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    Tempt the Devil by Anna Campbell
  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 30th, 2008

campbell_devilreview.jpgReviewed by Marisa O’Neill
Publisher: Avon
Grade: 5 stars

Every once in a while you read a book that transports you. After reading TEMPT THE DEVIL I was transported, but I also had a period of mourning. It was hard for me to read another book because this one stayed with me long after I closed the last page. The prose, the characters, the dialogue, the ambiance is magic woven together in a seamless and masterful way. Anna Campbell is a virtuoso with words – and the words come together bringing incandescent and vivid images that create a sumptuous world that keeps you feasting for hours.

Ms. Campbell’s third book, TEMPT THE DEVIL, is a tale of love between a man and a woman, and one of the most romantic books I’ve read in a very long while. As you read the first page you’ll find yourself in late Regency England where we meet Olivia Raines, London’s most sought after courtesan and Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith who has just returned to England to reconcile with his children. Olivia is in the throws of ennui and looking for her last lover with an eye towards retirement. After the first few pages you already know that Olivia and Erith will become lovers; or rather Erith will become Olivia’s newest and perhaps last patron. Simple enough plot – but here is where Ms. Campbell is at her best.  She brilliantly and slowly uncovers and reveals, layer by layer the façade these two people have built around themselves.  And it’s only when Olivia and Erith come together that these layers will be revealed.

Olivia is a woman with a past and much to hide – but Erith has decided that this is not how the liaison will play out. He wants it all, everything Olivia has to give and this becomes his imperative; to break past Olivia’s barriers so she will truly and honestly give herself to him.  In many other books it is usually the heroine trying to break down the hero’s defenses, not so in TEMPT THE DEVIL. Here we have a hero who will stop at nothing to gain the trust of the heroine – even if it means revealing his own inner demons.

“He didn’t understand his violent need to know the real Olivia under the spectacular façade. But in some obscure way, the challenge she presented seemed to him the last chance to save his soul. And he suspected, illogically, foolishly, obstinately, that in the process he might just save her soul too.”

This book is intensely character driven and you become invested in Olivia and Erith’s desires, angst, fears and hopes.  You learn that Olivia has shaped her life exactly as she needed to in order to survive. Getting involved with Erith threatens the very safety of the protective walls she has built.

   “Even as Olivia spoke the words to place her in Lord Erith’s bed, her instincts screamed to deny him. Her mind told her she risked no more than she’d risked with any other keeper. Her deepest self insisted the earl threatened everything she’d created since she’d accepted harlotry as her inevitable fate.
Unreasoning fear tightened every muscle.
Fear was her oldest, most insidious enemy. More powerful than any man.”

The slow peeling away, layer by layer of these two characters, until you get to the very heart of who they really are, is the beauty of this book. And in a rare combination of both erotic and romantic interludes you can feel how each revelation shapes and defines these two people as individuals and as a pair.

This is not a book about young love, both Olivia and Erith are cynical and world weary. It is perhaps their cynicism and definitely their life experiences that make them such rich characters. Their journey together is hard fought and challenging. It’s the fight and the challenge that makes their story so very engaging.

It’s very early in the year, but TEMPT THE DEVIL is one of my top picks for 2009, a rich and evocative repast.

23 Responses to “Tempt the Devil by Anna Campbell”

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  1. PJ
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 1:28 pm

    Dang! Can’t the post office move any faster? I want my copy of Tempt the Devil! Now!

    Wonderful review, Marisa! I’ll be sure to clear my schedule when my copy finally arrives. I have the feeling that Tempt the Devil is going to be a cover-to-cover nonstop reading pleasure! 🙂


  2. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 1:45 pm

    Hey, PJ, thanks so much for all your support on this! I’ve obviously had so much to drink at the Bandita bash that I’m getting maudlin but dang, you guys are great!

    Marisa, that’s a gorgeous review! Thank you for the bottom of my heart!


  3. Karin
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 1:54 pm

    Great review, Marisa! This book sounds fantastic and I’m eagerly awaiting my chance to read it.


  4. Kati
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 2:30 pm

    Yay! I just picked this one up today (along with six other books). I’m going to read it just as soon as I finish with one other book.

    Congrats, Anna on the review, it’s lovely, and perfectly written, Marisa. As usual.


  5. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 2:31 pm

    Hi Karin! Hope you enjoy it!

    Kati, sounds like that gift card did you proud 😉 Wasn’t that a lovely review?


  6. Helen
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 2:37 pm

    Fantastic review I am so looking forward to reading this book I do hope it gets to Australia quickly

    Have Fun
    Helen


  7. Kati
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 2:54 pm

    Kati, sounds like that gift card did you proud

    I’m SO excited! I’m “teleworking” tomorrow. And by teleworking I mean reading. LOL!


  8. heidenkind
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 3:03 pm

    Congrats on your third book, Anna! I’m very excited to read it; I love books about courtesans. I did a research paper on portraits of Georgian/Regency courtesans a few years ago and I’ve been fascinated with them ever since.

    You know, it’s really not fair that some people get books before other people (coughmarisacough). 🙂


  9. heidenkind
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 3:08 pm

    Question: who is the devil, Olivia or Erith?


  10. Kati
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 3:39 pm

    You know, it’s really not fair that some people get books before other people (coughmarisacough).

    LOL! Heidenkind. We reviewers maintain it’s not fair that SOME people BRAG about getting books before other people by saying things like, “I can’t believe how truly EXCELLENT Anna Campbell’s new book is. You are going to LOVE it. No SERIOUSLY!”

    That’s what we think is no fair! 😈


  11. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 4:53 pm

    Helen, thanks for checking out the review! I hear that TTD is swimming hard to get to your place soon!

    Kati, I used to have toilet breaks that were a bit like your teleworking 😉 Hope you have a nice day with Julian and Olivia! Um, no, I mean, I hope you work really, really hard tomorrow!

    Heidenkind, if you bribe me with the promise of free meals, we might be able to talk about books ahead of other people… I’m just sayin’… Hey, how interesting about your thesis. They are a fascinating subject, aren’t they? I used a lot of details of real courtesans when I wrote about Olivia. One really cool thing was something a famous Victorian courtesan called Skittles used to do. She was a great horsewoman and had a fabulous figure – so she used to have herself sewn into her riding habits before she went out into Hyde Park touting for business so she looked at her best advantage.

    You know, that’s a good question about who is the devil. Perhaps the devil is love? Perhaps the devil is the truth of the past. Perhaps it’s something else entirely! I love ambiguous titles – Untouched was one too. It could apply to an awful lot of things in that book aside from Matthew’s ahem purity!


  12. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 4:55 pm

    Kati, I see absolutely nothing wrong with people saying stuff like that! In fact, I think it should be encouraged! I completely think you’re barking up the wrong tree wanting to change that! More of it, I say!


  13. Marisa
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 5:13 pm

    Anna I’m glad you answered the question about ‘who the devil is’ because you put it so well. It’s a hard question to answer and once people have read the book I’m sure they will still have questions.

    heidenkind – believe me, I know how lucky I am – almost every day is like Christmas morning when I go to the post and receive my ARC’s. And I STILL order a ton of books on line. I have about 10 at the very top of my TBR. Unfortunately I can’t help myself. When I read an extremely good book and it’s not out for months I can’t control myself, I just have to tell everyone about it. Thank goodness the release day for TTD is here and I no longer have to be so coy about it. Now everyone knows I loved it and I encourage them to get it as soon as possible.


  14. Kati
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 6:08 pm

    Kati, I see absolutely nothing wrong with people saying stuff like that! In fact, I think it should be encouraged! I completely think you’re barking up the wrong tree wanting to change that! More of it, I say!

    LOL! We’ll see how you feel next time Marisa tells you ALLLLL about a book you’re dying for. Then we’ll see if you feel the same way, Anna!

    No, I’m just giving Marisa a hard time. I especially LOVE Marisa today because three ARCs for incredibly anticipated books that I’ve wanted for ages were delivered to my door. Now the question is, how will I get ANYTHING done. Good thing we’re going into a five day weekend. 😉


  15. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 7:00 pm

    Hey, Marisa, did you like my noncommitttal devil answer? I think there’s a lot of devils in the book who could be tempted 😉 And honestly, please don’t apologise for saying all those lovely things. Heidenkind will forgive you, I’m sure! 😉

    Actually, Kati, perhaps I should rephrase what I said. I think it’s wonderful that Marisa says to people they must buy the next Anna Campbell! For all other books, she should just keep her good fortune to herself 😉 Enjoy your books! I’m back into real life aka writing a book tomorrow so I’m wallowing in the last of my short holiday!


  16. Gannon
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 9:28 pm

    Marisa, fantastic review as usual! I plan on finishing my current book (and review), then diving into TEMPT THE DEVIL. I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year! Except maybe eating Tim Tams while reading TTD! 😉


  17. Eleni Konstantine
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 10:44 pm

    Fantastic review!!! Yay Anne….


  18. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 30th, 2008
    @ 11:30 pm

    Hey, Gannon, you look considerably fresher than some of the rest of us who have been partying in disreputable fashion over in the lair! Do you know we’ve been pimping Tim Tams so hard, the distribution company in the States actually wrote to the Banditas asking us if we want some free ones? Now, that means we’ve been seriously pimping!

    Eleni, thanks for reading the review. It’s lovely, isn’t it?


  19. heidenkind
    on Dec 31st, 2008
    @ 1:49 am

    Anna, you are too generous! I think a free meal would be the least I could do for a sneak peak at your books. 😀 Of course this meal would undoubtedly include wine, dessert, etc….

    That was a great answer to the question of who’s the devil. I sooooo cannot wait for the book to get here. 🙂


  20. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 31st, 2008
    @ 1:54 am

    Heidenkind, be careful – you don’t know how much I eat! Or drink! Happy New Year and thanks for being such a great part of today’s celebrations!


  21. Stacy ~
    on Dec 31st, 2008
    @ 9:17 am

    I picked this one up last night and now after reading Marisa’s review, wish I had the day off to read it. It’ll be my first read of ’09, that’s for sure!


  22. Anna Campbell
    on Dec 31st, 2008
    @ 7:18 pm

    Hey, Stacy, I hope you enjoy it!!! Happy New Year!


  23. Andrea
    on Jan 2nd, 2009
    @ 10:25 am

    Great review, Marisa! Can’t wait to read this one!! Congrats, Anna!! 😀

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