Review: The Devil's Temptress by Laura Navarre

Thursday, April 7

Title:  The Devil's Temptress*
Author: Laura Navarre
Series: N/A
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Format: Digital e-book, Trade paperback (8/8/11)
Date/Year:  February 2011
Reviewed by: Booklover1335

*This book was provided to me by the publisher for review

Summary from the publisher:


THE BEAUTY


In the glittering, sumptuous court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, betrayal lurks around every corner. The queen is at odds with her king, and to obey one could mean treason against the other. Even Alienore, considered the most virtuous lady at court, holds secrets: whether masquerading as a knight on the tourney field to defend those without a champion or desperately trying to keep her lands—and her maidenhead—from the Duke of Ormonde.

THE BLACK KNIGHT

He is called the Raven—his face scarred by a Saracen blade, his voice raspy with the effects of Greek fire. His parentage is unknown, his prowess legendary. And he’ll sell his sword to the highest bidder. As his piercing eyes track her every move, Alienore wonders who he’s working for now: finding a spy for King Henry? sent by the duke to fetch her home? Or is each heated touch, each whispered promise of pleasure part of a much more personal mission?

My Musings:

The Devil’s Temptress is only the second novel from relative newcomer Laura Navarre, but rest assured her stories are far from being novice.  This story has great intrigue, betrayal, deception, and of course love.  I think it really captures how precarious life was for someone living in a royal court in this tumultuous time period.

The heroine, Alienore (not to be confused with the Queen, Eleanor), is a strong young woman in a world where most women are only chattel.  Refusing to accept the match made by her brother she flees to France to become the Privy Chancellor to Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Alienore is pure of heart, and somewhat naive and innocent of the ways of people, yet she is surrounded by courtiers who live and breathe deception, with ulterior motives behind every deed and word.  While honest in many ways she strives to deny her passionate nature due to the sins of her mother by assuming the role of the Queen’s most virtuous Lady.

Raven is her dark hero.  He is darkness, just as much as Alienore is lightness.  He has experienced the evil that resides in the soul of man during his Crusade, yet he has lived through those heinous and abominable acts committed against humanity.  He is mysterious, brooding, and somewhat sinister...at least that is how he projects himself to others. And though he feels that he has lost all his faith in both God and humanity, and thinks that his soul, as well as his ability to love, has been eradicated...deep down where it matters most, he is strong, and honorable, and redeemable.

They are both courageous as well as champions to the causes that they believe in.

I think the author does an incredible job of creating the world that the characters live in.  I thought that the character of Alienore was very intriguing, though maybe not completely believable.  The reader is led to believe that she has lived a very sheltered life prior to fleeing her home and seeking shelter with the Queen, her Godmother.  Because of that, I did find it a little hard to believe that she would be appointed as the Queen’s Privy Chancellor given her young age and her naivet√©, despite her bravery, though it did work to the Queen’s advantage which, more than likely, is the reason for the decision to give her such an important role in the Queen’s entourage.

Unlike Ms. Navarre’s previous book, The Devil’s Mistress, which I felt was more historical fiction than romance, The Devil’s Temptress is wholeheartedly a historical romance novel.  And while many outside influences drive the plot of the story, it revolves around the hero and heroine and their journey to find love with each other and within themselves.  There are a few brief, yet affecting and intimate love scenes that explore their relationship, however I wish there would have been a few more revealing love scenes because I felt that it was important for Alienore’s character to explore the passion that she tries to repress because of her Mother’s infidelity.  She becomes “Lady Virtue” because of this past scandal, and while The Raven tempts her to recognize the passion within herself that she ardently wishes to deny...she eventually succumbs to his seduction.  I wanted to see Alienore recognize her true self because of her Devil’s love.  Even though this transformation is expressed in words, I felt it would have been more powerful for the reader to have Alienore embrace this ardent part of herself, and at the same time gain some forgiveness and understanding for her Mother through this awakening.

No one can argue the importance of having a great hero and heroine, but in a story like this one, you also have to have great villains.  This story has a cast of great villains! Some are really evil, others are subtly manipulative...i.e. the type of characters that you love to hate ;)  At first the reader is led to believe that it is Raven, The Devil, is who Alienore should fear the most, but there are hidden enemies around almost every corner.  Because of complexity of the plot revolving around the villainous characters, I felt that the ending was a bit confusing, and as a result the dramatic end didn’t have as much intensity as it could have had.  There is one scene in particular, where the villains meet in private to finalize their plans that I wish would have been included in the story, for me that would have not only revealed the evil schemers and their plans, but I think it would have increased the sense of suspense and danger that awaited Alienore and Raven.

Yet, despite a slight tendency to overuse descriptive adjectives and a somewhat generous use of purple prose, I really enjoyed The Devil’s Temptress and all of its characters.  I thought the plot was captivating, with a little surprise towards the end that I did not expect involving the hero.  Overall, I felt it was a very good read that any fan of historical romance is sure to enjoy.  In my opinion, Laura Navarre keeps getting better with each book she writes, and I can’t wait for her next novel!

Ratings:

Overall: 4.25
Sensuality level: 3.0-Sensual

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2 Comments:

Barbara April 7, 2011 at 10:45 PM  

Lovely review, Carrie. I've had this book on my radar for a while. I'll have to pick it up.

Booklover1335 April 8, 2011 at 7:34 AM  

I hope you enjoy it Barbara!

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