A marriage of convenience ignites into a passionate love affair in the hotly anticipated second novel in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s addictive Sinful Suitors series!
When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife … if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?
I enjoy Sabrina Jeffries’ books. She is one of those historical romance authors I count on for consistently entertaining reads. The Study of Seduction works fine as a standalone, something I can attest to because it has been so long since I read the book before this one, and had all but forgotten the characters. It is a solid read, even if I had an issue here and there.
I feel really comfortable with Jeffries’ characters, and trust the author to deliver things I expect. In other words, I expect her characters to behave decently and maturely, even if they stumble a few times along the way, and I know there aren’t going to be that many issues that drive me insane.
I liked the way these long-time friends (of a sort) came together and gradually recognised what they felt for each other. They worked for me really well, and even though it was clear to me (or any reader) what our heroine’s secret was, I do like how it was dealt with and how it was gradually introduced into the story.
I also loved the mother’s explanation of what to expect on a wedding night. Too often our authors have their female characters being sex experts before marriage, and I struggle to believe it.
One thing I thought might have been better to NOT introduce gradually was the heroine’s appearance! I might have missed an earlier hint, but the 59% mark is a little late to learn the colour of her hair! Sure, the cover is a clue, but even so…
I enjoyed the way real history was threaded through this book. I always love the history of the theatre (and THANK YOU to the author and editor for keeping the proper spelling of proper nouns!), and it was a bonus here, as it was heavily based in fact.
I’m also excited about the next book, if the hints we got in this one are anything to go by.
The things I didn’t like so much?
Does the historical romance genre REALLY need yet *another* book where the villain is blond and French?! I think not.
I thought the language and grand declarations were a little over the top in some parts, and I’m finding I’m not all that interested in reading long sex scenes in this sort of book – there were a few in this one. I’m sure these very things are the aspects that will make some readers love the book, but I suppose I prefer a little more subtlety.
Maybe I’ve just reached a point where I’ve read about too many nineteenth-century characters having sex in random, semi-public places that I can’t take it anymore…
There’s the odd language issue here and there (‘get off of’ makes me cringe!), which could easily have been fixed with better editing, but it wasn’t as distracting as most books in this subgenre.
I enjoyed this book, and will consider buying myself a copy. While not my favourite book by this author, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to like about it.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.