Sabrina Fairleigh is a practical woman, a woman who has a firm desire to help those around her. She’s the adopted daughter of a vicar, her father the sole parent who has raised her. She has her eye on the man she wants to marry, a curate and cousin to a local notorious Earl. When Sabrina’s friend invents a scheme to put the two of them in close quarters, they travel to the Earl’s estate for a summer party. She’s looking forward to meeting the Earl known as “The Libertine,” a man who writes scandalous poetry about seduction. Sabrina considers herself to be a grounded woman, one who is in constant control of herself and her passions. When she meets the Earl and his friends, a painter and a notorious opera singer, she is level headed and genuinely intrigued by them.
Rhys Gillray, Earl of Rawden, is bored. Bored bored bored. He can’t bring himself to write, and very few things inspire him these days. When locals arrive at his estate he doesn’t pay them much heed up until the moment the vicar’s daughter makes a statement at the dinner table that intrigues him. He sees something her that she doesn’t see in herself – the potential for passion. He takes it upon himself to provoke her, purposefully saying things to set her on edge and push her buttons. When he finds himself falling for his own game he means to pull away but he is too late – when they’re discovered in a compromising manner they are more or less forced to marry.
This was an interesting story to watch unfold. Sabrina and Rhys are, at face value, on opposite ends of the spectrum. But underneath..well..they’re on the same playing field. I love a story where foes become friends and then lovers. I have enjoyed Julie Anne Long’s writing and her Pennyroyal series, so I was looking forward to this one. It doesn’t simmer as hot as others off the bat, but it works its way gradually.
Overall, I enjoyed this. It’s a great story featuring a reforming rake and a rigid woman finding her passions.
The Secret to Seduction by Julie Anne Long
Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5