by Victoria Malvey, historical (1999)
Sonnet, $6.50, ISBN 0-671-02072-2

There are plenty to love about Temptress - the easy wit and laughter between Rose and Luc, and the wonderfully fleshed-out secondary characters. It is a rare author who can balance emotional poignancy with humor - the scene where Luc confesses his feelings for Rose is send shivers up my spine. I laugh, sigh, and will put this author's name in my Backlist Hunting List. But keeper? Well, no.

I don't get the hero.

Let me try to untangle the conundrum that is Lucien St Cyr. He is subjected to baser impulses that shames him. Okay. When he discovers that his father is actually a dissolute rake, he blames it on his biological father for his inability to control his hormones. Eh? Worse, he accuses his foster father who has loved him and protected him all his life of lying to him and cuts the old man off. Hello? What's a little misguided lie compared to years of love and nurture, eh? Sure, cut off the old man, you stupid nincompoopy idiot. And at the end of the day poor Foster Daddy has to go onto his knees to beg for Luc and wife's forgiveness.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see Berwyn's taking in an unwanted child and passing it off as his own a sin of any proportions. He didn't tell his wife because the woman was unstable after yet another stillborn. And as for Luc... what's there for him to be angry about? He hates his real father, so why crucify his foster father?

Then put in a murder mystery and Luc's mental tangle never get sorted out to my satisfaction. He sees the light after one superficial meeting with his biological father and everything is cleared in one sentence. If only life is so simple.

And at the end of the day, the killer is a man who blames others for his inability to hold responsibility over his own failings. Eerie thing is, the same thing can apply to Luc too, only that Luc, being the lucky hero, gets rewarded for his nonsense while the poor killer gets roasted in Fiction Hell. Talk about double standards.

Rating: 82

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