15 January 2009

REVIEW: ANNA CAMPBELL - TEMPT THE DEVIL

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (December 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061234931
ISBN-13: 978-0061234934

Summary:

Any man in London would worship her. Yet Olivia is, quite frankly, bored of them all. Despite her many dalliances, she's never felt true passion, never longed for any lover's touch . . . until Julian, London's most notoriously wanton rake, decided to make her his mistress.

From the moment he first saw her, Julian knew he must possess her. And when he discovers her greatest secret, a scandal that could ruin her reputation and end her career, he knows just the way to use this damaging information to his most delightful advantage. He offers Olivia a deal with the devil: he'll keep her secret . . . if she allows him the chance to show her true ecstasy.

But Olivia must be careful, for Julian has a secret of his own: he will not rest until she is completely, shamelessly his.


Review:

With the openings scene of Tempt The Devil, where the Earl of Erith, Julian Southwood meets the reigning courtesan of de demimonde, Olivia Raines, the sparks start to sizzle from the pages. Sometimes when two people meet an electrical current awakens that inexplicable draws them together. No force will stop them though the two people in question might not even realize for what it is. The introduction of the Earl of Erith to Olivia Raines holds the beginning of a non-stop emotional ride fueled with dominance and surrender but most of all, it contains a seduction in its purest form.

I was pulled into a liaison that from its inception was an entanglement of wills, temper and pride with secrets to uncover from both sides. I often speak about the courtship of trust between the leading couple in my reviews but I must say that in Tempt The Devil this excelled. The story of Erith and Olivia lured me into the intimacy of the bedroom which became a platform where they told their striking stories. Don’t think for one second that these were bedtime stories. The physical was often functional as to bare the steep emotional scars or to emphasize when trust was gained. The innate characters of Olivia and Erith provided for a continuous verbal clash that was invigorating to read.

I totally fell for the charisma of Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith. He exuded an arrogance that matched his confidence, virility and strength. With these traits he appealed to my femininity but it was with his determinate way of wooing Olivia that appealed to my romantic beating heart. Olivia is as mysterious as she is strong-willed and bend on doing things her own way. I quickly figured out what the foundation of Olivia’s secrets was and instead of wanting to find out the details from those secrets I was spellbound by the journey of her as a woman. While they are both flawed in their own way, together they achieve a fragile bond that becomes stronger with every step forward. As a challenge presents itself they will not back away from it and with that, they changed the rules of the game.

The plot speaks of life’s journey, the choices made, the consequences, perhaps the regret and what was lost on the way. They are such identifiable theme’s that it didn’t miss its effect on the reading experience as a whole. Tempt The Devil is almost exclusively about Olivia and Erith. There is Perry, Leo and the daughter of Erith, Roma as additional characters whom all reflected something from the personal lives of the primary couple. The story didn’t need much more, I was solely focused on the building relationship between a courtesan and a rake. Tempt The Devil takes the essentials from a romance, like physical attraction, courting one another, working out issues, falling in love, insecurity, verbal sparring etc and magnifies this by 10 on the intensity scale.

So it is safe to say I was mesmerized by Erith, his deep founding need for Olivia and her response to that need. There is a delicate balance between all the struggles, the zealous interaction and the progress of love. Never once did I feel I wanted to skip a page, never did I get bored with what the characters were going through, not once did I feel it was over the top or unbelievable. I felt the joy when Olivia wrapped herself around Julian in a protective gesture of comfort…or when Julian understood there was more to Olivia then he first thought. Again I completely yielded to a story of two star-crossed lovers that found ultimate bliss when they least expected it.

Anna Campbell knows how to write historical romance and every time she delivers one that packs a raw and passionate-laden punch. She makes me feel in tune with the characters, the personal growth, their fierce sensuality but most of all the moments where Olivia and Erith bare their past towards each other are moments that became an ultimate celebration of love. I can’t help but be swept away into this emotional maelstrom each time I read a Campbell novel. This tale is not so much about the splendor from the regency era as it is about the intricate characters living in the regency era whom capture the attention.

Claiming The Courtesan will always be my favorite but I feel you can’t go wrong with a historical novel from this author, it will simply be a matter of how much the story or characters appeal to the personal tastes of the reader. Tempt The Devil is a more than a worthy addition and one for the keeper shelf!

PS: Upon reading the final page I screamed for an epilogue, another page that would tell more, but instead Anna Campbell invites you to let your imagination soar. And so I did…

Quote:

The connection was electric, powerful, more emotional then physical.

Quote Erith:

The moment when she touched his cheek still rang pure as a silver bell in his heart.

Quote Erith to Olivia:

“Every man desires you.
“They desire the courtesan. You desire me.”




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