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VINE VOICEon April 27, 2007
If ever there was a man who needed a good woman it is James Killoran, the hero of To Love a Dark Lord. He is so jaded and world weary that it will take a special, innocent and determined heroine to veer him from his self destructive course. Emma is up to the challenge. Rarely do lovers have the combustible energy of these two characters.

James saves Emma from a certain hanging when she is discovered standing over the body of her dead relative. James vouches for her innocence, not because he believes her story or that he is smitten by her beauty. No, it just amuses him to do so. He really has no other ambition than to lead a hedonistic life.

He again comes to Emma's rescue from an amorous employer and realizes that she is the perfect pawn to bring about the downfall of his nemesis. Emma is destitute so she accepts his help knowing that she holds no special place in Killoran's life other than bait to be dangled before an enemy.

Things are not always what they seem, however. Emma has a true longing for Killoran, who has deep dark secrets and he just cannot forgive himself for his past mistakes. Emma is no door mat. She is quite brave and able to defend herself verbally and physically time and again.

Killoran is your wonderful Stuart hero. His intensity comes across every page and his self sacrificing nature is buried under mountains of guilt, anger and ennui. It is impossible not to be in love with him and disillusioned with him at times. Still his charm is ever present and his killer wit and looks are in no short supply. This is the best historical Stuart has ever written. The plot never gets in the way of the romance and the secondary characters are well drawn and thoroughly enjoyable.
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on August 6, 2013
Emma is supposed be an innocent yet strong woman. Killoran is supposed to be some cold, unfeeling aristocrat. Somehow they fall in love. Emma displays too many TSTL (too stupid to live) qualities that I spent most of my time rolling my eyes at her ridiculous antics. Killoran is so mean and rude that I just wanted to be rid of him. Emma is constantly being assaulted or kidnapped or mauled because she thinks "I'm a strong, independent woman, I will just casually walk the cold, winter streets of London into my bright future and nothing will harm me." Cue bad guys over and over. Yes Killoran rescues her time and again but then is incredibly rude to her afterwards. During all this drama, Emma falls in love with this jerk and I kid you not, Killoran says not one nice thing to her until the very end of the book! I'm all for dark, broody alpha males with tortured souls but Killoran had no redeeming qualities about him and Emma was horrendously afflicted with TSTL syndrome.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon January 12, 2012
I had never read Anne Stuart before her recent House of Rohan trilogy (Ruthless (The House of Rohan),Breathless (The House of Rohan), and Shameless (The House of Rohan)), so, out of curiosity, I ordered this ebook version of an early work of hers. The heroes (antiheroes) of the House of Rohan series did not sit well with me. They're a bit too dark and disturbing, too predatory and too unfeeling, so I was wondering what her 1994 version of a dark lord would be.

Turns out I like him much more than her 2010/2011 HR dark heroes. He's still dark, still predatory and seemingly unfeeling, but his back story is believable and helps you to understand why he is the way he is. I also very much enjoyed the road to redemption he travels helped by the heroine here.

Jaded Irish nobleman James Killoran, now living in London, lives an empty, dissolute life and suffers from ennui. Emma Langolet is a non-blue-blooded heiress living with her unloving Uncle Horace and Cousin Miriam since the deaths of her parents. Killoran and Emma meet at the Pear and Partridge Inn, where Killoran is waiting to pick up his young cousin Nathaniel, son of a country squire, who has been sent to London for some "town bronze". Emma is there with Uncle Horace, who has a lust both for Emma's body and her money. As he attempts to "have his way with her", Emma defends herself and accidentally kills him.

Killoran is the first to discover her with the body and takes the blame for the murder, knowing that as a peer he will not face any repercussions for the act. Now, Killoran does not do this for any altruistic reasons. He's just bored and likes to manipulate people. With the arrival of cousin Nathaniel and the rescue of Emma he has two possible entertainments to pull himself out of his ennui: 1) Introduce his innocent young cousin to the attractive vices and evils of London life to corrupt him, and 2) Use Emma, who feels gratitude to him, as a means of revenge against an old foe.

So the reader goes along for the ride. There will be a secondary romance, for Nathaniel with Lady Barbara, the young "fallen" daughter of an earl, a woman who beds any man of the peerage yet doesn't seem to derive any pleasure from her promiscuous ways. Barbara's back story is also informative of her present way of being and she becomes quite a sympathetic character.

One inconsistency in the story for me was Killoran's obsession with avenging a certain young woman's death. (His reason for getting involved with Emma is the part he wishes her to play in all this.) Killoran is an unfeeling, cold character. One wonders why he cared so much about this. The woman was not even, as far as I could see, the great love of his life. I had to ignore that little puzzle to fully enjoy the novel.

All in all, if I had read this book when it was first published I would have been quite impressed. As it is, there have been so many dark, fallen heroes in HRs since then that they subtract from Killoran's impact. However, I do feel that his character is more believable and sympathetic than Stuart's House of Rohan antiheroes or Anna Campbell's dark heroes of, for example, her Claiming the Courtesan (Avon Romantic Treasures) and her Midnight's Wild Passion. Also, I do enjoy Stuart's writing abilities.
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on April 19, 2000
This is my third Anne Stuart book. It is also one of my favorite romances ever. It is extremely well-written, dark, sexy, humurous in a black humor kind of way, romantic, and emotional. The plot is original and daring. Killoran is the dark lord to end all dark lords. Emma is his perfect match. Additionally, there are wonderful secondary characters: honorable Nathaniel, Lady Barbara of the bad reputation, and the elderly, bawdy Lady Seldane. And two creepy villians, Miriam and Darnley. The ending is superb. Don't miss this book!
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on July 7, 2002
This book is my absolute favorite Romance Novel. I have not found any Romance before or since that I have liked better. This book should have been available in hardcover as well as paperback. I really can't say why I singled this book out of all the others that I have read but my fantasy is that one day they will make this book into a movie. I don't understand why this book is no longer in print. I fell in love with all the characters in the book. I cannot express enough how much I love this book.
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on August 5, 2013
To Love a Dark Lord is a rewrite of an old Georgette Heyer novel, These Old Shades. Both stories concern a dark, cynical and debauched nobleman who befriends a red-haired commoner on a whim, and then uses the red-haired waif to exact revenge upon an old enemy. In fact, the cause of the revenge is the same in both stories: both heroes, in their youth, tried to court the sister of the now-enemy and was rebuffed. In Heyer's book, the anti-hero is an Englishman living in France, while Stuart's book concerns an Irishman living in London, but the sense of being an outsider is very similar. That having been said, Stuart does a good update of the tale, describing the heartless, soulless condition of the hero at the beginning, and his gradual growth and change into a proper hero, in love with the lady he befriends. It was a good, if not original, story, well-written, with a likeable, spunky heroine and a complicated, complex antihero. If you liked Georgette Heyer's books, or Stuart's prior historical novels, then you'll probably like this one as well (although it is a bit dark for a proper romance novel - all is not roses for the heroine). All told, not a great book, but a good one.
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on August 16, 2015
Jaded by life, bitter from experiences, Killoran comes upon Emma right after she's killed her greedy and lascivious uncle. Out of boredom, he is moved to save her from a certain meeting with a noose. It's not that he believes her innocence. He doesn't really. But she's lovely and he knows it will shock the staid and very distant relative he's forced to welcome into his home and that, amuses him. After his "good deed" he moves on never expecting to see her again, but fate has other plans. So when they do cross paths again, he decides she would be a perfect tool to use in a plot of revenge that he's been waiting years to exact.
Emma, young, beautiful and a runaway heiress finds herself in desperate need and so accepts Killoran's dark offer. She sees in him what he no longer sees in himself. Someone with a heart. An ice cold, blackend heart, to be sure, but a heart nonetheless and so with hope that only the innocent can have, she falls in love and by her love, shows Killoran that even a frozen heart can start beating again.
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on October 6, 2012
Anne Stuart has perfected the craft of writing romance noir and "To Love a Dark Lord" is another wonderful example. James Killoran is similar to the heroes of the House of Rohan series in that he's sophisticated, bored, and feels that he's beyond redemption. He essentially has no conscience or scruples and there's not much he hasn't seen or tried. Yet he develops a soft spot for tall virginal red-heads...

Why I enjoyed this novel:

- The dialogue was spot-on. Killoran is witty and sarcastic and you can't help but fall in love with all his little barbs. The book is actually quite funny in addition to being sexy!

- The sex scene was very fraught with passion - after weaving his web around Emma for so long it is Killoran who finally loses control and takes her on the wooden floor of all places. You have to like that sort of thing and if you do, you will not be disappointed.

- It is classic Stuart where the unremarkable female catches the attention of the very remarkable male. Isn't that everyone's secret fantasy? That the hottest, most jaded guy in town would notice little ol' me and become smitten? Apparently it just takes the love of a good woman to help a dark hero heal! It's somewhat cliché but if there weren't happy endings, why would you read romance??

- Emma was actually quite likable as the leading lady. Some of Stuart's past heroines have annoyed me a bit because they were awkward or plain to the extreme where it was barely believable, but Emma is tall and luscious and pretty and very honest with herself. She was relatable.

Overall, this was a very good novel for those who like a little darkness in their love stories. It follows the same formula as some of Stuart's other books but I've become rather addicted to that formula and enjoyed this variation. Stuart can flat-out write and she's good at her craft.
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on September 23, 2013
I absolutely loved every page in this book. The author says in the beginning that her editor wanted her to make her hero less dark. After several edits Ms. Stuart quit changing him. The editor later told her she had been mistaken. Well....I have to say they were both right, at least to me. Yes, this hero was dark, and he may not be what I would be searching for in real life, but in the book he was the perfect, dark and dangerous, sexy guy!! I think Ms. Stuart stopped editing him at the perfect time.

Not one time while reading this story did I find it slow, I was totally caught up in the story and the characters.

If you are an Anne Stuart fan do not miss this book. If you are not, but love historical romance, this book might make you one! No rehash of the plot here, it's been done, just a note to let you know that I am very happy I didn't miss this one!
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on January 14, 2010
When I first started reading this book, I was absolutely loving it! I thought- finally, a hero that was a real scoundrel and not some watered -down so called bad boy that's in the average romance novels these days. killoran was unrepentant until the end.

My problem with the book was that I hated the secondary romance. It's not very surprising to me as I'm not a fan of books with a secondary romance to begin with. I feel that they take away from the romance that I actually want to read. Which was the case in this book. I did not care one way or another for the secondary characters, and wished that more time was spent with Killoran and Emma. Another problem was the brutality towards the villan. I did not enjoy reading about his stomach issues and what Killoran did to it. Also, the story was starting to get somewhat too predictable in the end, and I found myself rushing to finish it. Don't get me wrong, I will definitely read Ann Stuart again, because I love the portrayal of her dark heroes. This book wasn't at all bad, It just wasn't a 5 star read for me.
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