I'm more than happy with Deborah Raleigh's latest in her current series about a group of high-born illegitimate sons who set out to uncover the secrets of their fathers and end up finding love. "Seducing the Viscount" is the story of the one with the nickname of Casanova, and watching him succumb to love was a delightful way to spend an afternoon!
Mercy has spent her left at the back and call of her aging parents. As the daughter of the vicar, she had no opportunity for girlish pleasures and instead channeled her energies into her thirst for knowledge and study of history. Now that she is a spinster, her parents are querulously determined to keep her by their side through guilt and brow-beating. So when Mercy is offered the opportunity to spend the summer as a companion to the lady of a house with a wonderful library, she considers her own wants for the first time and jumps at the chance. She never expected to find the famous Casanova there and really, who would? Of course he's handsome and probably flirts and seduces women in his sleep, but since this may be Mercy's only chance to experience passion...who will it hurt?
Ian was pleased, and a maybe just a smidgen jealous, to see his friend Fredrick so happy and in love. Although Fredrick's efforts to discover HIS father's secret led to happiness, Ian is well aware that his resistance to heading for his father's estate is based on his inner hurt at never being accepted by said father. Then, when he finally arrives, what does he find? The most beautiful woman he's ever seen! Better yet, she's naive, never-been-kissed, and ripe for passion to boot! So why does Ian, for the first time, begin to resist seducing her?
Ah Ian. What a scoundrel, what a rake, what a Casanova! He's not quite a tortured hero, at least not outwardly, but inside he's still got quite a bit of the boy who could never receive the approval of his father. This somehow makes his 'acting out' a little more acceptable. And then of course, once he meets Mercy...well, Raleigh does a fantastic job of depicting his confusion and cluelessness about what's happening to him. He's falling in love and it's just too too delicious. Mercy is a wonderful, caring heroine. Yet her late-in-life rebellion gives her that hint of fire needed to be a real heroine and her genuine caring is what ends up getting to Ian. She's definitely not the normal heroine, but neither is Ian the normal hero.
Raleigh's plot and pacing are just right as is her norm and her ability to depict passion and unspoken love via words is just one of the reasons she's one of my favorite historical authors. She writes paranormals under the name Alexandra Ivy and I'm a fan of those books too. After all, good writing is good writing, regardless of the genre! "Bedding the Baron" was the first in this series, "Seducing the Viscount" is second, and (unfortunately for fans) the last book of this trilogy will likely not come out until March of 2010 so we'll just have to wait for the final chapter and her next wonderful hero.