Winthrop is not happy when her social-climbing mother
unexpectedly arranges an engagement for heróto an English
duke sheís never met. She is determined to escape the
engagement by any means necessary. When she canít get out
of it, she decides to use a courtesanís journal to help her
seduce her husband.
Chambers, Duke of Bedford, is desperate. He needs money to
save the crumbling legacy his spendthrift father left him.
Heís even willing to become engaged to an American heiress,
sight unseen. Fortunately he finds Francesca quite
attractive, but comes to a mistaken conclusion and decides
not to consummate the marriage until the first couple of
months have passed.
Will Fran and
the courtesanís diary break through Williamís reserve, or
will misunderstandings kill their budding feelings before
they have a chance to grow?
The Seduction of
is a nice,
entertaining story of a marriage of convenience that becomes
more. Francesca is independent, stubborn, and clever. She
wants to decide her own future, but as a woman she is often
unable to do so, being forced to follow the dictates of her
parents. Sheís crushed when she discovers they have engaged
her to the duke, especially because she fancies herself in
love with someone else. Her frustration was understandable,
although some of her scheming to avoid the marriage was a
bit silly. William is an honorable man driven to desperate
measures. At first, he comes across as pompous and
overbearing at times, but his good intentions come through.
The conclusion he jumped to was also a bit silly, as it
could have been cleared up with some discussion, but I guess
it was understandable given the time period. I enjoyed
watching Fran and William dancing around each other and
slowly getting to know each other. There are some
interesting secondary characters, such as Franís maid,
Williamís valet, and Williamís family in England. I wasnít
too keen on the evil ex-mistress angle that appeared partway
through the book and reappeared near the end, but it did add
some action. Donna MacMeans isnít breaking any terribly new
ground here, but after a bit of a slow start the book picks
up and leads to a satisfying conclusion.