June 4, 2009
Jacket Copy:
Reclusive Sir Alistair 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.

Beneath Helen's beautiful fa├žade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn't back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen's secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find--a happy ever after.

On the run from her former protector and the father of her illegitimate children, Abigail and Jami, Helen Fitzwilliam (born Carter) changes her name to Halifax and takes on a housekeeper's job on a remote Scottish castle, owned by Alistair Munroe, who was involved in the battle of Spinner's Falls as a civilian, a scholar accompanying the regiment n order to study flora and fauna. He was captured, tortured and maimed and has been living as a recluse in his castle, writing his books and minding his own business.
Then a beautiful woman appears on his doorstep with two children, claiming she is his new housekeeper. Unable to turn her away during a rainstorm he decides to let them stay the night, but one night becomes more and before he knows it, he truly has a housekeeper, one who penetrates his dark and desolate castle and life and whom he finds hard to resist. But danger is in her and her children's wake...

Helen is the former mistress of the Duke of Lister, a powerful and rich man who lured her in his clutches when she was just a young girl and now refuses to let her and her children go, even though he has discarded her and has taken on a new mistress. But he is the kind of cruel man who goes by the rule: If he can't have her, no one can and he'll even use his own children to get what he wants. Helen is determined, tenacious and impulsive. She is also caring and compassionate. She tries to carry her roles as mistress, mother, housekeeper and lover as best she can and her children's needs and safety always come first.

Alistair is a true scholar/scientist. A scholar who can, stereotypically, totally lose himself in his work. He is rude, stubborn, sarcastic and surly. He is as dark, cold and desolate as his castle is, but beneath his self-imposed detachment there' s a lonely, appreciative and sensitive man. The incident at Spinner's Falls left him scarred, both mentally and physically. Still somewhere deep down there's a man with a wicked sense of humor, which was nicely displayed in the sibling bickering between him and his sister Sophie.

Another character worth mentioning is Abigail, Helen's nine year-old daughter. She has a few own POVs in the book, which I found a joy to read, but at the same time they were heartbreaking. Abigail is a girl who is different than other girls of her age. She isn't playful or bubbly. She is too serious and troubled when she should be a carefree child with no troubles on her mind. She is an adorable child who is wise beyond her years and the scenes where the focus was on her were surprising, refreshing and utterly endearing. They gave the book something unique.

Elizabeth Hoyt never fails to please me with her books. TO BEGUILE A BEAST is yet another one that was bang on target. The "beauty and the beast" theme is used in a charming and original way and involving children and their well-being was a stroke of genius that really hit the mark with me. The direct and honest writing style, the raw sensuality and the Hoyt-trademark of imperfect and realistic characters are the elements I gladly welcomed once again in this book. I've heard and said before that Hoyt's writing is something you take to immediately or not at all. For me it is full and deep embracement all the way.

For me this book had two distinguishing parts. The first is the part where Helen, Alistair and the children get to know and accept each other with all the problems that go with it. They carefully go about finding their way around each other and explore their different individual blossoming relationships. Then something happens in the plot and the vibe of quiet exploration changes to one with a sense of danger and urgency that is quite intense.

The plot of the Spinner's Falls traitor is pursued the least in this installment compared to the first two books in the series. More information about the traitor is gradually released and I suspect the great revelation will come in the last book: TO DESIRE A DEVIL. These suspicions grew immensely after reading the preview of TO DESIRE A DEVIL and I am really looking forward to the unraveling of the mystery in that final (at least I think it's the final book). I'm sure Elizabeth Hoyt is saving the best for last, lulling us to sleep with this installment, only to blast us with a tremendous grand finale. This book was mainly to tell the story of Alistair and Helen and prepare us for things to come.

When I read Elizabeth Hoyt’s work I am oblivious to the world, enthralling as I find it, I emerge in a world of emotions, sensuality and characters that touch me deeply. And it's never too heavy because there are always sweet, funny moments to lighten up things when they threaten to tip the scale to the dramatic side. The ending of this book really struck a chord with me. All the pieces of the story of Helen, Alistair and the children came together in an emotional and utterly satisfying culmination. Elizabeth Hoyt blindsided me with a wonderful ending that included a most captivating proposal that was absolutely beautiful in its sincerity and simplicity.

"I said if I ever courted you, I'd bring you wildflowers. Well, I'm courting you now, Helen Carter. I'm a scarred and lonely man, and my castle is a mess, but I hope someday that you'll consent to be my wife despite all that, because I love you with all my poor battered heart."

Men talked of an afterlife filled with heavenly bliss, but this was the only bliss he wanted, in this life or the next: to feel Helen's bare skin beneath his own. (...) Oh, God, if ever there was a chance of paradise for him, he'd relinquish it, and gladly, to stay right here in Helen's arms.

Her heart slipped its traces and went racing away, beyond her grasp, beyond her control. Entirely free and racing towards this complex, vexing, and utterly fascinating man.


Meghan said...

Great review! I have this one and am really looking forward to it.

Pearl said...

It was a great book, even if the focus on the ongoing plot of the traitor was a bit less than in the other books! I loved Alistair and Helen together!
But then again I love almost anything Elizabeth Hoyt writes...

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On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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