The Study of Seduction: Sinful Suitors Series # 2 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend's impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows that he's in for trouble. He's been hunting for someone to wed, and she'll just get in the way. Although captivated by the witty, free-spirited beauty, he fears that she'd be all wrong as a wife...if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Yet he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone - not Edwin, whom she's sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin's gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker's vow to expose the lovers' deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that's important to him to protect his bride?
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 20 minutes|
|Narrator||Beverley A. Crick|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 22, 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #222,437 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2,353 in Regency Romance
#12,726 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#20,286 in Regency Romances
Top reviews from the United States
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FINAL DECISION: Darker because of the subject manner, this book is the story of two people who have known one another for ages without really knowing one another. There is a lot of struggle for these two to find one another but that makes the finding sweeter.
THE STORY: Edwin Barlow, Earl of Blakeborough is serious and cynical and believes his best friend is crazy when he asks Edwin to squire his cousin around town to protect her from a stalker. Edwin knows that Lady Clarissa Lindsey will never agree. Edwin and Clarissa have known one another forever and cannot stop sniping at one another. Clarissa believes Edwin too stuffy and judgmental and Edwin thinks Clarissa too flighty and free spirited. The two agree on one thing, Clarissa would make a terrible wife for Edwin. Clarissa has no intention of marrying and Edwin wants to find a wife to give him a heir and little trouble. When the two agree to spend time together to thwart Clarissa’s stalker, they soon find themselves deeper and deeper in a deception to protect Clarissa. They also find out that they don’t know one another as well as they thought.
OPINION: This book made me smile and cry. Edwin and Clarissa are a study in opposites attract. I loved how Edwin is so stuffy, serious and cynical on the outside, but is a bowl of mush on the inside. Having witnessed the disintegration of his parents marriage and emotionally abandoned by his father, Edwin had learned to rely on no one except himself. Loyal and kind, he cannot turn away from those who need him.
Clarissa is bright and lively and hiding a dark secret. She uses her flirty facade to hide her deep pain. When she accepts Edwin’s help, she begins to see the gentle and caring man that Edwin is and begins to reveal her interior self to Edwin.
I loved how Edwin cares for Clarissa is so many ways. He is always a gentleman and shows Clarissa that real men can respect and care for women without degrading them. This is a tricky tale that is well written to respect the emotional journey that each of the characters have to take to find their happen ending together. At times the story tends toward seriousness and darkness but never dwelling in the past or in the pain so much to become depressing.
Ultimately about how love, respect and caring can overcome the dark past, this book has enough lightness to feel redemptive.
WORTH MENTIONING: SPOILERS and Trigger Warning!!! The heroine of this book was raped and is dealing with shame and fear of intimacy as a result.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION is the second book in the Sinful Suitors series. It can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
This is a historical romance novel that centers around a French diplomat wanting to wed the heroine, Clarissa, and his willingness to go to any length to do so.
Edwin, an earl who’s been friends with Clarissa’s family since childhood, does not believe in love and is looking for a “comfortable” bride. He is attracted to Clarissa but knows she will be anything but comfortable. As the diplomat gets more aggressive, Edwin marries Clarissa to protect her.
Clarissa is hiding a dark secret. The back of the book alludes to this. What it doesn’t tell you is that she was brutally raped at her society debut by a man trying to force her to marry him so he could get her fortune. Her brother duels the rapist, kills him, then her brother flees to the Continent to avoid the repercussions as he won’t say why they dueled. After the rape, Clarissa has avoided all relations with men, and even with patient and gentle Edwin after they're married, as she can’t bring herself to have marital relations with him.
The author does eventually get the heroine over this and there is a happily ever after ending. As I have never endured such a vicious attack, I have no idea if Clarissa’s responses are “normal”. What I can say is that it made the book almost unreadable to me.
I adored Edwin. He was a quirky, fun male lead. The author did a great job showing his personality. I never had to be told he was smart or generous. I saw that in the books he read, his ability to build automatons, and his interest in a boy’s charity school. I loved how he could be blunt to the point of rude. Logical (his take on picnics) and forthright. He was protective without being overbearing. A solid alpha lead without being a jerk. I really liked him, as you can tell.
Steamy scenes were well done when they weren’t being overshadowed by the heroine’s fear. If I had known there was a rape in the book, especially one that was going to be dwelled on throughout, I’d never have bought it.
Romance pace was quite good. The pair start out as friends and their relationships grows believably over the course of the story. By the end, they both know and admit that they are in love with the other. I appreciate this far more than the “love at first site” or “soul mates” tropes.
Genuine love and respect grew between between the characters. It was, not sweet, not exactly, but kind and loving. A romance instead of lust.
Clarissa felt flat even while Edwin really took on a life of his own, . Everything about her personality had to be told to me as I never saw her as strong, bold, effervescent or any other descriptors that were used about her. I didn’t like her, but at least I didn’t dislike her. After reading some really awful heroines lately, maybe I should move this to the pros column . . .
The rape. I bought this book to be fun read. Watching a woman’s life be broken by a brutal attack and watching her struggle to piece it back together, even with the help of a kind, patient and caring hero, is not fun.
The steamy scenes could have been spectacular, but I found myself racing through them as Clarissa’s fear made them impossible to enjoy.
Heroine's mother - I normally care marginally about background characters, but this woman was too stupid to breathe. So dumb she wasn't believable.
All in, I liked the author enough that I will give another of her books a try. I wanted to enjoy this book, but I just couldn’t. It could easily have been a 4 or 5 star book if there was either no rape or if the fact that a rape was going to feature prominently in the story was clearly disclosed in the book blurb so a reader knows what they’re getting.
Top reviews from other countries
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone. Yet when matters escalate with a powerful French diplomat who's stalking her. Edwin & Clarissa tell Count Durand that they are engaged but Durand threatens to reveal secrets about Edwin’s father if the engagement isn’t broken. Instead the pair hastily marry. Expecting an amiable union between friends, their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. However Clarissa has her own secret & a brother who is exile for killing his opponent in a duel.
The second book in the Sinful Suitors series, it could be read as a stand alone novel. Edwin wants to marry to produce an heir & Clarissa doesn’t wish to marry because of her past. They are both attracted to each other but it takes spies & murder plus past revelations before they can find their HEA. They are both very likeable characters & during the book why they behave like the do is revealed. The chemistry between them smoulders until it bursts. The pace of the book very good & it certainly kept me turning the pages. Another very enjoyable read from the author