Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Review: An Illicit Temptation a novella by Jeannie Lin
***The novella sequel to My Fair Concubine***
Tang Dynasty China, 824 A.D.
Dao was raised as a servant, but when her half-sister flees an arranged marriage to a chieftain, Dao is sent in her place as Princess An-Ming. Such a future is better than she could have hoped for, yet she dreads a passionless union with a stranger.
Taken as a virtual hostage to the Imperial court, Kwan-Li is torn between his people and his duty to the emperor. He is bound by honor to escort the princess safely across the wild and untamed steppe, but the greatest danger they face on the long journey may be the forbidden temptation of each other…
Dao is thrust into a world she is ill prepared for, that of being the Princess by decree sent to be an Alliance Bride and help secure a peace treaty between her Kingdom and the neighboring one. Dao was raised as a servant because she was the daughter of the second wife in the household, as such the opportunity to be a Princess is one she isn't going to pass up even for Kwan-Li who makes her feel things she is afraid the old chieftain she promised to never will.
Kwan-Li has spent the last 12 years learning about court politics in the Tang Dynasty away from his home and his roots. He is given the job to escort the Princess to her future husband the Emperor of his people. He finds what sounded like a simple task of escorting a snobby Princess turns out to be an exercise in self control when he discovers An-Ming isn't at all like he expected, she is so much more.
When the caravan is attacked and Dao and Kwan-Li are forced into close quarters things smolder as they battle inner desires for each other and concern about the political situation they are in.
This is an extremely well written novella, I had not read My Fair Concubine at the time I read this and even not having that to understand some of the history involved in the story I was able to jump right in and read this. There is enough explanation given that you are still understood and were able to connect with Dao and Kwan-Li. You get a wonderful sense of what a full novel by Ms. Lin is like, she is able to paint a picture of the conflict between the Empires, the honor and pride of the people, the beauty of the land and the love and desire that grows and builds between Dao and Kwan-Li.
The only problem I felt with this novella is in a small way it felt like the deleted scenes of My Fair Concubine. I felt like there should have been more to the story, that I was getting the details of The Rest of the Story. Overall I would say great novella but read it as a companion not as a stand alone, I give this my second highest rating. Red Roses