Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are . . . not.
The prize seems well worth the risk—but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . .and a blazing scandal.
And now both their futures hang by anexquisite thread of silk . . .
PUBLICATION DATE: June 2011
READ: July 2011
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: Victorian England
SERIES: Dressmaker Sisters #1
SENSUALITY RATING: Hot
SOURCE: Bought-Borders :(
Loretta Chase is one historical romance author who needs no introduction. Her books are constantly bestsellers and many of them have been placed on all-time romance novel lists. Therefore, I was stoked to read her newest series about a set of dressmaker sisters. In two of Ms. Chase's earlier books Lord Perfect and its "sequel" Last Night's Scandal, we learned about the Dreadful Delucey family. The Deluceys are a notoriously scandal-ridden family that specializes in a variety of activities such as gambling and cons. This new series follows the same line as Lord Perfect and Last Night's Scandal by introducing us to three sisters from the Delucey line.
Marcelline, Sophie, and Leonie are daughters of Catherine Delucey and Edward Noirot (also a notorious family). They have broken family tradition by attempting to make honest livings through their dress shop. They have divided up the workload for the shop with Marcelline in charge of designing.
Marcelline Noirot is the eldest and her story is the first in the series. In addition to her scandalous family, Marcelline also deals with a young daughter from an earlier marriage. Therefore, she is dependent on the dress shop to help her sisters and her daughter, Lucie, survive.
I found Marcelline to be one of my favorite Chase heroines, right up there with Olivia from Last Night's Scandal, Daphne from Mr. Impossible, and Jessica from Lord of Scoundrels. She is a true "middle-class" heroine with a valid occupation that she relies on. There is no mysterious inheritance that will aid her and her family or any other type of saving grace that sometimes appears in historicals. Marcelline is intelligent (academics and business-like) as well as ambitious especially when it comes to her store. Because of its importance, she will do anything to make sure her shop is a success even if it means persuading one of the most powerful noblemen to allow her to dress his future wife. Even when she begins to fall in love with Clevedon, Marcelline understands how unrealistic an open relationship would be and strives to protect her reputation and that of her family.
Gervaise Angier is the Duke of Clevedon and, as I mentioned earlier, one of the most powerful men in England. Clevedon has been living in Paris with his best friend, Harry, for many years. Meanwhile, Harry's younger sister, Lady Clara Fairfax, has been living in England waiting for Clevedon to honor their marriage agreement. He is attracted to Marcelline from their first meeting when she tries to convince him to let her dress his betrothed back in England. While Marcelline flirts with him, Clevedon is surprised when she refuses his attempts at seduction to the point of fleeing Paris for England. Since Clevedon is halfway to falling in love with Marcelline, he follows her and is forced to uphold his promise to Lady Clara.
At first, Clevedon appears to be a typical English rake. He's obviously spoiled, self-centered, and completely unaware about the difficulties that the lower classes face on a daily basis. But, as his interest in Marcelline grows, so does his awareness of the world beyond the nobility. He learns how important the sisters' dress to their survival as well as their pride. Clevedon also develops a quick relationship with Marcelline's daughter, Lucie, which alters his viewpoint as well.
I really enjoyed Marcelline and Gervaise as a couple. They had the patented Loretta Chase sexual tension along with some fabulous dialogue. I enjoyed seeing Gervaise change his thoughts and beliefs as he pursues Marcelline's affection. It was also nice to see some realistic obstacles to their HEA such as class and family obligations. No Big Misunderstanding in this book!
The secondary characters are just as richly drawn as the main ones. I love the relationship between the Noirot sisters. I also liked seeing the evolution of Lady Clara Fairfax, Gervaise's betrothed. There was very little of her viewpoint in this story, but what there was made me eager to find out more about her. Speaking of wanting more, I am interested in the relationship between Clara's brother Harry and Sophie Noirot. I am assuming that their's is the next in the series and I can't wait!
All in all, this was another fabulous historical by Loretta Chase. Many of her books have made it to my keeper shelf. Well, now they need to move over for Silk is For Seduction!
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
“She longed to throw something at him. A chair. Herself.”
Book Depository Page
All About Romance Review (B)
The Romance Reader Review (4 Stars)