Title: Seducing the Marquess
Author: Callie Hutton
Series: Lords and Ladies in Love #1
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 17th Oct
Richard, Marquess of Devon is satisfied with his ton marriage. His wife of five months, Lady Eugenia Devon, thought she was, too, until she found the book. Their marriage is one of respect and affection, with no messy entanglements such as love. Devon’s upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other Eugenia. When she stumbles onto a naughty book, she begins a campaign to change the rules.
Lady Eugenia wants her very proper husband to fall in love with her. But her much changed and undeniably wicked behavior might inadvertently drive her confused husband to ponder the unthinkable—his perfect Lady has taken a lover. But the only man Eugenia only wants is her husband. The book can bring sizzling desire to the marriage or it might cause an explosion.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
Take one very proper young wife, add in an exceedingly proper marquess, stir up plenty of outside expectations and rigid views about what a marriage should be – particularly in the bedchamber – and it’s no wonder that these two are outwardly content, but inwardly dissatisfied at the start of this book. Until Eugenia finds a naughty book and sets out to win her husband’s full attention.
And that’s all this book is about. Eugenia wants her husband in her bed, while Devon is convinced those passions belong with a mistress – except he has no interest in sleeping with anyone but his wife. While it is refreshing that this book focuses purely on the two of them and their relationship, without any outside interference, that’s also it’s biggest weakness. Because as nice as Eugenia and Devon were, they’re also quite dull and the seduction relies on low cut dresses and new hairdos rather than anything genuinely seductive.
It’s not a bad read, but it is pretty repetitive, and it takes Devon far too long to really consider what’s going on. I also found Eugenia a bit too passive in her pursuit. I could understand why she might be cautious and unsure at first, but I would have expected her to have grown in determination instead of simply looking for another dress.
(Also, on a geeky historical peerage note, since there’s already a Duke of Devonshire and an Earl of Devon, I’m not sure there’s room for a marquess as well. Especially living somewhere as unimaginative as Devon Manor – the earl lives at Powderham Castle, though they didn’t get the title back until 1831, so I suppose there might have been room for a marquess. The heir of the duke is also known as the Earl of Devonshire, and there has also been an Earldom of Devonshire too. It’s complicated. And pretty irrelevant, I guess, but it played on my mind throughout. I know my home county is one of the largest in England, but you can only twist its name so far to squeeze all the titles in.)
So overall this an okay read. The premise is good and it starts off well enough, but it never really progresses and instead repeats the same cycle over and over until the tension breaks. The characters are nice, but the chemistry is fairly tepid and the seduction scenes not quite what I’d expect from a book with this title and cover. Still, if you’re looking for a marriage of convenience tale that deals with the aftermath rather than the build up, and you like your historical characters to have appropriate manners (if not always language) then give this a try.
Seducing the Marquess is out October 17th.
Visit Callie Hutton for more details.