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Graphic Designer, painter, dreamer, fashion addict, unhealthy obsession with shoes and jewelry. Film lover and oh yes....books! :D
To Beguile a Beast - Elizabeth Hoyt Here is the third installment of the legend of the four soldiers series where we have Sir Alistair Munroe who was one of the remaining survivors of the Spinner Falls Massacre. He has hidden himself in his lonely neglected caste ever since his return from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But once a mysterious woman shows up at his door claiming to be his new 'housekeeper' and the feelings, desires and emotions he's kept closed away for years begins to break through...

This was surprisingly better then I thought it would be. I was preparing myself for not getting much or getting the expected cliche set up and romance book h/hr, especially with the hero being physically scarred and the temper of a angry bear to boot. It does have the 'beauty and the beast' theme going on a bit but isn't over the top which I liked. Helen Fitzwilliam is running away with her children and in dire need of a safe place to hide from her childrens' father the Duke of Lister. Helen has been the Duke's mistress for over 14 years and has finally decided to take action and take her kids with her after the Duke's continuous neglect to her and the kids. She goes to Sir Alistair's castle in Scotland hoping to convince him of her charade as a housekeeper, sent by a good friend to help clean his dirty castle. That's when things start to get interesting...

I have a thing for wounded, scarred heroes who are hopeless, brooding and cynical. I'm a total sucker for it. I love it. And Sir Alistair is no exception. It wasn't over the top, or melodramatic but believable. Again I was expecting to get the cheesey cliche romance book hero who's scarred w/ an eye patch who hisses and stomps around going 'woe is me' but I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. Alistair is of course physically scarred from his capture by a tribe of Indians who tortured him, he lost his eye, two fingers and half his face is completely scarred. Because of that, he doesn't show his face in public and rarely leaves his castle. He lost all hope or reason for a happy future and isolates himself in his country home and barricades himself in his tower working twenty/four seven. But when things between him and Helen grow intense, you see that very vulnerable side of him come out, fearing that he is not good enough for her and is an ugly scarred revolting man. I couldn't help but really like him, love him actually. I believed him and his struggles. Hoyt didn't over do it and made a real character who you couldn't help but sympathize with and want so bad for him to find real love, someone who would soothe him and take care of him and accept him for him. And Helen did just that, she made him laugh again and want a future with her.

Helen I will be honest, at first introduction, I was a bit put off by her. She was introduced in the previous book when Lady Vale befriends her in the park with her children. As beautiful as she is, she came off so passive aggressive and a little dim witted. Staying with a man who continuously berates and insults her I just couldn't wrap my head around. And I say dim witted because when she shares this w/ Lady Vale, Melisande is the one who points out the abuse, Helen just seemed so oblivious to it.

And I tried really hard not to judge but I found myself agreeing w/ some of Alistair's harsh words when he discovers the truth about her. How she continued to stay with a married man and bare not one, but TWO children by him was just 'whaaat?' for me. Given the time setting and society, kids sired out of wedlock have slim chance of having a normal life, they would be social outcasts that no one would accept. I thought it was incredibly selfish of her to do that. Now I understand she was a young naive girl and seduced by an older man, but to get involved with a man who is married and much older than her (ew) made me want to shake her and go 'what were you thinking!'. It was suspending total belief to swallow the idea of a young 17 year old girl falling for an aging balding stiff uptight Duke. I don't buy for a second how anything about that man was considered romantic to her naive eye, other than being a lecher and creep. *shuddering* But she seemed to learn a lot and grow up more while staying with Alistair and she seemed to berate herself enough for her past mistakes. I sympathized with her and understood her and really liked how she also learned more about her children. In the beginning of the book is was made clear that she didn't really know her kids as well as she ought to, living in a luxurious townhouse she left them with a nanny (which also bugged me) so during their journey to Scotland and everything following that Helen grows so much closer and gets to know her kids, Abigail in particular.

I really loved the relationship between the kids and Alistair. It was really sweet and a nice surprise how he took on the protective role over them and taught them things. Plus his romantic, tender affectionate side really surprised me as well when he and Helen made love. I loved seeing that sweet playful charming side come out, it not only surprised Helen but me as well. lol I like those moments that take you completely by surprise it makes the book much more enjoyable. I really liked this, I thought it was much more fun and passionate I must say (steamy love scenes ;P) then the previous book. The characters and the romance in this I found more believable. Great story.