Your feelings about the latest installment in Elizabeth Boyle’s Brazen series, Brazen Temptress, will doubtless depend on your ability to tolerate the “Big Misunderstanding” plot. If you don’t have much patience with a hero and heroine who can’t trust each other, then this book will make you grit your teeth. If you can get past that, you might like it, because it’s a fast-paced read with lots of action and sexual tension. In other words, it’s a mixed bag.
When Captain Maureen Hawthorne is caught smuggling, it appears that she will hang for her crimes, until she realizes that she has information the Lord Admiral needs. He is searching for the notorious pirate Captain Julien De Ryes. He knows De Ryes moves among the highest circles of the ton, but he doesn’t know what he looks like. Maureen knows exactly what he looks like, and she’d love to see him hang; he is her husband, and she believes that he is responsible for her father’s death.
The Lord Admiral agrees to free Maureen and her crew and outfit her for a season if she will mingle in society until she finds De Ryes. She finds Julien the first night, but he tells her not to trust the Lord Admiral to keep his bargain. Maureen is sure she still hates Julien, but she doesn’t turn him in. As she goes through the motions of a season, Julien stays close by her side. He offers her proof that the Lord Admiral is up to no good, but she still has trouble trusting him and forgiving him. To make matters worse, Maureen finds that her attraction to Julien has not faded with time. When the Lord Admiral closes in on both of them, Maureen must make her final choice about whom to trust. But will she make the right choice in time?
Brazen Temptress has a rather interesting structure. The majority of the book see-saws between England in the present (1813) and the West Indies in 1805. At first I thought the hopping back and forth would be annoying, but it’s actually well done. The scenes from the present and past mirror each other – a love scene from the present would be echoed by one in the past, and a scene of apparent betrayal would have a similar parallel. Overall, it provides a nice effect. The sexual tension escalates believably, and the plot moves forward at a nice pace.
But the “Big Misunderstanding” is a really big hurdle, and this one is one of the worst I’ve seen. You know what I mean – the kind of confusion that can be cleared up with a five minute conversation that the main characters refuse to have. We all know that Julien didn’t betray her father, but for some reason he can’t bring himself to explain the truth to Maureen, even though it’s in his best interest to do so. As a result, Maureen refuses to trust him until the bitter end. With this kind of dynamic going on, it’s difficult for the relationship to experience any real growth.
The other problem was that Julien’s motivations are never adequately explained. We learn in detail why Maureen is involved in piracy, but Julien is from a noble family, and he’s active in society. Yet he’s also a traitor to the crown. In the end, he comes across as dishonorable.
Although this is the third book in a series, it manages to stand alone. If you have enjoyed the previous books in this series, you might be able to overcome the misunderstanding and lack of trust enough to enjoy this one – it is a hot, fast-paced read. As they say on Monday Night Football, you make the call.
I've been at AAR since dinosaurs roamed the Internet. I've been a Reviewer, Reviews Editor, Managing Editor, Publisher, and Blogger. Oh, and Advertising Corodinator. Right now I'm taking a step back to concentrate on kids, new husband, and new job in law...but I'll still keep my toe in the romance waters.
|Review Date:||April 13, 2004|
|Book Type:||European Historical Romance|