Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review: Twice the Temptation by Beverley Kendall


Click here to buy the book on Amazon

Catherine Rutherford thought she shared a special connection with Lucas Beaumont and had some expectations about their relationship. Imagine her disappointment and confusion when Lucas suddenly decides to return to America, leaving their blossoming relationship in limbo. Catherine is not alone in wondering about love and relationships and, while she cannot do anything about her own situation, she and her friends, Meghan and Olivia decide to "help out" other ladies by targeting their gentlemen suitors and putting their devotion and sincerity to the test. Their project has enjoyed some measure of success and they've saved many ladies from disastrous marriages. But, in so doing, Catherine has further deepened the doubts she has long harboured: love is elusive and she may never get a chance at making a happy marriage.

...The reality of the failures did not amuse her.

Her whole chest heaved with the next sigh. "But for the last four to fail?" She searched her friends' faces for traces of the same hopeless despair that now consumed her. When she found none, she wondered if it was peevish of her to be a little resentful of the fact.

"I've given up on every marrying, but you both shall marry one day. Does it not concern you that, on the most part, men cannot be trusted? This experience has led me to believe a faithful husband is a grand illusion. A dream."
- loc 375

Beverley Kendall's Twice the Temptation tries to address the age-old question: Is it true love? It's an impossible question to answer and a difficult project to write about -- but Kendall's attempt does hit a few targets (but misses others):

1. The Temptresses -- the idea of deception never sits well with me but I also have to admire the cleverness and simplicity of Meghan, Olivia and Catherine's project. They subtly present gentlemen with an opportunity and it is the gentleman's decision to take it or walk away. Does it prove true love? I don't think so, but I think it showed the ladies which gentlemen were sincere in their courtship and it helped young, innocent debutantes and ladies choose wisely from their suitors.

I did worry, though, for the reputation and safety of the three ladies. As evidenced by Lord Landry in the latter part of this book (from loc 4492), it doesn't take a keen eye to observe that there is a pattern to their modus operandi -- and he was able to take advantage of it.

2. The problem of being identical twins -- the reason for Catherine's doubts is that Lucas met Charlotte first and proposed to Charlotte first. Despite the insistence of both parties that their relationship is platonic (add to that: Charlotte being happily married), Catherine cannot help but think that she is merely a replacement for Charlotte in Lucas's eyes. I would have thought that Alex and Charlotte's love story has proven that one is not a substitute for the other -- but Catherine insists on physical proof.

"He must care for you very much." And that was the rub. Not that he cared for Charlotte but the extent of how much.

"Yes, the same way I care for him. He wants me to be happy. He wanted to give my marriage a chance to work. That is the only reason he left you. And he's back because he realised how very much you do mean to him. Enough to return whether I approved of it or not."
- (conversation between Catherine and Charlotte) loc 3124

~Sigh~

I have to say I did not enjoy Catherine's many insecurities, but I understand where she is coming from. Catherine believes herself to be unlovable, having been born a bastard (and of mixed blood). Then there is her guilt about her role in ruining Charlotte and Alex's relationship. She's never really had a chance to forgive herself for that, despite being assured by both Alex and Charlotte that all has been forgiven. Now comes Lucas, who claims to love her, but she worries about what would happen if he knew all of her faults and secrets.

The sad thing is, instead of going directly to the heart of the problem, Catherine leads Lucas on a merry chase: testing him at every turn. This would be fine, but I hated that she also teased and succumbed to her attraction to him so easily. I really wished she had made up her mind and been more firm in her resolve -- instead, her own waffling/flip-flopping confused Lucas (and annoyed me).

3. The "true love" test -- would I wish such a thing to exist? Yes and no.

What I love about reading romances is how heroes and heroines overcome internal and external obstacles in order to be with the one they loved. I think it shows a strength of character and resolve to say, "This is it and I will make this work." Catherine hadn't even gotten to forming a relationship because she never gave herself the chance to see and work things out for herself while in the relationship -- she's always on the outside looking in, only planning to join when she knows everything is safe. She wanted to be certain and I saw this as a bit futile since nothing in life is ever immutable -- and I wish she had just seen that all the signs of Lucas's devotion were there. Instead, she gave herself and Lucas a difficult time and chose a really rough (and repetitious) road to true love.

I have to admire Lucas for his patience and devotion. I honestly would have given up about halfway through because Catherine was really so, so stubborn.

4. Relationships -- I thought this was the strongest point in Beverley Kendall's novel. She was able to highlight different kinds of relationships throughout the story: Alex and Charlotte have been married for more than a year now and Alex, especially, still shows some signs of doubt when it comes to Lucas -- having shared Charlotte and Nicholas's life in America. I did like seeing Alex and Charlotte argue/discuss the Catherine/Lucas issue and was a nice glimpse of what happens after the "happily-ever-after" -- they're a couple who are working on their relationship on a daily basis and have learned to compromise with one another.

There's also mention of James and Missy (and the reference to their childhood affection) and then there is Lucas's mother, who has had three husbands and has tried to get married to "the one" several more times. Lucas describes his mother as the epitome of selfish insecurity and how she drove her husbands to the brink with her constant demands. She was an unhappy woman who made everyone around her unhappy as well.

Finally, you have Catherine and Lucas -- ironically, they are the luckiest (and ought to be happiest) of the three: from the first moment they met, there was instant chemistry, and they didn't have to suffer what Alex and Charlotte went through and they don't have the same emotional dependency that Lucas's mother has.

The point is that no two relationships are the same and each one takes a different path to love and we all have to make a decision on how we will travel there.

I consider Twice the Temptation as a "bridge" novel: it "ends" Kendall's The Elusive Lords series and begins her The Temptresses series. I had a different expectation about Catherine and Lucas's story when I read about them in An Heir of Deception and had looked forward to the same emotional focus and gut/heart-wrenching scenes that I loved in the previous instalment. This novel does succeed in introducing us to a very interesting group of women: Catherine, Meghan and Olivia and I loved the tension between Rhys and Meghan and look forward to reading their story.

To find out more about Beverley Kendall and her books, click below:


1 comments:

  1. I'll have to get this book, especially seeing that it's somewhat of a "bridge" with her series The Elusive Lords. I'm a bit backed up on my reading, but I will suffer **wink** with more new books.
    One must do what one has to. :-)
    Thanks Tin for your review.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...