November 11, 2014
Rook to CoQ10 - No, no, that's not right - it's Rook to Queen's Bishop four.
Oh Ms. Ross I wish you were still writing. You do know, Ms. Ross, that self-publishing has come along since your last book. That means you only have to argue with yourself when
A long time ago there was a wonderful writer named Julia Ross who also wrote some traditional Regencies under the name of Jean Ewing Ross. I am the proud possessor of all of these books and I keep hoping that someday all of her books will be released in electronic formatting. There are all kinds of new generations of readers who could the experience the joy of reading one of her gems. However, at this time Ms. Ross has joined the ranks of "whatever happened to." Sigh.
As I read The Seduction, I once again marveled at the length of older books and this one was written in 2002, so it's not alllll that long ago. What could have happened in such a short time to change the length of books? We, the reader are missing so very much by not being able to read a story that is fully developed. It is always nice to pick up a book in which the author has been given plenty of space to expand their story.
The Seduction was a wonderful journey into storytelling filled with a variety of intriguing levels, all intricately intertwined together. This is a magnificent book. Is it perfect? Of course not. There were some things I had issues with, but not the writing, and overall this is a golden oldie. The romance world is a little empty because the voice of Julia Ross is no longer contributing to it.
The Seduction takes its time telling the story of the infamous rake Alden Granville-Strachan and the "I've got a secret" widow Juliet Seton. Ms. Ross is great in setting the scenes in the lush Georgian time period - the language, clothing, and surroundings are so well-drawn one can almost taste the era. Alden is a very sensual man; he loves women while at the same time using them. He wears satin, velvet and lace, but there is never any denying that he is allllll male. In fact all the frou-frou of the day only enhances his manly sensuality.
At the beginning of the story Alden is losing big time in a card game. Now, he seems to have a ton of responsibilities, so why he is in there throwing away his estate is never fully explained, but he is. He is the sole support of an orphaned child which makes him seem even more frivolous. Into this set-up slithers our shady villain Edward, and a wager is made. The wager involves Alden seducing our young widow within a week and returning with a locket she wears around her neck as proof. Alden has no other option but to accept this wager and he's off to the country. By the way, Edward is a very sinister villain. He's like a spider spinning his web, trapping his unwary victims within. While he doesn't have garlic breath, he does have discolored teeth so if there was even an inkling of a thought for a future hero in him - don't even think it, the teeth give him away.
Anyway, Alden has a plan - sort of. He appears in Juliet's garden only to find that she doesn't really seem interested in him. So, this calls for drastic action and drastic it is. He spots a bee and once spotting that bee he remembers a childhood incident in which he almost died from a bee sting. Well nothing can get the attention of a woman faster than a man falling down in a swoon at her feet. So, he deliberately encourages the bee to sting him and it does and Alden swoon's at Juliet's feet. Now, contrary to what you might think, Alden is really an intelligent man, he's just desperate. Juliet is forced to take care of an ailing Alden until he recovers. As luck would have it, Juliet falls under Alden's spell almost from the beginning, but she's no push over - she resists him for a long time. Actually, they don't even kiss until almost the middle of the book.
The book seems to be divided into two parts. The first part is the seduction and it is thick with steamy atmosphere as Alden challenges Juliet to a Chess game that of course includes another wager. The narrative changes from seduction in the second half of the book to more intrigue as the characters in the book move as if they were in a chess game. Some of the characters are more sinister and some are just pawns in the overall outcome of the book. There are numerous secondary characters, all weaving in and out of the tale - each adding their part to the story. There is no rush to tie up loose ends; instead each thread falls into place.
This is phenomenal storytelling. Now, I did mention before I had some issues and I did. I found Juliet a hard heroine to like, so it was really hard for me to cheer her on. Even before Alden's eventual betrayal she had quite a fish-wife of a mouth about her. She had an axe to grind with just about everybody and this grinding went on just a tad too long for me. However, there are some incredible moments with her in an asylum that are pretty powerful. Overall, this is a well-written book by a wonderful author and I wish she was still churning them out.
Time/Place: Georgian England