Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hellie Is Tempted and Why You Will Be Too!

Okay, in regards to Teresa Medeiros' novels, I'm more on the biased side. I've read her for at least twenty years; I practically cut my romantic teeth on her. I wanted to grow up to be a writer that was a cross between her and Julie Garwood...and Jude Deveraux. And Jill Barnett. And...you get the idea. The woman is one of The Greats for me. Probably because she wrote some deliciously seductive Scotsmen I still can't get out of my head. So I admit up front--I've been in Ms. Medeiros' camp for a long, long time. (She obviously started publishing when she was 10. Those prodigies!)

Today, you have the chance to fall in love with her newest hero: Maximillian Burke, the Earl of Dravenwood (THE TEMPTATION OF YOUR TOUCH), who has the unenviable position of being someone in love with someone who is in love with someone else. And always has been. With his younger brother, no less. Basically your original crappy triangle. And because Maximillian is a hero...and of course, loves his brother, and more importantly, loves the woman he's loved all his life, he gives them his blessing. But it's the beginning of his story--and he's miserable as f--hell.

For a change of scenery, he goes to the countryside where one of his more natural-looking estates resides. He is not allowed to wallow in his melancholy because he's stuck dealing with superstitious townspeople who won't even go to his manor; engaging with a ragtag bunch of servants who seem to have been culled from a nearby asylum; and keeping his hands off a delicious smelling housekeeper who seems intent on being anything but helpful even though she's one of the servants. And let's not mention the food. And the Elizabeths. Or Piddles (who lives up to his name.)

Upon arrival, he transfers his affections from one unattainable beauty to another: in the form of a painting of the lady who is supposed to haunt the house, an impetuous young miss who threw herself off the cliffs many years ago. (Just like a guy, isn't it? Always falling for the wrong girl.) Believe me, the housekeeper, Anne, is not impressed with his choice of broads.

What unfolds is your standard story of the put-upon nobleman: expensive boots destroyed by a family dog who has higher social standing in his house than he does; nearly being burned alive in the house; falling off the cliff where the fair maiden disappeared years ago; and...falling insane love with one of the servants. (But that part is totally understandable. She bakes! Bread. The poor bloke had no chance. The food really was awful. The bread was like manna.)

Meanwhile you the reader spends your time unraveling the mystery of the ghost who haunts the house, of the many wrongs done to the family, and just who was the artist of that magnificent portrait. It's a mystery that took me a little while to unravel. (I like to think the answers weren't immediately obvious, but I didn't understand The Sixth Sense until the end and was like "No way!" So I might not be the best judge.) I enjoyed unraveling it at any rate; and the romance and tension were top-notch for me. There was no rushing into bed to prove anything, but a lot of the FORBIDDEN that comes when a servant falls in love with her master.

I quite enjoy the prequel to this one: THE PLEASURE OF YOUR KISS, which deals with the other two parts of the hero's triangle and their love match. It has the nostalgic hero-heroine interactions that I love about Medeiros' characters: a bit like Anna and the King of Siam, evenly matched wills and saucy retorts. And this one does too.

Well-drawn character, heartfelt emotion, lush prose, and a heart-warming love story happy ending. You can't go wrong.

So question of the day is an either-or: what's your favorite romantic triangle in fiction OR what food could the love of your life seduce you with (especially if they cooked it)? And of course, what are you reading this week?

And if anyone asks, I bought my copy--rabidly--last week and devoured it over the weekend. :) So this is a completely unsolicited review.


Maureen said...

I'm really trying here, to think of a triangle. I mean, I generally don't have a favorite because the guy I always think she should keep is the one she dumps. Which is why I enjoy writing triangles where she takes them both!

I'm getting ready to beta read Terri's book. After a day spent at home sick, I'm just praying today is different. But I do hope to edit and read. And I know Bonnie is hoping I walk her.

quantum said...

I once had lunch with a retired missionary who, twigging that I was a potential convert, spouted the ‘come to the faith and be saved’ spiel with true missionary zeal. I responded with my ‘God started it all off and set the laws of physics but doesn’t intervene’ speech ..... but I digress. LOL

Hellie, Medeiros is on my favourites list so I am already a disciple .... she is a wonderful writer!

I looked up the price of this one on Amazon UK and was very surprised to find two versions, one published by Simon and Schuster at £5.13 and the other apparently self-pubbed at £3.99 with a different cover, both appeared in late Jan 2013.

Is it legit for an author to undercut her publisher like this? I’m gonna buy the cheap version quick!

what's your favourite romantic triangle in fiction OR what food could the love of your life seduce you with

Can’t think of a romantic triangle , mind always blanks with this type of question! My love can seduce me with anything if she pays. LOL

I tend to have 2 books on the go, one from an established author and another from a start-up. It’s my way of encouraging new authors and helping them get recognition.

So at present I have Catherine Anderson’s ‘Only by your touch’ and Anette Darbyshire’s ‘Love in the wrong dimension’.

The latter is a debut ghost story. I became interested on learning that the author (a non-scientist) quotes Quantum Theory as one of her interests.

In the story the ghost is trapped in one of the 11 dimensions predicted by string theory. I’m very impressed so far (it’s not technical in any sense! LOL)

Marnee Bailey said...

Ok. I haven't read the first in the series either, but now I'm going to read both. Sheesh. Hells, you and your piling on to my TBR pile. :)

This sounds awesome. Great review.

Terri Osburn said...

It's rare to find a love triangle book where you really can't be sure which one she'll (or he'll) pick. Which makes me realize, why is it always one heroine and two heroes? Are there any with one man having to pick between two women?

If I found a guy who was willing to cook fantastic meals who didn't mind me strange eating habits, I'd tie the knot immediately! To be more specific, I could be his for a really good homemade pizza.

I guess I kind of have a love triangle, but it's pretty clear which two angles belong together. :)

Janga said...

I always finish a Medeiros book thinking I'm so glad I read this book. She's an autobuy author for me. I share your love of The Temptation of Your Touch, Hellie. Love your review too.

I don't mind love triangles like Terri's when it's clear who the pivotal character truly loves and the reader's emotional investment is considerably less in the loser. But I'm bothered when a character I like ends up with a broken heart. I remember when Jennifer Haymore's A Hint of Wicked and Julia London's Summer of Two Wishes were released within a few months of each other, one historical and one contemporary, but both featuring a heroine confronted with a choice between two men she loves--the husband who was presumed dead returned from war and the new love who has helped her live again. In both cases, I was haunted by the character who was rejected until the book was released that gave him his HEA.

I was thinking about the gender issue and the only ones I can think of involving women are Jo Beverley's Lady Anne Peckworth who is jilted (sort of) twice: by Viscount Middlethorpe (Forbidden) and by the Earl of Wyvern (The Dragon’s Bride). She finally gets her HEA in Hazard, which is one of the reasons I love that book. More recently, Sarah MacLean's Lady Penelope Marbury was dumped at the end of one series (Eleven Scandals) and got her HEA in the first book of a new series (A Rogue by Any Other Name) and Kate Noble's Sarah Forester who left me teary-eyed at the end of Follow My Lead but had her HEA in If I Fall.

Terri Osburn said...

Jennifer Haymore's book is the one I could not remember the name of, Janga. But that book came instantly to mind as one where the choice was more up in the air. I'm not sure I'd enjoy that kind of struggle to choose in a character. Someone's heart does have to be broken.

And there's a bit of a broken heart in my book, but he gets his HEA in the next one.

P. Kirby said...

Reading this week (and beyond, because I'm a slow reader):
Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway. Hero is a straight, cabaret performer who does his act in drag. Set in contemporary Ireland. Very, readable, fun.

Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell. Cute, British chick lit.

I actually like love triangles, but oddly not many immediately come to mind. Most recently, Katniss/Gale/Peeta. Stephanie Plum, Ranger and Morelli was fun...until it wasn't. (At some point, someone needs to effing choose.) Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand (YA) seems to be setting up an interesting triangle. (Haven't gotten back to the next books yet.)

I like love triangles where I, the reader, am genuinely torn between the two, where I can get why the heroine (or rarely) hero can't choose.

MsHellion said...

Guys, I'm sorry for the delay. I swear this is the year where they want to send me to every meeting on this campus. (I have another this afternoon, so I'll have to be quick with you guys!)

Mo: no worries--triangles aren't for everyone. *LOL* I'm not as equal as you though...I think people can ride one horse at a time, so to speak, so pick. :) Beta reading Terri's newest manuscript? LUCKY!

Q: I thought about becoming a preacher, but then I found out I'd have to believe that 99% of the world's population was wrong. I like your thinking: God started it all and doesn't interfere with our lessons. They should both be the same book. She showed the cover for the overseas version--and it looked good too, but I know it was different. I am intrigued that you are your own love triangle, dangling or pitting one author against another to see who wins your affections. Cheeky Brit!

Marn: Thanks! If you haven't read the prequel, add it to the list too. The opening scene where the hero is before a firing squad is pretty memorable. *LOL*

Terri: because the one guy and two girls fantasy is a MALE fantasy. Also, it happens every day. I can totally see it being a problem in finding two extraordinary heroines to pick between--but finding two extraordinary men to pick between? Fantasy. Ha! And I thought you'd say pizza!!!

Janga: I agree. I don't mind a character being in love with someone who is "lesser" because you know it's a growth experience. I was not a fan of the Jennifer Haymore book either--though it was bold of her to do and I'm sure there are situations where this is true. But if I have fallen in love or am in love with someone else, I like to think old loves don't hold sway--and if they did hold sway, I'm not really as in love as I thought. (I'm hopelessly old-fashioned and romantic that way! I'm sure a therapist would rip me a new one about that kind of thinking!)

MsHellion said...

Pat, AGREE about the Morelli vs Ranger thing. That got OLD. But the Katniss/Peeta/Gale triangle was good, because I really did have quite a crush on Gale...until I realized or believed Peeta was really more a fit for her. But it was hard--because Gale was so yummy and Peeta was...*sighs* Just a little too real beta for my liking, but then I got to see how smart that could be.

Have to look into the Painted Faces one. That sounds fun!

irisheyes said...

I have to say that the love triangle is not one of my favorite tropes. I usually avoid books with that theme. The one that comes to mind that didn't really bother me at all and I had no problem with the heroine's choice is SUGAR DADDY by Lisa Kleypas.

I'm kind of like the rest of you, though, if the choice is pretty clear early on and both agree I'm okay with it. I guess the bottom line is that when I get to the last page in the book I'd like to sigh at the HEA, not have a funny feeling in my gut about the one the H/H ran through the wringer and hung out to dry.

This is a funny question because I was just about to write that my position on this isn't a surprise because I'm not a fan of conflict. But all romances have conflict in them, so it must just be certain kinds of conflict that make me uncomfortable. I have to think on that a while. LOL

MsHellion said...

Oh, Irish, we will have to agree to disagree. Although by the time I got to the end of SUGAR DADDY, I agreed Gage was the right choice--that was one love triangle that actually tore me apart all the way through. I loved Hardy. And I didn't care for Gage who was an ass for quite a while in the book. *LOL* So the choice wasn't "clear" for me right away because I couldn't see why she'd pick the jackass. *LOL* But then it became clear and he wasn't really a jackass. *LOL*

Yes! Very true...and also good for discussion--what kind of conflict do you like? Some don't mind playing with people's hearts...but others prefer the familial kinds of conflict. Duty vs desire.

P. Kirby said...

Yeah, know, I was thinking (I know, don't hurt yourself, Pat), and I remembered that one of the best, and most emotionally powerful triangles I've read is in a fan fiction story, of all things.

The story line is centered around a popular relationship in the fandom, but...the two don't get together right away. She's really young and he's, well, not even human, formerly evil, and trying to get his shit together. They have an almost fling, and then are separated for several years. By the time they reconnect, she's engaged to someone else, and soon after, pregnant with twins.

Throughout the next couple of decades, their paths continue to intersect, and you know there's still an attraction. But she's genuinely in love with her husband. It's a really mature look at the various faces of love at different stages of our lives and relationships. Even though I wanted the heroine to get together with the hero, I could totally see why she was with her husband, father of her children and all that. (There is an HEA, but it's hard won.)

Of course, the story probably works best for fans like me who are obsessed with the male lead. Also, it probably helps to believe, as I do, that some people can love two people at once, just in different ways.

Terri Osburn said...

Also, it probably helps to believe, as I do, that some people can love two people at once, just in different ways.

Completely with you on this, Pat. There's a person from my past I'll always love, but it never would have worked out. If I ever fall for someone new, I doubt that love will change. We're complex creatures, we humans. I know some like to talk of love like it's simple, but it really isn't.

Now you must say what fanfiction that is. I'm so curious.

MsHellion said...

Well said, Pat--and yes, totally believable. Can reference this. I don't know. I myself have real loyalty issues. It's taken me a long time to come to grips that just because you're FRIENDS with someone that you don't have to be and they don't have to be EVERYTHING. You have different people for different aspects of yourself--and you're not lying or never not yourself...you just are rarely all of yourself all at the same time, you know?

So to me, the love in more than one person is a loyalty issue for me, which is why I don't care for it. It's one of those gray areas that's hard for me to come to grips with. (And I'm sure it has to do with: "I want to be loved MOST"--which a therapist would love to get my credit card to deal with that issue.) It's a fine line of loving someone differently and loving someone more--and making that clear and accepting that.

It's why I love reading fiction with complex issues like these--because it gives me a chance to immerse myself in the thinking of that character and how it's possible to exist and be okay to be so, even if it's not something I'd care for in my reality. At least I can be empathetic to it though.

MsHellion said...

Can "RELATE TO" this, not reference this. WTF.

P. Kirby said...

Story is called Blue and it's in the Thor fandom.

It's probably more like women's lit than romance, per say, because it gets into other themes, like careers, parenthood, aging, etc. The story is written in present tense, which works for me, but I know that bugs some people. (The writer has a couple of original novels out focusing on a more mythology-based version of the character, which I'd also recommend.)

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I haven't read anything in over a month and it's killing me!

Well, that's a lie. I've been reading textbooks and study guides. Wish me luck because Friday I take a day full of exams in order to be a Certified Fitness Instructor.

It means I'll make money at my second job and can teach all types of classes instead of just cycling. Until the hubby finds a new job we need all the cash influx I can bring in!

Now to the main point! Triangles - LOVE THEM! But my brain is fried and I cannot think of one right now.

I do always love the ones that involve brothers though so this book is going on my list! It's so funny to me how many of the brother triangles always have the heroine in love with the younger brother - to end up with the older one. (Not the case here, but usually).

Maureen said...

My brain is a little fried, too. But I'm fighting a cold... As for the idea of loving two people at the same time. I think it's doable and workable, just depends on the three people involved!

If Terri has to have the pizza guy, but there's also a plumber interested and the pizza guy is fine as long as she continues to love his pizza, but he also likes hot water...then they let the plumber join the household. And she can't choose between pizza and hot water, she loves them both...

I should write this book...

Maureen said...

Good luck, Scape! You'd be great at this!

Terri Osburn said...

I already divorced the plumber. Try another occupation. (I need a house painter who can lay tile! No innuendo there. Well, mostly no innuendo...)

Maureen said...

Terri, the pizza guy and the painter... I can work with that. We could just go with general handyman...

Everyone woman needs a handyman...

Terri Osburn said...

Yes she does!

MsHellion said...

Pat, Thor fandom...you know, Deerhunter might like that. A lot. *LOL* I'm good with Thor...but of course, I have to like the bad boy, so Loki kinda intrigues. Daddy issues, I think.

MsHellion said...

Sabrina, sending you good vibes for your certification. You certainly work hard from the updates and pictures I've seen on FB (and you would terrify me as my trainer because I'd be way too lazy and you wouldn't let me. *LOL*) BTW, study guides and textbooks aren't reading. You need brain CANDY, not just brain kale....

So I hope you're able to down a couple pieces of brain candy soon. :)

That is true about brother triangles--they usually go for the "stodgy" one in the end, but this was a twist on the normal trope. :)

MsHellion said...

You had a plumber, Terri? I thought he just had plumber's crack? Ah, well, an ELECTRICIAN. That's the handyman you want on hand. Can the man wire your house for more power? (And yes, I'm just saying this on the off chance Deerhunter is perusing the site. He can wire a house...but he could probably fix the toilet possibly as well. And that's mostly what I need. A working toilet. My needs are "simple.")

Right now, I think I'm with Terri--I kinda want pizza.

Maureen said...

Now I understand all the water problems in the house. He put a water curse on it...