Helen Fitzwilliam was once young and in love with the Duke of Lister. He succeeds in seducing her and making her his mistress. She has two children by him, Abigail and Jamie. The Duke is the type of man who will never let what he thinks of as "his" go. Unhappy with her life as the Duke's mistress, she runs away with her children. Helen runs from London to the farthest reaches of Scotland with her friend Lady Vale's help. She has arranged for Helen to be the housekeeper for Sir Alistair Monroe. Alistair is a recluse who has never left his castle since he returned maimed from the French and Indian war in the Colonies. Helen arrives on his doorstep with her children, desperate with no where for her to go. Alistair is willing to allow her to stay one night, but then she and her children with have to leave in the morning. Only, somehow Helen and the children worm there way into Alistair's heart and a new adventure begins.
To Beguile a Beast is another stellar work of art from Ms. Hoyt. This time the novel is a variation on Beauty and the Beast. Alistair is quite prickly at first, and I think that he has good reason for it. Alistair really is horrifically scarred. He is missing one of his eyes and a couple fingers, plus one side of his face has extensive burns. Because his looks frighten many people, he has restricted his existence only to his castle and the grounds surrounding it. He lives in a huge rundown castle with only one man servant. When Helen and her children come into his life, he starts to live again.
Helen is good for Alistair. Up to a certain point, she doesn't allow him intimidate her. She forces Alistair to join the land of the living. When Alistair gets wind of Helen's problems, he takes it upon himself to help her. He derives a clever way to defeat the Duke (without bloodshed). This brings me to what I really enjoy about Ms. Hoyt's writing style - the characters are very cunning and there is a resourcefulness to them that entertains immensely. I also find the humor to be very subtle, yet prominent. The humor isn't so much as laugh-out-loud funny, but more of a laugh that sneaks up on you and makes you chuckle under your breath.
1765 Scottland and some London.
Interesting. It's the third in a series, but the first I've read. A little background (the first two) would've been nice, but not necessary for the story-line to flow.
It's a bit different than typical historical romances as the hero is disfigured and the heroine is a former mistress. While their personalities were likable, I thought it hard to get past their background in relation to the time period. So saying, the interaction between the characters is excellent. There are also 2 children intertwined throughout the story and the dialogue between all four flows nicely, and the relationships do tend to develop and strengthen throughout. There was also a secondary story (the italics at the beginning of each chapter) which was "fairy-tale" like that I enjoyed.
I will probably try to read one of the prior books in this series to see if it changes my thoughts.
I've been reading this series from the beginning and found this chapter of the saga to be simply riveting.
How fortunate that today was cloudy and cool - a perfect excuse to completely immerse oneself in such an engaging, well-written tale. I was so surprised to see that I'd read the entire book straight through. What lunch?
This is escapism at it's finest.
Good Beauty & The Beast story, if that's what you're looking for. I enjoyed it but also found it a little tepid. There's nothing overtly wrong with it and it's certainly a good example of Hoyt's very capable writing skill, but there's nothing exceptional about it either. It does offer a good set-up for the next installment in this series & I think it's well worth a read. Just don't expect literary brilliance.
Sensuality Rating: R
This story was just too slow moving. I was never convinced that Alistar and Helen made a good couple. They seemed too flat and I was unable to care about them. I didn't care for the side story involving the Duke of Lister either. I guess it was used to create tension, but I felt it was unnecessary and predictable.