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Friday, July 31, 2009

To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers - Book Three

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 349

Copyright: 2009

Rating 4 Crowns

Elizabeth Hoyt has been recommend to me by so many of my reader friends so when I saw the cover of her very latest Historical Romance and heard that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I knew I just had to read it!

Here's a quick plot summary from the blurb:

Reclusive Sir Alastair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he's kept suppressed for years begin to awaken.

Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle...and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won't let dust - or a beast of a man - scare her away.

I loved the brooding hero Alistair and how the physical scars of war made him feel as though he would never find love. So many romance heroes are physically perfect - the image of Adonis - so Alistair's self-consciousness about his physical appearance made him so intriguing and loveable (even if he is a bit of a cranky-pants). When Elizabeth Hoyt described how he came to loose his eye, I had my hand over my mouth. There is something about the emotionally tormented hero that I always connect with.

Helen is a fascinating character. She's a former mistress of a duke and has two young children by him. Before she ran away with her children to Scotland, they had always been cared for by a nanny and in her own words, they only saw each other when they were all in good moods. So not only is she venturing out into the world completely by herself, but she's learning for the first time what it truly means to be a mother. This really added an interesting dimension to the plot and although children can sometimes be distracting in romance novels, Elizabeth Hoyt wrote them incredibly well.

Personally, I didn't like Alistair's reaction to Helen's past. I know that he realised he was being hypocritical but I just don't believe he would've used such strong language towards her and that he would've been so cruel. I would've thought a man who'd virtually exiled himself from society wouldn't have cared so much about the taboo. Issues resolve themselves as the characters realise the mistakes they've made but for me this took a little bit of the enjoyment away from the ending. I guess I just wasn't ready to forgive Alistair yet!

One last thing that I really have to mention because I loved it so much was the mood the author created. For the first half of the book, it really did feel like I could be reading Beauty and the Beast. She really let the brooding Scottish landscape infiltrate the book and lend it a decidedly Gothic feel. The stormy nights and overcast days was the perfect atmosphere for passion! It's definitely a snuggle-up-in-bed-kind-on-a-rainy-day kind of book and is best described as a grown-up fairytale.

I will definitely be reading more Elizabeth Hoyt and look forward to reading her Princes Trilogy in the near future.

Did you know?
You can read a free online novella, The Ice Princess, chapter by chapter here at Elizabeth's website.

The 4th book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series, To Desire a Devil, will be released in November 2009. You can read an excerpt here and pre-order at Amazon or Book Depository (free postage worldwide).

Princess of the Past

For more of Annie's reviews, visit Reading, Writing & Ranting.


Marg said...

I love Elizabeth Hoyt's writing. She has very quickly become an auto buy author for me!

Blodeuedd said...

I am loving the Hoyt books, so need to read one. But first I will check out that free novella

Mishel said...

Great review Annie! I just won this book recently in a contest and I've never read Elizabeth's writing. I was a little anxious about it, but I'm definitely thinking I'll enjoy it =)


thank you for reminding me...i haven't read her in a while but used to read her as fast as my fat fingers could get them.

as for the mood (scottish weather) it certainly was like that when i was there! but if you have scrolled thru my blog, you know i love the country (scottish dh) and share lots of pics with folks.

as for our hero, i will probably believe it when i read it. i've seen perfectly normal, sane people react strongly and hypocriticly at times and then have to work at extracating the foot later. i think maybe they do it because of the pedistal syndrome...you know, i am a sinner but you are not.

great review!

Teddyree said...

Nice review, I'm determined to try an Elizabeth Hoyt but hmm which series to start on? I just like the sound of The Princes Trilogy.

etirv said...

Thanks for this review! I recently read TBAB and loved it! Elizabeth Hoyt is one of my favorite must read authors. Just the best! Can't wait for her next book coming out in November!

Lexie said...

This was definitely a surprise book that I enjoyed. and I totally agreed about the Hero's reaction to the Heroine's past--if I could have hit him with an iron skillet I would have. I mean seriously. She's forgiving you for being a total rude, overbearing and jerky guy cause your past is kinda hard, cut the poor gal some slack!

Susie Tudor Daughter said...

Oh my this sounds so good. I loved your description of the landscape and passion!!! Great review.