Berkley, Jun 2002, 12.95, 368 pp.
He has just lost everything including Gracehurch Abbey to Lord Edward Vane, but his arrogant opponent offers one last wager. Desperately willing to further hazard his already ruined reputation since he cannot pay his current debt, Viscount Alden Granville-Strachan accepts the bet on a last hand of cards. If he wins his debt is clean, but if he loses he must bed the widow Miss Juliet Seton with proof being her locket. Alden a renowned rake feels he cannot lose either way.
Alden begins THE SEDUCTION of Juliet in her garden only to be stung by a bee that leaves him unconscious at her feet. Wary of males bearing romance, Juliet takes her wounded suitor into her home to recover. Soon he plays chess with her that quickly leads to other games, but Alden finds himself falling for his charming, beautiful, cautious hostess even as others play puppetry games of degradation for no apparent reason except perhaps debasing the duo.
If Regency buffs read the above two paragraphs they will conclude that Julia Ross has written a typical sub-genre romance. However, that would ignore the author's incredible ability to freshen the era through her strong characters. THE SEDUCTION is no paint by the numbers tale, but instead a gripping novel starring two wonderfully tainted romantic skeptics as lead protagonists. How can readers “be sure in a world that is constantly changing, they can be sure” with Ms. Ross.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner