Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: The Seduction of his Wife by Tiffany Clare

The new novel in Tiffany Clare’s tantalizing series about a most uncommon marriage—one that might just end with desire and romance…


Emma Hallaway has not seen her husband in twelve years—and that’s fine with her. As a young girl, she’d agreed to a simple marriage of convenience, allowing her to pursue her private passion for painting. And though unknown to the rest of polite society, Emma is now one of the most daring and sought-after artists in London. However, when her secret is threatened to be exposed, Emma is forced to open her heart—and her home—to a total stranger: her husband…


Richard Mansfield, Earl of Asbury, is all too familiar with danger. As a matter of fact, it is hard on his heels when he returns to England. Still, even he is shocked to learn of his wife’s scandalous double life as an artist. But once he sees the vibrant grown woman she has become—so passionate, so strong, and so alluring—his undeniable attraction to Emma stuns him. Suddenly Richard is determined to turn their sham of a marriage into a true and lasting love. But how exactly does a gentleman seduce his own wife?

I had read Ms. Clare's previous/debut book, The Surrender of a Lady. While its premise was intriguing and unusual, I just could not connect with the characters, especially in the latter half of the novel. Thankfully I didn't have a problem with The Seduction of His Wife. Seducing one's own wife? I'm there!

Emma and Richard have what's considered a norm of the times: an arranged marriage. The snippets at the beginning of each chapter, I assume, are letters Emma wrote but did not send to Richard. In these letters, she pours her heart out, loving him, seeking his return, yet hating him for leaving. He abandoned her and despite their marriage of convenience, Emma had hoped to have a true life with him. Instead she's left to move forward, and she does so via her artwork.

Richard returns to England a wealthier man and is quite surprised to see his wife for the first time in years in a brothel. Once he is able to ascertain that she isn't the young bride he left -- and that he might actually have deep feelings for her -- he sets about wooing her. Of course, Emma is affronted by this behavior.

What I loved was Emma's back-and-forth struggle with the fact that she wanted Richard but she was terrified of him hurting her again. It felt very true to life, especially Emma's life where she'd been self-sufficient and independent for so long. Once Emma's life is in danger, Richard's decision about his love for her is made, and we can believe they will reconnect and have a stronger marriage for their time apart.

Emma's sister Abby's departure was rather abrupt, so I'm interested to learn her motivations in Ms. Clare's next book, The Secret Desires of a Governess.

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's who provided me with an ARC of The Seduction of his Wife.)

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