The Dressmakers, #3
Once again I started a new author in the middle of a series, but with romances it doesn’t really seem to matter. This was originally going to be a trilogy, but a fourth book is in the works.
A book that starts out with the heroine entranced with a Botticelli painting grabs me from the get go. Leonie Noirot, a dressmaker, is at an art exhibit wearing one of her latest creations, in hopes of drumming up business. While the paintings are drawing attention, all the young ladies are there for a different reason – to hear Lord Swanton, writer and reciter of gloomy, romantic poetry that the critics blasted, but the hordes admire.
Swanton’s cousin and closest friend is Simon Blair, the Marquess of Lisburne. They have been away for a few years, but returned for the end of the London season so Swanton could face his detractors. Turns out, he doesn’t have to with every young woman in town throwing themselves at his feet.
Lisburne, who looks like a Roman god, which Chase points out way too many times, is the owner of the Botticelli painting that has entranced Leonie to the point where she is so out of it, she ends up falling – but right into Lisburne’s arms. The attraction is immediate and the dialogue amusing, and that continues throughout the book.
Leonie is a busy woman, as she constantly points out to Lisburne, with no time for dalliances. He is entranced though, and it is mutual. But Leonie has a dress shop to run, and Lisburne is only in town for a few weeks; can they make it work?
Simon’s cousin is Lady Gladys, a young woman who had a horrific first season. She is plain, frumpy in fact, and has a sharp tongue. Leonie sees her and determines to turn this ugly duckling into a swan. Swanton is entranced with her voice, and she with his poetry, and this is an interesting little subplot. Simon wagers Leonie his Botticelli against two weeks of her uninterrupted time (read into that what you will) that she can’t turn Gladys into a swan, and more to the point, get her a marriage proposal by month’s end, but if she does, the painting is hers.
The love scenes are well done without resorting to cliché, and not too explicit. Leonie’s two sisters were the stars of the first two books in this series, and now I have to go find those and catch up. This was a very enjoyable read, I can see why Chase is so popular.
9/14 Stacy Alesi
VIXEN IN VELVET by Loretta Chase. Avon; Reissue edition (June 24, 2014). ISBN 978-0062100320. 384p.