The Twelve Days of Seduction
I love a good novella. You get a complete story in a quick read, which is great for those of us who don’t have nearly enough time to read everything we want to, but still want to read something. Which is, I think, most of us here.
It’s Christmas Eve and Adriana Flint is about to be fired. She has come a long way, distancing herself from her past and her parents, but in 1859 England, a governess must be of impeccable moral character. Adriana’s history is a bit more involved in that. Plus, she’s a novelist. Quite inappropriate. When Alexander Hunt, Duke of Berresford, discovers who she really is, he has no choice but to let her go. But he’s been fascinated by her since she first joined the household, and gives her another option – to become his mistress, and therefore stay with his ward, Georgiana, and with him.
But Adriana puts her own spin on his request – he has twelve days to seduce her, starting that very night, to convince her to stay. She wants to, she truly does, but she also needs assurance about exactly what she is getting into. When Alexander agrees, the game is on.
While not dark itself, this story feels a little gothic, with its castle setting and cavernous halls. Adriana herself is a little darker as well – her past includes selling flowers and matchsticks, as well as very nearly becoming a lady of the evening. She is not some innocent miss being seduced by the big bad lord. Alexander isn’t exactly sterling either – he has a well-earned reputation for his…occasional lapses in morality. Together, though, they both shine very brightly indeed. Adriana finds a comfort she never really knew in his home, caring for the young Georgiana, and Alexander finds that she makes him smile, and want to be a better person. Their budding relationship is really quite sweet.
My only real issue was the pacing of the story. It felt like, since it was a novella, we the readers miss a lot of what happens between the leads. We only get about three days of the promised twelve, with several chapters devoted to each. We also didn’t get a lot of the information about the characters and their pasts, other than a sentence or two intimating that something happened, or another character saying something that it feels the reader should already know. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, but here it felt really sparse.
Luckily, the romance between Adriana and Alexander was darling, and the young Georgiana was cute, so the story itself was lovely. Even with its issues, I can definitely recommend this – it is a steal for the price.