Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Review: Always a Temptress

Always a Temptress
By Eileen Dreyer
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Release Date: September 27, 2011
5 Stars

After ten years of war, all Major Sir Harry Lidge wants is some time at home with his family and freedom to begin the life he’s dreamed of. But when the infamous assassin known as the Surgeon is killed where Drake’s Rakes are gathered to celebrate the wedding of Jack Wyndham, Earl of Gracechurch and his former wife, Olivia Grace, the assassin links Lady Delores Catherine Anne Hilliard Seaton, Dowager Duchess of Murther in the insurrectionists’ plot the Rakes are committed to thwarting. Harry is assigned one last mission: to find out what Lady Kate knows about the poem that will unlock the plot. Thus, Harry is forced into close contact with the woman who betrayed him, the woman he has struggled unsuccessfully to erase from his memory.

Kate is a scandalous figure in society—wealthy, shocking, and indifferent to the whispers that follow her. Few people are allowed to see the courageous and generous woman behind her public persona. She is determined that Harry, the man who abandoned her once will never touch her again, physically or emotionally.

Through kidnappings, a marriage of convenience, nightmares, and attempts on their lives, Harry and Kate battle each other and their own hearts. Even a decade apart and a mutual sense of betrayal are not enough to eradicate the attraction that sizzles when the two are together. But the forces that threaten them are powerful and relentless, and only by trusting in one another can this hero and heroine claim victory over their enemies and their past and achieve their happy ending.

Although the focus is clearly on Harry and Kate, secondary characters add vitality and humor to the story. Kate’s private army of unusual servants and her friend and companion Lady Bea are particularly colorful. While the darkness of the book is relieved by wit and verbal sparring, the costs of war in all its forms is not sugar-coated.

Always a Temptress, the third book in Dreyer’s Drake’s Rakes series (following Barely a Lady and Never a Gentleman), combines edge-of-the-seat suspense and complex characters with sizzling chemistry and rapier-sharp dialogue and subtly weaves in threads of social issues like the position of women in a patriarchal culture and the effects of war on the warriors. The result is a book that makes the reader think and feel, laugh and cry, remember and reflect.

I’ve read and enjoyed Eileen Dreyer’s contemporary categories, mysteries, and fantasies. I was disappointed in her first two historicals. I found them interesting, but they lacked the emotional punch and compelling heroes I expected from this writer. Always a Temptress did not disappoint. It is a book I will remember and reread. It will keep me looking forward to the two more Drake’s Rakes books that Dreyer announced in her newsletter this week.

Are there authors that you have followed from genre to genre? Do you expect your favorite authors to always give you five star reads?


MsHellion said...

Yes, I do. *LOL* There have been a Lisa Kleypas and Eloisa James book here and there that didn't live up to my expectations, but invariably they regroup and come out with something that I just adore.

Mind you, I'm usually the only one who had a complaint in the first place. *LOL*

Janga said...

Hellie, I think of you and remember your indignation every time I see Lisa Kleypas's Scandal in Spring. LOL

I have come to realize that most of the time a book by a favorite author that fails to meet all of my expectations is still a more satisfying read for me than most of the other novels available. That's why I have a lot of four- star reads on my keeper shelves. And I'm always so excited when I do read a five-star book by an author whose books I've loved over a long period (like Dreyer).

irisheyes said...

What an awesome surprise, Janga! I had no idea today was the release day for this title. I'll have to adjust my "to do" list today to include picking up Always a Temptress.

Ever since Lady Kate was introduced in Jack and Olivia's story I've wanted to know her story. When it became evident that she and Harry share an unhappy history my interest amped up a notch. I'm finding that I like that trope in romances - things are never as they seem and it is fun to watch the hero and heroine grapple with what really happened as facts are slowly revealed.

I suppose I do expect 5 star reads from all of my favorite authors. I find that even if they don't provide a 5 star read, like you, I still find them better than most everything else out there. I also find that, once or twice, even books that I found lacking seemed to improve when re-reading them, especially if they are part of a series.

quantum said...

This is another new-to-me author that has to go on the TBB

I must revise my TBR soon. It's currently in chronological sequence according to when I picked up book recs. I need to shift the 5 stars to the top urgently!

I'm currently starting on SEP with 'It had to be you' and loving the prospect of Phoebe permanently managing the Stars football team! Brilliant characterisation. The confrontation of Phoebe and the coach in the aeroplane loo defies description. LOL

I think Phillips writes so well that I will follow her to other genres if she has written other than contemp.

When I find a favourite author with a voice that resonates I tend to read anything that I can find. Jane Anne Krentz for example. I started with her historicals and was hooked initially with 'Ravished' then moved to her fantasy/SciFi with Harmony World. She linked that with her Arcane (alchemy) series which I also enjoyed and finally her contemps. She has so many pseudonyms often mixing them within the same genre that it can get confusing but I have enjoyed all that I read.

So I think it is voice rather than genre that grabs me. All else being equal I do however favour historical romance. :D

Janga said...

Irish, isn't Kate a great character? I've loved all of the "three Graces," but Kate is my favorite. I think it's interesting that the women characters were actually the beginning of the series known as Drake's Rakes.

I've had that happen with a book when I reread it as part of a series. Perhaps it's because the full story arc is complete then.

Janga said...

Q, SEP is a wonderful author. I love her Chicago Stars books, but I love all the others too. First Lady and Kiss An Angel are both favorites. She actually has written one historical--an American post-Civil War story that was revised as Just Imagine.

I love JAK too in all her incarnations. I even read most of her Stephanie James categories back in the 80s.

Eileen Dreyer said...

Thank you all, especially Janga for the wonderful review. I'm delighted you all liked Kate as much as I did.(fun characters are as much of a surprise to me as anyone else. It's one of the joys of writing). I'm also one who will follow an author across, like SEP or Anne Stuart or Tami Hoag. As long as I know it's something else, I'm happy to take the leap and try it, and usually, it's well worth it. I'm honored people have followed me through all my incarnations. It makes it easier to take the chance.

Janga said...

Wow! Another fangirl moment! Thank you for your comment, Eileen. And to be honest, I'll willingly follow you into any genre you choose to write. Well, maybe not vampires. I drew the line at vampires with Nora Roberts and Teresa Medeiros, two other long-time favorite authors. :)