In her latest novel in her series about the Cynster family, Stephanie Laurens adds Miss Emily
Beauregard and her four younger siblings to the mix. Emily arrives in a small, rural village in
Devon to apply for a job as the innkeeper. When the owner’s son Jonas Tallent interviews her for
the job, he discovers two important things: She is lying about her references; and he is very
attracted to her. Desperately in need of an innkeeper, Jonas hires her despite his reservations
about her experience and capabilities.
Thrilled to accept the new position, Emily finds rooms for her family at the inn and proceeds
to turn the barren establishment into a thriving business. In addition to hiding from her abusive
uncle, finding a tutor for her brother, fighting her sexual awareness of Jonas, and getting the inn
functioning again, she and her siblings hunt for a hidden treasure. The treasure belongs to her
family, though she keeps her complete name a secret from the people of Devon, lest they figure
out why she’s there. Other than her instincts, Emily’s only clue to finding the treasure is an
old rhyme passed down through the ages.
Although Jonas feels that Emily withholds affection and information, he patiently waits until
she’s ready to reveal more of herself to him. Tired of rich London society, Jonas uses his physical
attributes, good breeding, and inherent charm to ultimately win Emily over. However, the closer
they get to each other (and the closer they get to the treasure), the closer they also get to
dangerous thieves who will do anything to steal her treasure.
Temptation and Surrender presents the kind of flawless romantic hero in Jonas Tallent
that most women crave. Emily, however, erects needless barriers to their romance and ignores
obvious clues to the mystery that readers surely will figure out before she does. Although
overall an enjoyable read, the heroes and villains are so clearly delineated in this book that
there’s little intrigue about who’s actually causing the mischief in the quaint Devon town.