Brethren Guardians Series:
Temptation & Twilight: Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick and Lady Elizabeth York
Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred—except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him but hatred.
All of society believes Elizabeth, the blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor’s ancient diary—filled with exotic tales—she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly agrees to allow Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the “veiled lady,” to help her solve the mystery.
Eager to be Lizzy’s eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to remember his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger.
I found this book on NetGalley, and I just had to request it. I don’t read that many historical romances, but I am a sucker for when one of the characters has a disability to overcome, because it makes them just that more real, so when I saw the heroine was blind, I had to have it. It didn’t hurt our hero is a rake, and is there anything better than a reformed rake, especially a Scottish one? Lol! Although, this is the third book in the series, I have not read the first 2 books, I think it would be beneficial to read the first two books, but I don’t think it is necessarily a requirement. It’s basically a secret society of gentleman that has to stay secret and battle an unknown villain, we’ve all read this concept before, and so you can slide into pretty easily without the first two books but of course you are missing some details. Now that also being said, I really really enjoyed this book and this authors writing style so I highly recommend checking out the first two books, I know I will be.
Elizabeth, is our heroine and such a strong one at that. She starts off a strong confident woman, sure she has a disability, but she is content with herself. She is aware that it isn’t likely she will ever marry and have her own children and sure she wishes that wasn’t the case, but she has come to terms with it. Now, all of the sudden she has the attention of not one but two men, one who could be her perfect match, who shares all of her interests and doesn’t seem to mind her blindness. The other is the man who nearly destroyed her 12 years ago, when she was young and venerable, the one who she has turned her heart against ever since. Now, she is confronted with choices she never thought she would have to make, now she has thoughts she never thought she’d have again and vulnerabilities she thought she had buried 12 years ago. We take this emotional journey with Elizabeth and its heart breaking at times. Too see her break down and for her fears and insecurities due to her blindness surface is heart rendering and I think C. Featherstone did an excellent pulling the emotion from Elizabeth and making the reader feel each emotion that Elizabeth is feeling. When Elizabeth is breaking you are breaking with her, going through it with her and you can’t pull away. Featherstone sucks you and keeps you there connected to her characters. When Elizabeths hopes and fears are swirling around and her confusion is at its peak you are routing for her and hoping she’ll make the best decision, you want her to get her happily ever after with the right man for her whoever that may be.
Iain is a hulking brute of highland deliciousness, of course raised by unfeeling, unwanting parents he is an unfeeling lush of a man. An unrepentant rake that has exactly one regret in life, which he won’t even acknowledge to himself until he is facing death on the field of “honor”. His one regret is Beth, even after 12 years she still holds his heart and he has realized he is willing to do anything to win her back. He knows how badly he messed up all those years ago and he knows it won’t be easy but he is willing to do the work and prove that he can be a better man. With a lot of reformed rakes we don’t really see the hero really working for it he kind of skates by on his good looks and charm, you don’t actually see him trying to change, but I really felt Iain’s desire to change and better you see it and his desire to win Elizabeth back. He was willing to put in the work. As she was pushing him away, he’s like yeah I deserved that, but damn it I’m going to weather the storm because you’re worth it and I’ll still be here through everything you throw at me. Iain manages to pull a few moves that really pull at the heart string I want to go into them but that would spoil the moments in the book so I’ll leave them for you to discover, but damn C. Featherstone, you can really pull the romance out of an Alpha. But worry not ladies Iain maintained his highlander alpha maleness. He about choked out Sheldon (Elizabeth’s other potential male) more than once, has a fondness for scotch and is not above seducing our fair Elizabeth with great skill. He is still a man’s man at heart!
You quickly get caught up in the story within the first couple of pages, I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this book and settled right in to be kept up late. The sensuality and chemistry between Iain and Elizabeth about scorched the pages, it was that sizzling. I wished I could jump into the pages and take Elizabeth’s places for just one scene it was that damn hot. But the story never got lost, we actually had the hunt for Orpheus who was our resident bad guy, as well as our sub-plot of the “Veiled Lady” which Iain agrees to help Elizabeth solve. The Veiled Lady actually takes up less of the plot then the blurb suggests and the main hunt is for Orpheus, which will take you on many twists and turns before the mystery unfolds. Added to the Veiled Lady and Orpheus there is a Curse, hovering over Elizabeth and Iain’s houses that they have to deal with, just to add a bit of paranormal to this exciting tale. The real story for me tho was between Elizabeth and Iain, at times their dialogue was poetic , other times exciting as they clashed wills, but whatever was going on between these two, it was not boring that is for sure. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance; it has everything you could want: intrigue, sensuality, excitement, mystery, and a Highlander to boot.
One thing that did drive me slightly batty was the math, and I may be completely off base here. So if someone else read this book and interpreted this differently call me on my shit. Math was never my strong suit. Ok so here it is… Elizabeth is “nearly 30” so to me that would make her about 28, 29 years old. Iain left her and broke her heart 12 years ago, this was mentioned several times if I recall. So this would put her around 17ish when he left her. It was also mentioned a couple of times that she lost her sight completely a couple of months after he left, this timing actually becomes very important. So we know that she is completely blind within a couple of months of his leaving. However, it is also mentioned several times that she is 19 when she goes completely blind. So was she 17ish or was she 19 it doesn’t add up, unless I wasn’t reading right which is possible but I doubt it, but if I was, someone call me on it. I mean it doesn’t really matter, but I am always doing the math in my head when authors do this, I say either state their ages outright so you know, we know and there is no room for interpretation or error or completely leave it out because you get people like me who go nutty trying to figure it out for no reason at all. And yes I know I’m being obsessive compulsive but I can’t seem to help myself.