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Book Cover Lawson’s review of To Beguile a Beast (Legend of the Four Soldiers, Book 3) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical romance released by Grand Central 19 May 09

This is the third book in Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers series, about survivors of a massacre during the Seven Year’s War (that would be the French and Indian War to the Americans). The first book followed a colonist acting as a scout, the second followed one of the officers, and this one follows a civilian botanist attached to the unit. All of the survivors have scars from the massacre, but Sir Alistair Munroe has the most physical scars (hence the Beast in the title). A common story that ties all the books together is the search for a possible traitor that betrayed the unit to the French and the Indians that perpetrated the massacre.

The book starts off in Scotland with Helen Fitzwilliam and her children coming to a castle in the middle of a storm. When Sir Alistair sees a woman and two children on his doorstep he attempts to send them away since he doesn’t often inspire good first impressions from people due to his scars. Nor does he want more people around that will intrude on his solitude and possibly disturb his work. Having given up on society, Sir Alistair instead has devoted his time to cataloging the different species in the British Isles.

Helen hopes that the castle is remote enough that her former lover won’t find her and her children. Though Sir Alistair is gruff at first, Helen stands her ground and makes a deal for her children and her to stay. Though she’s had a pampered life, Helen takes to the task of being Sir Alistair’s housekeeper with determination and starts the tough task of cleaning the messy castle as well as reorganizing his life to accommodate having more people around on a daily basis.

When Helen’s past finds her hiding place and puts her as well as her children in danger, Alistair must face society which tends to run screaming at the sight of his scars. Helen also has to face what is truly important in her life and how much she can let her past make her future.

Sir Alistair has become all too used to people’s reactions to his appearance, which is why he hides in his castle, even from his own sister. He never thinks that a woman as beautiful as Helen would want to be with him and the way she slowly shows him her attraction to him and gets past his fears due to his appearance are sweet and sexy. With Helen managing his household, Alistair is able to work and feel contented and happy with his life. Especially with her children.

Helen chose her path in life and while she doesn’t regret that it gave her two children, she does miss some things. That she has to do things she never thought she would as a housekeeper, she feels rewarded caring for a home, her children and very quickly Alistair. With her experience in life she’s a bit hesitant to give in to her feelings for Alistair, but because she opens her heart it allows him to open his.

As with other Hoyt books, there is a fairy tale, though it does have a bit of a twist that fits with the story rather well. The interesting thing in this story is the addition, at times, of the point of view of the children as well as the villain of the story. The resolution with the villain is interesting and creative and though it works with the story, it’s hard to see someone such as he not thinking in the long term and while satisfying, went a bit against the coldness of the character.

A good, sweet, touching and quite sexy beauty and the beast story and an interesting way to take the traitor plot line that runs through the books of the series, which sets up an interesting possibility for the next installment in this series. The next book comes out in November, and it’s one that I’ll keep a lookout for.

lawson-icon.jpgGrade: B

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.
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.
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.
Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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