Review: Enslaved by Hope TarrWednesday, May 14, 2008 1:00
This is the second in Tarr’s series following three orphans in late Victorian London. The first story follows Harry Stone, now Hadrian St. Claire. This story follows Gavin Carmichael, now a successful barrister working for his grandfather. Gavin has always wondered about Daisy Lake, a fellow orphan who he had to leave when his grandfather came to take him from the orphanage. Gavin is surprised when he finds Daisy performing in a not so wonderful location as Delilah du Lac, lately of Paris music halls.
Daisy is in London because she eventually wants to persue a career as a serious actress. When Gavin sees her on stage he is in shock, but then at the end of her act he steals her off the stage and offers her something she can’t refuse. He promises to help her get a part in a new production of As You Like It if she will live with him for a month. Daisy assumes the offer is to become his mistress, but Gavin wants more than just some nights of pleasure, and he does all he can to keep Daisy around, even when she continues to lie to him.
Gavin is very likeable. Though he was an orphan for a while, before he was 14 he lived with a caring, if poor, family. His mother fell in love with a poor Irishman and ran away from home. After living for a year in the orphanage, Gavin’s grandfather finds him and gives him everything money can buy, but not the loving home he had before he was orphaned. Leaving the orphanage he left Daisy, but he searched for her when he became an adult.
Daisy has always felt abandoned, by her birth parents who left her as an infant, then by Gavin when he was taken away by his grandfather. She was adopted by a very nice theatrical couple who took her to France where she learned to sing and dance and act a little. Because of all these circumstances, plus the attention from some Frenchmen, Daisy doesn’t really trust Gavin, or men in general, and so she sets out to say things to shock him as well as hide herself but not her body.
Daisy was hard to like at first, with her blunt speech, her constant offering of herself, but not her heart and how she kept Gavin at a distance from truly knowing her. It’s understandable though given her feelings of abandonment as well as thinking Gavin had ignored her for so long. She had written him many letters he never returned. What secrets she hides, there are some big ones, and her reasons make her eventually really grow on a person. It takes the whole book to do it, and it’s frustrating why she doesn’t just trust Gavin, but I did like her in the end.
There’s not any sort of dastardly villain in the story, only the things that people need to overcome to really give themselves to another person and let go of the past. One of the things that was a nice surprise was Daisy’s attitude toward sex. She was very open, maybe too blunt about it, but she was open about her wants, needs and desires and wanted to share them with Gavin. Like Callie from Vanquished, she’s not a virgin and not ashamed of that. Which makes for some great and steamy scenes between Daisy and Gavin.
There’s a greater amount of steamy passion than in Vanquished and I liked the path that Daisy and Gavin when on together and how Daisy went from being he daring woman of the world to a well rounded woman who is comfortable as herself and completely with her man.
“Through thick and thin, forever and ever, come what may, we’ll stay together…”
So goes the solemn pact between orphans Gavin Carmichael and Daisy Lake. The next day will see them separated for more than a decade.
Years later, Gavin is a successful London barrister haunted by his past – and the memory of Daisy. To distract him from his obsession, his friends coax him out to an East End supper club where the headlining act is the infamous nightingale of the Montmartre music halls, Delilah du Lac.
Only when Delilah strolls out onstage, Gavin takes one look at her slanted green eyes, sensuous mouth, and long, slender legs and feels recognition flood him. Delilah and Daisy are one and the same woman – a woman he resolves to save from herself at all costs. He storms the stage and carries her off.
When Daisy confides her dream to act on a proper London stage, Gavin seizes the opportunity to bind her to him. He will see she gets a part in the upcoming run of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” – provided she agrees to live with him for one month.
Daisy agrees. Gavin’s offer is too tempting to pass on, and the lanky boy of her memory has matured into an exceedingly handsome man. Sharing his bed for the month will be no hardship. Only as their sensual games increase in intensity, Gavin is the one in danger of being enslaved.
Read an excerpt.