Kathy's Reviews > Seduction

Seduction by Amanda Quick
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's review
Jul 01, 12

bookshelves: historical-romance
Read from June 27 to July 01, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Setting: Ravenwood, country estate outside London; London townhouse and many ball rooms.

Theme: love, compromise, understanding, releasing the past, honor

Julian, Earl of Ravenwood – masterful, in control, autocratic, hard, first wife cuckolded him many times, and finally drowned in the nearby lake. A few years have passed, and he wants an heir – so he makes arrangements to marry Sophy. I think subconsciously he knows that Sophy is meant for him – that she is the woman that he can love, that is deserving of his love… but it takes him a long time to get the marriage right, and to trust her – too often he tries to rule her.

Sophy Dorring – 23, had a disaster of a coming out at 18, gentle, into healing meets weekly with Bess, an older, knowledgeable woman. She is looking for a way to avenge her sister, who had an affair with a nobleman who did not know who she was, and when she got pregnant he left her. She took his ring – an ugly black ring with symbols identifying it as a college, decadent group of sexual deviants. And her sister committed suicide. Sophy is well read, independent, believer in equality for women. She has been in love with Julian since she danced with him at 18… and when he makes an offer of marriage, she will only accept if he is willing to meet some of her requirements, and she doesn’t expect him to. When he comes to formally offer, she is gone and instructs her grandfather to tell him no. He tracts her down as she is returning home, and they talk. She tells him she knows he is looking for an heir and no trouble (as his first wife had given him), and that she wants 3 things: to read what she wants, to have 3 months before he insists on his conjugal rights, and not to be left in the country when he goes into town. He also tells her he will give her an allowance and not question how she spends it. They have a discussion of honor – and acknowledge that once married, she has only his honor to insure he will keep his part of the bargain. She is quite articulate in telling him what she needs from him, but he stubbornly and repeatedly ignores it and continues to try and rule her.

Elizabeth – Julian’s first wife – unhappy – she engages in numerous affairs without trying to hide them. When she is pregnant, she goes to Bess to get something that will abort the baby – and runs into Waycott, one of her love crazed paramours, on the way home and they have words, and he drowns her in the lake, taking the Ravenwood emerald jewelry.

Viscount Waycott – a man on the edge… he worships Elizabeth still, angry at Waycott, holding onto the jewels… and is upset that Julian is remarried so is looking for ways to seduce Sophy, and ultimately kidnaps her.

The main thing in the growing marital relationship between Julian and Sophy has to do with respect – Julian wants what is best for Sophy, but must get over believing that he knows what is right, and to allow her the freedom to do what she believes is right.

A few weeks into the marriage, overcome with desire and too much to drink, he decides not to give her the month – that she’s just afraid of sex, and one night with him would take care of it. She responds by drugging him into a deep sleep… He breaks his honor again by leaving her in the country for the 3 months, and goes to London. After a week, she decides she’s going after him…

And thus their marriage goes… bit by bit he starts to get it – especially after she determines that they should live as the ton – living separate lives, except for a few conjugal visits to insure an heir. And Julian realizes he misses time with her, and wants so desperately wants her to tell him again that she loves him… He goes to a masquerade, approaching her (dressed as gypsy), and talks to her about herself and his chances for love in the third person – giving a safe place to listen to her, and for her to express herself… He had left her a gift of a diamond bracelet, but she left it back in his room with a note of thanks but no thanks… When talking with the ‘gypsy’ she tells him that his wife probably would prefer a gift of a note, or a flower he took the time to pick. He responds with a gift of a herbology book – which thrills her to no end – resulting in the first kiss that she gives him freely.

Both are working on the ring, it’s meaning, and who has/had one, trying to narrow down who had seduced her sister. They both figure out that it is Waycott, but they are not together (she’s pregnant and is back at Ravenwood). And returning from a visit from Beth, he kidnaps her and takes her to a woodsman’s cabin… He plans to rape her, but wants her to disrobe and wear the Ravenwood jewelry… she talks him into a cup of tea first – that she has laced with a sleeping agent… and escapes – into Julian’s arms… and he is gentle with her, and holds her, and asks for her trust to tell him the truth of what happened – that he knows she did not act dishonorably… and waits… and she does tell him the truth, they make love, she gets his promise not to call him out to a duel (she is afraid for him), and as he is leaving, he tells her that he loves her… he goes to the cabin to wait for Waycott to wake up… Waycott plays his vulnerabilities, accusing Sophy of going to Bess for an abortion also, and then that she came onto him and they enjoyed sex together… for a moment Ravenwood wonders – but discards it, and tells Waycott that he has 2 choices – to leave for America or stay, but that if he stays, Julian will dog his every step, so that he will not be able to go to any good person’s house, that he will threaten any tailor he tries to go to, etc. and as Julian leaves, Waycott takes a 3rd way – he shoots himself.

And 8 months later, a happy Julian and Sophy have a baby boy, and Julian brings the babe to her to feed. ahhhh

Memorable scenes:
Somehow Sophy always has something loose – a hair ribbon, a piece of lace, her hat… and no matter how angry or confused Julian is with her, he always straightens her out.
As Ravenwood’s wife, and under his aunt’s tutelage, she makes a splash in society, with the wit, her herbal cures, her genuiness; and it becomes the ‘fashion’ to look a bit untidy – a shawl that drags, a hair ribbon, etc.

A well known courtesan is writing a tell all, to fund her retirement… but giving the men the opportunity to pay her money to not publish it. A few of the ton have not paid, and are paying in the gossip and with angry wives. She sends Sophy the blackmail letter asking for 200 pounds to withhold publishing love letters he had given her – in his youth (probably knowing Julian would not care)… and Sophy (hurt that Julian never sent her any kind of ‘love’ letter) decides that she could never pay, but could not tolerate having the letters published. So in the way of men, she challenges her to a duel of honor. They meet at dawn, and one of her friends warns Julian – who saw her leaving and was getting ready to give chase – and the courtesan is quite gracious, and when offered the opportunity to restore honor without resorting to shooting, she offers an apology to Sophy and a guarantee not to publish… and Julian shows up – fearful that she is running off with another man, then angry that she would risk herself, and not trust him to take care of it… Sophy ends up sending her the 200 pounds – because she can see how in many ways she acts the wife to these men, but does not get the benefit, and so deserves this money.

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