Monday, September 26, 2011
The Seduction of His Wife
Emma, Countess of Asbury, is forced to visit a high class brothel because the the Earl of Waverly is blackmailing her by threatening to expose her career as a painter of the nude female form. Waverly is in possession of a self-portrait that could ruin Emma's standing in society, but she never expected to run into her husband at the brothel. Richard and Emma had married young, at eighteen and fifteen respectively, and he had left the day after to start his own career and make his own fortune by trading in opium. It has been over ten years since they have seen each other and a lot has changed for both of them and while Richard finds the changes in Emma intriguing and makes him want to start a real life with her, Emma is not sure if she wants to give Richard another chance or if there is room in her life for him. There is someone after Richard as he and his partner, Dante, attempt to sell their opium business and so he decides to move Emma and her two sisters, the widowed Grace and the youngest Abby, to their country estate where he hopes to get closer to Emma and keep everyone safe.
Richard finds himself wondering his wife took lovers while they were separated and he especially dislikes her friendship with the Marquess of Vane, a notorious ladies man who spends too much time around his wife. He knows that if he can convince her to just give him a chance that he can make their relationship work, but there is still so much about her that he does not know. Emma is still worried over Richard's reaction to her work and that he will become bored and leave her again, breaking her heart permanently and leaving her unable to pick herself up after his abandonment. Her sisters recognize that she is still repressed and dare her to indulge in some semi-scandalous activities that her husband always catchers her in and it brings them closer together, but they continue to hold something back from each other. When he discovers her paintings he is fearful of what will happen when her identity is discovered, but it is his own enemies that prove the real threat as his old business partner returns to wreak havoc and Richard must prove to Emma that he is there to stay and that their love will last.
Emma is a painter and I tend to have a difficult time relating to characters who are very into something that I honestly really do not like so I was immediately disinclined to like her. Her refusal to just admit the truth to her husband was really irritating to me because I felt it was made clear early on that Richard was determined to be her husband and he would be willing to help her out of difficult situations, even though his love was not present. I felt like this major difficulty could have been solved early on and a big obstacle to their relationship would have disappeared and I just don't like big problems, especially when they're big ridiculous problems. She was a boring character because she had nothing going for her except the paintings and my favorite part of her was the letters she apparently wrote to Richard after he left because they revealed real emotion and I admit I loved the scene where he discovered them. Richard was a typical romance hero; gorgeous, sexually experienced, insanely possessive and jealous when it came to his woman, but I did like how when he decided to woo his wife he devoted himself entirely to her.
I had high hopes for their relationship because of their situation, thinking there would be lots of emotions and angst, but I did not really feel like they explored their issues. About 1/3 of the way through Richard and Emma had sex and from then on out the book bordered on erotica because they were going at it constantly. There was nothing particularly shocking about it, a lot of dirty talk and lots of hard pounding, but even I started to think there was just too much of it and that I wanted to see that the two of them had something in common other than a need for a good fuck. The daring adventures her sisters sent her on came across as rather pathetic to me and I know I was supposed to feel like her awakening coincided with the reappearance of her husband and see that this meant that he was the perfect counterpoint to her, but I did not see it. There was a decent side plot involving her sister Grace and Dante the business partner that was also very heavy on the sex and not so much on anything else. I had no interest in the blackmail plot, the weird thing with his enemy and especially none on her paintings.
Rating: Two pretty boring characters who had lots of sex and were surrounded by interests and problems that did not interest me.