To Tempt an Irish Rogue
Reading this book took me forever. As in, I’d read a few pages and stop due to fear that the sheer mind-numbing nature of the content would cause my brain cells to die a horrible agonizing death, much like the hero’s first wife.
I’m afraid this is the old “widower suspected of wife’s murder but really a dastardly villain is among us” trope. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. It’s worked well for a lot of different authors over the years. In the hands of a skilled author, this may have been a decent read. Unfortunately, this is not the case here and the overall effect is amateurish.
The widower surrounded by suspicion and whispers is Declan Reeves, the Irish Earl of Cashelmore. While in London, he stops by a bookstore with his young daughter and meets Paulette Hamilton, one of the owners. Paulette and her sisters own Hamilton’s Book Shoppe and have the most confusing set of names I’ve ever encountered in fiction: Colette, Juliette, Lisette, Paulette, and Yvette. I eventually gave up trying to keep them straight and just began to think of the heroine’s sisters as one of the “ettes.” Otherwise, I might have had to make a spreadsheet or something. But it really did not matter as each were interchangeable.
Paulette immediately takes to Mara, Declan’s young daughter who has been mute since the night of the house fire that killed her mother. Books seem to please Mara, so Declan begins to stop by the shop to see Paulette and walk her home in the evenings. But when threatening notes begin to arrive, he fears he must clear his name one and for all in order to begin a life with Paulette.
Predictable, dull, and silly do not begin to describe this story. The villain is over the top and completely obvious to anyone with the IQ of a turnip. Furthermore, I found the story overwrought, wallpapery, and the most egregious example of telling and not showing I’ve read to date.
Just in case you, dear reader, do not believe me, I shall include a few of my favorite bits from the novel. From page 102, where the writing gets really descriptive:
Declan looked into her blue eyes, seeing the honesty, intelligence, and warmth within her. Paulette’s golden blonde hair had come loose from the pins during their walk home and a few stray tendrils fell charmingly around her delicate face.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The threatening notes sent to Paulette and Declan read like something out of an episode of Scooby Doo. I kept hoping for a few more since they provided the sole comic relief in a long, tedious read. Paulette received this extremely blunt notice:
This is a note to warn you. Stay away from Lord Cashelmore. He killed his wife. Heed this warning, by all means, if you wish to stay alive.
Naturally, she does not comply. She and Declan continue to see one another, hence the villain is forced to up the ante with more threats like this one:
You’re a killer. So you will be killed, too. Time is running out for you, Cashelmore.
And on it goes. In the beginning, Declan informs Paulette that his “first marriage did not end well.” Considering he’s only had one wife and been accused of murdering her in a horrific manner, this is a ludicrous statement to make. So is musing to himself that he wants to “bare his soul to her” after locking lips behind a bookshelf in the shop upon their second meeting. The characters’ actions and statements are beyond ridiculous and it grows tiresome quickly.
Honestly, this is among the worst books I’ve read and I cannot fathom anyone else enjoying it. But this is book number four in a series so what do I know? Someone is buying them. I suppose I should say something positive but other than the sentence structure being adequate for the most part and the hero not raping the heroine, this book was an utter failure for me from beginning to end.