Jove, Sep 2002, 5.99, 320 pp.
Simon Bellville knows poverty first hand having grown up in the worst possible place. Though almost two decades have passed, Simon remains haunted by his failure to protect his sister from the rape that destroyed her mental state and eradicated her smile. By 1867, Simon had become legendary in London for making a fortune, but remains obsessed with that crime that changed his life. He now runs Her Majesty's Morality and Vice Commission as his means of attaining atonement for his one defeat of failing to keep his sibling safe.
Simon invades a brothel only to find the seemingly innocent Christine Tremain incarcerated in the attic. Instead of sending her to Newgate as he knows he should, Simon enrolls her in school. Soon Simon finds he must choose between his growing attraction and apparent love for Christine and his efforts to join Parliament. She is just the type of scandal that could end his political career before it begins.
Though in many ways TEMPTING is a typical early Victorian romance, what makes this novel stand out among the ton of historicals is the underlying morality theme. The story line cleverly provides an ethics message that “to thine own self be true” as the values the characters contain make the key cast members seem genuine. The era with the changing of Parliament and the prime cast feel real so that the audience will have quite a good time with this tale and hope that Ms. Tarr rapidly provides another strong story such as this one.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner