To Taste Temptation (Legend of the Four Soldiers) – book review

To Taste Temptation
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: May 1, 2008
Publisher: Forever
Book #1 in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series
Number of Pages:  390
Source:  MCL
Historical Romance
Ages 16 and up
CW: mentions of suicide, PTSD, war/violence, dub con
Lady Emeline Gordon is the model of sophistication in London’s elite social circles, always fashionable and flawlessly appropriate. As such, she is the perfect chaperone for Rebecca, the young sister of a successful Boston businessman and former Colonial soldier.

Samuel Hartley may be wealthy, but his manners are as uncivilized as the American wilderness he was raised in. Who wears moccasins to a grand ball? His arrogant disregard for propriety infuriates Emeline, even as his boldness excites her.

But beneath Samuel’s rakish manner, he is haunted by tragedy. He has come to London to settle a score, not to fall in love. And as desperately as Emeline longs to feel this shameless man’s hands upon her, to taste those same lips he uses to tease her, she must restrain herself. She is not free. But some things are beyond a lady’s control . . .

After reading this author’s Princes series, I wanted to read more of her work. I loved all the stories in that series. Something that stood out to me in this story that didn’t seem to be as prevalent in those books was the dubious consent. I actually, while reading, had been thinking this book was published in the 1990’s because of how aggressive Samuel was with his kisses. So if dub con is a hard no for you, I’m giving you fair warning.

Just as with the other books I’ve read by Elizabeth Hoyt, the chemistry is wonderful. There are many layers to this story yet the author is able to keep the pacing spot on. I was quite surprised by how much this book deals with PTSD. Of course, since this is the 1700 nobody knows that’s what it is; it didn’t have a name, not even shell-shock, yet. But it’s obvious, as Samuel reconnects with other men from his days at war, that they have all had issues. Even the ones that from the outside look to be living wonderful lives. I really appreciated this aspect of the story and how carefully the author handled the stories. Especially with Samuel; what he had been through and what he still goes through.

Emeline’s brother died in the battle which Samuel is now looking into years later. Not at all the norm at the time, but Emeline loved her husband who passed away when their son was still a toddler. With no parents left alive, Emeline found herself having to always be the strong one for her son and her aunt. It was very hard for her to accept any help in any fashion from Samuel, even when she had the need. Nor did she take kindly to being left out of anything to do with looking into the battle that caused her brother’s death just because she was a woman. I loved Emeline’s spirit while also wanting her to open herself up to love again.

Samuel and Emeline cannot stay away from one another, although they are from different worlds. Emeline doesn’t want to rely on anyone again, plus she knows Samuel belongs in America. Samuel was raised in the woods for the first part of his life, hunting and fishing and living off the land. He now has only his young sister left, who was raised as a proper lady. He wants to do right by her, but will not bow to the expectations of the ton. That is not his world and he doesn’t plan on staying long. But he still wants to do right by his sister.

Speaking of Samuel’s sister. Rebecca is the biggest issue I had with this story. I love her character and she had some interesting scenes, but she also disappeared at times. Times that didn’t make sense for the reader to have no idea what was happening with her. While that didn’t alter the story, it was something that would nag at me while I was reading, “where’s Rebecca?”.

All in all, this was a great read. Not only from the series title, but from things that happened in the story, I’m sure we don’t know the whole truth about the Spinner’s Falls Massacre just yet. I’m curious to see how it all plays out.

4 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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