Book: Proof by Seduction
Author: Courtney Milan
Rating: Four Stars
Mischievously sweet, Proof by Seduction charms as much as it endears the reader to its very unconventional main characters. Courtney Milan’s writing takes historical romance to a new level with its unpretentious overtones and tweaks the historical romance mold in an appealing way. The moral to Milan’s story is that truth will preside, and that honest infatuation, attraction and yes love, will win all.
In many historical romances you have rampant posturing: the depiction of a Regency era rake, a powerful family, the focus on society, the haute ton and its ilk. Regency romances are rife with illustrious personages posturing over one another-the sheer heft and weight of the peerage can strong-arm a romance and bind it to its whim.
But Milan’s tale is a clearly an 18th century romance, not a Regency, an altogether different kettle of fish and quite refreshing. The distinction being that her story takes place in 1838 after the Regency has gasped its last breath and society is barely living on the remnants of its fumes. The solid glue in Milan’s tale is that of truth, honesty, the most basic calling cards of love and its the focus is on its diverse characters Jenny Keeble and Gareth Carhart, not the ton.
One gets the impression that Gareth Carhart, Lord Blakely is a real man, not a cleverly cast construct. His intense academic and naturalistic nature brings to mind William Adamson of Byatt’s Angels and Insects meshed with nine generations of Blakely DNA to call his own. His personality leaps from the pages, as does his healthy desire for a dishonest woman: enter Madame Esmerelda.
Jenny Keeble is a likeable character despite her occupation of bilking others (albeit gently) out of their pocket change for a fortune told. It is done with the best intentions, but still as Madame Esmerelda issues are coming to a head. Jenny will have to face herself and the consequences of her actions.
There won’t be relatives coming out of the woodwork to save Jenny, she won’t mysteriously be revealed to be a long lost relative to aristocracy. What will save Jenny is herself and her love for Gareth. The chemistry between these two work very well and with Milan’s succinct and wholesome writing, I actually had tears pricking my eyes several times (darn you Courtney Milan!) But if my red eyes are any indication, I expect we will be seeing more of Miss Milan in the future.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review