Rane's Reviews > Tempt the Devil

Tempt the Devil by Anna Campbell
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From the moment he first saw the famous courtesan Olivia Raines, Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith wanted her, as he plans and makes arrangements to make her his new mistress, he finds out there’s more to this well-sought courtesan then meets the eye.
Olivia finds the life of a courtesan tiresome after so many years,but finds a challenge in Erith and sets out to prove he’s just like her old keepers.
As the wagers are set, a battle of wills between Olivia and Julian flare up with sexual tension with the winner taking all or nothing.

Anna Campbell stories always fulfills my love for the darker side of romance, Tempt the Devil is no exception as I got caught up quickly in story.
Julian came across as a prime Alpha Male throwing his weight around, thinking only of himself and hiding behind his grief of the lost of his young wife. He has so many strikes against him from the start you wonder how he’s going to ever been redeemable. Julian sees the error of his ways early on, not only with the way he treated Olivia but with his own life and the way he avoided his own children. He loved and adored his wife so much that he ran away and kept running until he met Olivia who’s own scars are deep and very painful. Julian did surprise me in being a tender lover from the start and didn’t find any pleasure when his lover didn’t enjoy the act as much as he. It was a blow to his male pride when he finds out Olivia was faking the act, which forces a wager between the two. Julian’s change was very swift and not gradual, at times he seemed somewhat two faced speaking before thinking. Although he did redeem himself at the “very” end.
Unlike Julian, Olivia’s change was gradual as she comes to terms with her past and making a stand to want better. Olivia put Julian through the ringer, but I couldn’t help but be on her side. Julian kept pushing her and although I can understand where he was coming from, instead of being kind and coaching the pain forward, he forces the issues. Olivia’s strength and courage and her not taking any crap from Julian made me cheer for her!

The sexual tension between the two was hot, each sex scene wasn’t just about sex but about trust and moving past the pain. I never doubted the love between the two as they heal each other and pour their hearts out, it made you feel for both of them and understand where they came from. I smiled when Olivia wouldn’t bow down to Julian’s demands at the end and when he finally sees her then more then just a lover.

It was also cute to revisit Kylemore and Soraya and seeing their love staying strong.

Overall: a wonderful read of two strong-willed people finding their equal in each other as they put their demons to rest and heal their souls with love.
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Comments (showing 1-32 of 32) (32 new)

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Rane Barbara wrote: "I hope you're enjoying this one Rane! I love Anna Campbell's stories :)"

Thank you Barbara! I'am kinda on the fence with this book, although I adore Anna Campbell's works this is...


seton Psst, Rane. TTD is set in the regency period, not victorian.


Rane seton wrote: "Psst, Rane. TTD is set in the regency period, not victorian."

DOH! *fixes that* Thanks Seton!


message 4: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Nice review Rane. That's exactly how I saw the characters. I think what stood out so much about this book is the fact that both the H/h are portrayed by Campbell as very human - flaws and all. This was a surprising keeper for me.
K.



message 5: by Adrienne (last edited Aug 21, 2009 05:07AM) (new)

Adrienne Great review Rane I'd read some iffy reviews about this one,but you've restored my faith. YAY!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Rane that was a great review. I thought Julian was pretty selfish and didn't care for him that much but he redeemed himself at the end. It's weird that I loved crazy Kylemore but didn't care for Julian. But I'm a weird girl, I guess.


Rane K. wrote: "Nice review Rane. That's exactly how I saw the characters. I think what stood out so much about this book is the fact that both the H/h are portrayed by Campbell as very human - flaws and all. T..."

I agree with you 100% K.
We're all not perfect and in the romance world you come across over the top characters, Campbell creates leads whom are so human showing how no one's perfect but still able to do right in the end. It had a great meaning thoughout the story


Rane Adrienne wrote: "Great review Rane I'd read some iffy reviews about this one,but you've restored my faith. YAY! "

*claps* Yay! Am happy I restored your faith in the book Adrienne! It has some flaws, but it's an awesome book


Rane Danielle wrote: "Rane that was a great review. I thought Julian was pretty selfish and didn't care for him that much but he redeemed himself at the end. It's weird that I loved crazy Kylemore but didn't care for Ju..."

I guess am in the same boat with you Danielle! I adore and love Kylemore but his change was gradual throughout the story and when he changed he change and didn't keep jumping back and forth like Julian from kind and sweet to alpha male butthead. But he did get his act togeather so that's all that matters



Kathrynn I remember this one and had similar thoughts, Rane.


message 11: by Rane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rane Kathrynn wrote: "I remember this one and had similar thoughts, Rane. "

The urge to drop kick Julian in the face was with you to?


message 12: by Dina (new)

Dina Great review, Rane! The premise of this book doesn't attract me - call me shallow, but I'm not a fan of stories with mistresses as heroines - so I'm still waiting to see how I feel about Claiming the Courtesan to decide if I want to read Tempt the Devil.


message 13: by Rane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rane Dina wrote: "Great review, Rane! The premise of this book doesn't attract me - call me shallow, but I'm not a fan of stories with mistresses as heroines - so I'm still waiting to see how I feel about [book:Clai..."

*nods* I understand, it's best to read Claming the Courtesan first to see if you like the writing style of Campbell and her plots, they are sometimes a hard pill to shallow but their really good.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I gave this one five stars but I'm not as fond of it as Claiming because that story just won me over head over heels. I can't say I'll ever like Julian that much. He was alright to me. But I adore Kylemore.

Dina, one thing I like about these books is that Campbell's heroines are women you can totally identify with and like. They are not at all sleazy. They are just normal women who had to make some hard choices. I am not fond of mistress stories, but I'll read a reall good one by an author who can tell their stories with depth and compassion.

I wouldn't like a book with a heroine who was promiscuous for no reason. Not my taste at all.

Rane I definitely felt the urge to dropkick Julian across England when I read this book.


message 15: by Dina (new)

Dina I've got Claiming the Courtesan "collecting dust" on my TBR for some time, and I've been waiting for the "right" moment to read it. I know many readers who aren't fond of mistresses as heroines too but ended up loving that book, so I hope I "join the club" when I finally read it.


message 16: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Wow, lots of talk about what seems to have come off as Julian's insensitivity? I didn't have that view of him at all, and in fact, found him overall to be much MORE sensitive to Olivia than she was to him. The reasons for her coldness was, of course, apparent from the get-go of the story, so I was always weighing that with her constantly "distancing" herself from "letting Julian in." However, Julian bent over backwards to draw her out, first based on his own egotistical reasons I'll admit (he obviously wasn't in love as they just met, he was just enamoured with her and wanted her to remember him above her other "clients"), but as he quickly fell for her, he just continued to show more and more of his character -- extremely solicitous of her feelings. I'll admit he did have the one fall from grace over the episode of his daughter, but again, Campbell made his reactions "human," if flawed at the time, and his reaction was definitely in line with the historical setting and their respective positions in society in the novel (if not as I would have wished as a reader at that point).

I had a completely different reaction to Julian than you Danielle, and, in fact, had to "work" more to like Olivia than Julian, more often throughout the story (reminding myself of her history and that her actions were psychologically appropriate). In the end (and what a FABULOUS end), they both just really ended up enlightening me to both their characters for good and bad, and I ended up loving this book.
K.



message 17: by K. (last edited Aug 21, 2009 11:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. I don't know Dina, I think this one might be a stretch for you, but you've surprised me before. I could be completely off in my assessment. I certainly remember many who have misjudged my wider reading interests because I love Quinn, Garwood and McNaught so much. You could end up loving this book as much as I did. You know I'm not a huge "courtesan" fan myself (i.e. Foley's "The Duke" - eh! And she didn't even have "time" to do any real "business"! LOL!)



message 18: by Dina (new)

Dina Now I'm scared, K.! I can picture Claiming the Courtesan staying "abandoned" on my TBR for a long, long time...


message 19: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (last edited Aug 21, 2009 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I guess we all process things through our own eyes, K. I wouldn't say he was insensitive per se. My biggest issue is that he shows a lot of selfishness. First and foremost, he abandoned his children for almost twenty years. If it hurt to lose his wife, imagine how much it hurt to lose both parents, one because he ran off. I have some issues with deadbeat dads, I freely admit. This predisposed me to not liking him. I can admit he did make amends, but he was very slow to do so after sixteen years.

Also,I think he was selfish although he did want Olivia to have pleasure with him and didn't consider the affect it would have on Olivia. From the standpoint from a professional mistress, getting involved with her client is a very bad idea. Some women can separate love and sex and do fine. Olivia is not one of those kind of women. Olivia was trying to protect herself, which makes sense, considering where she came from. Julian might have wanted her to have pleasure, but he was okay with moving on when the affair fizzled. Where would that have left Olivia when it ended if she fell for him? Also his attitude about not marrying her irked me. He is not a lilly white soul. He felt he was too good to marry her because she had been a mistress to various men and he was a titled gentleman, but how many mistresses had he kept in all that time? And she was good enough to have a sexual relationship and to share her heart with him, but not good enough to be friends with his daughter? Or to be his wife, and he didn't even really care that much about what the Ton thought of him. That didn't really show true love in my opinion.

I know that Julian was a man of his times, but for me I have an issue with double standards in which men can have as much sex as they want without repercussions, and not have a damaged reputation. Yet women do the same and they are whores. And for women like Olivia and Soraya, it's a matter of survival, and not pleasure that prompts them to sell their bodies. Yes, some women probably really enjoyed being prostitutes and mistresses, but most of them led pretty awful lives or ended in dire straits or died from disease. I know that romance has to pretty some of that up, but I think it needs to have enough realism for you to buy the happy end. It can't be too easy.

That's really where I'm coming from in disliking Julian. He wasn't a sympathetic character for me. He made amends but it took him too long and he was very back and forth like Rane said.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Dina wrote: "I've got Claiming the Courtesan "collecting dust" on my TBR for some time, and I've been waiting for the "right" moment to read it. I know many readers who aren't fond of mistresses a..."

I hope you like it too. Kylemore is a hard hero to like for some readers.


message 21: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Danielle wrote: ". . . . I know that Julian was a man of his times, but for me I have an issue with double standards in which men can have as much sex as they want without repercussions, and not have a damaged reputation. Yet women do the same and they are whores.
. . . ."


Exactly Danielle, Julian was indeed a "man of his times," and as much as I both completely agree with your statement "today," and love the typical romance hero who is able to become "enlightened" into a 21st century mindset with nary an example of what that might be a few centuries into the future, I'm willing to chuck the idea for exactly how unrealistic the thinking is for this man in this story in this century with this society. Basically -- Why would it even "pop into his head," if virtually no one around one either acts in that regard, nor feels anything is amiss in the behavior to begin with?

In fact, I think Julian's reacting and changing at ALL, is exactly what has resulted in our 21st century thinking today. But it has taken society that long to "make it the norm."

I'm very willing to allow Campbell to develop her particular characters in this book based on real life with real time 18th century moors intact. She kept both protagonists' "thinking" where it should have been for a "realistic" historical novel, and I accept that. (There are no shout-outs of "Get a room!" as we tripped over in Foley's "The Duke" in this book.) It's part of my "wondering" about Dina's liking this one. Many readers don't care to "visit" that mode of thinking in their romance "entertainment" (why am I thinking "Outlander" and the "beating" here now?! - LOL!). The fact is the book/characters become very unromantic in their interaction in comparison to what we would expect with our modern day sensibilities and hard won societal changes. I can understand that train of thought, and catch myself doing the same frequently. Then it occurs to me that I probably should not judge those books on one set of guidelines that couldn't possibly have been expected to be followed when they did not yet exist.

Additionally, if we are to readily accept psychologically that Olivia's behavior needed to be adjusted for in order to account for the psychological damage her upbringing caused -- why not Julian's as well? He was only acting as was expected and psychologically imposed on him from his upbringing in he same way -- both negative as they stand today. I believe we are only empathizing with Olivia in this way because of the obvious "damage" that was ALWAYS expected in her particular situation. Julian's wasn't considered "damage" at the time . . . but we certainly consider it a "damaged" form of influence now, so therefore we chastise his behavior based on our enlightened times (something he doesn't have the benefit of hindsight on).

For me, Julian's behavior was in line with the times, and my modern-day sensibilities with regard to same are superfluous and not applicable for this book. The fact he was even "eventually" able to see the error of his ways without any role model for those historical times, was extraordinary in and of itself. Placed in our world today . . . I believe those same qualities and acceptances by him would have been highly accelerated, if not non-existent.
K.



message 22: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Dina: I'm no help "mindset-wise" with "Claiming the Courtesan," because I haven't read it. I have to get by the "courtesan problem" myself every time! LOL! Danielle is helping me out on this one to consider it again, as I think it may end up more "romantic" than TTD.

"Tempt the Devil" was a struggle in keeping the mindset romantic, true enough, but don't forget . . . I'm also the one that loves Sherry Thomas' "Private Arrangements" Just don't call those bickering, selfish, immature people's story a "romance." I call it "soap opera drama at its best. LOL! ;)
K.



message 23: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (last edited Aug 21, 2009 12:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) K. wrote: "Danielle wrote: ". . . . I know that Julian was a man of his times, but for me I have an issue with double standards in which men can have as much sex as they want without repercussions, and not ha..."

Very good points, K. I guess I can't get past my own issues to be completely sold on Julian. At the end of the day, I like realism, but there are things that I find heroic in characters and things I don't find heroic, and there are lines I can allow characters to cross and some I can't allow them cross. And if the person is an antihero or has some distinctly inheroic traits, I like to see a progression and growth that I didn't see as soon as I would have liked in Julian.




 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) K. wrote: "Dina: I'm no help "mindset-wise" with "Claiming the Courtesan," because I haven't read it. I have to get by the "courtesan problem" myself every time! LOL! Danielle is helping me out on this one..."


--I'm not enlightened enough to read Private Arrangements. I have been convinced to read Not Quite a Husband though.


message 25: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. Fair enough Danielle, and I have to agree, if not on Julian specifically, I certainly agree in principle. (Not to mention you are always fun to debate the nuances with - you little "smarty-pants"! LOL! ;)
K.



message 26: by K. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K. I have "Delicious" on my TBL (listened) to pile Danielle, and I'm hopeful that book has a more "romantic" couple. ST's writing is just so engaging . . . I'd like to see her put the pen to paper in a less dramatic, more "maturely romantic" story for me. I'm sure she has the talent to solidly place her work on my "all time romances" shelf with Ivory. I'll continue to read her stuff and hope for that outcome.
K.




 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) K. wrote: "Fair enough Danielle, and I have to agree, if not on Julian specifically, I certainly agree in principle. (Not to mention you are always fun to debate the nuances with - you little "smarty-pants"!..."

--Me? I know nothing! :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) K. wrote: "Fair enough Danielle, and I have to agree, if not on Julian specifically, I certainly agree in principle. (Not to mention you are always fun to debate the nuances with - you little "smarty-pants"!..."


--It's just a matter of the hot buttons that he hit for me. Everyone has different ones.



message 29: by Angelc (new)

Angelc Great review, Rane!! I really really want to read her first two books. I actually have them but haven't read them yet. This one sounds really good, too!!


message 30: by Rane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rane Angelc wrote: "Great review, Rane!! I really really want to read her first two books. I actually have them but haven't read them yet. This one sounds really good, too!!"

Thank you Angelc! I really just adore Anna Campbell's works, now am looking forward to her next work ;D


message 31: by new_user (new)

new_user I think I'll give this another try one day. I like Anna Campbell, but this felt like CtC Redux or something.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) It's a great book, but for me it doesn't come close to Claiming the Courtesan. That book was magic for me.


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