I’m at a point where I open anything by Elizabeth Hoyt and just expect to love it. Unfortunately, this first book in her Legend of the Four Soldiers series didn’t meet those expectations. There were a few reasons I didn’t love it, but in a nutshell, you can blame the heroine, the hero’s reactions to her, and the type of intimacy between them.
Emeline is my least favorite kind of historical romance heroine: the kind who serves at the altar of the ton. She lives and breathes the dictates of social status, and frankly, the only reason she even agreed to champion Samuel’s sister is because he served with her late brother, Raynaud, in the war. Samuel is light years out of her social sphere. After all, he lives in the colonies; he works in trade; and he wears moccasins. The horror.
Emeline doesn’t realize at first that the real reason Samuel is in England is to figure out who betrayed his regiment, leading to the massacre that killed Raynaud and so many others. He could not help but seek out the brave officer’s sister, but he never expected to be so captivated by her beauty and intelligence. It doesn’t take long before Emeline realizes Samuel’s true priorities, and from there, she is in it for the long haul, determined to see justice for her brother. You can probably figure out where things go from there.
I just didn’t like how they went there. First of all, I hated the way Emeline dismisses Samuel so out of hand for virtually the entire book because of his social standing. Secondly, when they finally do start dipping their toes in the waters of attraction, it’s nearly violent. They gnash lips and teeth; they make each other bleed; they bite. I know it’s supposed to be passionate, but watching the heroine wonder whose blood she is tasting didn’t do it for me. Neither did the nature of their first sexual encounter, which featured her bending over against the wall. Perhaps some readers would find it titillating, but for their first time together, it gave me pause.
Oh yeah, and did I mention Emeline already has a fiance?
I’m definitely not a prude; I’m just saying I missed the romance here. What was developing between these two was a lot more like lust than love, especially on Emeline’s side. And for some reason, Samuel wants more of her. Because she is smart? What? I honestly had more sincere feelings about Samuel’s sister Rebecca and her maybe relationship with the footman. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
If you’re interested in Hoyt’s backlist, I’d skip this one and go straight to To Beguile a Beast. Or better yet, read her Princes Trilogy. I loved those.
Click to purchase: Amazon
To Taste Temptation
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: May 1, 2008