All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Seducing The Marquess by Callie Hutton

on October 19, 2016

seducing-the-marquessSeducing The Marquess (Lords & Ladies In Love #1)
Callie Hutton
Entangled Publishing LLC
2016, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Richard, Marquess of Devon is satisfied with his ton marriage. His wife of five months, Lady Eugenia Devon, thought she was, too, until she found the book. Their marriage is one of respect and affection, with no messy entanglements such as love. Devon’s upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other Eugenia. When
she stumbles onto a naughty book, she begins a campaign to change the rules.

Lady Eugenia wants her very proper husband to fall in love with her. But her much changed and undeniably wicked behavior might inadvertently drive her confused husband to ponder the unthinkable—his perfect Lady has taken a lover. But the only man Eugenia only wants is her husband. The book can bring sizzling desire to the marriage or it might cause an explosion.

When I read the description of this, I had to request it. A lot of the historical romances I’ve read revolve around the characters falling in love before they marry but in this story, Richard, the Marquess of Devon and his wife, Lady Eugenia have already been married for a few months. Both are impeccably well bred and it’s probably one of those society matches that everyone looks at with approval.

However, Eugenia is slightly dissatisfied with her polite society marriage and she wants more. She wants her husband to fall in love with her, to treat her as more than just a pretty, delicate society wife. When she hears news that her husband’s mistress is no more, she decides that the time has come to attempt to take this marriage a step further, before her husband can find someone else to fill the role. Eugenia wants to be both wife and mistress and she happens upon a useful book that she uses to change her look, just slightly, to attract her husband’s attention as well as for instruction on how to play a more active role in the bedroom.

Like Eugenia, Devon has also been raised a certain way and part of that upbringing was his father impressing upon him very forcefully that your wife is not to be disturbed (sexually) unless it’s for the getting of heirs. You visit politely when necessary and you are quick and perfunctory. Any other needs should be taken care of with one’s mistress, as they don’t possess the delicate sensibilities of ladies. Even though Devon hasn’t actually been with another woman since he married Eugenia (something she’s unaware of) he’s still reluctant to increase the sexual activity….until Eugenia begins acting different, which then makes him assume she’s taken a lover and this is where she’s getting all her new ideas.

I found the idea of Eugenia trying to seduce her own husband quite interesting but the idea itself is kind of limited by Eugenia’s upbringing. She finds a book and uses it for ideas but the ideas themselves are really very quite tame…. doing her hair in a slightly different way and ordering dresses with lower cut bodices make up the majority of it and these are looked upon by Devon as slightly scandalous. He can’t believe so much of his wife’s bosom is on display which is really kind of hilarious, especially as he notes that her dresses aren’t really that low compared to other society ladies. They’re just lower cut than the debutantes and the more modest dresses that she previously wore.

I did enjoy the portrayal of a society marriage where both of them did want more but were caught up by their social constructs to really express properly what it was that they wanted. I think also Devon’s ideas of the sort of wife he wanted, changed quite dramatically after the marriage. He chose to court Eugenia because she was so very cool and composed. Eugenia has a bit of fire beneath that coolness and when it begins to show some months after they’re married, Devon is at first a bit baffled but he’s also really intrigued by this new side of her, even if he does fear that it’s been brought on by her taking a lover.

Unfortunately what I feel let the book down for me was that I didn’t really get too great of a picture of their courtship and relationship prior to marrying and their interactions during their marriage made it hard to really get behind them as a couple. Eugenia gives a few flowery descriptions of how she fell in love with him almost right away but the two of them have very little real personality. Eugenia is kind of well, boring. She’s nothing remarkable, not the sort of character I’ll remember reading about in a month or so and to be honest the same goes for Devon. The most interesting thing about him was that he gave up his mistress after marrying, which was very sweet and probably very unusual. But it’s hard to get excited about two people who lead almost separate lives, coming together for social occasions or on the nights Devon schedules a ‘visit’ to her chambers! I would’ve like a little more spark, even though Eugenia finds the book and all of that, their chemistry was a bit lukewarm for me. I understand this is hard to do when both characters are working through societal expectations etc, but even when their sexual experiences begin to change, it never really felt exciting.

This was an interesting idea and I did enjoy the read, so I’m interested to see where the series goes. It will be quite intriguing if the rest of them are to feature married couples too, because I think there are a lot of ways that you can explore arranged/societal marriages in historical romance but I also think if so, a background does need to be established quite firmly (or the married couple need to interact more, especially in different ways) in order for the reader to really care about the outcome.


Book #185 of 2016

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