Ella Quinn’s bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love–until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts. . .
Custom-made gowns. . .nights at the theater. . .and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of. . .
Robert, Viscount Beaumont, remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive spell. . .
Publisher and Release Date: eKensington, January 2014
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 3
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Francine Howarth
How can a woman in her middling twenties, of Scottish bloodlines with a Scottish lilt in her voice, ever hope to compete with the young English Regency gals of the haute monde: all seeking a husband of equal rank or greater? The thought of attending coming-out balls chills the heroine’s blood, and the London Season holds no great appeal to her wild country spirit. But what other choice is there, when having devoted her young life to the administration of her brother’s Scottish estate in his absence, Serena Lady Weir is suddenly a redundant commodity and promptly ousted from her cosy nook by her brother and his new wife. Much to her chagrin, James and Mattie are determined to dispatch Serena to the London Marriage Mart, better known as the London Season.
But first she must be made presentable for the London scene, and so her brother sees her safely delivered to her Aunt Catherine in Yorkshire. Caught up in the mad rush to acquire a complete set of new attire for the journey to London, and that of taking dancing lessons, Serena barely has time to breathe. But come the joyous day of escaping to the countryside on horseback, she spies a rider at a safe distance, who, unbeknown to her, is fated to tilt her already unsettled life on its axis.
Renowned as a rake, Robert, Viscount Beamont is self-sworn never to lose his heart to another woman and has determined to wed purely to beget an heir. Lust is one thing, and love entirely out of the question. But, when Serena finally enters into the fray of London society her eyes are drawn to one man – Robert. Likewise Robert is struck by Serena’s beauty. Rake that he is, his lordship ponders whether he can succeed in conquering the ravishing beauty and wed her on his terms, or will Lady Serena Weir be his undoing? It’s a gamble he feels compelled to risk, but in doing so he risks more than he bargained for, and hell falls about him in a way he never imagined possible.
The Temptation of Lady Serena is book 3 in a series, of which many characters from previous books naturally enter play and hold court. Characters destined to feature within future books also have cameo roles. Overall, this is quite a complex story of loss, love, male guile and seeming female naivety. There were times when I thought Robert and Serena were totally ill-matched, at other times I just wanted them to run away and get wed at Gretna Green and be done. Nonetheless, it is difficult with series novels to feature elements and characters from previous books without overloading the reader with information dumps. Ms Quinn has a lot of characters to contend with, and she does an admirable job of enlightening a reader to past characters and past events. The Temptation of Lady Serena is an enjoyable lengthy read. There really is so much in this story, the above is merely a brief of what occurs in total.
However, one little qualm surfaced. I truly felt I had started out reading a genteel Regency romance, which became sensually intriguing, and then turned into an erotic novel. Had I read from the sublime to ridiculous? Well, not quite, but I fancied the marriage ceremony lost impact in the closing stages of what is essentially a Regency era romance. Where the odd risqué indulgence passes muster, a bonk-a-minute marathon seemed a tad OTT for a lady such as Serena had prior professed to be. Had she been a courtesan or lady of some notoriety, no qualm would have arisen. But if you love erotica and a strong story, you’ll love this novel.