The Trouble with Seduction by Victoria Hanlen, Harper Collins Publishers, Carina, April 25th, 2016, Genre: Regency/Victorian/Historical Romance. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
by Leigh Holland
Set in London, England in 1855, The Trouble with Seduction is a fun and engaging historical romance. Many romance novels I’ve read are character driven and short on plot; Hanlen weaves her plot and characters together expertly. Victoria Hanlen combines humor, mistaken identity, mystery, intrigue, and intense passion in an engrossing read I’m not likely to soon forget.
Straight from the outset, we’re introduced to Sarah, a financially independent, twice-widowed, respectable young woman, still sporting frumpy black attire after two years in mourning for her deceased inventor husband, Edward. Sarah is under pressure from her brother to marry his best friend and is inundated with workmen hired to help renovate her mansion. A discovery is made on her property, leading Inspector Hooker to accuse her of murdering Edward. Meanwhile, Cornelius “Cory” Ravenhill is in a coma after being beaten within an inch of his life by thugs. Seeking justice, Cory’s older brother Damen, a close enough match to pass as Cory’s twin, pretends to be Cory and retraces his steps across Mayfair, Liverpool, and St. Giles. As the plot thickens, Damen forms an alliance with Sarah to clear her name and discover who was behind the attack on “him”, i.e. his brother Cory. Cory’s supposed mistress instructs Damen to seduce Sarah to get to Edward’s engine design, but the trouble with seduction, as Damen learns, is that often the seducer falls head over heels in love.
While I admired Sarah’s devotion to her family and their image of respectability, this proved to be a strong barrier against Sarah giving in to her romantic desire for Damen. Sarah’s social work at the mission and compassion for those in need was moving and endearing. Sarah proved herself brave as well as intelligent in several serious situations. Damen’s recurring feelings of unworthiness and his guilt at having lied to her about his identity initially made it difficult for him to accept Sarah’s love. Romantic scenes were fiery, passionate, and draw the reader in. The sparks flew between Sarah and Damen in an electrifying, riveting way. Both characters were well developed and their unusual courtship was a delight to read.
I had a great time reading The Trouble with Seduction. I especially enjoyed the additional elements of mystery and humor, as well as the interesting inventions of Sarah’s late husband. If you love historical romance, be cautious about what time you start reading- it takes about four hours to read and you won’t want to stop once you start. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves historical romance novels. It’s a treat!