Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seduction Wears Sapphires

In the second book of The Jaded Gentlemen Series, author Renee Bernard takes readers into the life and heart of Ashe Blackwell. His life, his soul was left scarred by his captivity in the dungeons of India. His attempts to deaden the memories have lead to a life of every conceivable vice.

His grandfather, the family patriarch, has no idea of his past trauma. He is only aware of the hedonistic life his grandson leads. All he wants is for his grandson to become a mature gentleman and accept responsibility. He offers Ashe a wager, actually an ultimatum, to be a gentleman for one London season or see his inheritance disappear. Ashe has enough of his own wealth that the inheritance isn’t enough to make him accept the wager. When his grandfather informs him who will gain that inheritance if he doesn’t accept, Ashe takes on the wager without a second thought.

After smugly accepting, he then learns he will be chaperoned. Already outraged by this, he is then introduced to his chaperone, a seemingly quiet, rather plain American woman, Caroline Townsend. Not as quiet or plain as she first appears, Caroline is smart, worldly savvy, and has a few painful secrets in her own past.

Undaunted by her obnoxious first encounter with Ashe, she is determined to uphold her contract with his grandfather. Being subjected to English aristocracy, the protocol of a London season and nuisances of English society, Caroline finds she must tread very carefully. She also has no choice but to succeed, as failure would end any hope for her future.

The verbal bantering between the characters is indeed a highlight of this book. Caroline is a delight, particularly when being escorted into the inner sanctum of English society. Ashe is her equal and the two begin their attraction for each other while verbally “sword fighting”.

Using an American character freshly imported from the colonies sets a perfect stage for conversations and arguments not usually found in Victorian era romances.

The characters are fun, witty, and give no quarter. Seduction Wears Sapphires offers the reader good writing, rich historical detail, and a charming love story.

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