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Loretta-Chase

REVIEW: Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

REVIEW: Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase

Dear Ms. Chase:

“He truly did love her. After all she’d told him. He truly believed she could do anything.”

That’s an amazing showing of love.  He believed she could do anything.  The Duke of Clevedon falls so in love with Marcelline Noirot, shopkeeper, that he believed she could convince the entire world that they belonged together.  Or at least the entirety of the world that mattered.  And if she could not? Then to hell with the world.

But alas, I get ahead of myself.

silk is for seduction loretta chaseMarcelline Noirot is the eldest of three sisters who came to England young and nearly penniless.  They have spent years trying to build up their fashion house, Maison Noirot, but have not yet broken into the ton where the leaders of fashion reside. Determined to change their fortunes, Marcelline hunts down the Duke of Clevedon when society papers indicate that he is readying to return to England to marry his childhood friend, Lady Clara Fairfax.  Clevedon was fostered in the Clara’s household after his drunken father died.  Yet, when it was suggested to Clevedon it was time to marry Clara he ran away abroad and took his best friend, Clara’s brother, Longmore, with him.

It’s time to come up to scratch.

From the moment that Clevedon meets Marcelline, it is over for him.  And regrettably, Marcelline is nearly struck dumb by Clevedon as well. It is not her intention because no dressmaker will be successful if it is known that she seduces the gentlemen.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t made uncomfortable about this set up.  Clevedon is promised to Lady Clara.  He is supposed to marry her.  Yet, his sole focus is on getting Marcelline in bed.  The idea of pre marital fidelity doesn’t really enter his mind.  What’s interesting about this is that the scandal wouldn’t affect Lady Clara so much as it would affect Clevedon.  They aren’t betrothed and Lady Clara is beautiful, wealthy and comes from a titled and important family.

They’d seen Lady Clara Fairfax on several occasions. She was stunningly beautiful: fair-haired and blue-eyed in the classic English rose mode. Since her numerous endowments included high rank, impeccable lineage, and a splendid dowry, men threw themselves at her, right and left.

Marcelline wants this marriage to happen though because Lady Clara would be a magnificent advertisement for the Maison Noirot and if Clevedon doesn’t marry Lady Clara, then it may be years before he gets married and maybe to someone who is only half as magnificent as Lady Clara.

And frankly, this story couldn’t be told any other way.  Clevedon is a rotter.  He’s a feckless, selfish man who flits through life with no purpose but to enjoy one pleasure after the other.

“For clothes,” he said. “Does it not strike you as absurd, to go to such lengths, when English women, as you say, are oblivious to style? Why not give them what they want?”

“Because I can make them more than what they want,” she said. “I can make them unforgettable. Have you drifted so far beyond the everyday concerns of life that you can’t understand? Is nothing in this world truly important to you, important enough to make you stick to it, in spite of obstacles? But what a silly question. If you had a purpose in life, you would give yourself to it, instead of frittering away your days in Paris.”

He should have realized she’d strike back, but he’d been so caught up in her passion for her dreary work that she took him unawares. An image flashed in his mind of the world he’d fled—the little, dull world and his empty days and nights and the pointless amusements he’d tried to fill them with. He recalled Lord Warford telling him, You seem determined to fritter away your life.

He felt an instant’s shame, then anger, because she’d stung him.

Marcelline is the opposite of Clevedon. Oh, she has just as few scruples, but she is focused, dedicated and purposeful.  She has to be. She has a young daughter and two younger sisters. This dreary existence Clevedon so readily insults makes sure that none of the Noirots are selling their bodies on the streets.

Through Marcelline we are shown both how women can triumph but how hard it is for them to achieve independence and most importantly respect.

Clevedon becomes a better person, one with a focus in his life, and that is to make Marcelline’s life easier, happier, safer.  Even though Clevedon and Clara had been friends forever, the reader is shown that Clevedon would not fulfill the promise of the man he could be in Clara’s arms and even better, we are shown that Clara deserves someone who loves her without reservation. (Her set down of Clevedon is magnificent).

At the start of every chapter, there are excerpts from what I assume are books you used as research and I thought it was a brilliant way to provide authenticity and historical context for the story.

I also thought this is a book that could have been a great enhanced book. I would have loved to have seen sketches of some of the amazing dresses or even sewing tips on how make a certain type of bodice or the difference between blond lace and cotton lace (blond lace is not blond in color but a reference to the fabric (silk) of the lace).

All of the characters sing in this story from the seamstresses to the sisters.  There is not one character that appears who did not have a purpose, who did not add something important to the scene, to the overall story arc. This story is full of passion and it’s not just passion between the characters but its Marcelline’s passion for women, her desire to make them magnificent, to imbue them with confidence and instill in them a presence.  I came away from this book thinking that this author, you, really love women and you are writing books to make women feel proud of themselves.  B+*

Best regards,

Jane

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony| KoboBooks

*So why my B+?  Because in the overall pantheon of amazing Loretta Chase books, this is not my favorite and so I’m giving it a B+ not because I can pinpoint any imperfections but because as great as it is, I love other Chase books more.

Thursday Midday Links: Open Letter to Loretta Chase

Thursday Midday Links: Open Letter to Loretta Chase

Captives of the Night Yost Cover

Dear Ms. Chase:

I don’t have your email address but I had to write you to comment on a note a fan made on your behalf on the Smart Bitches site.  You see, your book Captives of the Night(kind of a sequel to the Lord of Scoundrels) caught the attention of Sarah Wendell.  But not in a good way.  Your cover is poorly designed and it made Sarah wonder if it is was, well, self published.  A reader emailed you to make sure that this was a book sold legitimately. Your response was thus:

BUT, I’m happy to report that the Kindle version of Captives is the first release in the process of an ongoing digitization of my back list—and yes, I’ve authorized it, and I get compensated.  NYLA is my agent.  Yes, sorry about the cover art, but they had to find public domain material, and I didn’t want to drag the process out by micromanaging the design.

I love your books. Love them. I think you are a shining star in the romance genre. I think your books are thoughtful and that you care about your readers and that your care and thought show in the quality of your work.  But this is the problem of publishing with your agent who apparently knows jack all about self publishing.  Nancy Yost is, by all accounts, an awesome agent, but she isn’t doing you any favors putting out a cover like this.  You do not have to use public domain material.  You see you can purchase stock art featuring ladies in historical dress.  You can hire someone to design your cover.  Yes, you do not want to micromanage the design but neither do you have to go with stock art that makes people wonder about the legitimacy of your publication.

P.S.  Someone just emailed me to tell me that the book is not available on any other digital bookstore like nook, Kobo (international readers), Smashwords, or All Romance eBooks.  If that is true, then I’m doubly sad.

*****

Barry Eisler has made an about face from self publishing and has decided to sign with Amazon’s new mystery/thriller imprint for the publication of his next Rain novel.   Eisler brokered the deal himself (and authors, I wouldn’t suggest this at home because Barry is a lawyer who practiced several years in Silicon Valley as an IP lawyer) and received an advance commensurate with what he was offered from St. Martin’s Press which Barry himself said was $500,000 for two books.  The royalties for print are comparable and the digital royalties are much higher.  Eisler said that the face he has creative control as well as the speed to market encouraged him to make the deal.  With Konrath and Eisler going to Amazon for publishing, is self publishing no longer the best thing out there per these two authors?

I had previously presumed that advances weren’t part of the Amazon publishing scheme but I was wrong.  WRONG.  But the way I see it, Amazon is paying an advance, not just for the book, but for marketing services because Eisler and Konrath speak at a lot of conferences and have large writerly followings and Eisler and Konrath are essentially spreading the gospel of Amazon.  That’s probably worth quite a lot to Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon and publishing, Sarah has an excellent piece on Amazon Montlake over at her blog.

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I saw a tweet that the president of the ABA (American Bookseller Association) said that they were going to experiment with the hardcover + DRM free ebook in the fall.  I don’t see this as anything as a niche (meaning only a few books will garner this type of interest at a premium price) or as a way to preserve print.  But it fits with the publisher goal of trying to present DRM free as a premium feature and preserving print for as long as possible.  Short sighted, in my opinion, but consistent.

Google says consumers love bundling.  (Not sure which consumers Google is talking about) The impediment to bundles? Publishers not allowing discounts.

Google hopes to offer physical/digital book bundles, but publishers are standing in the way. “We’d love to get there. Consumers love bundling,” Dougall said. “But it’s up to the publishing industry to be more open-minded” about allowing discounts on bundles.

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Bloomsbury has announced a new digital division designed to bring readers digital backlist titles.

Bloomsbury Reader, which will be run by digital media director Stephanie Duncan, is similar to Ed Victor’s Bedford Square Books,which he announced earlier this month. Bloomsbury Reader will publish books currently unavailable in print where all English language rights have reverted to the author or their estate and there is no edition currently in print. The books will be sold as e-books or print on demand titles at “affordable prices and to the highest quality specifications”

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British women are pirating books at a higher rate than any other demographic in Britain. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with territorial restrictions.  We need to get rid of those.

According to the firm’s annual Digital Entertainment Survey, one in eight women over age 35 who owns an e-reader admits to having downloaded an illegal version of an e-book. That compares to just one in 20 women in the same age group who admits to having pirated music.

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Paid Content has a few snippets from the BISG study about readers. (I’m trying to get this through interlibrary loan. Wish me luck).

-“Power buyers” represent about 18 percent of the total people buying e-books today, but they buy 61 percent of all e-books purchased.

-The most influential factors leading to an e-book purchase are free samples and low prices.