When I had the opportunity to review The Seduction of Emily, I jumped at the chance. If you have never read one of Ms. Brimble’s historicals, you need to. She brings a richness to the genre that few authors can. Why?
A couple of things:
1) She is British and Bath is her backyard
2) She doesn’t muddy the waters with all the detailed trappings of the genre. She tells a story that is relatable to modern times and with characters that we can like and understand.
3) Without all of the pages and pages of what everyone is wearing, the gossip mongering, and the etiquette of the time, you get a great character driven story that you can lose yourself in for a couple of hours.
4) While I do appreciate historical romance with all the back history, detailed information and setting descriptions…sometimes, I just want the story. Lose the filler and give me what I want. A great story. Ms. Brimble does that in spades.
The Seduction of Emily is a beautifully written novel about a contracted marriage between childhood friends arranged by their fathers. Too bad, Emily doesn’t want to be married to Nicholas. She feels stifled and knowing that he doesn’t respect her as his soon to be wife is even more appalling.
Emily is from the new generation of British women in Victorian England that realizes that arranged/contracted marriages are not normal and only wants to marry for love. Too bad, the contract states that to have her half of her father’s business she must marry Nicholas. When she meets Will at the auction, she has no idea how her world and life will change.
Will Sampson is a study in contrasts. What started off as a tale of vengeance for his mother, turns his head and heart toward not only seducing Emily but winning her heart in the end. Will isn’t perfect. Actually his back history is somewhat heartbreaking but it makes him what he is today and why he seeks out Nicholas.
The heart of the book isn’t about Emily, Will or the marriage contract but what Nicholas as done as man and what he continues to do to women. Its appalling and unfortunately in the times, it was common place. Sure it was whispered in some circles but most everyone turned their cheek to it. Not Will and Emily. They vowed to bring justice not only for Will’s mother but to the other women that he has been with. Its heartbreaking to know that one of the secondary characters, Katherine has put up with it for as long as she did.
I loved how Will was able to convince 5 different women to stand up to Nicholas. In that time period, I can’t even imagine what it was like to walk into a police station and tell your tale. Who would believe you? Again, Ms. Brimble handled the material with grace and humility. She doesn’t gloss over but gives you the sense of what it was like.
The romance between Will and Emily was never forced. In fact, it was light, fun and even through the difficult times, realistic. Again, I could relate to both Emily and Will easily and loved watching their romance grow. Their love for one another was evident before they ever kissed. Will wanted Emily to have a voice in things; he loved her wit, intelligence and above all…who she already was. He didn’t want her subservient and submissive. He wanted that fire, passion that she had.
I know that Ms. Brimble is nervous about my review and she shouldn’t be. She wrote an intelligent Victorian novel about two characters that I instantly connected with and cheered for in the end. The social commentary that she brought to the book was well thought out, not glossed over and even relevant to today’s society.
I’m rooting for Katherine to get her own book and maybe even Laura. Hint, hint…