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To Beguile a Beast

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CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . . Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he's kept suppressed for years begin to awaken. TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . . Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxur CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . . Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he's kept suppressed for years begin to awaken. TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . . Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle . . . and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won't let dust-or a beast of a man-scare her away. TO TAME HIS MOST SECRET DESIRES? Beneath Helen's beautiful façade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn't back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen's secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find-a happy ever after.


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CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . . Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he's kept suppressed for years begin to awaken. TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . . Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxur CAN A WOUNDED BEAST . . . Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he's kept suppressed for years begin to awaken. TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST . . . Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle . . . and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won't let dust-or a beast of a man-scare her away. TO TAME HIS MOST SECRET DESIRES? Beneath Helen's beautiful façade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn't back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen's secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find-a happy ever after.

30 review for To Beguile a Beast

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jilly

    This is a HR retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Yes, there was a library. Bitches love libraries. I liked it overall, but there were two problems. First is that they got together waaaayyyy too quickly. It didn't simmer at all. One day, he is angry and ranting about her and her kids showing up and she is freaked out by his horrific scarred face, the next day he is wearing a "World's Greatest Dad" shirt and they are all over each other. I just didn't feel it so soon. See? This bear gets it. Just sl This is a HR retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Yes, there was a library. Bitches love libraries. I liked it overall, but there were two problems. First is that they got together waaaayyyy too quickly. It didn't simmer at all. One day, he is angry and ranting about her and her kids showing up and she is freaked out by his horrific scarred face, the next day he is wearing a "World's Greatest Dad" shirt and they are all over each other. I just didn't feel it so soon. See? This bear gets it. Just slow it down, man. It's not a race. The second problem is kinda funny. But, I have to put the quotes in a spoiler tag because they are all about the wording used for sexy times. You all know what I mean.... when the wording makes you laugh and absolutely kills any heat that might have otherwise been going on... Don't read if you're under 18. Or do. I don't care. I'm not your mother. (view spoiler)[Hehe... check out these beautiful, sexy quotes from the book: Book:"He watched her, diddling her pearl and humping her hard..." My brain: Book: "She reached carefully, tenderly, into his breeches and found his stones. heavy in their sac. They were like eggs in the softest of leather bags, and she rolled them gently in her hand..." My brain (while giggling): (hide spoiler)] um... yeah... so that was the equivalent of this: O.M.G.. Granny panties with actual grannies on them? I'm sorry, but this review is over. I need to get to amazon NOW!! (My husband is soooo lucky!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    To Beguile a Beast takes a tried and true romance theme and does it justice. In this case, the Beauty is the fugitive mistress of a powerful duke, who takes her children to start a new life, not as a kept woman, but as a legitimate housekeeper. The Beast is a naturalist who was tortured by Indians in the colonies, as the result of an ambush against British soldiers. The writing flows and compels. The romance not only involves Helen and Alistair, but also the bond that develops between Alistair a To Beguile a Beast takes a tried and true romance theme and does it justice. In this case, the Beauty is the fugitive mistress of a powerful duke, who takes her children to start a new life, not as a kept woman, but as a legitimate housekeeper. The Beast is a naturalist who was tortured by Indians in the colonies, as the result of an ambush against British soldiers. The writing flows and compels. The romance not only involves Helen and Alistair, but also the bond that develops between Alistair and Helen's troubled children, Jamie and Abigail. I guess I am just getting older, but lately I really appreciate the idea of a hero or heroine who has children meeting someone who embraces those kids and makes them part of their life in all ways, founding their own parental bond. In this case, I loved how this relationship develops between Alistair and the children. I felt bad for them that their father wasn't really a dad to them at all. He didn't even talk to them or acknowledge them, although they didn't lack materially. They were just possessions to him. Whereas Alistair does spend time with the kids and genuinely cares about them. As much as I liked this book, I didn't love it as much as The Raven Prince. I think the subject matter might have been a bit more dicey for me. I don't really like the idea that Helen willingly committed adultery with a married man. I understand her actions were those of a young, starstruck girl-woman, and she fully accepted the accountability for those actions. I didn't judge her for her actions, I just felt disappointed for the choices she made, but probably nowhere as near as she did. She threw away a lot for a man that wasn't worthy of her love, and paid the price for it. The one good thing that came out of it was her children, and she decides to make tomorrow a different and better day for herself and her children, which definitely shows character in a person. From a creativity standpoint, it makes sense to have a story for once about the 'other woman', but my deep-seated issues with infidelity give me a bit of heartburn about that. I'm never going to take that subject likely, so I do always feel a twinge when I read a book and the characters go down that road, past or present. Conversely, I didn't like that Alistair gave Helen such a hard time about her past when he finds out. I mean, he really rubs it in her face. Considering that his past is hardly lily white (a man who admittedly has slept with prostitutes (another ick factor for me), it was sort of like kicking a puppy. I know part of his issues were jealousy because he will never be a duke or have the powerful, accepted status in society as a duke. And also, his issues with his disfigurement. For all my disappointment with him, I did love how he rallies around Helen in her time of need and works to ensure the safety of her children from their father. The other issue I had was I guess I expected the duke to be a bit more sinister. I was waiting for other shoe to fall, and when it does, it's a bit of a thunk instead of a bang. Helen seemed very afraid of the duke, and when he appears, he doesn't have even a smidge of the presence that Alistair has. Stylistically, I would have liked a little more Gothic flavor here. The book sort of begs for it, really. I suppose it's just my melodramatic/drama hound nature. I just felt like I wanted something deeper, more intense in this novel. Maybe more angst and flair than it had. Having said that, I do like the crafty way that Alistair deals with the situation. I love a hero who has as much or even more brains than brawn and uses them to solve a tricky problem. Despite my misgivings, I found this to be a pleasant, highly enjoyable read. The powerful passion between Helen and Alistair made for good reading, along with the relationship between Alistair and the kids. As before, Hoyt sets an authentic historical tone that really works for this reader. The story of the beast finding love with the beauty will always be timeless and beloved to this die-hard fairy tale lover, and Elizabeth Hoyt gives it a different spin and gives it justice overall.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Daniella

    Things were going on perfectly until Alistair called the heroine a "whore" after learning about her past. I'm sorry, but my heart just broke at that point. That was just so disrespectful and nothing in the world could make me forgive him for such cruelty. Hello? Helen had lain with ONE MAN. A MAN THAT SHE LOVED. I think that hardly qualifies as whoring. God. How could you be so cruel, Alistair??????? Isaac from The Ice Princess handled the situation better and gave Coral her due respect. FUCK YO Things were going on perfectly until Alistair called the heroine a "whore" after learning about her past. I'm sorry, but my heart just broke at that point. That was just so disrespectful and nothing in the world could make me forgive him for such cruelty. Hello? Helen had lain with ONE MAN. A MAN THAT SHE LOVED. I think that hardly qualifies as whoring. God. How could you be so cruel, Alistair??????? Isaac from The Ice Princess handled the situation better and gave Coral her due respect. FUCK YOU AND YOUR HYPOCRISY, ALISTAIR. YOU'RE RIGHT; YOU DONT DESERVE HELEN. Can't you see that the poor girl has suffered enough? UGH

  4. 5 out of 5

    Duchess Nicole

    The Beauty and the Beast theme always captivates me. I think the only one I like more is a Cinderella story. But there's so much to be said for a strong man who lives a tragic life until something beautiful comes along to make him live again. I think the metaphor is even more important than the ugly/pretty trope. You shouldn't live only for aesthetic beauty. There is so much more to a person than their looks. And Alistair learns that just because Helen is beautiful doesn't mean that she cares th The Beauty and the Beast theme always captivates me. I think the only one I like more is a Cinderella story. But there's so much to be said for a strong man who lives a tragic life until something beautiful comes along to make him live again. I think the metaphor is even more important than the ugly/pretty trope. You shouldn't live only for aesthetic beauty. There is so much more to a person than their looks. And Alistair learns that just because Helen is beautiful doesn't mean that she cares that he is scarred...vice versa, just because Alistair is a horribly scarred recluse doesn't mean he is ugly. They both deal with prejudices in the end. And this book really pushes the scars into the background until they are just a part of how the reader sees him, not a part of who he is. MY SYNOPSIS Alistair is the man who went to the Colonies on a mission for the king...not as a military man, but as a peaceful naturalist, sent to discover all he can about the fauna and flora of America. In a twist of irony, he is also the man that the Native Americans were the most violent with, cutting off fingers, burning his face, and gouging out an eye. He was rescued, of course, but upon his return to England, he locked himself away in his castle, continuing a solitary mission of cataloging plants and animals for the King. A few trips into town in which his face casued children to scream and ladies to faint was enough to convince him that his dog was the only being in the world that he wanted around. Helen has been the mistress of the Duke of Lister. We met her To Seduce a Sinner, while Melisande was walking in the park. Helen is a quiet, gentle woman, shunned by society for her status as a mistress. She was a tenderhearted seventeen year old daughter of a country doctor when the Duke swept her off her feet. Now, she is somewhat jaded, approaching her third decade, and has not one, but two children to love, cherish, and keep safe. That's why Helen has decided to get away from the Duke, and when this book opens, she is on her way to the reclusive Alistair Monroe's house on the advice of Melisande, a short acquaintance but true friend. When the trio of bedraggled and homeless arrive on a dark and stormy night on Alistair's doorstep, he tries to turn them away, but Helen is steadfast and desperate, and somehow wheedles her way into his house as his new housekeeper. The attraction between these two is more animalistic than romantic, and builds fairly slowly. But there is much more going on than simple attraction, for the Duke of Lister sees his woman and children as property...and no one leaves without his permission. In the wild, open spaces of Scotland, this tiny family wheedles their way in to Alistair's heart...a young boy with a zest for life and everything in it, a young girl who is not only quiet and shy, but in need of some strong affection and acceptance, and a beautiful but proud fallen woman with empathy and courage in her eyes. MY THOUGHTS I really connected with Helen in this story, and that was unexpected for me. I assumed that after all of my adventures in Historical Romance, the Mistresses of the powerful men of London were beneath my notice, and always the nuisance and point of jealousy for my heroines. But I actually felt for Helen. She is a woman who made a mistake as a young girl...seventeen years old an thinks she's in love. She runs away from her family (who promptly disown her) and begins to live a life that is no longer her own. But in this day and age, after she made that choice, there was little that she could do about her situation. She was forever an object of lust for men and of scorn for women. “But Sir Alistair’s gaze was different. Those other men had looked at her with lust or speculation or crass curiosity, but they hadn’t been looking at her really. They’d been looking at what she represented to them: physical love or a valuable prize or an object to be gawked at. When Sir Alistair stared at her, well, he was looking at her.” For those who follow my reviews, you'll know that I tend to love stories with kids. This particular book was so well done in regard to the little boy and girl. Abigail, in particular, played a large part in the story with Alistair. She simply stole his heart. She also has a few scenes in which we get her POV, so that was great. There is one part of the story that kept this from being a five star read for me, and that involves some disrespect that Alistair showed Helen regarding her previous life as Lister's mistress. The word whore shouldn't be something that the hero gets to call his love interest, but especially not without some repercussion...an most definitely not without some mother loving groveling. I wanted some groveling!!! NO star for you! Despite that grump, the rest of the story was wonderful. They are secluded for the most part from the outside world, so the focus is really on just those involved in the story, and we get to see each character change is some big ways and some small ways. So far, each book in this series has been fantastic, but I've come to expect no less from Elizabeth Hoyt.

  5. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    I picked up this book because Elizabeth Hoyt is a prolific writer that I have never read and decided to try. In reading the synopsis I thought the book would be about a lady running from danger, taking a job far below her as a housekeeper to keep herself safe. What I found in reading was a woman who had spent her life as a wealthy man's mistress, living a pampered life while bearing two illegitimate children. When he loses interest in her, she decides to run away with the children, change her c I picked up this book because Elizabeth Hoyt is a prolific writer that I have never read and decided to try. In reading the synopsis I thought the book would be about a lady running from danger, taking a job far below her as a housekeeper to keep herself safe. What I found in reading was a woman who had spent her life as a wealthy man's mistress, living a pampered life while bearing two illegitimate children. When he loses interest in her, she decides to run away with the children, change her courtesan lifestyle and start a new life. She takes a job as a housekeeper at a castle in Scotland and very soon after falls into bed with her boss, starting another torrid affair. Hmmm... I'm supposed to believe she's changing? She claims to love her children so very much but the repercussions of her lifestyle doesn't affect them? Character integrity, even when one has made mistakes, is important, especially when it is CLAIMED! I understand from the overall ratings that many people loved this book but I was totally disgusted. It didn't work on many, many levels.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fani *loves angst*

    Reread Dec 2020: It didn't stand the test of time unfortunately, but it was not a disappointment either. Just didn't love it as much as the first time. I felt that Helen overcame the shock of Alistair's looks too fast and didn't enjoy the subplot with the duke and the kids which took the focus away from the budding romance. Would rate it with 4 stars now, but I won't change my original rating for so small a difference. Original review: Lovers of Beauty and the Beast tale, will certainly love this e Reread Dec 2020: It didn't stand the test of time unfortunately, but it was not a disappointment either. Just didn't love it as much as the first time. I felt that Helen overcame the shock of Alistair's looks too fast and didn't enjoy the subplot with the duke and the kids which took the focus away from the budding romance. Would rate it with 4 stars now, but I won't change my original rating for so small a difference. Original review: Lovers of Beauty and the Beast tale, will certainly love this exceptional romance. Helen, former mistress of the Duke of Listair, has decided to leave her long-time protector taking their children away with her. But knowing how reluctant the duke is at being deprived of 'things' he believes he owns even if he doesn't care for them, she has to hide as far away from him as she can. Which brings her to Sir Alistair's remote castle in Scotland. Sir Alistair is a naturalist. He is also one of the survivors of the Spinner's Falls massacre. However, though he may have managed to survive, he stills has the signs on his face to remind him of it; his eye is missing, and one side of his face is badly scarred. Living as a recluse in his old castle, the least he feels he needs is an extremely beautiful housekeeper with two young children. But Helen is determined to stay, bring back the old castle to life and tame its beastly lord. The longer she stays in the castle however, the more she realizes that behind Alistair's gruff facade hides a sensitive, tender man; a man worth fighting for. She not only becomes accustomed to his scarred face, but starts to feel attracted to him: his strong body, his quick mind, his brave demeanor. Alistair, can't believe that a beautiful woman as Helen would want to spend her life with him. He's not however going to throw away this rare gift and enjoy her for as much as she wants him. He's going to deal with her leaving him when the time comes... Of course Listair is closer than Helen imagined and soon they have to fight for the children. Alistair also tries to find the man who betrayed them in Spinner's Falls, but this story is left much more in the background than in the previous books. A most heartwarming story between two good, decent people who have had a most difficult past. I'm not usually fond of courtesan heroines, but in this case, I couldn't have cared less. Helen, as it turns out, has been Listair's mistress since she became an adult; he was her one and only lover all those years. I could easily get past this and come to care for her. She was a strong woman who made some mistakes in her past, but had the determination to put it behind her and fight for a better future for her and her children. Alistair was a good, solid man, realistically vulnerable when it came to his relations with women and it was past time he found his HEA. I rooted for both of them and both feared and anticipated the time their story would come to an end. This one goes straight to my keepers shelf.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie (jjmachshev)

    Yet another heart-wrenching tale of a tortured (literally) hero that had me wavering between tears and smiles. Elizabeth Hoyt's latest 'Four Soldiers' tale, "To Beguile a Beast", was one of the more touching and VERY romantic stories I've read this year. My emotions are still careening about but as long as I remember the ending I can still smile. Helen has finally made her escape from the cold and arrogant Duke of Lister. After he seduced her as a young girl and she bore him two children, she fin Yet another heart-wrenching tale of a tortured (literally) hero that had me wavering between tears and smiles. Elizabeth Hoyt's latest 'Four Soldiers' tale, "To Beguile a Beast", was one of the more touching and VERY romantic stories I've read this year. My emotions are still careening about but as long as I remember the ending I can still smile. Helen has finally made her escape from the cold and arrogant Duke of Lister. After he seduced her as a young girl and she bore him two children, she finally realized that he cared for none of them more than any other 'object' he owned. Her flight has led her to the home of Sir Alistair Munroe to be his housekeeper (and never mind that he doesn't particularly WANT a housekeeper) and as this deserted castle in the wilds of Scotland is a perfect place to hide, she has no intention of leaving...no matter how frightening or scarred or unpleasant Sir Munroe is! Alistair is sure this beautiful woman has appeared at his remote home with her children just to tempt him. He's well aware of just how frightening his countenance is...women and children scream at his appearance; so he's managed to become content living alone in his castle. But somehow, Helen just won't leave! And before long, Alistair's home is cleaner, he's come to care for the children and Helen...is his Helen of Troy. But what will he do when he learns the truth of Helen's background? And when the Duke of Lister appears? Why do I always seem to find the 'crying' books at the same time? I swear between this one and Jennifer Ashley's latest, my eyes may never be the same. But oh, how wonderfully romantic these stories are. The 'Four Soldiers' series by Hoyt is extra-entertaining as each book contains a story within a story. Along with the main romance, each book tells a fairy tale of a soldier returning from war who finds his love in an unusual way. In "To Beguile a Beast" the fairy tale concerns a man who can't lie and an ensorcelled princess trapped in the body of a beast. The fairy tale is told in short snippets at the beginning of each chapter and generally shadows the action in the main romance. Hoyt does a great job of combining passion and love and the sexual tension between the hero and heroine is hot, hot, hot. Their relationship unfolds gradually through small steps of trust and caring actions. There's also a running story of soldiers betrayed by a spy and this is how the heroes in the main romances were scarred, either mentally or physically or both, in different ways. The true romance is how the heroines come to love and trust our heroes in spite of, and perhaps because of, these scars. A truly feel-good romance with enough steam to heat your windows. I enjoyed every page of "To Beguile a Beast" and can hardly wait for "To Desire a Devil" which is scheduled for release in Nov09.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah MacLean

    wow. elizabeth hoyt, you've done it again. LOVED it. wow. elizabeth hoyt, you've done it again. LOVED it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pamela(AllHoney)

    The third book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series by Elizabeth Hoyt. My favorite of the series so far but I've really enjoyed them all immensely. Just one more to go. This one has a beauty and the beast theme. Alistair, the hero, is not a macho alpha type. He's a scarred recluse devoting his life to research and studies. Then a lovely woman, Helen, barges into his life to be his housekeeper. This is no light fluffy romance (which I do love) but a heart-wrenching and touching romance betwe The third book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series by Elizabeth Hoyt. My favorite of the series so far but I've really enjoyed them all immensely. Just one more to go. This one has a beauty and the beast theme. Alistair, the hero, is not a macho alpha type. He's a scarred recluse devoting his life to research and studies. Then a lovely woman, Helen, barges into his life to be his housekeeper. This is no light fluffy romance (which I do love) but a heart-wrenching and touching romance between two lost souls who deserve to be loved. She leaned forward, her gaze so intense that Helen wanted to look away. “And I love him more for it. Do you hear me? He was a good man when he went away to the Colonies. He came back an extraordinary man. So many think that bravery is a single act of valor in a field of battle—no forethought, no contemplation of the consequences. An act over in a second or a minute or two at most. What my brother has done, is doing now, is to live with his burden for years. He knows that he will spend the rest of his life with it. And he soldiers on.” She sat back in her chair, her gaze still locked with Helen’s. “That to my mind is what real bravery is.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rane

    I loved it, it hooked me in and didn't let go until the very last page. Although, I was a little disappointed it didn't focus a little more on the traitor like the other books and Alistair trauma with living with his scars, it did show him moving on and accepting himself and Helen. I loved it, it hooked me in and didn't let go until the very last page. Although, I was a little disappointed it didn't focus a little more on the traitor like the other books and Alistair trauma with living with his scars, it did show him moving on and accepting himself and Helen.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Penny Watson

    To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt When I first read Elizabeth Hoyt's debut novel, The Raven Prince, I was amazed. The last time I read a debut novel and thought, Holy Mother, here's a new author I am already addicted to, was the book Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. (If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!) The Raven Prince had a preposterous premise for the book, but nevertheless, Hoyt's writing is so fabulous that I truly didn't care. I absolutely fell in love with her "hero"- and I use To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt When I first read Elizabeth Hoyt's debut novel, The Raven Prince, I was amazed. The last time I read a debut novel and thought, Holy Mother, here's a new author I am already addicted to, was the book Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. (If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!) The Raven Prince had a preposterous premise for the book, but nevertheless, Hoyt's writing is so fabulous that I truly didn't care. I absolutely fell in love with her "hero"- and I use that term very loosely, because Hoyt's heroes are flawed men, warts and all. The hero of To Beguile A Beast is no exception. Sir Alistair Munroe is horribly disfigured from an extremely traumatic wartime incident. He is cranky, blunt, irritable, and rude. I love him! And luckily for him, eventually beautiful Helen Fitzwilliam does, too. Hoyt's sex scenes are among the best written by a historical romance author...very earthy, lusty, and real. No flowery prose or formalities here. You get a very real sense of the characters' physical attraction, and that is not so common in historical romance. The underlying message about physical beauty is a theme I really like...Helen was chosen as a mistress by an arrogant duke because of her beauty, but it means nothing to her since he treats her as a possession. Alistair is so disfigured that small children scream in horror when they see him. And yet Helen and her children learn to love the man he is inside...filled with honor, integrity, and intellectual curiosity. There is nothing I like better than the redemption of a broken man through the love of a good woman (Sydnam in Balogh's Simply Love, Zsadist in JR Ward's Lover Awakened, Zarek in Kenyon's Dance With The Devil). Watching the transformation of Alistair's crumbling castle and ruined life, into a home filled with love, and a future filled with hope, is a wonderful journey for the reader. I absolutely adored this book, and I know that it will be re-read many times in the future. Thank you Elizabeth Hoyt for creating another masterpiece for romance lovers everywhere. Grade: A+ Penelope

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessa ♥dhanger♥ EvilDarkSide

    I really loved this book. It was nice to get away from your basic mundane romances with the same story lines. This was different and refreshing and not at all 'mainstream'. The hero and heroine are in their early 30's. No young first time love in this story. The hero, Alistair, is scarred, reclusive and a loner. Scarred/tortured heroes have become quite a popular genre, but many of those heroes have scars that can be covered if needed or even easily overlooked. That is not the case with Alistair I really loved this book. It was nice to get away from your basic mundane romances with the same story lines. This was different and refreshing and not at all 'mainstream'. The hero and heroine are in their early 30's. No young first time love in this story. The hero, Alistair, is scarred, reclusive and a loner. Scarred/tortured heroes have become quite a popular genre, but many of those heroes have scars that can be covered if needed or even easily overlooked. That is not the case with Alistair Munroe. He is truly disfigured...beyond covering, beyond subtle. He doesn't believe that anyone could get past his hideous scars and see the man he truly is, so he doesn't even try.... “It does him no good to gloss over it, to pretend that the scars aren’t there or that he’s a normal man. He is what he is. So many think that bravery is a single act of valor in a field of battle—no forethought, no contemplation of the consequences. An act over in a second or a minute or two at most. What he has done, is doing now, is to live with his burden for years. He knows that he will spend the rest of his life with it. And he soldiers on. That to my mind is what real bravery is.” Then Helen comes along with her two kids in tow and the three of them proceed to turn his world upside down. They slowly bring out the tenderness and love in Alistair and in return he unwittingly shows them what a family truly is. This was a story of true love. The kind of love that can look beyond the surface, dig deep and grab a piece of your soul. Side note: On a less serious note...the love scenes were beyond HOT! Ms. Hoyt knows how to write some truly steamy moments. A few of them bordered close to erotica standards. Just FYI!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    4-4.5 stars. Great "Beauty and the Beast"-themed historical romance with interesting, flawed characters and a very clever resolution to the suspense element. Really, this story was very well done, and the sexytimes were smokin' hot. As always, I loved Elizabeth Hoyt's trademark fairy tale story that unfolded over the course of the book in the chapter introductions. This book is my favorite of the Four Soldiers series thus far. A couple of quibbles kept me from giving it five stars, but that may v 4-4.5 stars. Great "Beauty and the Beast"-themed historical romance with interesting, flawed characters and a very clever resolution to the suspense element. Really, this story was very well done, and the sexytimes were smokin' hot. As always, I loved Elizabeth Hoyt's trademark fairy tale story that unfolded over the course of the book in the chapter introductions. This book is my favorite of the Four Soldiers series thus far. A couple of quibbles kept me from giving it five stars, but that may very well change upon later reflection in the same way I gave Hoyt's The Raven Prince five stars a few weeks after rating it a 4.5. (view spoiler)[When Helen told Alistair she loved him but couldn't live with him like that and he said nothing in response, that crushed me. He let her leave - just like that. I don't think the reason was fleshed out clearly enough for why he didn't think he could - or why he didn't want to - make a commitment to her. I also cringed when, in relation to Helen's being the duke's mistress, Alistair used the phrase "whoring yourself out" (or a variation of it) a few times. I just found it so offensive. While I'm aware her "fallen woman" status probably came as a shock, it just struck me as strange when he and Helen had already been intimate more than once at that point. I mean, would she not already be a teensy bit beyond the pale for sleeping with Alistair? I know he was trying to draw a distinction between being paid as a companion versus not, but I dunno...it just came off wrong and offensive in my eyes. (hide spoiler)] Otherwise, a fine read with great characters, from the main couple to the children to the villainous type.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    I don't normally start with the third in a series, but I got the book on loan from a friend (a signed copy, no less) so I set my scruples aside for this one. I can't say that I'm glad I did, but I do say I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's unfortunate that the publisher chose a title designed to invoke the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Yeah, the lead guy is scarred and something of a recluse (hey, if you were visibly scarred and could afford to withdraw from the staring eyes of society wouldn' I don't normally start with the third in a series, but I got the book on loan from a friend (a signed copy, no less) so I set my scruples aside for this one. I can't say that I'm glad I did, but I do say I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's unfortunate that the publisher chose a title designed to invoke the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Yeah, the lead guy is scarred and something of a recluse (hey, if you were visibly scarred and could afford to withdraw from the staring eyes of society wouldn't you?), but the resemblance to the classic tale ends there (thankfully). What made this book work for me were the two main characters. Alistair is essentially kind and finds himself as enmeshed in Helen's children as he is in her. There are some genuinely touching moments in the interactions with the children and not in any way forced or saccharine. That's an astonishing achievement, really, as it's really hard to involve children without going melancholy--particularly in a story where the heroine is fleeing the father of her children in order to maintain custody of them. It even works that both characters are dealing with consequences of their past that they really cannot "fix". Which means they understand one another when they make the conscious choice to accept consequences and move forward. It's maybe a bit harder for Alistair, as his wounds are inescapably visible, but they nevertheless share a common ground, here, that allows each to bridge the pain of the other and form a real connection that seems solid. But the heart of what made the book work, for me, is all on Alistair. It turns out (and I'm surprised I did not know this) that I'm deeply attracted to the humbled alpha as a romantic lead. It's unclear if Alistair has always been this way (and I suspect he has, given some hints of his background) or if it was the result of his injury and subsequent acclimatization to it, but he is strong and determined, but in a way that is focused outside of himself and his own wants and needs. It doesn't hurt that the emotional climax of the book is him overcoming the one selfishness he has allowed himself. This was masterfully, even poetically, done. Two things keep this from being a complete win for Hoyt, though. First, the villain is absolutely impossible to believe. This isn't a spoiler as we get Duke Lister's viewpoint early in the novel so I'm going to make this one explicit: an 18th century Duke who is determined to "keep" (i.e. control) a mistress he no longer sees regularly is completely ridiculous--and I mean that in it's basest sense (as worthy of ridicule). Lister would be laughed at by his family, his peers, and probably his servants as well for an obsession that is, frankly, psychotic. Second, I have a really hard time with historical romances where potential pregnancy doesn't even cross the heroine's mind. Helen has two kids, for heaven's sake! It's not like she doesn't know, intimately, the potential consequences of sex (and the life-altering nature of those consequences). I'm sorry, but I can't buy that it never enters her head, before, during, or after. This may be a convention of the historical romance genre, but it's a silly one and breaks some of my immersion in the story. Hoyt otherwise does well with evoking the era (though that may be because the bulk of the novel happens in an isolated Scottish castle), so I found this birth-control-blindness highly distracting. Anyway, those two quibbles aside, I deeply enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the first two in the series. I hope they hold up to the quality of this one. Oh, and to make it explicit, I do not recommend starting with this one. There's enough plot hangover from the others that I did feel the lack of having read them. A note about steamy: This is at the high end of my steam tolerance. There's a good half-dozen explicit scenes of middling length (two to four pages). I did mean good, mind you, but they're more than I'm used to. Not quite high enough that I'd avoid it, but close.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jane Stewart

    I think the audiobook might be better than the book. I adored the sex scenes. STORY BRIEF: Helen has been mistress to a Duke for 14 years and has two children from him. She fears he may take her children away, so she flees with the children. A friend suggests she become a housekeeper to Alistair in Scotland. Alistair was captured and tortured after a battle in the colonies. He lost an eye and his face was burned. He now lives in seclusion. He has no servants to clean and his castle looks like it. I think the audiobook might be better than the book. I adored the sex scenes. STORY BRIEF: Helen has been mistress to a Duke for 14 years and has two children from him. She fears he may take her children away, so she flees with the children. A friend suggests she become a housekeeper to Alistair in Scotland. Alistair was captured and tortured after a battle in the colonies. He lost an eye and his face was burned. He now lives in seclusion. He has no servants to clean and his castle looks like it. He doesn’t want Helen to stay, but she stays anyway. REVIEWER’S OPINION: The narrator Anne Flosnik has a British accent and did a wonderful job. I don’t know if it’s the author’s writing or the narrator’s reading, but I loved the sex scenes. I loved Alistair’s words during their first time together. He describes things in a seemingly detached scientific manner, yet lustfully. I laughed at the way I was carried away. Other sex scenes had me smiling as well. Probably the best part is Alistair’s desire for Helen. One of my Goodreads friends gave the book 4 stars but felt the author “tried too hard on the love scenes, making them feel overly dramatic.” http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... Well there you have it. We are so unpredictable in our emotional reactions. So you may not be as carried away as I was. I enjoyed the relationship development. We see how they interact and warm to each other. During the first 2/3 of the book I was thinking 5 stars. But the last third brought it down a little. It became more like other romance novels - bad guys, good guys, suspense, and saving the day. Unfortunately the couple separates for a reason I didn’t like - one of my pet peeves - “I want you but I fear you might leave me in the future.” But the first main part of the story was so good that it was worth it. It’s a feel good story. This is book 3 in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series. There is a mystery that flows through all the books which I believe will be solved in book 4. There was a British traitor who caused Alistair and other men to be taken prisoner and tortured seven years ago. Alistair is searching for the traitor. It is not resolved in this book which initially bothered me. But after I figured out it goes through all four books, I didn’t mind as much. It’s a secondary plot. UNRELATED FAIRY TALE: In many of the author’s books (maybe all, I’m not sure) she has a short fairy tale unrelated to the main story that she divides into short paragraphs. She puts one paragraph at the beginning of each chapter of the book. In the physical books, I skipped those. In the audiobook I couldn’t skip them. I was annoyed at having to listen to them. They took me out of the story. They felt like TV commercial interruptions. They caused me “a little bit of stress” trying to remember what happened in the previous excerpt. I wish she wouldn’t do this. DATA: Unabridged audiobook reading time: 9 hrs and 8 mins. Swearing language: mild. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: 6. Setting: 1765 Scotland and England. Book copyright: 2009. Genre: historical romance. OTHER BOOKS: I’ve reviewed the following Elizabeth Hoyt books. Dates are copyright dates. PRINCES TRILOGY series: 5 stars. The Raven Prince. 2006 4 stars. The Leopard Prince. 2007 1 star. The Serpent Prince. 2007 LEGEND OF THE FOUR SOLDIERS series: 2 stars. To Seduce a Sinner. 2008 4 stars. To Beguile a Beast. 2009

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wollstonecrafthomegirl

    This is one of my favourite Hoyt's. I just re-read (having read #2 in the series for the first time a couple of days ago). It improved on a second reading. I love me an injured hero and Munroe fits the dark, brooding, scarred, Scottish bill. He's just lovely. He opens up to Helen and her children, despite being scared they'll eventually leave. He's a bit too good to be true (until the very end, when he's a bit of an idiot, but Hoyt obviously felt she needed some last minute drama). Then there's This is one of my favourite Hoyt's. I just re-read (having read #2 in the series for the first time a couple of days ago). It improved on a second reading. I love me an injured hero and Munroe fits the dark, brooding, scarred, Scottish bill. He's just lovely. He opens up to Helen and her children, despite being scared they'll eventually leave. He's a bit too good to be true (until the very end, when he's a bit of an idiot, but Hoyt obviously felt she needed some last minute drama). Then there's Helen. I lofffff Helen. A woman in difficult circumstances who decides to change her life. She's determined and human and a bit scared but she Gets On With It and finds that she's more than a match for Munroe's grumpy brilliance. Together they are the linchpins of a charming, well-paced romance with some off the charts sex scenes.The kids (a risky element in a romance, in my opinion) work well. They don't feel like token additions designed to draw the h/h closer together. Abigail, in particular, is her own little character. The sections taken from her point of view are really poignant; Hoyt captures a moment in childhood when you're not quite a small child nor an adolescent. Abigail falls in love with Munroe as well but in a different way to her mother - she finally has a father she can respect and admire who loves her in return. Crucial to the success of the story is how little time is spent on the Spinner's Falls mystery. It's an afterthought on the periphery and the book is better for it, although one senses that Hoyt felt obliged to include it in some way and it is, almost literally, tacked on to the end. Overall, this is a really, really well done book and I highly recommend it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves

    I am quite partial to the ‘beauty and the beast’ themes. A scarred and disabled H with a tortured (body and soul) backstory- and I am easily hooked and reeled in. But I was not very keen on a 'mistress' h but she and her story grew on me. Her kids were amazing and steal your heart from right under you, especially the daughter- Abigail. The skirmishes and sex are exciting and hot respectively, as the unwanted housekeeper not only cleans up his dusty castle but lights his (long celibate) fires as w I am quite partial to the ‘beauty and the beast’ themes. A scarred and disabled H with a tortured (body and soul) backstory- and I am easily hooked and reeled in. But I was not very keen on a 'mistress' h but she and her story grew on me. Her kids were amazing and steal your heart from right under you, especially the daughter- Abigail. The skirmishes and sex are exciting and hot respectively, as the unwanted housekeeper not only cleans up his dusty castle but lights his (long celibate) fires as well. The damaged H who was doing so well in his sullen-beast-but-can-be-tamed role soon proves that the damage extended to his cranium as well. So he likes enjoying the fringe benefits of bedding his beauteous housekeeper, but when she is revealed as the former mistress of a duke, he turns up his nose at her and calls her a ‘whore’.*smh* He redeems somewhat by helping her recover her abducted kids, but he flounders again by letting the h walk away by not responding to her declaration of love. I felt this part was not done well as the conflict of his commitment-phobia is stretched a bit thin here. How can he believe she would not stay with him, when she has proved again and again her love and acceptance- of his disfigurement, his decrepit home and his isolated lifestyle.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Morgan & Many Books

    3 Stars because WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LEMON?!?!?! No but seriously, this was lovely and made me happy and slightly redeemed the, in my opinion, dreadful trope of beauty and the beast love stories. I don't think I've ever explained why I don't like this trope but sufficed to say I find the fetishization of disfigurement juxtaposed by beatific beauteous beautifulness... slightly unnerving. Here, however, it actually didn't feel very tropey because A) No Kidnapping = NO Stockholme Syndrome, and B) " 3 Stars because WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LEMON?!?!?! No but seriously, this was lovely and made me happy and slightly redeemed the, in my opinion, dreadful trope of beauty and the beast love stories. I don't think I've ever explained why I don't like this trope but sufficed to say I find the fetishization of disfigurement juxtaposed by beatific beauteous beautifulness... slightly unnerving. Here, however, it actually didn't feel very tropey because A) No Kidnapping = NO Stockholme Syndrome, and B) "No Pottery Was Smashed By A Duke in this Book" because #ManBabies (ahem, The Beast of Beswick). What I mean by this is that, Helen is a mature, fully grown woman and Alistair is a mature, fully grown man. While Alistair is reclusive, and albeit lonely, he lives with and has recovered from the residual trauma of being tortured in the colonies. He doesn't bemoan his plight, but simply lives with it though he certainly isn't leading a fulfilling life. When he finally recounts his experiences it isn't some emotional explosion but quietly and painfully recited because Alistair has been living with the memory for seven-ish years. Helen was a strong and consistent mother-of-two who grasped the bull by the horns and takes charge of her ramshackle life. I liked that Alistair wasn't anyone noble, but simply a naturalist. I liked that his sister was gray haired, harsh, and loving. I liked that Helen was a longtime mistress with illegitmate children and Alistair was upset by it (initially). I liked that the children weren't annoying but neither were they idyllic versions of children. I liked the puppy (BUT DID NOT LIKE THAT LADY GREY DIED). I appreciated this book. And I think I needed to read this book. However, my gripes were: the length of time that passes (it all happens far too fast and I ALWAYS find that irksome), the anti-climactic ending, and... The lemon. Like I get that this is a totally legitmate contraceptive but there are sexier contraceptives that were being used at the time that I can think of. Goat intestine as condoms for instance, much sexier to read about than a lemon half being used as a douche. Or surely a sponge and vinegar makes more sense since HR readers will likely have come across this before? I say this because: Did Elizabeth Hoyt know what lemons looked like after being shipped abroad prior to the Industrial Revolution when she came up with this? Because no orangerie as a nearby source was mentioned, so I am assuming the tiny town nearby where Alistair buys it from imported that lemon. SO that lemon would have been sad. And old. AND THAT'S RIGHT! half of it was lodged up in there to block all the whatsits from getting into the you-know and makin' the babies. It might be a natural spermicide but I ask you, readers... At What Cost? What happened to the lemon after? How did they get it out...Who got it out? Where did they put it after? These questions haunt me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Verity

    After reading TBAB’s preview in the mediocre ‘To Seduce A Sinner’, I had sky-high hopes, ‘cuz it has all the much-loved ingredients : heart-warming Beauty & the Beast theme, a brutally scarred, reclusive, naturalist hero who lives in a gloomy & dusty castle, a doggie, kids, Scotland setting, what can a gal ask for more ? Suffice it to say that none of EH’s other books have quite lived up to ‘The Raven Prince’ = EH’s ‘Gold Standard’. TBAB is a slow burner, but it fulfills its potential to the ful After reading TBAB’s preview in the mediocre ‘To Seduce A Sinner’, I had sky-high hopes, ‘cuz it has all the much-loved ingredients : heart-warming Beauty & the Beast theme, a brutally scarred, reclusive, naturalist hero who lives in a gloomy & dusty castle, a doggie, kids, Scotland setting, what can a gal ask for more ? Suffice it to say that none of EH’s other books have quite lived up to ‘The Raven Prince’ = EH’s ‘Gold Standard’. TBAB is a slow burner, but it fulfills its potential to the fullest & has become my fav EH to date. It’s a more superior effort than TSAS. I almost never shed tears when reading romance – w/ v. few exceptions – but Hot Damn ! TBAB made me blink my foggy eyes a couple of times hahahaaa…. EH always knows how to tantalize readers just from the 1st chapter & this is no exception. She makes U root for the H/H to get their HEA, against all odds. Boy does she know how to write scorching, passionate luv scenes. Lemon plays a key role here =^2 Helen barges into Alistair’s life & cobweb-decorated castle, equipped w/ non-existent housekeeping & cooking skills. Desperate time calls for desperate measure. The castle is the best hiding place for a Duke’s former mistress on the run. She wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer & proceeds to take matters in her own hands, for once in her v. privileged – but sad - life. Despite Alistair’s initial rude, grumpy, ungentlemanly behavior, Helen is adamant that he needs her, overriding her own despair over the disgustingly filthy state of the castle. The next day she gives up & takes the carriage (that Alistair hires to get rid of her). However, on the way to yet-unknown destination, she decides to go back, this time w/ sustenance (paid outta her own pocket) & much-needed reinforcements (half a dozen hired servants). He’s not destitute. He’s actually quite loaded, thanx to fruitful investments prior to going to American colonies, plus, he’s a successful author of a book on Flora & Fauna. He just never feels the need to hire helpers. Now Helen is threatening his self-imposed isolation. He’s accepted to be content w/ his solitary life, that is, until officious Helen turns his life & castle upside down w/ her mere presence & undeniable beauty. He hasn’t got laid for a while thanx to his scarred face. The last prostitute he went to was repulsed & charged more. Since then, he’s been reduced to assuage his baser needs by other means, if U catch my drift =)~ Proximity breeds love. Helen offers Alistair a ray of hope, when his life has always been devoid of any hope. Companionship has always been a foreign concept to him. He luvs his bossy older sis’ (they have sparkling byplay when she comes to visit, w/ her friend), but the only friendship he cultivates is w/ his elderly doggie, Lady Grey. Alistair is the epitome of ‘his bark is worse than his bite’. Slowly but surely, Helen sees thru’ Alistair’s gruff, sardonic exterior & begins to realize what a beautiful, brave man he is, inside & out, as he shows gentleness (he carries the ol’ doggie up the stairs, knowing she can barely walk), compassion (acquiring a new puppy after the ol’ doggie’s demise, w/ the detriment to his health), remarkable observations of plants & animals (which fascinates Helen’s kids), patience (he takes them fishing) & insight (helping Helen accept her solemn daughter the way she is & telling Helen’s daughter that she is luved by mom). His words to Helen were too harsh & unnecessarily cruel, when Helen’s kids got kidnapped by the evil Duke. He’s reluctant @ 1st to help her out, ‘cuz the Duke is too powerful. Then he realizes that he has no choice but to be her savior, once she’s forced to come clean ‘bout her shady background & identity. But his attempts to get ‘em back (going to London, facing the Duke, inventing a brilliant scheme to regain custody of the kids), his pledge to court Helen & the public romantic proposal in the end just melt my bones. What a knight in dented armor ! Can’t wait for ‘To Desire A Devil’. So glad that the still-ongoing mystery of finding Spinner Falls’ traitor doesn’t overshadow H/H’s conflict & poignant luv story (I like whodunit romance). I was dubious @ 1st, that Helen waited 14 yrs (a helluva long time IMHO) to break free of the Duke’s clutches, but I was won over by her kindness & determination to want more & a better life for herself & her kids. She finally finds it w/ Alistair, even tho’ it takes his older sis’ not-so-gentle nudging to make Alistair see the light, that Helen’s the luv of his life & he’d be idiotic to let her go w/out a fight. Hope we'll see more of them soon.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Really, really enjoyed this one. Mistress stories are intriguing to me, but usually a bit disappointing. They always seem to imply that being a long-term kept mistress was just a matter of bonking a rich bloke every night, but, as far as I can tell, real history suggests that wasn't the case. Being a mistress about this time wasn't necessarily an awful thing to do, and there was a "career ladder" in which you could work your way up from one protector to another. Also, apparently protectors took Really, really enjoyed this one. Mistress stories are intriguing to me, but usually a bit disappointing. They always seem to imply that being a long-term kept mistress was just a matter of bonking a rich bloke every night, but, as far as I can tell, real history suggests that wasn't the case. Being a mistress about this time wasn't necessarily an awful thing to do, and there was a "career ladder" in which you could work your way up from one protector to another. Also, apparently protectors took credit for the success of their ex-mistresses, which I find absolutely fascinating. I mean, can you imagine someone saying "I love that trick you picked up from your ex-boyfriend, you know, that thing you do with your tongue".. See what I mean? Very, very... odd. OK, so I'm drifting a bit here, but I did like this one, particularly since it emphasized that being a mistress was often a long-term thing, and didn't involve sex necessarily, and that they did have children as a result of being a mistress. I liked the heroine and the hero, who I thought was an interesting individual, although not in the vein of your average Scarred Hero type. In fact, I think the hero from To Taste Temptation was perhaps more scarred, since his mental scars were maybe more debilitating that this hero's physical scars. Likewise, the hero from To Seduce A Sinner was also less functional. This hero has managed to find a way to cope with his issues. As usual, the secondary characters are also great. The hero's sister, even the heroine's kids were good. I do wish that the bad guy Duke had been more of a complex character rather than a caricature, and I also wish that the hero's sister had more emotional complexity. Maybe it would have fitted to make the Duke actually love the heroine and maybe make the hero's sister gay? For me, the first half was significantly better than the second half, which was rather predictable, but I still enjoyed it. 4 stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    Awesome read...and a very heartfelt one as well. Helen Fitzwilliam was a kept woman. But now that her benefactor has thrown her over as well as her two kids, she feels she needs to get away...way away. So thanks to the help of a friend she is now on her way to Scotland to become a housekeeper for a man that has no idea she is even coming. With a spooky cobwebbed filled moldy old castle Alistar needs one in the worst way. Alistair is a man trapped by the scars on his face. Burned when he was capt Awesome read...and a very heartfelt one as well. Helen Fitzwilliam was a kept woman. But now that her benefactor has thrown her over as well as her two kids, she feels she needs to get away...way away. So thanks to the help of a friend she is now on her way to Scotland to become a housekeeper for a man that has no idea she is even coming. With a spooky cobwebbed filled moldy old castle Alistar needs one in the worst way. Alistair is a man trapped by the scars on his face. Burned when he was captured in an ambush in the colonies several years ago. They also took the sight of one eye. So in order to save himself from having ladies actually faint at the sight of his appearance, he has locked himself away from society. So when a beautiful woman shows up with her two kids claiming to be his housekeeper, he promptly sends her away. Helen, however, is made of sterner stuff than that and just comes back with supplies instead. The only slight problem is that Helen has never been a housekeeper before, she has only been a mistress. She soon finds her feet though and begins to get Alister's house in order. She also finds herself on the receiving end of some of Alistair's interested glances. That is ok, as she has been checking out those wide shoulders herself. She eventually stops seeing his face and just sees the man hurting underneath, hungry for her touch. When Helen's kids are kidnapped, Helen turns to Alistair for help, knowing that he is the one man that she can depend on to protect her kids and her heart. It was a sweet beauty and the beast story and one of my favs of this series, if I had to pick one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Great writing, without a doubt. The lead characters are not my cup of tea. The Beauty and the Beast theme is alright. I am usually averse to a mother heroine. But the book still snatched 3 stars from me. That is no small feat. Only Elizabeth Hoyt can make me read a book featuring a mother heroine. Alistair the hero is the beast. I was little shocked that he lashed out at Helen when he realized that she was someone's mistress and had 2 children by him. His reaction was a bit hypocritical for me. Great writing, without a doubt. The lead characters are not my cup of tea. The Beauty and the Beast theme is alright. I am usually averse to a mother heroine. But the book still snatched 3 stars from me. That is no small feat. Only Elizabeth Hoyt can make me read a book featuring a mother heroine. Alistair the hero is the beast. I was little shocked that he lashed out at Helen when he realized that she was someone's mistress and had 2 children by him. His reaction was a bit hypocritical for me. I do however appreciate that he was not "super understanding" to a point of unbelievability. Sometimes the authors write heros so "noble" that I want to puke. I think repulse is a natural reaction for Alistaire, but to accuse or condemn Helen (which he did), that is unfair. I have to say that the four soldier series so far (I have read 3 out of 4) has been rather bland for me. I cannot say that I LOVE them but they are all great reads. It has everything to do with Elizabeth Hoyt. Her writing and way with words totally make the books worth your while. Unlike other reviewers I was not so impressed with the children. They were ok and much more tolerable than most children in romance novels. But I could have done without them. But that has a lot to do with my aversion to heroines who are mothers. I wasn't blown away reading this book but it is well written and fun to read. Really fantastic writing, there no is other word for it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn F.

    4.5 starts - Great book. Loved the relationship between Alistair and Helen. I felt so sorry for Alistair with his horrible scarring, missing eye and missing fingers. And then Helen being able to look beyond all that to the man himself and being physically attracted to him was wonderful. I'm planning on reading all four the Legends of the Four Soldiers books. Would recommend it. 4.5 starts - Great book. Loved the relationship between Alistair and Helen. I felt so sorry for Alistair with his horrible scarring, missing eye and missing fingers. And then Helen being able to look beyond all that to the man himself and being physically attracted to him was wonderful. I'm planning on reading all four the Legends of the Four Soldiers books. Would recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Carden

    "You're a whore." "You've whored yourself out" Oh yes my darling when can I next screw you. Yeah, no thanks. She never called him out for what he said. Too bad, the story had some good bones. "You're a whore." "You've whored yourself out" Oh yes my darling when can I next screw you. Yeah, no thanks. She never called him out for what he said. Too bad, the story had some good bones.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Iza Brekilien

    I'm having trouble writing reviews about Elizabeth Hoyt's books because what more can I add to all the things I keep repeating : I loooooove her books, I love her characters, I love the way she writes, I love that she writes about unconventional characters, her books have a particular feel for me, they're unlike any other and I have yet to read one that disappoints me. There, it's done ! Review written ! No ?... Well, let's try to write something more. The heroin is a fallen woman whom we've met i I'm having trouble writing reviews about Elizabeth Hoyt's books because what more can I add to all the things I keep repeating : I loooooove her books, I love her characters, I love the way she writes, I love that she writes about unconventional characters, her books have a particular feel for me, they're unlike any other and I have yet to read one that disappoints me. There, it's done ! Review written ! No ?... Well, let's try to write something more. The heroin is a fallen woman whom we've met in the precedent book : she was a duke's mistress. Not a nice duke, not at all. He gave her two children, jewels, dresses, but not much time out of the bedroom. He even told her once she was a lot better when she didn't open her mouth and talk ! He didn't like the children much either. She finally escaped with her children and is seeking refuge in a faraway castle of Scotland, inhabited by a scarred hermit. The hero barely escaped Spinner's fall, a massacre that took place in America. He was awfully tortured, watched his friends die and he wasn't even a soldier, but a naturalist. He has this tendency to look at people and their way of life like insects. He hates going out because little kids scream when they see him and women faint. That's how bad he looks. Of course, when he finds this woman - who claims to be his new housekeeper - and her children on his doorstep, he tries to throw them out because he's well enough alone. No disturbance, no strange look at his face.... no life. But Helen hasn't gone that far to simply give up. It's a life she's not used to, but she'll manage. She'll lift up her sleeves, clean, organize, hire people and convince Alistair that he's much better with her around without listening to his arguments of the contrary. I loved how Lady Grey was the symbol of his old life while the puppy represented his new life. I loved the main character's bickering and the children were very well written. I often can't stand children in romance, they're either too cute or too adult, those were right. Things didn't turn out right in the wink of an eye for Helen, but she tried her best and managed quite well. There were secrets between them, but they grew to appreciate each other, a bit of a lust case maybe at the start, but the romance evolved progressively and when the secrets were revealed, their reactions were human and not overly dramatic (phew). I really didn't see how they would extricate themselves of *this* situation near the end, but Alistair was (conveniently ?) helped by a higher being and cleverly found their way out. I had a few days to read this book peacefully, for once, but I managed to read it in almost one sitting, which was a blessing. It seldom happens ! I knew Elizabeth Hoyt wouldn't disappoint me, and I loved every - single - minute of this novel. On to the next, but not just yet, I'll have to savour the thought of it coming up my TBR pile in a few weeks, have the pleasure to know something excellent will come up if I just wait for it a bit :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*

    I really do love books like this. It was cute but it still delved into some deep issues of self image, public perception, and confidence. Just a heart warming story, even with the Ikea style sex sometimes. Very...erm...scientific.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was my first Elizabeth Hoyt book and even though this book didn't knock my socks off, I'll probably still read a few others of her to see if I can find one that does. There was nothing about her writing style that I found off-putting and the story was okay, just not fantastic. (view spoiler)[ The story begins with the heroine, Helen, in a carriage with her two children heading to a castle she's never been to in order to ask a man she's never met to employ her as a housekeeper. Her backstory i This was my first Elizabeth Hoyt book and even though this book didn't knock my socks off, I'll probably still read a few others of her to see if I can find one that does. There was nothing about her writing style that I found off-putting and the story was okay, just not fantastic. (view spoiler)[ The story begins with the heroine, Helen, in a carriage with her two children heading to a castle she's never been to in order to ask a man she's never met to employ her as a housekeeper. Her backstory is that she has been the mistress of a Duke for the last 14 years. He happened to meet her when she was 17 and thought she was pretty so he wooed her a bit and, even though she knew he was already married, she fancied herself in love with him and thought he loved her back. So she willingly entered into the arrangement of being a kept woman, which caused her family to disown her. The Duke visited her for 10 years and fathered her two children, but hasn't paid her a call in the last 4 years. He's never publicly acknowledged the children or spent any time with them, but he did keep them and Helen in the utter lap of luxury. They had an expensive townhouse, a full staff of servants, nannies, tutors, etc.. Helen has now decided to leave the Duke, but she knows that he feels like he owns her and the kids, so he'll never let them just walk away. That's why she’s run off and taken her only friend's suggestion to hide out at Alistair's castle. This is one of the major flaws in the book. In the beginning, Helen talks about how she HAD to run and they HAVE to keep hidden or else the Duke will find them and take the kids away. She also gives vague references to this being the reason why she felt she had to run in the first place...but nothing in the book actually backs this up. And about 3/4 of the way through, she drops this line about fearing for her kids and instead says that the reason she left was because she decided that she "deserved more" out of life than being a discarded mistress kept in a gilded cage. It made Helen seem stupid, self-centered and reckless. It's not like the Duke had become abusive, or had indicated that he was going to stop paying for their care. He hadn't visited in years, so why did she feel like she needed to leave RIGHT NOW? And why was her plan so poorly thought out?? She had a fortune in jewels from the Duke, enough to set her up for life as long as she lived frugally. So why didn't she have a better escape plan? Why did she hang all her hopes on some guy she'd never met accepting her AND HER TWO CHILDREN into his household to perform a job she was COMPLETELY unqualified for? It made me dislike Helen that she was so reckless and stupid. Alistair opens the door and tells Helen that he doesn't want or need a housekeeper and that he’ll only let them stay one night. His backstory is that he's a celebrated naturalist who has published the most popular book on plants and animals in the world. The king himself liked the book so much that he knighted Alistair. Unfortunately, Alistair's travels for his writing took him to the Colonies where he was part of a company that was ambushed by the French and the Native Americans. Alistair was one of a very few who survived but was held prisoner by the natives and tortured in horrific ways. He's now missing an eye, two fingers, and one side of his face is horribly scarred. His visage is so disturbing that women and children literally scream and faint when they see him. This has led to him barricading himself in his castle, living in complete seclusion. Helen and the kids are up early the next day, trying their best to cook a breakfast for Alistair and start cleaning the absolutely filthy castle, so that he'll see how useful they can be. I liked the scene where Helen took Alistair his breakfast and he kept trying to tell her to get out, but she just talked over him about teapots and other random nonsense until she bustled back out. Even Alistair had to admit that she'd won that round and he kind of liked it. When she comes back to the kitchen, however, it's to find a nasty little man harassing her children. He's rude to her and then goes up to see Alistair, who tells the man to fetch a carriage to take Helen and her kids away. Helen admits defeat and they go, but halfway to town she rallies and instead goes and hires a bunch of servants to come help her clean the castle. Alistair is secretly glad they're back. He hadn't realized how truly lonely he was, or how dead the castle seemed, until they'd burst into his life. And even though he'd been the one to send them away, he'd felt that loneliness much more sharply when the house had fallen silent again. Alistair also has an old dog that he cares for a lot. The children adore the dog too, but shortly after they come back, the dog passes away. It was very sad for all involved, but the dog went peacefully. Both the kids and Alistair mourn her passing and they help bury the dog in a favorite spot by the river. Kids are always a crap shoot in romance novels but these kids, Abigail and Jamie, were pretty well done. They weren't annoying but were also believable as children. Alistair disappears that day and doesn't return until the middle of the night, soaked from the rain, because he went to get a puppy from a distant farmer. Ostensibly the dog is his, but he really got it for the kids, to ease their grief over the loss of the old dog. Helen waited up for Alistair to return and is worried he'll catch his death after the soaking ride. She ends up stripping him completely naked and tucking him into bed, which was a bit unbelievable. Especially when she apparently does this in just her chemise and when Alistair comments that the fabric is now completely see-through because it’s wet, she just carries on tending him without even covering up. Pretty unbelievable. But this is where the lust starts to kick in for both of them and their share a kiss. The next morning, Alistair's sister arrives unannounced. She was a fun character. Bossy and brassy but also devoted to her brother, whom she deeply respected, and also a naturalist herself. She quickly picks up on the sexual undercurrents going on between Alistair and his "housekeeper" but she doesn't disapprove because she can plainly see that it's having a very positive effect on him. He's laughing and smiling for the first time in years, and Helen seems unconcerned by his scars. They all go for a fishing outing and sparks are flying between our hero and heroine. Eventually Alistair manages to get her alone and they kiss again and he feels her up a bit. Later that day, they're back at the house and Alistair is in his study writing. Helen comes in and sees him forced to hold the pencil in an unusual way because of his missing fingers. This causes his hand to cramp and she rushes in to massage it. He's uncomfortable with her ministrations to his maimed hand but she tells him straight out that she cares about him and then she kisses him. This leads to them having sex on his desk. They start having sex every night and while they both enjoy it, they also both wonder how long it can last. Helen fancies herself in love with Alistair fairly early on, but he can't even conceive of the idea that they could have a future together. He'd resigned himself to never marrying so long ago that it doesn't even cross his mind that there could ever be a future for them. He assumes that, sooner or later, Helen will get tired of seeing his scarred face over the breakfast table and she'll leave. He also overheard the kids talking one day about how they couldn't go back to London because "he" would find them, so Alistair suspects that Helen is already married and on the run from an abusive husband. In the meantime, the nasty little manservant Alistair had employed has been verbally abusing the kids. He likes to insult them and at one point he gets the 5 year old Jamie so riled up that he shouts out that his father is a Duke. Later Alistair comes upon the manservant making Abigail cry and thinks he might have been molesting the girl. Alistair nearly kills the man before Helen gets him to stop. The manservant is thrown off the property, all the while saying that they'll be sorry for crossing him. Also during all this, we've gotten a few scenes with the Duke to show us that he is, indeed, pursuing them. So naturally this disgruntled manservant hooks up with the Duke and tells him where Helen and the kids are. The Duke turns up, grabs the kids in the woods, and then immediately heads back to London without ever making contact with Helen, which seemed weird. Helen realizes the kids are missing and tells Alistair. At first he's ready to strap on his weapons and go challenge whoever dared lay a finger on the kids, but then she drops the bombshell that the kidnapper is their father and he's a Duke. Alistair turns pretty nasty after that. He puts his weapons away and when Helen protests he asks her what she expects him to do about it. Challenge the Duke to a duel? He also calls Helen a whore, saying that she decided to take the easy way in life by selling herself to the highest bidder. Helen protests that it’s "more complicated than that" but when she recites her backstory it really isn't. She really did willingly because the mistress of a married peer with no illusion of it ever being more than that. The exchange with Alistair also gets pretty sticky when there's an implied parallel drawn between her being the Duke’s mistress and her sleeping with Alistair. He doesn't like being made to feel like a hypocrite for condemning Helen for being a kept woman, when he too had been availing himself of her body with no intention of ever marrying her. Eventually he agrees to go to London to try to get Helen's kids back. They go to the Duke's house first and are turned away at the door. Then Alistair leaves Helen at a hotel and goes to the shipyard. There's been a side plot going on about Alistair and the other few survivors of the attack trying to find out who betrayed their company's position and, conveniently, an informant is due in to London at exactly the same time he needs to be there to help Helen. While he's gone, Helen goes back to the Duke's house alone and this time the Duke agrees to see her. He says that he wants Helen to be his mistress again and if she won't agree, she'll never see the kids again. In her inner monologue Helen admits that she'll do anything to be with her kids. ANYTHING. Then the scene shifts and we're back at the hotel with her and Alistair. He figures out right away that she’s been to see the Duke and reacts with a primal, possessive anger. When she explains what the Duke wants, he demands to know if she agreed to become the Duke’s mistress again. She prolongs the moment by babbling on about how if it’s the only way to save her kids, how could she refuse, while Alistair gets more and more out of control. Then she just says that she told the Duke no. Alistair is crushingly relieved and drags her off to bed for some more sex, but I was left confused. Last we saw, Helen was telling the readers that she’d do anything to be with her kids, so that was a lie? She’s actually not willing to do anything? And why did the Duke let her leave if he was so all-fired hot to have her back under his thumb? She was in his house, surrounded by servants who were loyal to him, and he had her children more or less as his prisoners. He could have easily prevented her from leaving, but he just…didn’t? I don’t understand this guy’s motivation at all and it makes him an incredibly toothless villain. But, anyway, everything gets resolved VERY anticlimactically. Alistair goes to a party where both the King and the Duke just HAPPEN to be in attendance. And since the King is such a big fan of Alistair’s book, he grants him an audience. Alistair tells an inane story about badger mothers weeping over the loss of their babies, then says that the Duke is holding some kids away from their mother. The Duke is put on the spot to state what these kids are to him so he has to either publically claim them as legitimate heirs or denounce them. He says they’re nothing to him so the King says “great, then you can just give them back to their mother, right?” Alistair and Helen leave the party and instead of racing straight over to get her kids, they go to the docks to try to catch the ship of his informant. It was very anticlimactic and really ruined the ending. Helen didn’t even put up a token protest at going on this little detour instead of going immediately to pick up her kids. I mean, for all they knew, the Duke could have immediately dispatched a servant to move the kids to another location or, heck, even kill them! But no, going after this random ship for a side plot that didn’t get enough screen time to be of interest was much more important… A week long carriage ride later, they’re back at Alistair’s castle. First night there, Alistair is feeling very restless. He needs to reestablish his physical connection with Helen, to reassure himself that nothing has changed in their relationship. So as soon as the kids are in bed, he pulls her into his room. She keeps trying to talk to him, but he urgently hushes her up and forges ahead with the sex. I thought Alistair’s portrayal in this scene was really well done. You really felt his desperation to hold onto Helen and to ignore the growing sense of dread inside him. However, I was less thrilled with Helen’s portrayal. She seemed to just passively lay there and let him do sex things on her. I would have expected her to be just as wild for him, knowing that this was going to be their last time together. Instead it felt like she was treating him like he was the Duke. Someone she was beholden to and therefore resigned to allow to use her body. As soon as they’re done, Helen says that she loves Alistair but that she can’t stay. She won’t be a kept woman again. She deserves more than that. So next morning she packs up the kids and leaves. Alistair wallows in misery by himself for a few days, then his sister shows up. She just HAPPENED to bump into Helen in some town and learned that they’d left. She tells Alistair to stop being an idiot and he’s just like, okay then, and rushes off to propose to Helen. She accepts immediately and that’s the end. (hide spoiler)] All in all, I liked some parts of the book, but a lot of others weren’t up to scratch. I had trouble sympathizing with the heroine for a lot of the story and the villain was completely toothless. The final climax was, in a word, anticlimactic, and resolved too easily. But there were also some really well done scenes that made me truly feel for the characters, and the children were well done, so it balances out to 3 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Cook

    This book was the ultimate Beauty and the Beast, scarred/damaged hero, strong female character historical romance and I freaking ADORED it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Terra

    To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt has to be the most charming historical romance I have read in a long time. This author is new to me but not for long. I have already ordered her other books in this series and cannot wait to indulge myself in a delicious treat that has no calories. YUMM! Helen Fitzwilliam is a woman with a mission. Having lead her adult life as a Duke's mistress she is bound and determined that she deserves better and will go to most any length to achieve this. She also wants To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt has to be the most charming historical romance I have read in a long time. This author is new to me but not for long. I have already ordered her other books in this series and cannot wait to indulge myself in a delicious treat that has no calories. YUMM! Helen Fitzwilliam is a woman with a mission. Having lead her adult life as a Duke's mistress she is bound and determined that she deserves better and will go to most any length to achieve this. She also wants so much better for her children than to be raised and labeled "Bastards". Will she be able to escape a past of imprisonment? Does she really have the courage and know how to survive in the unknown world with two children in tow without endangering any or all of their lives? Sir Alistair Monroe is a tortured soul. Having seen the ravages of war up close and personal and come out with wounds that would surely drive even the strongest of men to the brink of madness, can he find it in himself to overcome his appearance? Will he ever be able to look beyond the cover of himself to see the truth inside that is ever so beautiful? I most surely hope so! Our story takes us from London England to Scotland on a journey of self discovery, passion, pain, fear and longing with a fairy tale charm. This is a tale of a true Beauty and The Beast but one that could be ever so true in life today as we know it. A tale of the ravages of war and the results of what happens to a beautiful man scarred for all eternity on the exterior making him retreat to the interior of his being to keep himself safe. The trick is, will our author be able to do the impossible and give us a fairy tale ending? An ending that will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your soul! An ending that will show one and all that beauty is really not just skin deep but travels all the way to the soul of each of us! Ahh....but now you must read to find out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    To Beguile a Beast was a very enjoyable take on the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale. Hoyt breaks the mold by having the heroine be a runaway mistress of a powerful duke. While the reader has sympathy for Helen, and while Helen is sorry for her poor choices, she's also a strong woman who doesn't make excuses for her past. I liked her character a great deal. Alistair is a a great character as well. Hoyt succeeds in creating a damaged, tortured hero. In fact, one of the great strengths of this boo To Beguile a Beast was a very enjoyable take on the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale. Hoyt breaks the mold by having the heroine be a runaway mistress of a powerful duke. While the reader has sympathy for Helen, and while Helen is sorry for her poor choices, she's also a strong woman who doesn't make excuses for her past. I liked her character a great deal. Alistair is a a great character as well. Hoyt succeeds in creating a damaged, tortured hero. In fact, one of the great strengths of this book is the character development. Even the children, Abigail and Jamie, are well-done and believable. I read the first book in the Legend of the Four Soldier series, and now that I've read this one (book 3) I intend to read the fourth book (and last one) at least. I'm very curious about the Spinner's Falls mystery. The audiobook was narrated by Anne Flosnik, and was my second narration by her. Her narration style seems "formal," if that makes sense. I'm not sure it's my favorite style, but overall she does a good job on this book. I did think she tried too hard on the love scenes, making them feel overly dramatic.

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