From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:Well, I loved Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase. This first book in her new Dressmaker Sisters series is a rich, lush installment that left me wanting more, now.
The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:
ladies would die to wear it . . .
and gentlemen would kill to remove it!
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 . . .
Marcelline Noirot and her sisters, Sophie and Leonie, built their dress shop Maison Noirot from the ground up to ensure a future for themselves and that of Marcelline's daughter Lucie. Marcelline is a designer and an artist, and as such she's not content with the mediocre. No. She considers herself the best modiste in the world and wants everyone to know it. When the news hits London that the Duke of Clevedon will soon return to propose to his intended Lady Clara, the Noirot sisters come up with an elaborate and risky plan to dress the beautiful, but dowdy, future Duchess. They calculate that once the new Duchess is a patron at their shop, the rest of the aristocratic ladies will follow.
The plan takes Marcelline to Paris and the Duke of Clevedon. The idea is for Marcelline to approach him directly, and while modeling her gorgeous, fashionable designs at different functions, convince him that his future Duchess must exclusively wear designs by Maison Noirot. Clevedon is stunned when he meets the gorgeous Marcelline, and although her intent is always to sell her gorgeous gowns, she's the one who leaves an impression as sparks fly between the two. The stage is set in Paris as Clevedon begins by making an error in judgment and ends up taking Marcelline, a dressmaker, to a ball sponsored by the Parisian aristocracy, making this the first of many instances during the story where he breaks with society's rules as this unlikely relationship progresses.
Events continue to escalate between them once they arrive in London and Clevedon is due to propose to the insightful and very likable Lady Clara. Rumors abound about Paris, Marcelline and the ball, plus circumstances, Marcelline, and eventually his feelings keep getting in the way of a proposal to Clara. As an effective side story, the competition attempts to steal original designs from the Noirot sisters.
Marcelline as the female protagonist is portrayed as both passionate and down to earth. The fact that she's one of the terrible DeLuceys makes her a con artist at heart, however she turns out to be straight forward and honest about her motives from the beginning. Quite an interesting lady! I really like her and love the way she puts Clevedon in his place and doesn't let him get away with anything.
Clevedon is a bit of a rake that needs to be taught a few lessons along the way. His character is less unique: good looking, arrogant and selfish to a certain degree, with a sad family history. As a man and a Duke, Clevedon has little to show as he's basically led a dissipated life and ignored his duties since inheriting the title. He wants Marcelline, and even though there's a planned engagement in his immediate future, he must have her no matter the consequences. He's impulsive and doesn't always consider how his actions will affect Clara, Marcelline and/or even himself in the long run. However, what makes him stand out in this story is the fact that he shares the pages with a great heroine like Marcelline, and that there's character growth so that by the end the changes in him are quite apparent.
Passion and sexual attraction between the main characters hit the reader almost immediately after the two first meet, however the romance is developed at a slower pace. Chemistry and sexual tension are abundant and the passion between Clevedon and Marcelline steam up the pages. I love the dialogue between them and was convinced that Clevedon was so dazzled with Marcelline that he couldn't help but to fall in love with her despite the differences in class. And Marcelline? Well, she just fell...
"The scent of you," he said so softly. "Heaven help me the scent of you."Marcelline:
"His hands, his hands."I particularly liked the way Chase incorporated Marcelline's daughter Lucie and made her part of the romance. Most importantly, to make this romance work, the engagement issue between Clara and Clevedon was resolved satisfactorily. The meticulous dressmaking details are lovely and add richness to this story. Ms. Chase uses snippets from different books, trades, ads and guides of the times to illustrate life as it was throughout the 1800's.
Silk is for Seduction is an excellent beginning to what I hope will be a favorite series by Loretta Chase. I loved this first book! I'm hoping that Lady Clara will find her happily ever after with her own story, however Sophie Noirot's romance is next. Lord Longmore, Lady Clara's brother, is slated to be this cunning woman's
Category: Historical Romance
Series: Dressmaker Sisters
Publisher/Release Date: Avon/June 28, 2011
Visit Loretta Chase here.
Silk is for Seduction, Book 1