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REVIEW: An Impolite Seduction by Alison Richardson

Dear Ms. Richardson,

400000000000000173335_s4Recently I reviewed The Countess’s Client, the first Spice Brief in your Countess Trilogy. I enjoyed the story, and especially its haughty narrator, Anna, Countess von Esslin, a young widow with a taste for good sex on her own terms. To read more about her, I purchased An Impolite Seduction, the second story in the trilogy.

As An Impolite Seduction begins, three years have passed since Anna has last encountered the man who makes her heart, and other parts, go pitter patter. As she puts it:

I have had many men in my short life, and in every case but one, I have left them on cordial terms. The one exception, an execrable Scotsman I had known in Paris, was guilty of the basest treachery against me, and after we parted my one consolation was the knowledge that I could likely live out the rest of my life without ever having to set eyes on him again.

But Anna was too quick to console herself with James’ absence from her life. While visiting England to attend her cousin Charlotte’s wedding, Anna discovers that James is the neighbor of the man Charlotte is affianced to. Anna will be forced to spend much time in his odious, common, and oh-so-sexy, company.

And that is not the only problem afoot. It seems that Charlotte’s betrothed is a pious earl entirely lacking in sexual experience, and Charlotte herself is also a virgin. Anna is worried that her cousin’s wedding night will be disappointing at best.

What is a cosmopolitan countess to do but invite an Italian gentleman to seduce cousin Charlotte out of her pitiable inexperience, and maintain utmost decorum at dinner while a certain execrable Scotsman strokes her to orgasm beneath the table?

I had tremendous fun reading An Impolite Seduction. The sex was sexier here, in my opinion, than in The Countess’s Client, enhanced by Anna’s snobbery, which added to the sexual tension in paragraphs like this one:

Yet the right suit of clothes does not make a man a gentleman, and I was well aware that James was nothing more than the son of a common tradesman, whatever pretensions he might affect. Men from the lower orders have their uses, of course (and James, to be frank, fucked like a prize-winning Thoroughbred), but they should understand that they serve at our pleasure; they must not try to lead where it is their duty to follow.

Of course James does not understand this at all, and I loved the way the antagonism, and sparks, between Anna and James kicked into higher gear, as each of them attempted to rout the other.

I did wish that their relationship was developed a bit more outside the bedroom than it was, but this is erotica after all. Also, the story is written with a wink at the reader, leading us to understand that Anna doth protest too much; the narration sometimes indicates that Anna means yes when she says no. I mention this because it is something that some readers may object to, but while I understand why, I was able, for the most part, to view this story as a lighthearted romp.

Several moments had me guffawing; the blend of hilarity and sexual tension was highly entertaining. The last paragraph was priceless and I am now eager to read the final story in this trilogy, The Birthday Present. B+/A- for An Impolite Seduction.



This book can be purchased in ebook format at Sony and other ebook retailers.

Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.


  1. Krista
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 19:28:23

    I’ve found this series to be really different in a twisted, fascinating kind of way. I think the author has real talent, but I would appreciate the next heroine she writes to be a little more sympathetic. Anna was hard to stomach at moments.

  2. Janine
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:00:16

    @Krista: I hear what you are saying. I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to like Anna (mostly because of her being stuck up). But she grew on me over the course of the series, I think because she pursued what she wanted and because of her biting sense of humor. I am the kind of reader who sometimes gets tired of reading about characters who seem almost perfect, and so I often enjoy flawed characters more. I’m certain that was a factor in my enjoyment of this trilogy, too.

  3. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:29:05

    I like the voice and love the setup. I’m interested in reading the next review! Thanks.

  4. Janine
    Nov 24, 2009 @ 20:32:54

    @Jill Sorenson: You’re welcome!

    ETA: Anna’s voice is a lot of fun, isn’t it? I couldn’t resist quoting from her narration in all three of my reviews.

  5. Jill Sorenson
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 13:30:07

    I’m so glad I bought these!! I had a teensy little problem with the last scene in The Countess’s Client, but I really loved this one. What an original voice! Anna is just delicious. And James, what a scamp. I have a silly grin on my face right now. Can’t wait to read the next.


  6. Janine
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 13:37:28

    Oh, you’re so welcome! I had such a good time reading them. I do agree about the last scene in The Countess’s Client and that’s why the grade I gave that one was lower than the grades I gave the other two. ITA with you on the voice and characters. Thanks so much for letting me know you are enjoying these!

  7. Moriah Jovan
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 14:22:15

    I bought this series and loved Anna. Strike that. I loved that she WASN’T sympathetic. I’m almost to the point where an immediately (or very soon after the beginning of the book) sympathetic character is gimmicky and/or manipulative.

  8. Janine
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 14:40:20

    @Moriah Jovan: I prefer flawed characters too. There are so many sympathetic characters flooding the genre that it is such a nice break to read about someone who isn’t perfect. Anna was a step beyond that, but that was part of what made these novellas so refreshing. Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed this series as well, Moriah. This author is so little known yet writes so well. I hope more readers discover her.

  9. Jill Sorenson - Blog
    Dec 12, 2009 @ 15:06:47

    […] of Dear Author brought Alison Richardson’s Countess Trilogy to my attention, and I’m so glad she did! I liked the first in this series, loved the second, […]

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