Saturday, 13 April 2013

Book Review: Temptation by Kathryn Barrett

Title: Temptation
Author: Kathryn Barrett
Release Date: 15 February 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Number of pages: 322 pages
Source: ebook copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's WebsiteAmazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, KoboRead an excerpt

Grade: 4.5 stars

Novellus superbus!

2013 Top Read
Goodreads appetizer: Laura Hayes has been acting since she was an infant, making Hollywood the only home she has ever known. But when she moves to Pennsylvania's Amish country to film her next movie, she discovers there's more to life than a pair of Jimmy Choos and a Marie Claire cover.

Intrigued by the Amish simplicity, she's soon gardening and baking plum pies—and enjoying it. And when her neighbor turns out to be the local heartthrob and a talented furniture maker, she realizes that what's missing from her life might be the love of a good man—not to mention the perfect heirloom tomato.

Jacob fights the urge to question the teachings of his Amish beliefs—despite his desire to create furniture that is beautiful as well as useful—and struggles with his longing for the sexy stranger who makes him feel truly alive for the first time. As his attraction grows, so do his doubts, until he's forced to face temptation and decide once and for all what is truly worth the fight.

My Thoughts: If you follow the blog you have most certainly heard me mentioning this book as not only was it a story with a wonderfully unique concept, but I fell instantly in love with Kathryn Barrett's writing. It was captivating and flew smoothly, sucking the reader in, and not letting go until reaching 'The End' (I know what I'm talking about, I read it 'till 4am, but it was SO worth it!).

I'll start with a disclaimer so you know what to expect from this novel. Although Temptation is set in Amish county and its hero and many of its secondary characters are Amish, it is not a Christian or inspirational romance. Temptation is a contemporary romance featuring a modern heroine rediscovering life and falling in love in an Amish setting.

Laura came to this small Amish town as an outsider, not enjoying the shallow and glitzy celebrity life and wanting to fully experience the everyday life of the Amish people out of sheer curiosity, interest and dedication for her role. I found Laura a heroine I could really like because she was genuine, unpretentious, kind and relatable. When we "meet" her at the beginning of the story she is quite unhappy, her marriage was a failure, her mother is trying to run her life and she just doesn't feel content, confident or at peace in her own skin. But as she discovers the way of a simpler life, and through the kindness of the people and the pleasure of tending to her small garden she discovers peace and happiness. And then there is her attraction, admiration and lust for Jacob, an Amish widower, whose wood furnitures amaze her.

Jacob was a hero I'm sure I will never forget. His humility, deep-felt sense of honour and integrity branded him forever in my mind, as well as his reverent love for Laura and his passion for wood and creating furniture:
Wood fascinated him. No manmade substance was quite as practical, and certainly not as beautiful. He stroked the piece of cherry, admiring its properties, its intricacies, its willingness to bend to man’s desires…up to a point. It adapted in the face of hardship: weevils, stress, heat, cold, a thousand natural shocks that only made it more desirable.

But do not think he is a stuffy, old man, oh no, he was quite the Amish hunk: handsome and passionate! You just have to "meet" him!

Kathryn Barrett made a fantastic job portraying the differences between Laura's and Jacob's world
A phone call—so forbidden for him, an everyday necessity for her.

and introducing the Amish beliefs and lifestyle to her readers. Being European, before reading Temptation I didn't know much about the Amish, so I found it fascinating learning about their customs and rules. Kathryn Barrett did it all in a very interesting way without coming off as preachy or boring, to the contrary it was captivating!
“It’s not good to be different. Not here, among us,” he clarified. “It’s a sin to be an individual. To set oneself apart. To want to do something better than anyone else.”

Temptation is an amazing melding of some thought-provoking ideas:
“Tell me, why has God given us this need to know if he will only punish us when we ask these questions?”
A smile lifted his gray beard. “Because it is those questions that make our journey so interesting.”
unexpected chuckle out loud humour:
The women inside greeted her warmly, with the exception of Rachel Hostetler, who looked at her as if she suspected Laura was on the advance team from Gomorra.
“I’m having guy problems.”
“I didn’t know you were dating anyone.”
“I’m not.” She sighed. “Oh, Meg, I think I’ve turned into a sexual predator. I’m really attracted to this guy. I attacked him on the set today, a full frontal assault—”
“You kissed him?” Meg asked, used to her sister’s hyperbole.
and words that just bleed passion and will tug at your heart-strings:
His crimes on the library computer were minor compared to the sins that filled his heart lately. Confessing to the sin of using the Internet was a small price to pay for absolution, but he doubted God would grant it. He’d just have to stay away from Laura Hayes from now on. Forget that moment in the buggy. Forget the way her hair smelled and her face glowed. Forget the way his heart begged to be with her.

Verdict: Temptation was so different from the usual contemporary romances, its premise and setting were unique, and with Kathryn Barrett's storytelling Laura and Jacob's story was thought-provoking and deeply moving. Although Temptation is a story rich in secondary plotlines like portraying the Amish way of live, their beliefs and customs, it is at its core a love story. A powerful and all-encompassing love story between two people living very different lives who aren't that different when it comes to what is really important. With wonderful characterizations, an easily flowing and captivating writing style Kathryn Barrett wowed me from start to finish. I discovered a new favourite author and I urge you all to discover her yourself, you'll thank me! ;-)

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 8/10
Cover: 8/10 - representing parts of the story, it suits it well.

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

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