Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Temptation and Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone

Temptation & Twilight by Charlotte Featherstone
Series: The Brethren Guardians, Book 3
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Historical Romance Temptation and Twilight Cover
ISBN: 9780373776627
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick and laird of the Sinclair clan, is sure there’s a spot in Hell reserved for a devil such as he. That doesn’t stop him from lusting after an angel, though. Elizabeth York is the woman Iain loved and cast away, but even more than a decade later he cannot put her out of his mind. Then, two things happen: Iain is nearly killed in a duel and a handsome earl starts courting Elizabeth, not caring that she’s blind or a spinster. Iain knows he cannot lose Elizabeth and thus the battle for her affections begins. Iain will use every weapon in his arsenal, from seduction to a story involving the diary of one of Elizabeth’s ancestors, to win back the woman he loves. But Elizabeth isn’t about to fall into his arms. Iain’s got his work cut out for him, but nothing can stop him on his quest…except, perhaps, a mysterious killer targeting Elizabeth’s family.

I must begin with an admission: I wanted to love Temptation & Twilight. I adored Lizzy and Iain in the previous Brethren Guardians book, Pride & Passion, so it was with great eagerness I began reading their book. Unfortunately, right from the start Temptation & Twilight was rife with problems. What put me off in the beginning was author Charlotte Featherstone’s rather florid prose. I understand melodramatic heroes, but there were points in Temptation & Twilight — particularly in the first few chapters — when my reading experience was equivalent to drowning in perfume. Not all the pages of Temptation & Twilight were splattered with purple, however, so I read on, hoping the book would improve.

It did not.

Lizzy, who so delighted me in Pride & Passion, got on my nerves. Where in the previous story I’d admired her strength, courage, and determination to live as independent a life as possible for a handicapped woman in Victorian-era England, her positive attributes were overshadowed by the negative ones in Temptation & Twilight. I had a lot of sympathy for Lizzy in the beginning of the story. Iain broke her heart and I understand not wanting to forgive him. But after a while, Lizzy’s verbal abuse of Iain wore thin. Yes, he was an immature jerk in the past. However, it was clear to me that Iain grows as a character over the course of the book and her refusal to even acknowledge that he isn’t the boy he was well over a decade ago bordered on ridiculous. Equally tiring were Lizzy’s tantrums over not being allowed to run headfirst into danger against an enemy attacking her family when she has to realize that she is at a disadvantage that could endanger herself and others.

Iain, in turn, starts out Temptation & Twilight as a bit of a jerk. But the one thing I liked about Temptation & Twilight was watching his journey from dissolute, hopeless aristocrat to a hero worth rooting for. The downside of that is I felt bad for him when Lizzy verbally abused him. Though, to be fair to her, he didn’t always explain himself well. After the beginning of the book, where he acts like an ass and is far too fond of thinking in purplish prose, Iain was the bright spot of Temptation & Twilight (though I admit to being baffled by his ever-changing accent that switched from English to Scottish with no logical pattern to be found). I wanted Iain to find happiness, which is why I stuck with Temptation & Twilight.

While Temptation & Twilight is the third Brethren Guardian book, the overarching storyline of the series is in the background and thus Lizzy and Iain’s story can easily be read as a standalone. That being said, the entire base plot for the series was largely forgotten — something I find annoying in the final book of the series. Indeed, the book dragged on for a very long time with not much happening (Iain and Lizzy’s story might have been more satisfying as a novella), only for Ms. Featherstone to cram everything of interest into the last few pages. The battle against the not-so-mysterious villain of the series was incredibly anticlimactic and I had to read the scant few pages devoted to said battle a few times because I honestly couldn’t believe that was all there was.

As I said near the beginning of the review, I wanted to like Temptation & Twilight. I really did. However, the characters, romance, storylines, and even Ms. Featherstone’s writing were a disappointment to me. Readers who enjoyed the first two Brethren Guardian books (Scandal & Seduction and Pride & Passion) might enjoy Temptation & Twilight more than I. I’m sorry to say the Brethren Guardian series was simply not for me.


Unknown said...

Wow. It's amazing how one reader's perspective is different from another's. I really liked this book. I loved Ian's slipping brogue and Izzy's "shove it up your arse" attitude.