Dear Ms. Enoch:
Twice the Temptation is a package similar to the Nora Roberts/JD Robb collection, Remember When. Both collections feature descendants tied together by a diamond. Remember When’s diamond is stolen and Twice the Temptation is cursed.
A Diamond or Forever. In 1814, Evangeline Munroe, daughter of a viscount, is given a one hundred and sixty-nine carat diamond necklace from her aunt. Her aunt tells her that the Nightshade Diamond is cursed. If you have it on your person, you have bad luck, and if you put it away, you have good. Evangeline is pragmatic and dismisses her aunt’s warnings. During a carriage ride, she inspects the diamond and then puts it away and shortly thereafter crashes into the Marquis of Rawley, Connoll Spencer Addison. Connoll is still drunk in the early morning hours and believes Evangeline to be his former mistress and kisses her soundly. Despite the public setting and the spectators, this act does not ruin Evangeline nor do any of the subsequent encounters that she has with Connoll such as their unchaperoned walks through the park and their gropings in the gardens.
The wallpaper quality of this historical novel is made even more transparent when it is juxtaposed with the contemporary story. There were patterns of speech that were the same in both sections of the book. “‘Apologies,’ Evangeline said easily. ” (said in 1814) and “‘Apologies,’ [Rick] said, gazing at the gravel.” (said in 2007).
The amount of time these two un-affianced couple spends together alone is jarring but combine it with throwaway characterizations such as Evangeline supposedly being a bluestocking and Connoll who supposedly was in love with his former mistress, Daisy, who is now his best friend’s wife to be and the entire story is lacking in depth and consistency.
I presume that there is some backstory with Connoll and Daisy but it is never explained other than Connoll appearing to still have feelings for Daisy but then is suddenly pursuing Evangeline. The underlying theme of the story is that Evangeline is trained to hate men by her mother and is determined to find a suitor that she can control. Connoll, of course, she can’t control. The inclusion of the cursed diamond is haphazardly by being the cause of “incidents” but frankly the diamond subplot could have been excised completely without changing any of the plot and the characterizations.
Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend. 200 years later, Samantha Jellicoe and her partner, Rick Addison, the current Marquis of Rawley. In renovating the stables at Rawley Park, Rick and Sam find the cursed Nightshade Diamond. A note accompanies it penned by Connoll, warning his descendants of the dangers of the Nightshade. Sam wants to put it back but Rick doesn’t believe in curses and decides that a 169 carat diamond is not to be buried in the corner of one of his buildings.
Of course, bad luck ensues when Rick decides that the Nightshade diamond should be appraised and not locked away. Little incidents that can be attributed to bad luck begin to occur to Rick while he has the diamond on his person. In an act that seems contrary to his protective nature, Rick places the diamond on Sam to prove that it is not cursed. Of course, bad luck happens to Sam in the form of a former friend and lover
The Samantha/Rick storyline follows the previously successful formula. Someone from Sam’s past springs up and puts her in danger. Rick is fearful for Sam’s safety. Sam is fearful for Rick’s reputation. Rick has lots of money. Sam is a fish out of water. The two work together, employing Sam’s skills learned during her life of crime, to disentangle themselves from the mess. The real problem is that there is no growth in the relationship. Sam and Rick are still having the same issues, resolution of which is delayed by sex. Each scene is the same to some extent. Sam puts herself in danger. Rick is frustrated. Sam uses the “if you love, let me do my thing or I’ll bail act” and Rick capitulates. They have sex. Rinse. Repeat.
The diamond was a gimmick that was better integrated into the second story but still lacked any real punch. The collection was a disappointment. C-