May 24, 2014

She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath (Lost Lords of Pembrook #1)

She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath
Genre: Historical Romance
Bottom Line: This was a good romance with strong, tormented characters, but I felt a little let down by how the conflict was resolved.

Rating: 7

Lost Lords of Pembrook
1.   She Tempts the Duke
2.   Lord of Temptation
2.5 Deck the Halls with Love
3.   Lord of Wicked Intentions

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped—to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle—awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Sebastian Easton always vowed he would avenge his stolen youth and title. Now back in London, the rightful Duke of Keswick—returning from battle a wounded, hardened, changed man—cannot forget the brave girl who once rescued him and his brothers from certain death.

Lady Mary Wynne-Jones paid dearly for helping the imprisoned young Lords of Pembrook, and she remembers well the promise she made to Sebastian all those years ago: to meet him once more in the abbey ruins where they shared a bold, forbidden kiss. While Mary is now betrothed to another, a friendship forged with dark secrets cannot be ignored. Unexpected passion soon burns dangerously between them, tempting Sebastian to abandon his quest for retribution and fight for a love that could once again set him free.

My Thoughts:

This book was kind of back and forth for me.  The romance is based off of a childhood friendship between Mary and Sebastian, which I thought was cute.  After 12-year-old Mary saved the brothers from their crazy uncle's imprisonment, they disappeared for over 10 years before they came home to claim their titles.  Sebastian, the oldest and the rightful heir to the dukedom, returned scarred from war both emotionally and physically.  Mary was a very strong, loyal character who refused to give up on the hardened, menacing brothers until they found their rightful place in society.  I liked her character a lot; she never gave up on Sebastian, even though he believed himself unworthy of affection after his return.

The first half of this book was enjoyable enough for me.  There was tension between Mary, her betrothed, and Sebastian, and I liked how Mary and Sebastian's relationship developed and their passion grew.  The uncle's plot to claim the dukedom added a nice bit of action to the story.  My issues came after the marriage.  As a general rule, I don't enjoy books with an "unhappy marriage" plot.  I get all tense and angry when I read about a neglected bride.  Sebastian is absolutely obsessed with regaining his estate.  It's disgusting how much he cares about it... the way he should care about Mary.  It made me hate him a little bit, but it did get me involved in the story.

The part that bothered me was the "turning point" in their relationship.  I felt like there were like 5 pages between Sebastian being an inconsiderate jerk and him professing his love and spouting poetry.  I didn't believe it, and I didn't forgive him.  Overall I thought it was a pretty enjoyable book, but I just felt a little disappointed by Sebastian in the end.

Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads | Lorraine Heath         

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