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on November 26, 2012
If you've read the blurb you know that this is a romantic mystery where Leila Beaumont is trying to find out who killed her father almost a decade ago and who is responsible for the recent death of her husband. Of course, she can't help but be tempted by the spy assigned to help her, Comte d'Esmond.

What you don't know is that Captives of the Night isn't a quite like any other romance novel I've ever read before. It's a historical and it features a so called bad boy with a heart of gold, and those are things I love, but for a good part of the story the heroine spends married to someone other than the apparent love of her live. What's more curious, is that she freely admits having once loved her abusive and vile husband.

It's a delightfully realistic take on two people finding each other and giving themselves a second chance in happiness. Not everyone finds and marries the love of their live at seventeen and spend the rest of their lives together. There's a slight problem, though.

How does an author stop the heroine from becoming a contemptible doormat to an abusive husband while turning her into a possible adulteress and keep her relatable to an average romance reader?

The answer is, she doesn't. At least, Chase didn't. She made the Leila Beaumont into a violent tempered shrew who can stand up to her morally corrupt husband and and whose tantrums lead to her being the suspect in her husband's murder. And that's how Chase handled the second part of her dilemma. Getting rid of an unwanted ball in chain was the only way for the true romance to move on.

I call it a true romance because it isn't magically easy. Both Esmond and Leila fight their attraction for each other instead of giving into their insta-lust. The sex part still comes quite early for an historical novel, but at least it follows a decent seduction. I'd almost given up on the hope of reading scene something as innocuous as a good look at a man's hands can raise the temperature of the room. It shouldn't come as a huge surprise then that this book was written and originally published in the early 1990's. As much as I don't miss the euphemisms, I do miss the sensual seductions that used to precede outright sex in romantic fiction.

I liked the fact that as imperfect and infuriating as both characters were, they were evenly matched. Their flaws and strengths complemented each other. Admittedly, Esmond had the advantage of his gender and the laws of the era to help him, but I also felt he was cunning enough to handle Leila when needed to, just as she was stubborn enough to demand the truth and trust he so reluctantly bestowed to anyone.

All this I liked, the story, the writing, and I liked the mystery too, which managed to surprise me to a certain extent. Also, I'm valiantly ignoring all the bad, bad, words like female, core, and a host of others I've managed to forget since reading the book. So, why then, isn't my rating higher?

I simply didn't like certain aspects of the book. Not only was I bored for the longest periods, I found myself baulking at how certain things were handled and how much attitudes have changed in twenty years. It has to do with the dead husband's vices and how those were described. I appreciate the historical accuracy of such attitudes, but I can't help but feel that another author writing today would have chosen his or her words differently especially when describing someone as tolerant as Comte d'Esmond talking or thinking about the matter.
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on January 1, 2014
First, the acknowledgement that this book, although part of the Scoundrels series is not even close to being as good as the classic LORD OF SCOUNDRELS. In the warm afterglow of having read LORD OF SCOUNDRELS, I picked up this book to read more of the series. I was sorely disappointed and this book left a bad aftertaste. I really do like Loretta Chase's books, however, an eventually gave this one another chance. This time I read CAPTIVES OF THE NIGHT and the connected book THE LION'S DAUGHTER together and I found that I really enjoyed both.

CAPTIVES OF THE NIGHT takes place ten years after the events of THE LION'S DAUGHTER and redeems the villain of that book Ismal who has been acting as an agent for the British Crown in the intervening years. While on the trail of the evil Francis Beaumont (who readers of the later books in the Scoundrels series will recognize), Ismal, who now goes by the name Comte d'Esmond, meets Leila Beaumont, Francis' artist wife.

Soon Francis is murdered and Leila is the logical suspect. The majority of the novel deals with Ismal and Leila's efforts to uncover the murderer. At the same time, the couple is uncovering each other's secrets and learning to trust one another. This is not a peaceful couple. They are both wounded secretive and dangerous people. They ended up being the perfect match for one another.

This book is of a slower pace, and on the second read in I appreciated it more. The books in this series can and should properly divided into two groups, the first two books THE LION'S DAUGHTER and CAPTIVES OF THE NIGHT which are closely related to one another and should be read together and LORD OF SCOUNDRELS, THE MAD EARL'S BRIDE and THE LAST HELLION which are closely connected and should be read together. The books within each group are similar in tone and have overlapping characters. The two groups are only loosely connected to one another.

I recommend all the books in this series.
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on January 4, 2007
First comment about this book - the cover art seemed a bit odd. We have a man with a very modern haircut peeping through some bed hangings; he's got a definite five o'clock shadow but completely hairless arms and he looks like one of my friends who's a vicar in Swindon. He certainly doesn't look like an Albanian man masquerading as a French Count in 1829 - who is described as having blonde hair which is slightly overlong and amazingly blue eyes. Once again, the cover art of a Regency Mass-market Paperback lets us down - badly.

But on to the book, if you've managed to get past the awkward cover and actually purchased the thing. It's the story of the Comte D'Esmond, French nobleman, who appears to be trying to seduce Mrs Leila Beaumont, wife of Francis Beaumont. All of these characters appeared briefly in "Lord of Scoundrels" - Francis Beaumont being a very unpleasant man who spends his time in dissolute living; his wife, on the other hand, is an amazing artist and the sole of fidelity.

Until Francis is murdered and she is the chief suspect. Fortunately she is acquitted of the murder, with the help of the Comte D'Esmond, but then it becomes clear to her that she must try to find out who actually did kill her husband, in case that person tries to murder someone else. So she goes to a figure in authority - who puts the Comte D'Esmond on the case. But is he quite who he seems?

The characters in this book are many layered. The Comte is decidedly not as he appears on the surface but he guards his secrets incredibly well. Leila Beaumont has been emotionally damaged by her husband and can't trust men at all - when she realises how many secrets the Comte is keeping she knows she can't trust him either. And yet they have to work together and she slowly begins to unpick his story and find out more about him, much against his will.

There's not a great deal of action in this book apart from small movements as the Comte and Leila move around her artists studio, picking up paintbrushes, sitting down on a chair, that kind of thing. No long carriage journeys or gunfights, it's like a still-life painting where the subjects provide all the visual interest by just being themselves. It's well written, particularly in the Comte's way of speaking English with a foreign flavour, but I did find my attention straying sometimes because of the lack of action and because there was always something more being unveiled - what you thought was true seemed to change on a very regular basis as Leila finds out more. The book definitely picked up in interest towards the end although I was very fearful about the Big Misunderstanding that was trailed from about a third of the way through - fortunately the author did something rather better with this than you would usually expect in this kind of novel. Overall her characters were different and interesting and I did enjoy the book, if sometimes getting a little confused by all the different characters and finding their focus on the murder plot a little irritating.
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on April 28, 2012
I know this book has its sombre spots, but I loved it. Having read two of the other books that are part of this group (Lord of Scoundrels and The Last Hellion), I was already intrigued by the characters. All in all, the plot hangs together, the characters are complex, dark, passionate and held my interest. The heroine was a little too angry -- that's why I've given four stars and not five.
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on October 25, 2011
I basically love everything by Loretta Chase - and this book is one of my favorites. So, a favorite of a favorite :) Both the main charcters are intense people who hold so much of themselves back from the outside world yet recoginize the kindred passionate souls in each other. I've read this book over and over again and never get tired of it. Thank you Loretta Chase!
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on July 27, 2011
You will love this book if you like tension and passion
in your historical romances! This book has that rare ability
to keep its many irons in the fire without muddling something
up or lacking sense. Two damaged people work through
their problems while solving a mystery. The result is beautiful
and sexy not twisted. Another page - turner from Loretta Chase!
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on December 10, 2013
I love Loretta Chase because she is one of the most fun romance writers I have ever read. Sadly this book is very... fraught. Much less fun than her usual. Also I'm not so sure this particular villain can be redeemed. This is more for those who are looking more for the frisson and heat Ms. Chase can bring rather than the humor.
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on September 18, 2006
Ms. Chase is a highly talented and interesting writer. However I found this book to be just plain awful.

First of all there is a lot more mystery than romance. And the plot just seems to drag on and on and on...

While I enjoy heriones that are strong willed. This one bordered on "lunatic". I just can't like a character who throws tantrum after tantrum and even hits the hero on the head with a chamber pot while screaming that she is going to kill him. And on the next page she is in his arms.... She was just way too dark for my taste.

The hero is okay. Nothing out of the ordinary and the secondary characters are just fair.

If you want to read an amazing book by Ms. Chase, then "Lord of Soundrels" is a wonderful choice. Pass on this one...wish I had.
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on April 13, 2012
Since getting my kindle I have been introduced (or rather stumbled upon) authors I would maybe just pass by. Loretta Chase is one that I have just really come to look forward to when I need a book to take me away from my boring world for awhile. This is the third of her books I have read and I will soon get the rest. Her characters are so wrought with feelings and emotions and not always good and noble. Sometimes like we all have those thoughts and feelings are dark and dangerous. My favorite part of this book is when Ismel reveals his true self to Leila and well I won't ruin the results but it has stuck with me even after the ending and I wish I could just draw it like she does because I am sure my imagination can not do it justice. So far I have enjoyed each of her characters. None of them think they are good enough to be loved and yet the endings add to the addage that every mother tells their children " there is someone out there for you, you just haven't found them yet".
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on September 12, 2011
This is as much a mystery as a romance. It is not along the usual mystery plot line of a novel set in this period. While you do have the angelically handsome Esmond working for the English government on spy missions, the central mystery is murder. The romance sizzles along nicely between Leila and Esmond. It is an excellent read.
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