Temptation by Leda Swann

Temptation by Leda Swann (2009) begins with the innocent request of Teddy Clemens that his older sister Beatrice send a letter to lonely Captain Percival "Percy" Carterton. Fighting for the English in the Transvaal (part of South Africa) against the Boers, the entire regiment is far from home and lonely.

Practical, kind Beatrice, working as a nurse, soon has all of the women in her boarding house exchanging letters with soldiers from Teddy's regiment. Yet hers is the most fiery, explicit correspondence for Percy has fallen in love with her.

At the same time, Beatrice is "walking out" with one of the doctors from her hospital. She has a very common-sense plan of marrying him, guaranteeing a comfortable life for herself where she won't be a burden on her sisters and brother.

So what happens when Percy, released from the current campaign due to an injury, suddenly arrives in London unannounced, intending to claim his beloved Beatrice, a woman who has been engaging in sheer, safe fantasy through their letter exchange? Trifling with his affections, as it were?

I enjoy Swann's heroes because they become instantly, obsessively interested in the heroines, and they engage in strong-arm campaigns to catch the heroines. Although frightening and overwhelming in real life (stalk much?), that's pretty perfect in a romance novel for this reader.

And I love writing and receiving letters. I live for my mail, so the idea of a romance begun through letters is very appealing to me.

Fair warning to readers who like their romances a bit on the tame side--there's fairly blunt sexual interaction and fantasy, including liberal use of a four-letter word that rhymes with truck, and another one that rhymes with blunt, and another one that rhymes with rock. . . . You get the idea.

Leda Swann is the pen name for New Zealand wife-and-husband team Cathy and Brent. You can learn more about them, their books, and their real-life adventures at their site here.

My overall personal rating of Temptation is a B+.


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