Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March
October 5, 2010
Paperback, 320 Pages
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: Truly, she had quite a talent for swearing. He had never known his head resembled a horse’s testicle. Rather a fascinating comparison, that.
Philip Burgess, the Duke of Rutherford has been pining for and trying seduce his wife for the past six months. Having been married three years to Charlotte, you would think he wouldn’t have to win back the woman he married. But, Philip didn’t marry for love, he married for revenge. After Charlotte’s brother stole away Philip’s fiancé, all Philip could think about was getting revenge and so he seduced and married Charlotte, only to consummate their marriage that night, and walk away from her the next day. Having a harsh upbringing, training for the dukedom early, Philip has a colder, harder edge to him.
But Philip’s feelings for Charlotte run much deeper than his plan of revenge. He has known her for many years, and has now come to the realization that he truly loves her. He knows he acted despicable three years ago, and will do anything to make it up to her. The problem is actually catching up with her to proceed with his new plan.
Charlotte, hurt and angry over Philip’s actions has taken to courting and flirting with any man in the ton she can get her hands on knowing scandals horrify the proper Duke. Determined for the past three years to put her flirting into Philip’s face so he will grant her a divorce. Philip finds her, bounds and and drags her off to his house in hopes of seduction, but he soon learns Charlotte still carries around hatred for him. He comes up with a plan to win her back. He promises her a divorce in three months if she teaches him to become a better husband so he can woo their mutual friend Joanna. Charlotte knows this is a farce, and Philip secretly has no plans of divorcing her, but they each refuse to give an inch to the other, so they carry forward with their silly plan.
Seducing the Duchess is the debut book by author Ashley March and I’m impressed. This book has a lighter tone, with constant banter between the hero and heroine, yet still has a high level of sexual tension and a dramatic conclusion.
I like historicals where the hero and heroine are forced to marry early on in the book, or in this case where they are married when the book starts. Charlotte is just a pistol. She curses up a storm – and we are talking full out curses with rude hand gestures. She will do anything to get under Philip’s skin to get a rise out of him. And he gives it right back to her.
Charlotte leaned away, her fingers curling into her palms. “Would you mind terribly, Your Grace, if you scooted your ass over a few inches? Perhaps a foot?” Tilting her head, she batted her eyelashes at him.
His lips quirked to a ten-degree angle. Egad, the man was practically grinning.
“Very nice attempt, sweetheart. But you forgot to say please.”
She bared her teeth. “Very well. Please move your rotten, snobbish, narcissistic ass over to the other side.”
Charlotte married Philip in good faith, not knowing he was doing it just for revenge. So Philip has much ground to make up before Charlotte can trust him again. I think Ashley March does a nice job with the trust issue. Charlotte doesn’t give in easily and I like that she makes Philip work for it. Of course, deep down, Philip has always loved Charlotte, and getting his point of view, you can’t help but root for him too. He is a very roguish, charming, sexy hero and their romance becomes very hot indeed.
My one complaint is with Charlotte during their separation. **Spoiler warning** During their three years separated, Philip admits to having a mistress and he assumes the rumors about Charlotte and all her lovers are true. But we come to find out that she didn’t really have lovers. She flirted, but never took any to bed. I was disappointed – not because I wanted a more slutty Charlotte, but it would have been a chance to have a different kind of heroine in a historical. A heroine that is not virginal! Instead, the hero of course has been sleeping with other women, but the heroine has been the faithful one. We have been there, done that. **End Spoiler**
Seducing the Duchess had me giggling and falling in love with these characters. I definitely welcome Ashley March into the historical romance world and await more from her.