The Perfect Seduction, by Leslie LaFoy

>> Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Perfect Seduction, by Leslie LaFoy was another of the books I read as part of my "tame the TBR pile" project (and yeah, there are a few still left to review, even though I read them in February and the first half of March).

book coverSimple Determination...

After a lengthy journey, Seraphina Treadwell appears at the doorstep of Carden Reeves with his three young nieces in tow, determined to ensure their uncle will properly care for her charges. However, judging by the man's rakish smile and dancing eyes – now alight with the fire of a new conquest – that day seems far off indeed.

Sweet Persuasion...

A man who can make love and walk away with equal amounts of passion, Carden plays the seduction game to win. But beneath a rogue's clothing beats the heart of a man who has never been truly and properly seduced by a woman, let alone a woman who lives by her own rules and who could make him believe in love. Until now...

Sinful Seduction...

While pride will not allow Seraphina to surrender to a man who has never wanted anything beyond a single night, her heart will not be denied the sweet promise of love...
LaFoy writes well, and her characters had some interesting facets, but the wall-paper historical element of the setting bugged me. A C.

When her husband and the expedition he was leading disappear in the jungles of Belize, Seraphina Treadwell is left in a desperate situation. As a last resort, she takes the three daughters of her husband's last clients (they were family friends, and they had left them with Sera when they left on that ill-fated expedition) and travels with them to England, intending to deliver them to their uncle.

To that uncle, Carden Reeves, the news Seraphina brings is disastrous. His brother's death makes him the new Earl, and that's something he really, really doesn't want. Plus, he's a busy man and knows nothing of children, so what will he do with three young girls? So he convinces the beautiful Seraphina to remain with the girls as their companion/governess, and convinces her to keep the secret of his brother's death. That should solve the problem.

But soon the feelings he and Seraphina develop for each other will make their comfortable arrangement not so comfortable. Because of her very unhappy first marriage, Seraphina is very weary of a relationship with Carden, and she's very reluctant to accept one that's less-than-permanent... which is the only type Carden can offer. And then, to complicate things further, it soon becomes clear that there's someone from Sera's past that is a big danger to her even today.

I tend to be pretty tolerant with historical accuracy. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about the subject, so as long as it's not too bad and I can keep my suspension of disbelief intact, I'll overlook things or give the author the benefit of doubt. I just couldn't do it here. LaFoy has some very strange ideas of how certain things were in the 19th century.

Just as an example, take the subject of whether Seraphina could be the girls' hired companion and still live in the household of a single man without this causing a scandal. Yes, it was determined: as a paid employee, that would be perfectly all right. Ok, I'm fine with that. But then Carden and his friends start inviting her to go to social fuctions with them! A dinner party, a very high society ball.. does it sound at all plausible that the governess will be able to basically date her employer and his friends? Oh, no problem, apparently, because Seraphina is a beautiful woman, so this will be fine. I thought my head was going to explode.

And then there was the subject of Seraphina's marriage to Gerald. Gerald appearing alive at the end will surprise no one who's ever read a romance novel, so I won't even put in a spoiler warning here. The problem was that this was treated as if it was a minor inconvenience, easily solvable (because divorces were so easy to come by for a woman, back then) and as if Gerald had absolutely no rights over Seraphina and her property. Oh, no, Gerald has gone into hiding because it's been discovered that he'd been cheating Seraphina out of her inheritance! Cheating? The way I understand things were back then, he's her husband, so what's hers is his to dispose of as he decides, and if he doesn't even tell her about it, no one is going to be shocked.

And the detail that made me lower the grade of the book even one notch further was when Seraphina casually reveals that all through her marriage, she made Gerald wear sheaths (19th century version of condoms). Oh, really? It strains credibility that a) There would be an abundant supply of sheaths in the supposedly very primitive Belize, b) A gently bred, virginal young woman would know about them, and c) Seraphina would have been able to persuade her husband to wear them every single time, when the man was a mean drunk who constantly beat her up and had absolutely no respect for her. Are we supposed to believe this when, even now, in the age of AIDS, and even in much healthier, more loving relationships, so many women have trouble making their boyfriends wear condoms? We should get Seraphina to teach them her secrets.

There were tons of details like those, and they kept kicking me out of the story, and it was just too much. Eh, well, the book did have some good points, though. I thought the characters were pretty interesting on their own, and certain things about their personalities intrigued me. Like the way Carden's career as an engineer/architect was so important to him. His resistance to become an earl annoyed me, at first. Like Seraphina, my reaction was of the "oh, cry me a river" variety, but also like Seraphina, once he explained his thoughts and how his earldom would completely ruin his career, I found myself understanding where he was coming from. Unfortunately, this interesting point goes nowhere.

I do have another book by LaFoy in my TBR, but now I don't know if I'll even read it. The review at AAR is very intriguing, but then, so was the one of TPS, and the reviewer didn't seem to be fazed at the historical inaccuracies.


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP