Review of THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH by Cynthia Clement (see her website)
Zebra Historical Romance, July 2005
After a horrible and abusive marriage, Sarah Wellsley has only one goal--to stay single so she can live her own life. She's visiting the estates of Marquese Alex Caldern, but only to serve as a chaperone for her cousin, Lady Caroline. Caroline is the one destined for the handsome nobleman--and Sarah will be allowed to continue with her herbal cures, her needlepoint, and her general kindness to those less fortunate.
Alex hadn't expected to become the Marquese--he had an older brother for that. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly in a riding accident, Alex realizes he'll have to take over responsibilities for the estate--responsibilities that include marriage and begatting heirs. Lady Caroline is attractive enough, and his step-mother had kindly arranged a near-formal engagement, but it's Sarah who sets Alex's blood on fire. Unfortunately, Sarah seems unwilling to have an affair with Alex--and swears she'll never marry again.
When 'accidents' start to happen, Alex tries to dismiss the possibility that someone is trying to kill him. Unfortunately for his sanity, after each accident, Sarah is there to nurse him back to health. The more time he spends with Sarah, the less he likes what he sees of Sarah's selfish, self-absorbed, and petty cousin. But Alex's ideas of romance involve the same type of manipulation and dominant behavior that made Sarah's first marriage such a disaster.
In her debut novel, author Cynthia Clement takes us to regency England. Clement provides a sensuous tone to her story and smoothly escalates the conflict between dominant Alex and frightened Sarah. I found Sarah a bit too perfect and would have liked to have seen more of how Sarah's physical response to Alex transformed to an emotional bond, but Clement's highly professional writing made THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH an enjoyable read.
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