All About Seduction
by Katy Madison
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) 978-0-06-201735-2
***
Mr. Broadhurst married his third wife, Caroline Nesham, when she was almost 15. He was old enough to be her grandfather, but the deal struck between him and her family was needed for both parties. Broadhurst, a mill owner, needed a better place in society to grow his business and the Neshams', who have a royal title, needed the money from Broadhursts' business to keep them afloat.

Fast-forward 15 years and Broadhurst is an old and ailing man. He has been teaching Caroline the mill business, but what he desires is a son to pass the business on to. He now knows, after three supposed barren wives, the problem of conception must lie with him. Caroline has been a faithful and dutiful wife. She gets no pleasure from Broadhurst and thankfully his present health has kept him away form her bedroom. Caroline has always wanted a child and is saddened that it seems she will never be a mother.

Broadhurst’s quest for a son is so strong that he propositions Caroline in a most awful way. A group of gentleman is invited to the mill under the guise of hunting, when actually they are being invited so that Caroline has a fertile man to seduce and get her pregnant. Caroline is in shock, but the alternative is being stricken from Broadhurst’s will and left with nothing.

With no way out of the predicament, Caroline agrees. She has never been a flirty type of girl, so this will be a challenge for her. One of the mill workers, Jack, has always caught Caroline’s attention and a milling accident that leaves him debilitated gives Caroline the opportunity she may need to get out of this quandary. Caring for him not only gives her a distraction from the visiting gentlemen and her husband, but also allows her to get to know him and build up the courage to ask him for the one thing she’s always wanted.

All About Seduction is an enjoyable book. The two main characters are very strong and inspiring in many ways. Jack was born into an unfortunate family, but he has never let that discourage him. Being a laborer is just a way to work hard and earn money so that he can develop his ideas and become a success. Caroline fully expects to take over the mill when her husband passes and takes joy in learning the industry so she can gain the business sense that her husband possesses.

The book flows well and the interactions between characters are plausible. The main drawback is the development of the story. Jack and Caroline’s attraction is there from the beginning, but it’s very slow to expand. Each time the story puts them together in the first two-thirds of the book, it’s really just a tease. While it’s probably done to keep the reader intrigued to continue, I find it frustrating since it goes on a little too long.

While I normally wouldn’t agree with the adultery themed plot, the awful Mr. Broadhurst and the predicament he puts Caroline in makes the immorality not as bad to take in. In the end it’s a sweet story, but since it takes too long to develop All About Seduction earns three hearts.

--Nichole Howell


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