters' actions when they found themselves in their current situation. I certainly wouldn't have sympathised with Max's cruel behaviour towards Jillian had I not been exposed to his childhood experiences. I could have easily hated Max's indifference and squirmed at Jillian's lack of pride in her pursuit of his love. Instead my heart went out to Max - the lonely, loveless boy hidden behind the handsome haughty mask of the Duke of Basset and I could not help but admire Jillian's courage. It was very refreshing to read about a heroine who has her priorities in order - love first before pride. Most headstrong heroine I've read, go through unreasonable lengths to defy the hero because of pride. This character however has the honesty, vibrancy and unrelenting hope - exactly what the hero needed.
Secondly, the secondary characters in this book are not just there to populate and enliven the story. These characters are not after-thoughts but are crucial parts which make the story whole. Even though Damian and Bruce each have their own stories and this book hints at what might transpire, they are not sub-plots which detracts from the romance between Max and Jillian. The intricate thread which weaves the lives of these secondary characters to the main characters doesn't just add to the story but actually completes it.
I read Byron's second book first - "Tempt me not" which is Damian's story. I enjoyed it so much that I searched around to see if it's part of a series. Whilst I love Damian's story as much as Max's, I however did not see the brilliance of this series until I've read this book. The time period in the second book doesn't just follow on from the first one as in most romance series. Some periods actually overlap and events which happened in the first book are retold in the second book but from a different character's point of view. It was brilliantly done such that while one book can be read on its own without any loss to the story, reading the second doesn't just provide the same information but adds another dimension to the same event. The second book gives insight to what the other characters (which were secondary in the first book) are thinking and feeling at that exact time and the circumstances which led them to that precise moment. So to those who read this book, I highly recommend reading the rest of the trilogy. I haven't read Bruce's story yet and I'm dying to read it now that I've had a taste of the first two instalments.
Just a note though, some readers may find the first half of the book a bit slow having used to reading books which goes straight to the crisis at hand after only a few pages of introduction. However I advise that you persevere and savour the slow build up leading to the climatic events as this will only deepen your appreciation of the outcome.