Why this one: I've really enjoyed all her previous books including the books by her alter ego Julia Harper so it was a given that I would read this one
Steam Level: Yepper - this is a hot one
Author Website Blurb:
CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . .
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.
TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . .
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.
TO TAME HIS MOST SECRET DESIRES?
Beneath Helen's beautiful façade, 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.
My Thoughts: Hmmmmm. This is the first historical I've read since another historical I read and I think maybe I should have read a few other genres in between to 'cleanse the pallet' so to speak. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book but it didn't come close moving me the way the other book did. Alister just didn't have the depth that Ian did and I didn't like Helen nearly as much as I liked Beth. I think if I hadn't read them so close together (I just finished a reread of the other book last week, To Beguile a Beast would have fared better.
I love a good Beauty and the Beast story and this one is good as that. Alister is gruff and grouchy teddy bear who is hiding away from society due to his scars. At first the last thing he wants around is a beautiful housekeeper, but ever so slowly he lets Helen and her children into his life and opens up to a less lonely and solitary life. There is a wonderful scene where he goes around waking everyone in the castle up early so he can take them all fishing.
Helen is a bit more problematic for me. She has lived the life of the mistress of the powerful Duke of Lester. Despite this interesting premise, I found her a bit bland. She didn't have the courage of another historical heroine I loved.
I wasn't all that impressed with the POV of Abigail her nine year old daughter either. I sound bitchy and heartless I'm sure, but I don't really care what a nine year old thinks and feels in a romance. I didn't think her POV really added anything to the story.
I feel bad because I'm sounding harsher than I usually do and this book doesn't really deserve my harshness. It's a good entry into the series and after reading the excerpt for the final book in this series, I'm really looking forward to this.
All in all, I recommend this book, but if you've read and been blown totally away by another recently published historical, I'd advise letting more time and more books lapse between that one and To Beguile a Beast. Then this one might not suffer as much next to it.
Grade: 4 out of 5