Tempt the Devil by Anna Campbell
Avon Books
Historical
ISBN: 978-0-06-123493-4
Reviewed by Talia Ricci

 

   

 

Olivia Raines is one of the most famous courtesans England has ever known. Every man who has ever tasted her charms has come away from her feeling nothing but complete satisfaction.  Looking for another benefactor, Olivia strives to keep her demeanor passive without giving in to the utter feeling of helplessness that she feels each time she has to find a new lover. Looking bored and anything but inviting, Olivia notices Julian Southwood, the Earl of Erith and if his eyes are any indication, he has noticed her as well. Olivia is tired of being a fallen woman and while Erith wants her to be his mistress, she knows they will never suit. She has learned too often and too hard that men are not to be trusted – least of all men who buy her favors. She doesn’t count on Julian Southwood being the one man in which she forgets herself and falls in love.

The Earl of Erith, Julian Southwood, is back in England for his daughter’s wedding. Having spent the time abroad since his wife’s death, he has returned to London to reconnect with his children. When he sees Olivia Raines across the room, Erith knows right then and there that she will be his next mistress. Convincing her of that fact takes a bit longer, but Erith prevails. The terms are negotiated and Erith finds himself with a mistress, albeit a reluctant one. When he follows Olivia to a secret appointment, he finds out just what makes this beautiful, but often emotionless, woman tick. Now all he has to do is convince her that he is unlike any one else she has ever known.

While Olivia was gentle born, her status as a highly regarded and sought after courtesan closed doors to her that would have been open had she been anyone else. Erith, still feeling guilt over his wife’s death, fled the ton and in doing that, he alienated his family. All too late, both characters realize that while they love each other, their love can never be seen and accepted in London society. I could feel the love Erith felt for Olivia, even when he was being a ‘blockhead’… his terms, not mine. Olivia was harder to grasp, but the more I read, the more I could see the emotional toil life had taken on her. It shaped her into the untrusting, and often times secretive, woman that she was.

Third time is definitely the charm! Anna Campbell’s third novel, Tempt the Devil, allows her talent as a writer of historical romance to shine. Amid the glittering ballrooms and streets of London, Anna Campbell took me back to a time when society dictated what was proper and what was not. Tempt the Devil evoked in me such intense emotions that at times I felt I was right there in the novel. I cried – quite possibly more than Olivia - and several times I even fought despair. I got angry with Erith when he would run off at the mouth and wound with his thoughtless words. But most of all, I smiled when, amidst all the chaos that was their lives, Olivia and Erith found true love. Anna Campbell is definitely an author to watch and I have no choice but to Joyfully Recommend Tempt the Devil. It was simply stunning.

     

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