Updated: Aug 25, 2020
Tempt the Devil
by Anna Campbell
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
What is it about?
When London courtesan, Olivia Raines chooses her next lover, she never expects to find someone who matches her tenacity. Enter Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith—irresistibly tall, dark and handsome ... and a complete ass.
If I had to sum up Tempt the Devil in one sentence it would be: Fifty Shades of Grey in the 1820s. So, if you're looking for a sweet cozy romance, this one isn't for you. If you like steamy, well-written sex scenes with lots of emotional angst and emotional blow-ups, then this is right up your alley.
While some readers might like their historical heroes arrogant and controlling, I wanted to reach into the book to shake Olivia Raines to her senses. The author does a fabulous job on weaving Olivia's traumatic backstory into the narrative and dialogue, and it's totally understandable why she's such damaged goods. Her iron will and resistance to men's charms, despite her occupation, comes across as an admirable trait. That is until Erith comes along ...
Erith is a totally unlikable character and is more an antagonist than hero. We do see glimpses into how much Olivia affects him and softens him, but in the end his pride gets the better of him and he says some wholly inexcusable things—which made me cheer out loud when Olivia kicked him to the curb. Maybe it's just me—I would never fall for (or forgive) such a cad, no matter how irresistible his charms. But since this is a romance (and a steamy one at that), it has to have a happy ending.
And that's where my enjoyment of the story waned a bit. Olivia is portrayed as such a strong woman, who has learned to get control of her life despite the despicable circumstances of her childhood. So it's a little disappointing to have her make excuses for him and accept him back, especially when we don't really get to see Erith's decision-making process, about how he comes to the conclusion and what he's prepared to sacrifice, to win Olivia back.
If you're after a happy-ever after, you'll get it. But it didn't leave me with the warm and fuzzies that most happy endings do. I would happily try another one of Anna Campell's novels as her writing style was a pleasure to read.
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