The Seducer, by Madeline Hunter

>> Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I was planning to wait until I had all the books in the series before I started The Seducer (excerpt), by Madeline Hunter, but I couldn't stop myself from starting it!

An innocent searching for her lost family, Diane Albret finds herself living in the house of Daniel St. John. The world thinks she is his cousin, but she knows differently. She also knows that her attraction to this dangerous, dark and mysterious man is perilous to both her heart and her future. Worse, she fears his generosity is a prelude to seduction and that he plans to make her his mistress--an offer she does not trust herself to refuse.

Daniel indeed has plans for Diane, but they involve his scheme to complete a lifelong dark quest. The legendary seducer also has a secret about her lost past that he will do anything to keep; a secret that will put both their lives in jeopardy even as the passion they deny threatens to break out of all control.
After a somewhat slow start, The Seducer got very good indeed. I'd grade it a B+.

As I said, I was a bit doubtful when I read the first pages of the book. At first, the dynamics of Daniel and Diana's relationship bothered me a bit. It was all to unequal. Daniel had too much power over Diana, being her tutor and having so much more information about her life than she did. I also felt him to be cold, almost indifferent to her.

Fortunately, this started changing, and it was soon obvious that Daniel was everything but unaffected by Diana. In the end, she had as much power over him as he had over her, and that made the book work for me. I loved the way he purposely made himself vulnerable to her, made sure she knew her power.

Something else I liked was the way the revenge plot was dealt with, the way being with Diana helped Daniel throw off a lot of the past's power over him.

The ambience was excellently done. This is no wallpaper historical. Of course, I'm not an expert on the history, but the period felt real. Her rich, dense style (reminiscent, at times, of Liz Carlyle's) worked wonderfully in making it come alive.

The Seducer is first in a series I'll definitely be reading. I have the next two books in my TBR already, and plan to get the remaining two as soon as possible. I've already met many of the characters here, and I thought their presence was not just sequel-baiting, they served a purpose.

I'm glad the book was a success for me. I'm still a bit sad that Hunter has changed periods, since her medievals were pretty much the only ones I read, but she does well in Regency, too.


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