Tempt Me With Kisses, by Margaret Moore

>> Friday, March 21, 2003

Two more books and I'll finish with what I read on the weekend. Lucky I didn't do much reading during the week!

First, Tempt Me With Kisses (excerpt), by Margaret Moore. I've had it in my TBR pile for a few months, but it hadn't really called to me (I'm usually a bit leery of medievals). This changed after I read Moore's story in The Brides of Christmas, which was very impressive.

Everyone knows that red-haired women are nothing but trouble, so when enchanting, flame-haired Fiona MacDougal rides into his castle courtyard announcing that she is willing to become his bride, Caradoc of Wales knows to be wary -- even of such a beautiful Scottish lass bearing gifts. He has no desire to take himself a wife, but her kisses are so tempting that the idea of an intimate -- and permanent -- union becomes most appealing indeed.

The thought of marrying this bold, handsome warrior sends shivers of delight down Fiona's spine. She wants nothing more than to tell him the entire truth -- that in his strong embrace she is certain to be safe from the despicable blackguard who would marry her for his own selfish gain. Fiona loves Caradoc dearly, but can she ever win her passionate husband's trust -- or gain his love -- if he discovers the real reason she sought him out?

Well, it certainly looks that I've found a new author whose backlist to glom. Like the short story, this was a very solid B+, and almost went into the A range.

The best about TMWK was how fresh and original it seemed. Every time I thought "Oh, shit, now this is going to happen", nope, the story went in another direction. Not a completely different direction... I mean, I knew that Fiona's Big Secret was going to come out soon the minute they confessed their love to each other, but this happened in a way I hadn't really seen coming.

I also thought the characters were outstanding. Caradoc was definitely my kind of hero... a nice beta, shyish, and lonely. I felt for him, because the poor guy seemed to be so unappreciated by his people. He really did deserve someone like Fiona. This wasn't one of those heros who are always right and always know what to do. No, he was a real person, fallible and unsure about what to do at times. It's good to have a hero that's not larger-than-life sometimes. The only time when he irritated me was when he wouldn't appologize to Fiona because he thought he was bad at expressing his feelings and would make everything worse. Right, look for another excuse!

Fiona was great too. I liked that she actually did have a past, and understood why she would feel she needed to keep it a secret. However, I did feel she kept that secret for too long. Also, I thought she was a bit underwritten, probably because Caradoc was so well-developed.

Oh, and another thing I loved here was how the author actually denounced xenophobia. It's unbelievable how many books I've read where characters are suspicious and resentful about others because they are from a different culture and this isn't considered to be a problem. Not here: the characters who hated the heroine because she wasn't Welsh were presented as stupid and prejudiced, and they were shown the errors of their ways. Loved this!!

There's a book about Caradoc's brother, Connor, which I believe takes place before the action in TMWK. There was just enough info here about this book that I want to read it (in spite of the F review in AAR. It helps that I very often don't agree with this particular reviewer, most recently about Hill's The Edge of Heaven, which was a keeper for her), but I didn't feel the author hit me over the head with it.

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