Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Silk Is For Seduction (Dressmaker Sisters, #1) by Loretta Chase

From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:
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 . . .
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.

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...

Clevedon:
"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 victim beau. I can't wait to find out how their story will turn out.

Category: Historical Romance
Series: Dressmaker Sisters
Publisher/Release Date: Avon/June 28, 2011
Grade: A

Visit Loretta Chase here.

Series:
Silk is for Seduction, Book 1

10 comments:

  1. This is the second review of this book that I read that has made me want to read it so much!! :D
    I'm so going to get it.

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  2. I loved Silk is for Seduction too Hils. Great review.

    I decided to reread Lord of Scoundrels and Captives in the Night too of my keepers. I picked them up in ebook for and have been devouring them. I think I enjoy them more today than when I first bought the books in the early 90's.

    I remember how upset I was when Loretta Chase was advised to write contemporaries or paranormals. She didn't. I missed her for those years before she again started to write her historicals. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

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  3. Lovely review Hils. I might just have to try this :)

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  4. Alex! Read it, read it, read it... lol!

    Reny, I re-read Lord of Scoundrels earlier this year and loved it just as musch as I did the first time. :D This book was a joy to read... Marcelline did it for me. Now I can't wait for the follow up books.

    Orannia, thank you. If you like Loretta Chase, you might enjoy this series.

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  5. Hilcia, I loved reading your review.
    The only Chase I read was last year when I read Lord of Scoundrels, which everyone seems to just love. I enjoyed it--I think I gave it a B--but wasn't instantly won over. THIS book, however, sounds like exactly the book to win me over. The premise alone sounds scandalously fun! I am definitely going to read this one. I trust you, Hils!

    p.s. It was SO great to see you on Friday. Thanks again for the books! xo

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  6. Christine, I had a wonderful time last Friday night too! Great company and conversation, good food and books. What more could we ask for? :D XO

    I think you would love, love Marcelline and her sisters! This is such a wonderful story -- the dressmaking details are soooo yummy too. I hope you do read it. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. :D

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  7. Lovely review Hils. I've read LoS and liked it but didn't love it like so many.

    I like the description of the heroine but not sure about the hero. But still, your A will get me to read it. :)

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  8. Leslie, this book was a great read. The heroine was wonderful, and really... although I gave an overall impression of him and Marcelline outshined him, the hero was smitten, and quite sweet too.

    I don't know if it will be an A read for you, but I do think you'll enjoy it. It's nothing like LoS. *g*

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  9. Oh, I somehow missed your review! I totally agree with you, this book was great! I really, really enjoyed it which surprised me to some extent LOL.

    Every element put together just worked :) And I really love how the ladies are con artists LOL.

    Poor Sophie... stuck with such a MIL ^_^; Wonder how she's going to get accepted LOL.

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  10. Nath, absolutely. An excellent read with great characters. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too.

    The bad news is that now we have to wait for the next book. Sophie and Longmore's story should be good!

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