To survive, Emma Langolet has committed a shocking crime. But, to her amazement, the notorious scoundrel, James Killoran, has agreed to accept responsibility for her desperate act—though the handsome, Irish earl professes no interest whatsoever in the enchanting miss whom he has surely rescued from the gallows.Hurt and confused by his indifference, Emma is nonetheless drawn to this elegant, arrogant rogue who uses people for his own amusement—but is always there when she most needs him. For she believes Killoran hides true goodness behind his decadent façade. And only the power of love can restore hope and tenderness to a dark and damaged heart—and release the passionate lover imprisoned within.
Anne Stuart was one of the first authors I've read when I started reading romance. She writes a variety of genres and lengths and remains one of my favourite writers till today. I haven't read as many of her books lately as I used to. The TBR keeps growing and I've been more into historical fiction or mysteries and thrillers. So her historical romances or romantic suspense novels keep being left behind. However one of these days I came across a copy of To Love a Dark lord, which I remembered having loved in the past, and I just couldn't resist picking it up for a reread.
I am very glad that I did it. The story is still a very good one and I read it one sitting. What I felt in my reaction to it was that I changed as a reader. Where I once loved the mysterious alpha male with the unhappy past and the tough attitude I now find him a lot less attractive. While he may have come up to scratch for our heroine I keep thinking about all the other women he probably left brokenhearted or ruined just for the fun of it or because they did not attract him in the same way that Emma did.
To be completely honest I understood better why she would feel attracted to him than why he should feel attracted to her. At first it was certainly her resemblance to Maude Darnley but I couldn't see why he would be upset about Maude in the first place. This was a period where there were many women in dire straits, if not exactly like her certainly in similar situations of unhappiness. And Killoran doesn't seem the type of man who would go out of his way to help others... unless he was bored or felt he would be entertained by it.
Having said that it is always brilliant to see a rogue transform himself for the love of a good woman and Killoran, while decided to keep Emma away for her own protection, does end up giving in to the heart he professed not to have and show himself a very different sort of man. Emma is a strong heroine from the beginning. She is resourceful and clever and she doesn't immediately fall for Killoran as is so usual in this type of story. I did enjoy their dialogues and Killoran's sarcasm very much.
Regarding the secondary love story involving Killoran’s cousin and the woman everyone believes to be his mistress, I did enjoy it as much as when I first read it. I wonder if am growing more appreciative of beta heroes or if it's just the fact that Stuart wrote Nathaniel in a way that it is impossible not to like him. Lady Barbara is Killoran's counterpart. She also believes to have a dark and jaded soul but she ends up redeemed by Nathaniel's love...
Having read this made me want to grab my other Stuart favourites, books like Lord of Danger and A Rose at Midnight, and see how well they stand the test of time.