Trashy Read 2011 #6: Silk Is for Seduction, by Loretta Chase
I haven't touched a romance novel since April. The plots were all starting to feel interchangeable, the characters boring, and the writing unfortunate. The last romance I read, Loretta Chase's not-very-good The Last Hellion, did not help matters. So I stopped reading trashy books, although I continued to glance at all the unread ones on my shelf. Then, with three months worth of palate-cleansing books, I decided I might try to give the genre another whirl. You see, Loretta Chase came out with a new book. The story didn't sound particularly interesting to me, but it got good reviews, so I figured what the hell.
Well, I'm glad I bought a copy of Silk Is for Seduction. Because you know what? It was kind of awesome. As in, I'm-back-in-the-historical-romance-game awesome. Silk Is for Seduction is supposedly the first in what will be a series of three books about the Noirot sisters, French-English dressmakers who make a splash in the London fashion scene with their beautiful designs and savvy business sense. This book centers on Marcelline, the designer and eldest sister. Marcelline is willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants, and she comes from a long line of genius poseurs and gamblers. When it's announced that an engagement between Lady Clara Fairfax and the Duke of Clevedon is imminent, Marcelline decides she must become Clara's primary dressmaker. She wheedles her way into the Duke of Clevedon's world, mostly through nefarious means, in order to talk him into letting her dress his eventual bride.
Of course, things don't go to plan. Marcelline and Clevedon can't help but be attracted to each other, and as Clevedon becomes more and more a part of Marcelline's public and private life, things become complicated. He grows close to her daughter, Lucie, and he finds himself wanting to help her business. Meanwhile, Marcelline becomes more and more attached to Clevedon, letting her heart take over her more sensible head. Unfortunately, both society and their mutual pride gets in the way of their feelings.
It's a very basic plot, and a bit cheesy at times, but it's a lot of fun. I've mentioned over and over again that Loretta Chase is my favorite romance writer, and this book proves that my dislike of The Last Hellion was only a bump in the road of my feelings about ther writing. She's not writing gorgeous or interesting prose, but her style is fun and easy to read. As usual, the dialogue is the best stuff in this book. Marcelline and Clevedon are both extremely clever people, and their conversations sparkle with humor and warmth. I really enjoyed Silk Is for Seduction. So much so that I'm willing to call it my second-favorite Loretta Chase book after Lord of Scoundrels. No small feat, I can assure you.