[ALERT: Spoilers in this post. You’ve been warned.]
Temptation & Twilight will be released by Harlequin on June 19, 2012. It is the third in Featherstone’s Brethren Guardian series.
For a more general post on Featherstone and her work: here.
The description of the book from Goodreads:
Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred – except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him except hatred.
All of society believes Elizabeth, blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor’s ancient diary – filled with exotic tales – she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly allows Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the “veiled lady,” to help her solve the mystery.
Eager to be Lizzy’s eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to forget his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger.
I was excited about this book because of what we were told about Elizabeth and Iain in the second book of the Brethren Guardian series, Pride & Passion. It’s not that T&T disappointed but that I felt as if the chemistry between the characters was more forced than I expected or wanted it to be.
I think the easiest way to handle this review is simply to break it down between what I liked and what I found to be less appealing about the book. Let’s start with the troubling and work towards the great.
1) Iain’s turnaround.
I think this was my biggest problem with the book because it was such an important plot point for the story. You HAVE to believe in this if you are going to buy: 1) that there is any reason to invest in and spend time caring about Iain and Lizzy’s relationship and 2) why Lizzy chooses to be with Iain in the end.
And it’s not that there isn’t good reason for Iain to suddenly want to give up his rake-ful ways. But Featherstone insists on reminding us why Iain has turned over a new leaf and why now, after many years, wants to settle down with Lizzy. It almost felt at points that she didn’t trust the reader to infer this. The broken tenet of storytelling: I wanted Featherstone to show me Iain’s transformation, present me with a story that showed why, not continually tell me.
2) Lizzy’s blindness.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this. I’ve decided to.
I was not always comfortable with how Featherstone addressed Lizzy’s condition. There were plenty of wonderful moments where Featherstone made it clear that Lizzy did not dwell on her blindness nor see it as a detriment. But then there were moments, especially towards the end, where Featherstone’s highlighting of Lizzy’s condition was ableist. In particular, there was a scene where Iain decided that he wanted to “learn” what being blind felt like by tying a cloth over his eyes while they made love, even though Lizzy told him was not necessary and didn’t seem to want him to do it. All of a sudden his senses are heightened and it felt…over done, to patronizing, too heavy-handed. I think it was supposed to endear me to Iain and instead made it seem like he wasn’t really listening to what Lizzy wanted or needed.
Additionally, I often felt like there were times where I wanted Featherstone to pay more attention to Lizzy’s blindness. I didn’t like her sorta of haphazard use of words like “see” or “sight” when talking about Lizzy or describing something from Lizzy’s perspective.
I will say, though, that I appreciated Featherstone tackling this perspective, giving us 19th-century England from the vantage point of a non-sighted person.
3) What Lizzy sees/feels in Iain
He’s not that likeable and he’s kind of a bully. He shows up in her room uninvited. He treats her rather poorly and then beats up the man trying to court her. In some scenes, she says no over and over again (“I am not at all interested in your kisses, my Lord”, “Now it is time to leave”) and yet, pages later they are having sex. There’s a build up there but it is problematic. And you feel terrible for Lizzy during the build up and after the sex. Perhaps that’s the point. If it is, I found it troubling.
Now for the good…
4) The sex.
I’ve written before about how great Featherstone’s sex scenes are. And she does not disappoint here:
“Climb onto me.”
She did, and his hands found her body, her curves. Her core was hot and wet against his belly. … But he could feel her. Beneath his hands, on his abdomen. He touched her, let his fingers slip between her slick folds, allowed his ring finger to trace the rim of her core. She felt like silk, and smelled so damn good.
5) The ending.
Despite what I said earlier (and you’ll have to just go with me on this), I liked the ending. I like them coming together. I like the sweetness in the sentiment and the flowery words they say to each other.
It is amazing how much a good ending can prop up a book that you slug through in other parts.
Like the other Brethren books, I felt like the actual Brethren plot hindered things rather than propelling the narrative forward. I found myself skimming some of those paragraphs, trying to simply get to the next major plot point. But for someone who enjoys the mythology and mystery surrounding the Templar Knights and such, that may not be the case.
I give Twilight & Temptation 3 out of 5 stars.
While this was not my favorite book, I do look forward to reading more of Featherstone’s work in the future.