Published: Self-published in September 2015
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Dashing Widows #1
Genres: Regency romance
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016, #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, Read My Valentine
Available: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords
Caroline, Lady Beaumont, arrives in London seeking excitement after ten dreary years of marriage and an even drearier year of mourning. That means conquering society, dancing like there’s no tomorrow, and taking a lover to provide passion without promises. Promises, in this dashing widow’s dictionary, equal prison. So what is an adventurous lady to do when she loses her heart to a notorious rake who, for the first time in his life, wants forever?
Devilish Silas Nash, Viscount Stone is in love at last—with a beautiful, headstrong widow bent on playing the field. Worse, she’s enlisted his help to set her up with his disreputable best friend. No red-blooded man takes such a challenge lying down, and Silas schemes to seduce his darling into his arms, warm, willing and besotted. But will his passionate plots come undone against a woman determined to act the mistress, but never the wife?
I wasn’t particularly fond of Anna Campbell’s story in A Grosvenor Square Christmas, but she managed to win me over with The Seduction of Lord Stone. It begins with three widows having tea as their year of mourning comes to a close (for two of them, anyway). Finally, society is easing its proscriptions over their activities and it’s time to enjoy their freedom. Caroline, in particular, is determined to make the most of it.
In light of this introduction, I was disappointed not to see more of the friendship between the widows. There were a few moments between Caroline and Helen. However, these seemed to occur mostly because Helen was also Silas’ sister and had motives of her own rather than out of genuine friendship. Fenella seemed to exist merely to provide a brief impediment to the relationship between Caroline and Silas. I found this a great shame, since Fenella and Caroline had such opposite attitudes to marriage; Fenella could have provided an interesting perspective for Caroline, had they spent any time talking together outside of the prologue.
The lack of female friendship meant that the focus was firmly on the romantic relationship between Caroline and Silas. Perhaps this was for the best, as it meant the pacing of this relatively short book stayed brisk. Caroline and Silas were enough to keep my attention on their own. The tension between them sizzled; I was surprised my Kindle didn’t combust! I liked that the dynamic between them was a little unusual, with the female protagonist looking to play the field while the rake was looking for something a bit more permanent.
For such a passionate person, Caroline was ruled by her head a lot more than I would have expected. She has very definite ideas about the way things need to be and is determined to stick to that, even if it means she ends up getting in her own way a lot. I found that quite realistic. Silas is a bit more flexible in his thinking, but still very clear on what he wants. At first, I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying, but the more I think about it the more I appreciate it.
Overall, I found The Seduction of Lord Stone a quick and enjoyable read. The foreshadowing of Helen’s story has me looking forward to the next book in the series.