Lessons from a Scarlet Lady by Emma Wildes 420
This is actually two stories really in one although both of the stories are vastly interconnected as the two women are best friends and the two men involved are brothers. Brianna is already married to Colton Northfield, Duke of Rolthven, but she wants to ensure that he never strays from her so she enlists the help of Lady Rothburg. Rothburg is a notorious courtesan who published a manual that was so scandalous it was actually banned by Parliament. She uses some of the tricks that the Lady suggests in her book and it definitely does the trick as Colton begins to let down his renowned stuffiness. However she had not counted on Colton wondering exactly where his virginal young wife had come up with these ideas as he certainly had not shown her. When he discovers that Brianna is expecting he can't help but wonder if the child is his, but he is beginning to realize that it is not jealous that is eating him alive, it is the fear that he might lose her love. He needs to learn to trust and just accept that she loves him and does not want any other man but him.
Rebecca Marston is in her second season and she has received many marriage offers, but she has spurned all of her suitors because she is secretly in love with Robert Northfield, the youngest brother of the above mentioned Colton. Unfortunately he is a notorious rake who spends his life sleeping with all the married ladies and widows of the ton and he has never shown the slightest bit of interest in the very marriageable Rebecca. When the two of them are thrown together at a house party Brianna throws for Colton's birthday, Robert realizes he has definitely overlooked this beautiful and very musically talented young woman. But her father is dead set against the match as he has been misinformed about some very bad habits that Robert does not possess and he is still unsure if he really is ready to get married. With the help of Lady Rothburg, Rebecca wants to show Robert that she is the perfect woman for him and she can make him fall in love with her and keep him from straying from her forever.
I was worried that having two stories in the amount of space would really not be enough room to fully go through the development of the relationship and really be a romance. In a sense this was right as it really seemed as though Brianna and Colton's stories dealt with far more of the issues people who are really in a working relationship would deal with, such as worries about infidelity and losing a loved one, and the sex. On the other hand Rebecca and Robert moved more slowly and did seem to be the first half of a traditional romance novel. I almost feel like she could have taken their story and then gone on some more. I am also fairly certain that more time was spend on Brianna and Colton's story and I found that I enjoyed it much more than Rebecca and Robert's story. Partly because I love the idea of a woman seeking advice from a courtesan to seduce her own husband and the idea of an innocent pining after the biggest rake in the ton has been done to extremes in literally every novel. However, I did not have a difficulty time seeing why these two couples made such great couples as they interacted with their chosen significant other so well and I loved reading about the times they spent together.
The emotions in this story were very well written and the points of views were done very well as the reader got at least an adequate understanding of what was motivating each of the characters. And this book certainly ran the entire gamut of emotional turmoil to great happiness and it was very enjoyable to read about. As mentioned briefly above the sex rested very heavily on Brianna and Colton's story and what there was was great- as it should have been being inspired by a courtesan's writings! This whole book is based on a book written by a courtesan so I was really hoping we'd get some insight into what made this book so scandalous it had to be banned. Unfortunately the only sneak peaks given into the book were brief and really something that could have come out of an advice book for young ladies. References were made to it but I was especially frustrated when mention was made of something incredibly scandalous in Chapter 10 of the book, and yet I never figured out what it was!
Rating: Very enjoyable book that could have used a few more pages to flush out some of the more romantic elements of the relationships.