Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Historical eARC Review: All About Seduction by Katy Madison

Format:eBook by NetGalley
Genre: Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 25,2011)
ISBN: 9780062017357

Caroline Broadhurst is about to take a lover -- at her husband's command. For fifteen years, Caroline has done everything her much older husband has desired -- except provide an heir. Now he has given her an ultimatum: seduce a suitable gentleman and bear a son. Caroline would never think of bowing to such a shameful order, but then she meets Jack Applegate.

Jack has longed for the beautiful, untouchable Caroline for years, but the chasm between them was too wide to ever dream of crossing. Now, fate and passion have thrown them together, but the potential scandal threatens to smother their love. And when a violent secret comes to light, only a terrible sacrifice will prevent the flame of their affection from being snuffed out forever. . .
Where To Buy: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook | Book Depository
Book Extras: Book Page | Goodreads Page
I liked it.
Let me preface this review by asking you, who have read this book and loved it, to please don't tear me a new one. It's not that I didn't like this book, it just started off way too disgusting for me. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that I've read a book with this plot.

Basically, Caroline has been married for 15 years to Mr. Broadhurst and never once, have they conceived a child. Okay, you're thinking, maybe she's infertile. Nope, Mr. Broadhurst has been married three times and has never once gotten any of his past wives with child. That tells you it's his problem and to top it off, there's suspicion as to what happened to those past wives due to the fact no children were brought forth.

Here's where the ick factor comes in. Mr. Broadhurst writes to Caroline's brother to arrange a party, in which she will seduce one of the gentlemen to have a baby with. He wants an heir to carry on the family name and run the mill, and is willing to claim some other man's child as his own to do so. Then, I find out that Caroline was married to him when she was 15. Um, eww. He was old enough to be her grandfather at the beginning of their marriage. I know that this happened during that time period. Fine. But Caroline has been faithful and endured  nightly visits for 15 years and her husband will leave her with nothing if she doesn't agree to have a child with someone else. Caroline is horrified by this. She can't bring herself to commit adultery and her inner turmoil is apparent when she hesitantly tries to lure a few of the gentlemen into a secret tryst.

And cue in the dashing hero, Jack Applegate. Plot twist! He's a mill worker who has been pining for Caroline since first seeing her stepping down from the carriage to attend church, 15 years ago. Jack wants to make a better life for himself and has a plan, until his leg gets caught in the machinery. His dreams of going to London to present a business plan is put on hold, indefinitely it seems, to recover from the accident.

The accident brings Caroline and Jack closer together yet, they must fight their feelings. A lady of noble blood and a mill worker are not meant to fall in love. He's thinking sexy thoughts about her, which he shouldn't. She's thinking sexy thoughts about him, which she should. There's a lot of will they, won't they but in the end, my will to continue reading this book (I was about to stop at 50%) paid off.

At times I wanted Broadhurst to die suddenly, Caroline and Jack to conceive a baby while Broadhurst was on his deathbed, he would change his will and Caroline and Jack would live happily ever after. Never have I ever hated a character so much as I have hated Broadhurst. I kept asking why would he do that? I understand the need to have an heir, but Broadhurst could have gone back on his deal, gotten someone to kill the gentleman that fathered the baby and thrown Caroline out on the street for adultery, even though he suggested it in the first place. At other times, I wanted to slap Caroline in the face, shake her and scream "stand up for yourself!" I mean, she did try to but after hearing that her husband may have offed his last two wives, she could have tried to dig up some dirt and blackmail him into changing his will. I know that's wrong but come on! Wouldn't you have tried to do something? Her brother even mentioned some sort of papers their father had. If it was me, I would have wanted to look at those papers.

She had been bartered, but brides had been bartered since time immemorial. Women of her class had a dynastic duty to uphold. They were brokered for power, for land, and for money. Her upbringing had prepared her for that. Only those with nothing to gain or lose could choose freely. She envied the simplicity of his world, where he could marry for love.
OVERALL: I'm glad I gave this book a chance. In a time of arranged marriages, gaps in social class and money and bloodlines are a social currency, Jack and Caroline are able to overcome those obstacles towards a HEA. At times, the continuous mention of Caroline not wanting to seduce any of the men made me want to tear my hair out and scream 'Do something about it! Find some dirt on your asshat of a husband!' As for the social class difference between Caroline and Jack and the constant need to point that out and use it as a barrier, was only delaying their happily ever after. I did feel bad when Broadhurst kicked the bucket and waited for lightning to strike after wishing throughout the book. Okay, but only a little. I will read another book by Ms. Madison.

***review book provided by NetGalley***

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