The Seduction
by Nicole Jordan, historical (2000)
Ivy, $6.99, ISBN 0-449-00484-8


Lord Damien Sinclair may be the king of all rakes in 1810 London, but hell has no fury when his sister is compromised and worse, crippled, in a debacle caused by Vanessa Wyndham's stupid brother. Vanessa Wyndham tries to stop Damien from ruining her brother - and the whole family in the process - by offering her services as his sister's companion.

But he wants her to be his mistress instead. Aha.

They move to his country home when not only does Vanessa becomes the poster girl for pop psychology by bringing poor Olivia out of her depression, she also becomes the new Venus de Milo in the bedroom, engaging in lots of acrobatic positions that would normally fog my spectacles.

Normally. I'm somewhat reluctant to admit that I'm bored flat by the whole coochie of love scenes. The start of the book has a gratuitous scene of bondage-boinking involving Damien and an actress, and that sets the tone of The Seduction - a no-holds barred hot, hot read. I must be getting older than I thought, because I was bored enough to start glossing over the many scenes. When I peel away all that heavy breathing and moaning and groaning, what's left is a very substandard exercise in cliché.

What makes Damien a hero? He's a rake, and he uses women like toys. But since he also loves gardening, he knows his classics - aww, how sweet - and he takes time to make sure the actresses and mistresses "find pleasure" in his sessions, I guess that makes him a cut above the other womanizers prowling around. Oh, and he is also a big man, reaching past his navel, or so I'm told so many times. I guess size is also a virtue.

Her late husband was an adulterer, popular among mistresses, widows, and actresses. But somehow he is brutal to Vanessa in bed, never once giving her a climax. You'd think a man so successfully promiscuous when he was alive would know how to bring a woman her pleasures, but somehow, no. Go figure out yourself how this man got so many extra-marital affairs if he was so lousy in bed.

Me, I think it all boils down to two words: plot cliché.

The whole relationship between Damien and Vanessa smacks of the same old thing too. She's innocent, she's inexperienced, and remember, she's doing all this boinking For The Sake Of The Family (gotta love these martyrs). With her, he has never found such Pleasure and such... such... er, pleasure? Vanessa is uptight, proper, and everything that I doubt a rake would find interesting long after the novelty of seduction has faded.

Maybe it's because I'm tired of the whole Good Girl/Bad Girl complex. Am I supposed to believe that Vanessa is okay to be loved because she's not like those actresses or prostitutes that Damien favors? Am I supposed to root for Damien because he knows his Shakespeare and he has read suffragette tracts?

The author fails to convince me that Vanessa is more than just a novelty, not when she makes Vanessa yet another standard Proper Heroine Giving Herself To A Rake To Save The Family. That's the one fatal flaw about this long-delayed Nicole Jordan romance. I'm afraid this time my glasses don't fog up, but my eyes have a hard time keeping focused on the pages. Sometimes sex isn't enough, I'm afraid. Not for me anyway.

Rating: 53


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