Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Ashley March - Seducing The Duchess
The Bridal Pleasures Series Part 1
Paperback: 302 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Main characters: Philip Burgess & Charlotte
It was just another scandalous night…
Gambling. Carousing. Flirting. Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford, will do anything to create a scandal large enough to force her husband to finally petition for a divorce. Once madly in love with Philip, she is now determined to escape from their less than civil marriage and the reminders of his betrayal.
Until he stole her away…
Philip Burgess, Duke of Rutherford, is not a man to tolerate regrets. He wed Charlotte for revenge, not for love or convenience, knowing she would come to hate him. But he never expected he would one day find himself craving her attention or desiring her company….
And gave her something more…
Philip is no longer the cold, deceitful man she married years ago. And when he promises Charlotte a divorce if she will help him become a better husband for another woman, she wonders if she truly wants to lose him—and if Philip may still possess her heart after all…
Most lingering quote:
“It was a clever wager. And a very foolish one, to tempt her indifference and her discipline.” “I seem to remember we were supposed to swim together,” Philip called from the edge of the pond. “No, I merely said it would be a swim in the nude.” --- “I never said I would join you.” He gave her a rueful grin over his shoulder, then planted his foot in the water. “”
Seducing The Duchess in brief:
The ninth Duke of Rutherford, Philip Burgess, married Charlotte to take revenge on Charlotte’s brother who eloped with his fiancée. He never loved her and told her that the morning after their marriage, they went their separate ways. Three years later Charlotte wants to cut all her ties with Philip to get away from his betrayal and her own hurt, she wants a divorce. Knowing how he hates scandal she creates one after another by playing the harlot, still Philip will not give her one. But Philip falls in love with her and plots to win her heart again. He promises to give Charlotte her divorce if she teaches him to become a better husband for someone else.
What got me hooked (or not):
To be honest, I had a hard time focusing on this story; it did not grab me at all. The constant bickering between Philip and Charlotte was tiresome and repeatedly. It got a bit better for me after page 200 but still I felt no connection at all with Charlotte. I read it without feeling any emotions, without any affection for the key-characters.
The harlot: Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford:
Charlotte was only 19 when she fell in love and got betrayed by Philip. Now she is 22 and she plays the harlot perfectly to force Philip to divorce her. She is quite contradictive in her behavior, on the one hand she is a temptress, detests Philip, does everything that is considered improper and is confident and in control of herself, Charlotte created the temptress to shield herself against the hurt of Philip’s betrayal and rejection. But on the other hand she is not in control at all, she is still the innocent girl of 19, she is insecure and ruled by her fear to get hurt again by Philip, yet she knows she is still in love with him but does not trust him at all. She is constantly at odds with herself.
The haughty duke: Philip Burgess, ninth Duke of Rutherford:
Philip is the classic example of an arrogant duke and as a reader we cannot really blame him for it either. From the cradle he was raised by his grandfather to be superior to others, to be a duke and behave as one is deeply ingrained in him. It is not in him to behave in a looser manner but he wants to change because he doesn’t want to become the spitting image of his grandfather, a man he hates. He falls in love with Charlotte and wants to gain her trust because he had to admit to himself that the only time he feels truly alive is when he is with Charlotte. It is interesting to see how he deals with his inner conflict and fights against himself.
This romance felt like the movie The War Of The Roses, I did not feel the love between them because of the constant sneers and bickering. I felt some compassion for Philip, he really tried hard to overcome his past and to change, and for me he was much more in balance than Charlotte. Charlotte just tired me, I understood her but felt no compassion for her. I only felt the romance and the deeper connection between them in the last few chapters when they finally both admit things to themselves and grow up.
Another thing that makes it hard to keep focused on the story is that nothing really happens. The only storyline is the relationship between Charlotte and Philip. There are no interesting side-characters, the whole story pivots on Charlotte and Philip and their character development, which is a bit tedious and repeating. And the end was rather abrupt, it would have been nice to read an epilogue.
For me it is important that a cover is consistent with the story, it is the cherry on the cake. It has to have the right vibe and has to be yummy. A cover together with the blurb is what catches the eye of a reader. The cover of Seducing the Duchess matches the story perfectly and I love the red in it, it is a typical historical romance cover.
I cannot say this story is a real page-turner, not for me. Too much of the same bickering and not enough progress in the storyline, it was slightly boring. But Seducing the Duchess is a debut novel, and I could taste the potential in Ashley March’s writing. The writing is fluent and her dialogues are spicy and full of wit, the characters’ thoughts are penned down beautifully and I will certainly give Ashley March’s next novel a try.