Silk Is for Seduction (The Dressmakers, #1) by Loretta Chase
Series: The Dressmakers #1
Also in this series: Scandal Wears Satin (The Dressmakers, #2), Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers, #4), Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers, #4), Silk Is for Seduction (The Dressmakers, #1)
Publication Date: June 28, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
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From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:ladies would die to wear it . . .and gentlemen would kill to remove it!
Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are . . . not.
The prize seems well worth the risk—but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses;and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . . and a blazing scandal.
And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk . . .
I was really disappointed in Chase’s last release, Last Night’s Scandal. I expected more from her than I got with both the plot and characters. So it was with some trepidation that I started this story. I’m happy to report she delivered a fabulous story with characters I loved.
Marcilline Noirot comes from a long line of swindlers and thieves. She’s not afraid to use the skills she learned from them to help her business grow so she can support her two younger sisters and her daughter. Her latest scheme is to snag the Duchess of Clevedon. Her betrothal hasn’t been announced yet, but thanks to some insider information Marcilline knows it’s coming. So she and her sisters devise a plan to snag The Duke before he proposes and convince him to send his new bride to her shop to be outfitted.
Clevedon has realized it’s time to go home and man up. For the last few years he’s been roaming the continent, avoiding going home and taking on the responsibilities of his dukedom. His betrothal is just a formality at this point. His best friend’s sister has been intended for him since birth. Through the years they’ve kept up via letters and they know each other well. He loves her..as much as a carefree man can love a girl he hasn’t seen in years, anyway.
He figures he has a few weeks of freedom left and he wants to make the most of it. And that means pursuing Mrs. Noirot, the woman who has recently taken Paris by storm. She’s definitely interested in him, but not in the way he hopes. She tells him right away that she wants to dress his bride. He wants to be angry and refuse to see her, but he’s drawn to her. He wants her, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her.
There was so much about this book to love. Marcilline has an agenda when it comes to Clevedon, but she’s upfront about it. She doesn’t pretend to want him only to throw out her real reason for pursuing him at a later date. It was good that she was honest because it saved a lot of angst and confusion. What could have been a frustrating plot device was instead a refreshingly honest one.
She is a strong woman. Circumstances have forced her into the role of caregiver not just for herself, but also for her sisters and daughter. She took her responsibilities seriously and every decision she made was with them in mind. That isn’t to say she wasn’t a woman, though. She didn’t just trudge away in her shop and worry over the books. She was flamboyant and confident in herself. When she wanted something, she went after it, using any means available.
Clevedon was a good counterpoint for Marcilline. He constantly underestimated her, which ended up being hilarious at times, but also heartwarming. As he learned more about her it became harder and harder for him to dismiss her as just another scheming female. He was clueless in the way men are about women. There were times that really frustrated me as a reader. Especially as it pertained to Marcilline’s daughter. He became rather attached to her, and she to him, which was obviously not a good thing considering the circumstances. I really felt Marcilline’s frustrations with him over that, and also her helplessness in stopping him. The fact that he had no idea why she was upset just showcased how clueless he really was.
As the novel progressed the relationships solidified and became deeper and more layered. Not only between Clevedon and Marcilline, but also Clevedon and his betrothed, Marcilline and his betrothed, Clevedon and Marcilline’s daughter, etc.
The secondary plot featuring someone stealing designs from Marcilline didn’t make a lot of sense other than to further the storyline. I think it was superfluous and could have been taken out. Otherwise I found the novel to be nearly flawless. The small annoyances were ones that were easily overlooked in favor of the excellent dialogue and sweet romance.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5.