Silk Is for Seduction
By Loretta Chase
Release Date: June 26, 2011
I consider any time that Loretta Chase releases a new book cause for celebration, and when the release is the first of a new series, it’s even more exciting. When the new series is linked to Lord Perfect, my favorite of Chase’s Carsington books, my exhilaration is uncontained. If you haven’t already reached the conclusion, I will admit to being an unabashed Loretta Chase fangirl. While I do like some of her books better than others, I count her among my never-fail authors. Silk Is for Seduction with its combination of humor and emotional punch reinforced her status.
Marcelline Noroit and her sisters, Sophie and Leonie, are members of the DeLucey family, the Dreadful DeLucey branch whose lack of ethics has long scandalized English society. Although Marcelline and her sisters support themselves honestly as dressmakers, they are willing to use the celebrated DeLucey wit and charm to achieve their goal of making Maison Noirot the premier dressmaking establishment in London. Marcelline has no doubt that her designs are the best, but she needs one influential patron to showcase Noirot gowns. Who better to fill this role, Marcelline reasons, than the affianced bride of the 7th Duke of Clevedon, Gervase Angier? To this end, Marcelline goes to Paris where Clevedon is spending his last days of rakish freedom before returning to England and making official his engagement to Lady Clara Fairfax, eldest daughter of the Marquess of Warford, Clevedon’s former guardian.
After a week of following Clevedon to learn his ways and whereabouts, Marcelline arranges to attend the opera where her prey goes with the intent of seducing his way into the bed of Madame St. Pierre. When Clevedon first sees the mysterious brunette beauty, he determines to meet her. When he meets her, he forgets “about Clara and Madame St. Pierre and every other woman in the world.” The attraction between the duke and the dressmaker grows through a series of meetings in Paris, on board the ship that takes them back to England, in the Maison Noirot and beyond. Even when continuing to see her jeopardizes her reputation, his relationship with Lady Clara, and the life he expects to lead, Clevedon cannot forget the mysterious Marcelline.
This book succeeds on several levels. First, the relationship between Marcelline and Clevedon is compelling. Although their sexual chemistry is powerful, their emotional connection is even stronger. He proves himself the best of heroes. One of those perfect moments occurs when he says to her, after all her secrets have been revealed, “Life isn’t perfect. But I’d much rather live it imperfectly with you.” Sigh! I particularly relished the realism mixed with the romanticism. These two people recognize that they may never win the acceptance of the ton, that their marriage may always be regarded as an unpardonable misalliance, but they are willing to pay that price to be together.
Then, there is the fact that Marcelline is a self-made woman. Self-made men, although still a minority in historical romance among all the titled heroes, are not uncommon, but self-made heroines are rare. All the details Chase includes of fabric and design and shop scenes make dressmaking more than a mere label. I love Marcelline’s pride and confidence in her gift and her ambition to be “the greatest dressmaker in the world.” Clevedon’s pride in her achievement and his determination to help her achieve her goal made me cheer. And the epilogue made my top five list.
As the first book in a series, Seduction in Silk, in addition to succeeding as the story of a particular hero and heroine, must introduce secondary characters that hook the reader without overshadowing the protagonists. Chase does a superb job of this task as well. Sophie and Leonie are distinct and engaging personalities, and I’m certain I will not be the only reader hoping Lady Clara will be given her own HEA. Then, there’s Chase’s secret weapon, Miss Lucie Cordelia Noirot, who just may be the most winsome female child in historical romance since her distant cousin Olivia Wingate won hearts in Lord Perfect.
Is Silk Is for Seduction on your TBB list? What's your favorite Loretta Chase book? Who are your never-fail authors?