by Melissa Schroeder, historical (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-610-8
I'm pretty sure you have come across a storyline comparable to that in Melissa Schroeder's Lessons In Seduction before. At 26, Cicely Ware decides that before she commits herself firmly on the shelf, she is going to experience pleasures of the flesh. She wants to marry and have children, of course, but not only does she lack the patience for the rampant insincerity of the Ton, some sordid stories about her family kill what is left of her chances to marry well. For some reason, men don't like to marry a woman who shot her own mother dead when her mother, in a fit of madness, tried to kill her cousin.
She decides that Douglas, the Earl of Ethingham and certainly someone she's well acquainted with, will be the perfect person to... what, you think she'll ask him to seduce her? No, she'll ask Douglas to teach her how to seduce a man into deflowering her. If you ask me, that's like asking someone to teach you the ABC so that you can write a letter to ask someone else to teach you to read. Then again, Cicely is a heroine in a Regency historical, so I suppose it is compulsory for her to be a nitwit. Don't ask me why Cicely doesn't put all this effort into getting herself a husband. I suppose men may balk at marrying someone who shot her own mother dead but they may be more amenable to sleeping with such woman. Or something.
Douglas at first refuses to oblige but when she starts going around peering at other potential victims, he decides that he has to step in and humor her for her own good. The story then takes the usual route of seduction, sex, and the heroine insisting that he cannot marry her. Meanwhile, some subplot about someone wanting to harm Cicely provides some obligatory drama to wrap up the story.
Apart from some rather out-of-place turn of phrases like "keep her mouth shut" and the use of words like "bugger" probably too frequently to make fans of historical accuracy happy, Lessons In Seduction is a very familiar story featuring a familiar silly heroine and a rather lame external subplot. Predictability and familiarity combined makes Lessons In Seduction a bland and unexceptional example of a most forgettable read.
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