Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: Temptation & Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Twelve years ago, Elizabeth York fell in love with Iain Sinclair -- and she surrendered her heart and body to the Scottish rake. One moment they were declaring their love for each other and the next, Iain spurns her love and betroths himself to another, leaving Elizabeth with more than a broken heart.

I liked Elizabeth's character from the first two books -- she lost her eyesight at 18 to a hereditary genetic disease, which her mother also suffered from -- but she didn't seem incapable or handicapped by it -- but came across as very strong and very confident. In the previous books, her relationship with Iain was already hinted about and Elizabeth showed a very strong dislike and wariness to the mad Marquis. But, in her own story, she didn't seem so strong and capable -- instead, she was prey to Iain throughout the story.

I didn't like her so much in this story.

Which brings me to what I think about the hero -- I didn't like him either. There have been stories with heroes that are a bit rough and ungentlemanly but Iain's pursuit of Elizabeth didn't feel like it was borne of love but of pure selfishness. I don't understand his motivations for pursuing Elizabeth again after abandoning her twelve years ago.

Why now?

If we follow the story, it seems the impending duel (and maybe fear of death) is the impetus for the change but it's not the first duel he's fought in twelve years. And, he's going to see Elizabeth to apologize right after leaving his lover's bed. (See Chapter 1)

~sigh~ I really don't see the remorse.

Add to that the odd idiosyncrasy that Iain possesses -- whenever he is angry (or feeling very Alpha), he loses his refined language and reverts to his brogue. It struck me as a bit Jeckyl and Hyde.

"If you doona want him torn tae pieces, leave him be."

... "You are nothing but an animal," she snapped, careful to make certain no one but Alynwick could hear her outburst. "Unhand me this instant." But the brute wouldn't listen, and instead pressed closer to her, his big palm cupping her elbow in a fierce grip.

When he next spoke, he seemed to have put some measure of control on his anger, for his brogue had all but disappeared, leaving behind a silky English accent that worked its way along her body.
- p. 31

As part of the trilogy, this story is problematic -- it basically retells a portion of the second story but, this time, from Elizabeth and Iain's -- I understand why this has to be -- because of Elizabeth's blindness, she always accompanies her brother so his story and hers are intrinsically and unavoidably tied together. And the high point of this story is (once again) Elizabeth's kidnapping by Orpheus, the mysterious adversary of the Brethren Guardians.

I find it strange that, considering the build up of the mystery of Orpheus, it is only hastily resolved in the last three chapters of the book. The mystery and threat of Orpheus also takes a backseat to a new mystery -- that of The Veiled Lady, a mysterious woman written about in Sinjin York's diary. Sinjin is one of the three Templars and an original Brethren. I wondered why Featherstone introduced this new mystery in this story -- is it to show a parallelism between Elizabeth and Iain's stormy relationship with that of Elizabeth's ancestor?

The one redeeming factor in this book is Julian, the Earl of Sheldon, a new character and Iain's rival for Elizabeth's hand. He grew up abroad and has only recently returned to London -- and he has a very deep interest in Templar lore. I thought he had the best dialogue and scenes. He's a clever one and I hope he gets a novella or his own story.

This is the third book in Charlotte Featherstone's Brethren Guardian series. To find out more about the author and her work, visit her website.

To read my review of the first two books, see below:
Review: Seduction & Surrender
Review: Pride & Passion

Final note: This trilogy (?) made me think about how authors plan out books in a series. One particular series that I really enjoyed was Sabrina Jeffries's Hellions of Halstead Hall, which was a 5-book endeavor. I thought that one kept the momentum going from story to story.

Some current ongoing favorites are:
- Sherry Thomas's Fitzhugh Family series
- Loretta Chase's Dressmakers
- Julie Anne Long's amazing Pennyroyal Green series (6 books out, 7th book soon to be released)
- Victoria Vane's The Devil DeVere series of e-novellas
- Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series

What makes a great series?

This question made me remember what John Cusack's character says in High Fidelity on how to make a mix tape:

The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.
- High Fidelity


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