A Novel Sensual Destiny
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Date published: June 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained from publisher
Following the death of her beloved father, Harry Hamilton, Helen took her familial duties to heart and has cared for her two younger sisters, Jane and Amelia. Desperate for a job she applies at a brothel to be sold off as a rich man’s mistress. Much to her chagrin, she is bought by Captain Tristan Odell. Despite how handsome and apparently wealthy the captain is, she wants nothing to do with him. You see, he turned her down as a governess for his younger sister, Rose.
The bastard son of the Earl of Hastings, Tristan took to the sea at an early age. When his father dies and leaves instructions to Tristan on the care of his brother Michael who will now be Earl and Rose, the captain sets his course to carry out those wishes. No love was lost on his father, but he does care for his half siblings. During his first encounter with Helen he turns her down as a governess but when he sees the lengths to which she will go for her siblings his better nature comes through and he offers her a job.
Fed, clothed and safe, the Hamilton girls have pretty much everything they could need. Eighteen year old Jane finds Michael Seymour, the young Earl, returns her feelings of attraction. Amelia is thrilled with her new friend Rose. And Helen, well despite her best intentions, she finds a growing attraction for Tristan. While she doesn’t quite believe Phillip DuBois potion is really behind Tristan’s pursuit of her, one cannot be sure.
There is one, or rather two flies in the otherwise blissful ointment: Maud and Miriam Seymour, Tristan’s poor relatives. But relatives they are and a more vindictively meddlesome pair cannot be found.
Cheryl Holt’s TASTE OF TEMPTION is one of the best reads I have partaken of in quite some time. I thoroughly enjoyed her PROMISE OF PLEASURE, book one of her Novel of Sensual Destiny series, but TASTE OF TEMPTON far surpassed that first read in the series by miles. A strongly character driven story, early on I felt as if I knew each one personally. Helen is the embodiment of someone I would like to have as a friend. With Jane I was reminded of my first love. While I am not normally a fan of precocious children, Amelia and Rose were a total delight. They offered a different level of entertainment and I couldn’t wait for their next escapade.
Secondary characters Phillip and Clarinda DuBois are favorites of mine. I was happy to see them in a larger role in a TASTE OF TEMPTATION. Their personalities evolved more giving them more depth. The hints of Clarinda’s parenthood had me hoping for a continuation of this series but at the moment it looks like there will just be the three books: PROMISE OF PLEASURE, TASTE OF TEMPTATION and DREAMS OF DESIRE. While a great series, I for one would like to see more of Phillip and Clarinda, perhaps even finding them the perfect mate. Here’s hoping Ms. Holt extends the series for at least another three books.
I wasn’t very fond of Maud and Miriam. They are the characters you love to hate. Maud was the embodiment of a true cold-hearted bitch. I raged when she wove her lies that broke Helen’s heart. I wanted to reach into the pages and shake her till her teeth chattered. And Tristan! The way Maud twisted his views on Helen had me fuming. Talk about someone with a black heart or one without a heart. That would be Maud. I was a tad disappointed that Helen didn’t get to enjoy Maud’s outcome; but then Helen would not have been Helen if she had.
If you are looking for a fabulous reading gift for a friend, TASTE OF TEMPTATION is a great choice. But you will also want a copy for yourself.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of his book.