by Vicky Dreiling
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Grand Central Publishing
Courtesy of publisher
When Lady Julianne Gatewick realizes the rake of her dreams thinks of her as practically his sister, she decides it's time to get even. The charming Marc Darcett, Earl of Hawkfield, is every lady's fantasy, but he's determined to evade virgins and their matrimonial traps - especially his best friend's sister. Hawk reluctantly agrees to be Julianne's guardian for the season, but he's having trouble resisting his gorgeous ward. Worse still, she's taunting him by flirting with every scoundrel in London - and he's sworn to protect her! Certain she's learned her tricks from the authoress of that scandalous publication "The Secrets of Seduction", Hawk sets out to uncover the writer's identity. But he never expects to find the formerly angelic Julianne behind the mask - and between his sheets.
Lady Julianne Gatewick has been in love with the Earl of Hawkfield since she was a little girl. When he agrees to be her guardian during the season she thinks he is finally going to announce his feelings and intent with her but comes to find out that he only thinks of her as a sister, dashing all of her romantic hopes and breaking her heart in the process. Embarrassing her in front of the ton, Julianne decides to get over the rake and get revenge. With the help of her sponsor, Hawke’s aunt, she learns a few tips on seduction and puts her new knowledge to use by secretly penning a pamphlet to help other young ladies of the ton in turning the tables and seducing the roguish gentlemen of London.
The idea behind How to Seduce a Scoundrel was intriguing and I was looking forward to my first Vicky Dreiling read, but when it came to the actual story I found it sorely lacking.
The first three hundred plus pages dragged and I had to fight not to put it down and move on to another book. I liked the main character of Marc, the Earl of Hawkfield, a.k.a. Hawk. I found him to be a dashing rogue with a mysterious past and dark torment that intrigued me. There were hints throughout the novel of a past scandal that had devastating consequences but the suspense of it was too drawn out, it ultimately lost its appeal and was brought to the point of, ‘Can we just get to it already?’
His absolute obliviousness over Julianne’s feelings towards him was believable and somewhat laughable in a typical male kind of way; and then when he finally saw her as a woman instead of the girl he had a teasing relationship with I could feel the tension in him, and his fight between his sense of duty and his burgeoning feelings for her. Though he did come off sometimes as domineering, it was his jealousy that drove him to this. Hawk’s character had multiple dimensions that I felt were unexplored and neglected by the author, I would of loved for Dreiling to have dived more into him than the subplot of the novel.
Lady Julianne Gatewick on the other hand I just could not get into. I couldn’t get over this view I had of her as a teenage with a bad crush on her older brother’s best friend. I thought that she might mature into more of a woman throughout the story and though she did somewhat grow in her reactions to the world around her and her feelings I never came to see her as a grown woman with substance, her character fell flat.
I also found the idea and sub plot of Julianne writing a pamphlet on seduction just silly. How is a naïve girl with no experience and who believes everything to be scandalous writing a pamphlet on seducing a rake to the alter? Her back and forth mentality drove me crazy and had the biggest influence in dragging the plot down.
It was a very drawn out process of Hawk coming to terms with his feelings and past guilt and Julianne deciding on whether she still had feelings for Hawk or not. When the sexual tension between these two finally reached its peak I was left feeling frustrated and bereft.
The last fifty pages was by far the most interesting, where key points in the plot finally clicked into place and the ending was happy and heartwarming. The whole story was well detailed with elaborate world building and you could tell that the author really did her research before compiling the novel, which I appreciate.
I did like the fact that I was able to dive into this novel without any confusion despite the fact that this is a second in a series. I was also intrigued by Marc’s brother Tristan, whose story is the first novel, How to Marry a Duke. But because of my disappointment with this installment I won’t be rushing to read that one or the next in the series.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad novel but it wasn’t great either. I think it had potential but missed its mark. If you are a fan of historical romances and have an abundance of patience then I would recommend this to you. If not, then you might want to pass it over until a rainy day.