I absolutely adore Elizabeth Hoyt historical romances. This is one of her older titles and worth picking up. It features a scarred hero, who lives a life removed from society… removed almost entirely from human contact. You see, Alistair has resigned himself to a lonely existence. It’s easier than bearing the horror that his face brings to others. His future consists of his dog, his research, and the old castle rotting around him. And that’s the way he wants it –or so he has convinced himself.
Helen is a woman on the run from her former protector. She has wanted to stop being the duke’s mistress for years, but he has made it clear that he will take their two children if she ever tries to leave. It seems like an answer to a prayer when a friend sends her to Alistair in Scotland to become his housekeeper. No matter than she has no experience or that he has no plans to hire her. Her is escape is necessary, and she won’t take no for an answer.
Obviously, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it’s a good one. Alistair is wonderfully gruff and emotionally aloof, but I love how quickly the presence of Helen and her children begin to make him thaw. He’s never truly beastly to them. His gentleness and interest in the kids show just how soft his heart is. It’s even more obvious when juxtaposed to the relationship they have with the duke and his lack of regard for them.
The romance is a bit easy. That’s not a terrible thing, but there probably could have been a little more angst here to mine. I would have probably liked a little more teeth-gnashing from Alistair over the beautiful Helen wanting him, or a little more wondering how he could be good enough for her. But it wasn’t like that. They came together pretty organically; it just evolved. It was sweet and warm, with just a bit of heat.
Helen is a good heroine, who owns her mistakes in life. Some readers may be put off by the fact she spent so many years as a mistress to a married man, but I feel like she regretted her actions and worked hard to change her life. As a mother, I have to appreciate that she put her children first. The villain in the story, the duke, is kind of flat. But he causes the requisite trouble to get us to our HEA.
It’s not my favorite from Hoyt, as it didn’t stir deep feelings in me. It’s still a good story, though, and I liked it. I think other fans of this trope will enjoy it too.
Click to purchase: Amazon
To Beguile a Beast
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: May 1, 2009