The Temptation of Your Touch is Teresa Medeiros’ latest romance novel, a companion to The Pleasure of Your Kiss. Though I didn’t enjoy it as much as Goodnight, Tweetheart, the last book I reviewed by her, I did enjoy it more than most of her recent work.
The premise is that our hero, Maximillian Burke, finds himself in disgrace in London, buys a country mansion, and flees to it to escape his pain. Alas, that country mansion contains a most intriguing housekeeper and heroine, Mrs. Anne Spencer, a mystery, a ghost, and a staff of inept servants. May the hilarity ensue!
It is a fairly funny book that doesn’t ever feel like the author is forcing her characters into awkward situations or clever comments for a laugh. Medeiros has a light, humorous style which she generally employees with great success. The tragic elements in her books somehow complement this tone, giving the stories a depth I wouldn’t expect from just reading the first chapter. She easily introduces tragic elements into a “fluffier” read without sacrificing the lighter tone.
Hmm. I will say that I didn’t much care for the hero’s interactions with his family, which didn’t feel as natural as they could have. Then again, I think she’s building off of The Pleasure of Your Kiss, and it has been a while since I read that. Perhaps reading the two together would smooth out the one awkward scene.
(If you’ve read Yours Until Dawn, then the rest of this paragraph will be spoiler-y.) Thematically, it’s very similar to her previous book, Yours Until Dawn, and she handles the plot line and heroine very similarly. I liked Yours Until Dawn a bit better, but I think that was because I enjoyed the basic plot structure more – Yours Until Dawn was loosely built on a Beauty and the Beast scaffold, just without any kidnapping or evidence of Stockholm syndrome. Having read that, it was fairly easy to predict the similar twist in The Temptation of Your Touch. This actually detracted a bit from my enjoyment, but I imagine some would find it adds to their experience.
Medeiros doesn’t usually go for remarkably original plots, mind you, but she uses old plot lines so very well that I prefer them to anything original or new she’s produced. There’s something so satisfactory about reading a fresh retelling of an old story. Now, this one was a mite too close to one she had already written, but normally she uses a fairy tale structure or a common romance plot line and just counts on the characters, stylistic touches, and setting to differentiate it from countless other stories. And it works. There’s a charming familiarity that draws the reader further into the story without overpowering any of the other elements.
Overall, it was a fun read and exactly what I was in the mood for when I read it – something that was light and easy with slight dramatic touches. It was more reminiscent of her work from the early 2000s than anything she’s written lately – but, in my humble opinion, that’s a good thing. She’s an excellent writer; it is never painful to read her words and her characters are engaging and sympathetic. My only big criticism of this book is that it’s too much like Your Until Dawn.
If you’re looking for a happy-ending novel that’s never sloppy or overly dramatic but is funny and has a realistic feel, if not terribly realistic events, than you should give this book a chance. If you like hugely dramatic or very sexual novels or unduly romantic characters, than, alas, this may not be the book for you.