ISBN 10: 0451228790
ISBN 13: 978-0451228796
Cover Image from GoodReads
Source of my copy: won from Signet on a twitter giveaway
Synopsis (from GoodReads)
No real lady should take lessons from a scarlet woman...
The Duke of Rolthven's new wife, Brianna, is the perfect aristocratic bride. So what would society say if they saw her with a copy of Lady Rothburg's Advice--a courtesan's lessons for the boudoir? When his innocent wife suddenly becomes a vixen in the bedroom, the proper Duke is truly astounded by her seductive powers. Following a courtesan's advice might lead to trouble-but will it lead to Brianna's ultimate desire: winning her husband's love?
The thing about this book is that the blurb lied. This book is not just about the story of the Duke of Rolthven and his new wife Brianna, but also about the romance between his rakish brother Robert and Rebecca, Brianna's BFF. There is no "secondary" romance because I felt that both of the stories were given the same amount of page space and were equally developed. And you know what? I didn't really mind because both stories were equally were told very well.
Brianna and Colton were already married for three months before the story began and have the typical society marriage: she's essentially his arm candy during social events and parties, his behavior and routine hasn't changed one bit since being married and once a week he visits her bed for his conjugal rights (they do it with the lights off and their clothes on). However, Brianna (who was in love with her husband) decided she wanted more from her marriage. She believes that eventually she will lose her husband to a mistress (as typical married lords were wont to do) and no way was she going without a fight. She gets her hands on a sort of self-help book on how to get/seduce a husband and keep him written by a ex-courtesan. She puts the book's advice to work, while also becoming more confident along the way, and stuffy Colton finally start to let loose a bit. On his end, while he's enjoying a more spirited bed partner, he was concerned where his wife was getting all her new skills in the bedroom because he sure as hell wasn't teaching them to her.
My favorite type of romantic plot is one where the hero and heroine are already married before the story even began and I liked Colton and Brianna's story. These two were certainly well-matched and I thought the bright, vivaciousness of Brianna balanced out the uptight, responsible Colton. Maybe if the second romance wasn't so fleshed out, we would've been able to get to know Brianna and Colton's characters a lot more and be able to really explore their thoughts and actions a lot better. Nevertheless, their story was a cute read anyway.
I equally enjoyed Robert and Rebecca's story and thought it was an even cuter read. Robert is Colton's youngest brother and he is a rake and the complete opposite of Colton. He has no intention of marrying and is quite happy to keep on with his rakish ways. That is, until he met Rebecca and suddenly he couldn't stop thinking about her. Rebecca has been in love with Robert since she met him during her first season--all her friends have married but she has rejected all marriage proposals because she wanted Robert and only he will do. I liked that Rebecca was the one who went after him and then there was that thing about their both loving music and then there's this line that made me laugh out loud:
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it was a fun read. The fact that there wasn't really a secondary romance didn't really bother me because I enjoyed both couples' story. I have a few gripes like the author's constant use of the words "ingenue" and "politesse" annoyed me a little. To me these kinds of words should only be used once or twice, but that's just me. Also, I felt that this book is one of those "too modern" historicals (especially on the part of Brianna and the little snippets from the courtesan's book every chapter started with) where if you'd just change the setting, they'll fit right in in the 21st century but it didn't really bother me all that much and it didn't take my enjoyment away from the story. This is my first book by Ms. Wildes and it won't be my last and I hope she'll write Damien's story (brother to Colton and Robert) because I liked his character in this book and I'm interested in reading more about him.
I give this book 4.25 stars out of 5.
**Disclaimer: I won this book from Signet's twitter giveaway. My review is based on my own experiences with the book and only share my honest, unbiased opinions. I am NOT promoting or discouraging anyone from purchasing and reading this book--whether I liked or disliked it. PLEASE use this blog only as a source and not the definite answer to your inquiries.**