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REVIEW: Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh

Dear Ms. Balogh:

book review Then Comes Seduction is the second book in the series of stories about the Huxtable family. This book features the youngest sister, Katherine. Jasper Finley, Baron Montford, is the hero. When the two first enter the scene, Jasper is a rogue who makes a sport of women. His sexual pursuits are reknowned.

"Have you not forgotten, Hal? It went into the betting book at White’s on a Monday night with a one-week time limit, and Monty had her on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday nights, not to mention the days in between, until he had exhausted them both."

Deciding that there is no challenge with the actresses and courtesans and widows, Jasper and his friends target a virtuous woman. His friends claim that seducing an innocent like Katherine Huxtable who was sheltered, beautiful, well connected, would be impossible. "Only matrimony will tempt females like her." Jasper can’t abide foregoing a challenge and so he sets out to seduce her and because Katherine is sheltered and innocent, she falls easily into Jasper’s hands.

He’s about to despoil her when an attack of conscience comes upon him. He tells her in the crudest and cruelest terms that his attention toward her was all to win a bet and that he’s conceding the bet.

"He cupped her with one palm, his hand between her open, inviting heat and the instrument of her violation.
"Miss Huxtable,’ he said in a voice that sounded shockingly normal, "you are about to cost me several hundred guineas.’"

Jasper is publicly humiliated for being unable to seduce a country mouse and Katherine’s reputation soars considerably. Both, though, do not come away emotionally unscathed.

Three years pass and Katherine is still unmarried.    The two of them are forced to contemplate what marriage is. Jasper thinks as long as they can get along and have good sex, it’s enough. Katherine wants love.

There is nothing qualitatively wrong with this story. I simply did not connect to the characters. I found Jasper unlikeable and Katherine too missish. I was bored with the prattle. I know I was supposed to find Jasper this irrepressible rogue whose self loathing excused his terrible behavior but I found him to be boorish.  He’s constantly making them with Katherine as if the wagers are some kind of joke between the two when it had ruined their lives initially.

The book moves ponderously relying on paragraphs of internal monologues to build to a crescendo. Usually I like these slow moving, thoughtful books but this one lacked interest for me, primarily because I was less than enamoured of the pairing. I think if I had connected better to Katherine and Jasper the story wouldn’t have dragged quite so much. C

Best regards

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

12 Comments

  1. Kati
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 14:28:18

    I swear, Mary Balogh is my personal Ennis Del Mar — I just can’t seem to quit her. I was pretty “meh” (C) about the first in this series, and even more “meh” (C-) about the second one.

    But I can promise you that I’ll be buying the next two.

    Mostly because I really want to read Stephen’s story. It’s pathetic really. But even when she disappoints me, her next book will always make me excited. And it’s all due to Slightly Dangerous, which is one of my all time favorite romances. I keep thinking that maybe the next one will be my next Slightly Dangerous.

  2. MD
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 14:29:35

    Lordy. I am thoroughly sick of these covers that cut faces in half or cut heads off altogether. Whatever they’re trying to accomplish–apparently to encourage us to put ourselves in the character’s place?–it does nothing for me except irritate the crap out of me. I want a complete picture on the cover, not a department store mannequin in a pretty dress.
    I’m not buying any more books with these covers. I don’t want to support such an asinine trend with my disposable cash.

    I did, however, enjoy your review. :D

  3. joanne
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 14:38:43

    Halfway through this book I kept wondering why I was reading it. It wasn’t a bad story, it just wasn’t good.

    I struggled through the beginning thinking that maybe it was the wager — which is a trope I hate — and this ‘bet’ in particular — that made it not-great. Or maybe it was a lady of Katherine’s upbringing and moral character giving such quick capitulation to being seduced up against a tree in a public place. WTF?

    I should have stopped reading but didn’t so I guess Mary Balogh has a hook, I just don’t quite understand what it is.

    *sigh* And I ordered the next book in the series.

  4. Jane A
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 15:47:22

    I think if I had connected better to Katherine and Jasper the story wouldn't have dragged quite so much.

    If they weren’t so insipid (Katherine) and boorish (Jasper) their interactions, and thus the story, wouldn’t have dragged. This may be a chicken/egg thing!

  5. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 16:43:31

    You’re killing me. I already bought this and loaded it into my CyBook . . . thought I’m mostly reading it cause I want to read Con’s story (which is the last one, the one we have to wait a year for, and it will come out in HB, so I’ll have to wait even longer cause I sooooooooooo won’t pay that much for a novel).

  6. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 16:44:06

    *though* not thought. sigh.

  7. GrowlyCub
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 17:38:44

    I really disliked this book, which was especially disappointing because I really liked the fact that the first Huxtable book was all about the characters with no spies or other action plot in sight. I wanted to like this one as well, since it also was a character driven story, but it really turned me off immediately with the stupid wager business. If I have to read the word ‘wager’ one more time I’m gonna commit bookicide.

    Balogh has prettily heavily ‘borrowed’ from herself and others in the past and this one felt like she was running out of ideas so she dusted off an old favorite trope. I was left feeling like the characters deserved a better story.

    I really hope the next one is better, but yeah, I’m gonna pick it up too. I will, however, NOT be buying the 4th one in HC because I absolutely refuse to be manipulated like this by a publisher.

  8. Tee
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 17:58:21

    This book didn’t work for me either. I loved the first one in the series; this one was a DNF. Somewhere within the story, enough was enough and I closed the cover and eventually returned it to the library. Balogh is an author who is very inconsistent with me. But I’m always hoping the next one will be better and so I keep on. One of these days, I just may quit trying.

  9. Kaetrin
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 19:46:51

    I’m never gonna quit Mary Balogh.

    I didn’t love this book as much as others she has written, including the first one of this series which I really loved.

    I think it is probably the trope which didn’t sit well because it is very hard to redeem a character who participates in a wager like that and I did think Katherine gave in surprisingly easily at the beginning. However, after getting past the set up, I did enjoy the book. I did connect with Jasper by the end of the book and I thought the last third or so was very good.

    I like Ms. Balogh’s style of writing – I think I’d be prepared to read her shopping list.

    I can’t wait for the next one.

    But, how mean of the publisher to release 4 books really close together (and in p/b too) and then make us wait for a year for the final book (which really does have such great promise) and then have the gall to release it in hard back! Bad form Mr. Publisher (note, I think he’s a man!!).

  10. Azure
    Apr 23, 2009 @ 05:16:54

    I thought the first book was okay–the set-up was good, then it began to drag for me. Same problem with this book–I raced through the first half of the book, and then wound up skimming the rest because I got bored. But despite two bad experiences in a row, I know I’m going to end up getting the rest of the series. I want to know what happens with Margaret, I’ve read the preview of Stephen’s story, and I want to know exactly what happened between Con and his late brother (unless that was revealed in book 2 and I skipped over it, but somehow I doubt it).

  11. Lizzy
    Apr 23, 2009 @ 07:19:16

    I have this whole series on autobuy, but when I heard the advance reviews on this one, I didn’t even bother to read it (bad, I know). Like the last commenter, I am very much looking forward to the last book — Margaret — and to finding out what happened with Con and his brother.

    Sometimes I love Balogh. I laughed out loud (in a good way) during “The Ideal Wife” — the heroine, for some reason, reminded me a lot of a Laura London trad reg that I loved. I think it was “The Bad Baron’s Daughter.” But then, there are some others that just, ugh. “No Man’s Mistress” practically gave me perma-sneer.

  12. GrowlyCub
    May 03, 2009 @ 13:39:03

    I just finished reading ‘At Last Comes Love’ and I really, really liked it! I hope somebody here reviews it soon, so I can see what others thought. It wasn’t perfect, but so far the best of the Huxtable books and way better than either the Simplys or the Slightlys.

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