Wednesday, January 27, 2010

REVIEW: Seduced at Midnight by Jacquie D'Alesandro

ISBN 978-0-425-22549-3
Series: Mayhem in Mayfair, Book 3
(c) 2009, Berkley Sensation, Penguin Group
Jacquie D'Alessandro's Website

Buy Links (paper): Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble 
Buy Link (ebook): Barnes and Noble Ebook

"Unique and intriguing with an unusual hero and the heroine who'd risk everything for him"

I love Tempted at Midnight so much I rushed out and got Seduced at Midnight. I was intrigued by Julianne's dilemma and wondered how Jacquie D'Alessandro would deal with it.

Lady Julianne Bradley is an earl's daughter, and she is the epitome of the poor little rich girl. She has everything--gowns, jewels, etc--but the warmth of a family, love, laughter, companionship. Her parents are the typical ton couple, and though it wasn't stated in the book, I believed they married for advantageous gain rather than love, as her father could barely tolerate her mother. The fact that Julianne is an only child and female renders her useless in the eyes of her father, as the title would now go to his younger brother, whom he hates. Her mother is cold and ruthless, seeing in Julianne a daughter who needed to marry to advance the family's position in Society.

However, Julianne is not content to be merely a beautiful decorative piece on the settee. Seeing her friends marry for love, she has dreams and wishes to find a husband who would love her and whom she could love in turn. She longs for romance, passion, love, friendship, companionship. Laughter. And she thought she could find all these in Gideon Mayne, the man who haunted her thoughts ever since she saw him two months ago.

There was only one problem.

Gideon Mayne is a Bow Street Runner, the best in the business yet a man so far socially beneath her that he needs to "step on a ladder to see the hem of her skirt"--Gideon's own words. Yet, there is no doubting the attraction between them, and Gideon fights it and himself. But when Julianne becomes the target of a murdering thief, Gideon is hired by her father to protect her.

As Gideon is so fond of summarizing things in one word, the word I have for this book--Delicious!

The author takes full advantage of the um, delicious situation our hero and heroine find themselves in and what we have is a hot, hot, hot story where the pages sizzled with their tension and passion, not to mention all that angst and internal conflict. I couldn't stop turning the pages and I finished the book in two days! (And only because I needed to sleep)

Julianne describes herself as not being very brave, but I think her decision toward the end of the book is one of the bravest things she'd done. I guess love is truly a very powerful force, able to move mountains and men's hearts.

As for Gideon, I would've liked it better if he had BEGIN SPOILER asked for Julianne's hand in marriage BEFORE he knew that she was willing to give up her station in life for him. That would've created more uncertainties for him, and there's nothing I like better than to put the hero through the ropes. In fact, he already had an advantage. He already knew Julianne loved him, though they hadn't spoken the words, and he knew she preferred him over her other suitors. What was keeping him from offering for her? Maybe he was insecure because although her life with him would be comfortable, it wouldn't be what she was accustomed to. Maybe he didn't want to subject her to the hardships of what their life would be should she marry him. And yes, that is exactly what we are told, during one of his thought-monologues. But still, I think Julianne should be given the chance to decide (well, indirectly, she was) since it's her life that's going to be drastically different. Certainly I would have LOVED the story more. (Update 8/26/2010: Now that I had to think it over again, maybe Gideon didn't want to pop the question because he believed it would pressure her into accepting him, and he didn't want that.) END SPOILER But that's my opinion.

This book is unique in that the hero is not even a commoner in trade (read: not noble, but wealthy--good enough), but a Bow Street Runner, for goodness' sake, something that's beneath the ton's notice, unless they need help to catch the criminals who rob them. I don't think I've read a book where the hero is in this profession before. I think I'm a snob, but I don't usually notice the runners either, preferring to read about lords and ladies, earls and dukes.

Yet, here is this runner--the hero! Gideon's profession is actually one of the things that made me curious and intrigued to read this book, and the second is how the author is going to resolve the characters' situation. And she didn't disappoint, having given Juliana all the incentives she needed to make her want to forsake the cold, lonely world she's known for one of love and laughter with Gideon.

I love Jacquie D'Alessandro's writing and I'm off to get the rest of the series! One thing I love about this series is the friendship among the four women, and how Julianne's friends actively came together at the end to give her their support.

Rating: 5 stars

Buy Links (paper): Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble 
Buy Link (ebook): Barnes and Noble Ebook

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