Simon Alexander barely recognizes himself these days, living the life of a gentleman while always feeling like an imposter with his courtly manners and his elegant clothes. No one outside his “family”.knows the squalor of his earliest beginnings but Simon remembers. Always. He’ll never forget where he came from. Being in the seedy neighborhood where he grew up actually calms him. The only thing Simon needs to feel complete is to find *his* Emma. And he’s spent ten years figuring out how to travel through time to find her and bring her home. To him. Where she belongs.
But Emma is no sweet, simpering miss who does needlework and reads poetry. She grew up on the filthy London streets in much the same manner as Simon. And she’s been skipping back and forth through time long enough that she’s not likely to meekly follow any man around, regardless of how handsome he might be. Now Emma has been taken under the collective wing of the league and they’ve dressed her in finery, polished up her manners and tutored her into sounding like a socialite, meaning to pass her off to the ton as the long-lost relative of one of their own. The niece of a duke no less. Ha!
And then there’s the matter of the Soul Catcher Stone she stole from Simon. The one that has magical properties. He wants it back but Emma needs it as a conveyance to help her get from one time to another. Can they share the stone? Are they willing to? And how much havoc will be wreaked if they don’t?
There’s a lot going on in “The Hellion is Tamed”, Tracy Sumner’s fourth book in the League of Lords series. Not having read any of the others isn’t a real issue because the main characters from the earlier books are Simon’s brothers of the heart. Although the brothers and their wives aren’t time travelers, each has a unique ‘gift’ that would raise eyebrows in any world outside the supernatural. An interesting group to be sure.
Emma’s story is intriguing and even though her early life was no picnic she’s nobody’s fool and she doesn’t waste time on a pity-party. Her attraction to Simon is erotic and all consuming and she desperately wants to act on the urges he arouses in her. But their urges are put on hold when outside forces threaten her life and possibly Simon’s too. Can they trust each other enough to collaborate and defeat their opponent? If not and they survive the threat, what kind of life could they expect to have without mutual trust?
For all its intriguing possibilities, I found the plot somewhat plodding. It simply gets bogged down in all the angsty brooding self-talk from Simon and Emma. Yes each was raised in squalor in Victorian London’s seedier neighborhoods but Simon is now a successful businessman, despite the illegitimacy of his birth. But he seems fixated on what he sees as his sham of a life and yearns for the honesty and authenticity of his old haunts. Really? We’re supposed to believe he wants to return to the putrid smells, the grime and filth of London and all that went with it? This reader has a hard time swallowing that line of thinking. Kinda’ pushes nostalgia into the realm of the ridiculous doesn’t it?
Still the basic bones of the plot have merit but in my opinion, the execution is lacking. I realize I’m in the minority but I struggled to finish this book. As mentioned earlier, the mental soliloquies went on and on and on. More than once a line of dialogue would pop up and I would have to go back 6-8 pages to find what it was referring to. And within the first chapter there were some name inconsistencies that drove me to distraction. The modiste, Madame Hebert was first Madame Herbert and then the poor woman’s name bounced around several times before finally settling on Madame Hebert (French, pronounced ‘ay-bear’). A truly inauspicious beginning and perhaps I should’ve taken it as an omen. But I didn’t and I read it and despite the sexy bedroom scenes, I still can’t honestly rate “The Hellion is Tamed” any higher than three and a half stars.