ARC Review: Seducing the Marquess (Lords and Ladies in Love #1) by Callie Hutton
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a historical romance and even longer since I read a FUN historical romance. Seducing the Marquess was the perfect book to break that boring pattern. This book was pretty much everything that I love in a good historical romance novel- the balls, the formality of the times, the rebellion and the breaking of the norms and most importantly, the romance.
Lady Devon, i.e. Eugenia and Lord Devon have been married for 5 months. Like most of the marriages of the ton, they too have a marriage where the husband visits his wife to beget her with an heir and a spare; and keeps a mistress to slake his lust. Love in a marriage is not something the ton looks upon as it is against the dictated societal norms. Despite it all, Eugenia is quite completely in love with her husband and wished for the same in return.
When Eugenia finds out that her husband is dead, she is quite happy with the news. But when she stumbles upon the book “Secrets of the Bedchamber“, Eugenia takes it upon herself to seduce her husband and make him fall in love with her.
Lord Devon, Marquess of Devonshire has been told from his boyhood, the kind of marriage he should have. Keeping in mind everything his father told him, Devon chooses his bride accordingly. Except he is unable to keep a mistress after his marriage. Oh he still visits Margaret, but only to keep up appearances, not for sex. All they do after all is play cards, and no one including Eugenia is aware of this. When he hears the news of Margaret’s death, he is indeed saddened, but more than anything, he is relieved. He would like to have a different marriage than that of his parents, but he is always held back by what he has been taught by his father; and doesn’t know what he should do.
I loved Eugenia’s transformation from the Ice Queen to a woman full of passion, willing to take what she wants. I never really understood why she was called the Ice Queen by the ton. Sure she is cool and composed and put up a facade of not being affected by much that was happening around her. But she was also so warm and encouraging and charming. She had a knack for coaxing people out of their shell and talk to her. In order to seduce her husband, Eugenia does everything from changing her dressing style to her hairstyle to her behaviour and how she acts in bed. It was so fun to watch her rattle Devon and make him question everything he knew about her and marriage in general. I’ve never seen a guy resisting a girl so much, especially one who is his wife.
There were a few times when I thought Devon was blind. I mean he saw the changes in Eugenia, but could not fathom she would do them for him. He was willing to believe she took a lover, but did not even entertain the thought that she might be trying to seduce him.
I also got bored with the repetitive allusions to Eugenia being worried about Devon taking a mistress and Devon contemplating taking a new mistress. These were repeated so often that it got on my nerves after a while. But then again this fear of Devon taking a new mistress is what pushed Eugenia to take action, thus becoming central to the story.
I did not particularly enjoy the character of Eugenia’s mother. Actually I did not feel anything for her. I thought she was a little aloof and quite obsessed with rules and what society thought. Even though he wasn’t very prevalent in the book, I loved Nash, Eugenia’s brother. I am intrigued about him and considering the ending, I suppose the next book will be Nash’s and I’m so excited for it.
Seducing the Marquess was well written and stayed true to the old England era of balls and coming-out of women. Even the vocabulary used by the author is reminiscent of the times. I’d admit though, there were times when I had to look up words in a dictionary and I actually enjoyed that process.
I am really excited about the Lords and Ladies in Love series and highly anticipate the next book in the series.