Series: The Sinful Suitors, Book 2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 22, 2016
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Sabrina Jeffries Reading Order
When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the witty, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife...if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Yet he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?
Just when I think I have an absolute favorite Sabrina Jeffries novel, another story comes along that grabs my heart and doesn’t let go. The Study of Seduction made me smile, sigh, broke my heart, and then put it back together. It’s a fabulously entertaining read, thanks in no small part to its smart, endearing hero and heroine.
I flat-out love Edwin. When we met him in If the Viscount Falls (the last of the Duke’s Men books), he was clearly a reserved, honorable man who might be accused of being a stick-in-the-mud. He continued to be straight-laced through the next few stories we saw him in, but I just knew that Ms. Jeffries would show him to be a case of still waters running deep. It’s no surprise that Ms. Jeffries proved me right. Edwin is incredibly smart and a skilled engineer. What he lacks is the polish and patience for meaningless chatter that society adores. He does, however, need an heir, which means he must hunt for a wife. But before he can begin his search, his best friend asks Edwin to look after his cousin while he’s gone. Clarissa is intelligent, witty, and the only woman who has ever gotten under Edwin’s skin. She’s also being stalked by a French diplomat whose obsession with her is frightening. Edwin won’t hesitate to protect Clarissa, but their close association makes his long-standing attraction to her impossible to ignore.
Clarissa flits and flirts about society, charming everyone, but beneath the surface is a wonderfully complex heroine. She carries emotional scars and is traumatized by an event in the past I won’t spoil. What she survived changed the path she was on, and she’s determined never to wed. Yet, for all her fears, Edwin awakens something in Clarissa she thought long dead. They’ve danced around one another for a long time, but once Clarissa’s stalker forces their hand, they band together and the change in their relationship allows them to truly starting to see beneath the surface of one another. Every layer of Edwin and Clarissa’s characters that was revealed made me love them more. Ms. Jeffries handles some very sensitive topics in The Study of Seduction, and she does so with aplomb. As individuals, Clarissa and Edwin are compelling characters. As a couple they are fantastic. The sexual tension between them is explosive, and when you combine that with their witty repartee, it’s easy to see why their story is so addictive.
The Study of Seduction is a story of love, understanding, healing, and hope. Ms. Jeffries perfectly balances lightness and fun with rich emotion and I absolutely loved it. Ms. Jeffries never fails to deliver a wonderfully engaging story, and Edwin and Clarissa’s romance is no exception. I highly recommend The Study of Seduction to any historical romance fan!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.