Seduction Wears Sapphires
Unique romance novel titles are hard to come by, but the title of Renee Bernard’s new book is more tired than usual; more and more it seems that these titles are comprised of a few key words that are pulled from a hat and strung together. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the book itself, which while not necessarily groundbreaking, still felt fresh and entertaining.
Caroline Townsend’s grandfather was extremely successful in shipping with his British business partner, but because of a dispute between him and her father, she’s a penniless and unwelcome resident in her cruel aunt’s home, working as a schoolteacher. So when her grandfather’s old business partner in England offers for her to come to London and act as a “chaperone” to his wild grandson– and to pay her £20,000 for her efforts if she can keep him from scandal– she jumps at the opportunity to escape from her aunt and get the money to start a true learning institution for women.
Ashe Blackwell isn’t exactly what she expected. He may be handsome, charming, and admired by women, but they immediately rub each other the wrong way. He doesn’t want to be held back from living his life by a prim and overly intelligent woman, and she dislikes his womanizing ways. However, neither can deny the attraction. Ashe, though, has a darker past than his carefree lifestyle suggests.
I liked both Caroline and Ashe. Caroline was actually witty and intelligent, which is rare among supposedly smart female characters. Too often educated women in historicals just quote Plato or read Greek, rather than have any true wit or articulation or intelligent conversation. This is not to say she doesn’t have an occasional attack of faulty logic or is always truly rational about her interactions with Ashe. She has weaknesses and doesn’t always see things clearly, but that’s understandable. There are some leaps of logic that don’t quite follow, both on her part and Ashe’s. I didn’t quite understand Caroline’s concern about being paid, or her refusal to admit the truth about her family situation; both are fairly understandable, and don’t indicate any sort of subterfuge or that she’s taking advantage of Ashe. Thankfully, these weren’t the crux of the conflict.
The two did have a solid connection, though, and I enjoyed their sparring and chemistry. There are a few funny and sexy scenes in which an improbably girlish Caroline sleepwalks into Ashe’s rooms. More could have been done with these scenes, or her history of sleepwalking, but they were still fun.
The story is fast paced and entertaining, and I really enjoyed Caroline as a character and as a match for Ashe. They may not have behaved in ways that I would have expected them to at times, but in the end things still came together to make a good story.