Friday, July 29, 2011
How to Seduce a Scoundrel
Julianne Gatewick has been in love with her brother's best friend, Marc Dawcett, Earl of Hawkfield, for years and after several season's with no luck she is determined that this will be the season he finally takes notice of her. With her sister-in-law being in confinement her brother places Hawk's mother as her guardian and a family emergency forces his mother and sisters to go to Bath leaving only Hawk to act as her guardian, with some help from his loud and very opinionated Aunt Hester. Hawk is none to pleased at his newfound responsibilities, even less so because he promises his best friend, Tristan, that he will temporarily give up his rakish ways in order to smoothly escort Julianne around the ton. Things do not get off to the best start between Julianne and Hawk as he begins by laying down the law, or several laws, including some things that Julianne and Aunt Hester regard as completely ridiculous. Hawk is very protective of Julianne because she is his best friends' sister, even if he has recently noticed that she is so much more than just the pesky little girl she used to be.
Julianne is fed up with Hawk's controlling ways, especially since he is renowned as one of the foremost rakes in society so she and her two closest friends, along with Aunt Hester of course, decide to publish a guide for ladies on how to attract a husband. The pamphlet is a roaring success even while mamas and rakes all over the ton deride it as ridiculous and Julianne is crushed when Hawk claims that it is useless trash. His guardianship forces Hawk and Julianne together quite a lot, at the opera, at balls, and it doesn't escape anyone's notice that Hawk is extremely jealous when anyone shows the slightest interest in Julianne; he doesn't think anyone is good enough for her. For over a decade he has been harboring a very dark secret and a fight with his father left feeling unworthy of love or redemption. Julianne senses that he is hiding something and wants to help him get past his relationship with his family and be comfortable accepting and receiving love. Julianne and Hawk must work together to move beyond their secrets and their pasts to fall in love with each other.
I really enjoyed How to Marry the Duke, Tristan and Tessa's story, because it was lively and fun and featured two characters it was impossible not to fall in love with. This story was also lively and fun and had two really lovable characters, but there was something off about this book that I really could not get around. I am always a sucker for characters who have been in love with the other character for years from afar, but while Julianne had apparently loved Hawk, and it was certainly talked about throughout the book, I felt like it was just a side note that the author threw in every once in awhile, without it really being an important aspect of their relationship. Julianne came across as very naive, but nonetheless very friendly and intelligent, but I felt like I didn't get to learn enough about her. Hawk was more well developed as the rake with a terrible secret in his past that had caused a huge rift between him and his family that caused him to act in irresponsible pleasure seeking ways. Their romantic relationship was a little odd because of the nature of their guardian- friend's sister- brother's BFF relationship.
They spent quite a bit of time together which is always incredibly important to me, but much of it was spent with them arguing because he was placing restrictions on her. I believe we were supposed to think of her as a flirt but I really did not see it and it just came across as a way to make Hawk not seem like such a douche. The sex between them was mild and only came at the very end, not to mention that the location it occurred in really made me uncomfortable and I felt it was inappropriate (and it takes a lot for me to say that). However, I did find that his dark secret was actually worthy of Hawk's long reaction to it, unlike many such secrets and I felt like it was really well integrated into the story and I almost wish we had had more about the resolution of it. The part of the book that really lost me was the pamphlet because it just seemed completely ridiculous and unnecessary as far as progressing the relationship or letting me know anything about the characters except to give Julianne something to do. I wish she had something of her own that wasn't just an excuse.
Rating: A fun book with two enjoyable characters that really did not have as much romance as I would have liked and had a few flaws.