Celia Seaton is in quite a bind. Not only has she been let go of her governess job and lost a fiancé (he was her employer), but she has been kidnapped, forced to take off her clothes and left wearing only her shift in some cottage in the middle of Yorkshire. She has no clue why she has been taken and accosted, but she must find a way to escape before her kidnapper comes back.Things turn around for her when she finds an unconscious man on the floor.
Unfortunately for Celia, the man in none other than Tarquin Compton, a dandy and the darling of London. Celia has met Taquin six times before. He barely gave her a second thought and insulted her deeply by comparing her to a cauliflower because of the way her hair was styled. Celia was put out, and rightly so. And when Tarquin awakens and has no idea who he is, Celia decides to get revenge. She tells him they're engaged and his name is Terence Fish and he's been studying for the church.
Terence knows something is off. First of all he can't be named Fish, because who in their right mind would have the last name of Fish? And the woman stating to be his fiancee' is one he's not familiar with. Even with his lack of memory, wouldn't he have some sort of recognition about the half-naked miss? Miss Seaton tells him everything she thinks he should know, such as how they met, became engaged and how they've been captured. Tarquin has more than enough questions and expects answers, but time of the essence, for they must find help. He hopes to regain his memory and solve the mystery of why he has been robbed and who Miss Seaton exactly is to him.
As Celia and Mr. T. Fish, travel barely clothed across the English landscape, she finds Mr. Fish to be an excellent companion who sees to her comfort, looks out for her safety and even goes as far as fishing for her. Celia is falling for this sweeter side of Tarquin, which leads to them having a very special moment in a barn together. But then Tarquin regains his memory and blames Celia for taking advantage of him. He has no choice but to marry her. Celia refuses his hasty and near insulting proposal. Now she must figure out why she has been targeted by some dastardly villain, including bringing down the high and mighty Tarquin a notch. Tarquin is too set in his ways, but Celia has slipped inside his heart where he can't imagine letting her go.
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton is a wonderful slap stick comedy where the heroine pushes the hero way off center. Celia is a fierce piece of baggage and refuses to be controlled, least of all by Tarquin who treated her badly the first time he met her. She plucky, ingenuous and has quite the sense of humor. Celia is a perfect counterpart for Tarquin, who has his nose way up in the air. But there's a nice twist with Tarquin; he collects and reads erotica, where Celia gets a worldly education about sex and erotic prose. She may be an innocent in the ways of sex, but thanks to Tarquin's love of naughty literature, she opens her eyes to a whole new exciting world and taps into her passion, with the help of Tarquin.
The banter between Celia and Tarquin is delightful, as well as the mystery concerning Celia's kidnapping. For once we have a hero who isn't some lofty lord, but a respected commoner because of how he has built up his reputation that society can't help but admire.
The love scenes are very simple in their telling, but sweetly sensual as Celia and Tarquin act out a few scenes from the tales of Francis Featherbrain, including one with a rat running up a young lady's skirt. It doesn't take much to figure out who the rat is and what skirt he's playing under.
I've read almost every single one of Miranda Neville's books and have always enjoyed myself immensely. The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton deserves high marks for great storytelling and characters that will make you smile until the very last page. Avon has a very good thing with Miranda Neville and I anxiously await her next release.