The Price of Temptation by Lecia Cornwall

January 5, 2012
How many footmen does it take to unscrew a light bulb?
Well, none if they are in a historical novel...cause they didn't have light bulbs in Regency England.  (We are not counting Humphrey Davy's invention.)  Anyway, we have the latest by Lecia Cornwall, The Price of Temptation.  And, this story starts out pretty strong.  It's a story of two people, Evelyn and Sinjon, who are held in disdain by those surrounding them.  The meet, find solace in each others arms, fall in love - the end.  Spoilers ahead. 

Of course, along the way she is accused of harboring a traitor, her husband.  Or knowing where he is.  Or knowing whether he's dead or not.  Bottom line, she seems to be blamed for almost everything her husband did.  And then we have our hero, Sinjon, aka Sam, the footman.  You see, he is also accused of nefarious crimes.  He may be a rapist, a traitor, a coward, a murderer.  But none of those things stop the head spy-master from sending him off on a mission to spy on our heroine, Evelyn... disguised as a footman.  He's disguised as a footman, not Evelyn.  You know, saying it that way sounds kind of silly, but it all made sense when I was reading it.  And, hey, what says romance more than spies, traitors, cowards, rapist, murderers?

Now, don't get me wrong, I liked both Evelyn and Sinjon/Sam.  I thought Evelyn's metamorphosis from a scaredy cat to a tough cookie was great.  And, she is the one who approaches Sinjon/Sam about a "relationship."  I just wish at some point in her evolution she would have stood up to her three horrible sisters.

I also liked the strong sense of how servants were/are treated - as if they were/are invisible.  I actually enjoyed eavesdropping on the domestic household in this tale and I wish there had been more of it.  Sinjon/Sam blending in with the below-stairs people was so well done, that when his disguise was penetrated I felt sorry for him. Speaking of the disguise part, normally I don't care for disguise/lies, but in the case of The Price of Temptation, this plot-line is where the center of the tension was for me.  Forget about finding the missing husband, or clearing Sinjon's name, I was more intrigued by the tension created knowing that at some point his masquerade was going to be revealed.  The longer his disguise continued, the more I became apprehensive about the reaction of the people who had come to care for him. I found myself looking at the page count, thinking - OMG when is it going to happen?

Where the book fell apart for me was with the two villains.  We race all over clearing up the problem with the husband, and then we have to solve the other villain's hold over Sinjon/Sam.  This was all done in the last few chapters; it seemed to me to be t-o-o busy, t-o-o fast.  Maybe just one villain would have sufficed.  And, the magical flag worship made me cringe. I kept wondering if soldiers in that time period would react in the same manner.  They almost seemed as if they were from the Dark Ages instead of Regency.

Overall, this is a good book, a fast read, with some interesting characters; nothing earth-shattering, but charming and nice.

Time/Place: Regency England, Napoleon/Louis France
Sensuality Rating: Hot

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