Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase (Guest Review by Melinds)
So Jayne likened Silk is for Seduction to a giant dessert, and rather than indulging in one fell swoop, she was attempting to savor it. I agree with her comparison and did entirely the opposite. I devoured this book like a piece of decadent motherfucking chocolate cake. As I updated her on my progress I wrote things like “OMG this is so gooooooood” and “it just gets betterrrrr” and other really coherent phrases expressing my total delight in reading this novel. It was sexy. It was fun. It had so much dress porn. I WANTED TO REREAD IT RIGHT AFTER FINISHING IT. That’s insane, right? Yes. OK. Moving on.
To describe our story a bit, it starts in Paris, where Marcelline Noirot has tracked down the Duke of Clevedon and intends to pursue him – but for her business. She’s the owner of a dressmaking shop that she runs with her two sisters. Their blood is aristocratic, but their shady family history led to having no fortune of their own – so Marcelline set out with the modest goal of becoming the premier dressmaker modiste in all of London (this is all explained in the first ten pages; no spoilers here). And to further her business goals, she has set out to find the Duke, knowing he is all but officially betrothed and wanting his future wife to showcase her fashions. Though the reason that he’s in Paris is to basically live out his days as a dilettante/ man whore until he returns to Clara to propose.
Well, she certainly catches his attention at the theater, on account of being beautiful and wearing her badass dress, the description of which I shall NOT spoil for you because half of the joy of this book is the lavish and intricate descriptions of the dresses. Anyways. The Duke is large and muscular and exceedingly handsome because, well, because he’s a fucking Duke in a romance novel, that’s why. He’s completely enraptured with Madame Noirot, though she is perfectly honest and upfront about why she wanted to meet him.
But really, he’s a charmer and seducer of women. When you’re a duke with nothing to do but drink and bed women, you refine it to an art. So it begins to play out, a battle of wits, a battle of lust, and realizing what it is both Marcelline and the Duke really want.
Now to talk any more about it starts giving away the story, but God, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT MORE BUT I CAN’T. But I can tell you why I loved it.
-A kickass protagonist. Marcelline is fantastic. She’s an independent business woman, and not in the vein of “she works so hard to hide her loneliness” like so many MODERN romances – she just owns this shit and loves it. She’s charming and beautiful but uses these attributes as parts of her plans. She’s intelligent and furthermore, she DOESN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT MEETING SOMEONE TO MARRY, because she’s kind of busy running her shop and raising her daughter (again, this is mentioned super early, it’s not a case of The Regency Dressmaker’s Secret Carriage-sex Love Child). She refers to herself as “the greatest modiste in the world” without irony, and while the Duke does joke about her excessive “humility,” you know, fuck humility, if you’re the best at something in the world, you might as well just go ahead and say it. And of course, we believe her because
- DRESS PORN! Though it’s a bit more than that. I mean, of COURSE it goes into descriptions of the bows and lace and folds and cuts and all of that shit, but what’s wonderful about those kinds of descriptions is that it transports your mind truly INTO the novel, because you’re trying to picture everything that’s being described in all that fantastic detail. It was definitely the frosting on that cake. The cake of the book. Just keep with the analogy here. - Believable character development! The trope of “the man who couldn’t be tamed…but by one woman” is pretty common because, well, it’s super appealing to think that you have the power to change someone in that drastic way. It’s power! SEXY POWER. But it’s not really what happens here. Sure, you see that the Duke is more than some playboy sowing his oats, but not in that “WTF does she have magic personality-change vadge or something” sort of way. It’s in the “he’s a libertine with a heart of gold” sort of way. And let’s just say, as someone who did actually fall for someone with a child, there’s a sweetness to it all that I really enjoyed. Well, sweetness interspersed with the
- BONING! Sex is hot. That is all.
- No, you don’t want me to spoil it for you at all, trust.
- The Duke’s betrothed is a likeable character. I think it’s so easy to make the romantic rival into some cartoonish foe with comically outrageous flaws, but Chase doesn’t take the path of least resistance here, to fantastic effect.
I’ll spare you all more bullet points (and I could go on. London! Dramatic scenes! Fighting! Storms at sea!), but suffice to say, I enjoyed this a lot. I am wondering just how much longer Jayne can try to languorously savor this, if she hasn’t already eaten this delicious dessert whole.
I’m working on it! I’m about halfway through and so far it’s been a magic ride, not unlike what I suspect Marcelline will be getting on the great ducal phallus (it’s called that more than once). HEYO.