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Vixen in Velvet [Mass Market Paperback]

Loretta Chase
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

24 Jun 2014
A dangerous wager… A seductive nobleman…
When Leonie Noirot first meets devastatingly handsome Simon Blair, the fourth Marquess of Lisburne, she literally falls into his strong arms!

However, Leonie simply has no time for his wickedly charming lordship. The pretty redhead is obsessed with her business – turning the ladies of society into beautifully dressed swans. Until the bet…

Logical Leonie has to agree; if Lisburne’s cousin, Lady Gladys, is not transformed, Leonie must spend two weeks at Lisburne’s pleasure…

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reissue edition (24 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062100327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062100320
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 10.5 x 16.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 July 2014
By chris
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
loved the story
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Leonie, Leonie," he murmured. "When you talk in numbers, you drive me mad." 27 Jun 2014
By Old Latin teacher - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
(4.5 stars) This is a real romance and it's HR writing par excellence. It's also a book with a lovely hero, not the usual jerk I've been finding lately in HRs. This is not, however, a 5-star book for me. I gave it 5 stars because it deserves more than 4, although it didn't give me that extra thrill that Chase's classic Lord of Scoundrels did long ago. But if I compare this to most other HRs I've read lately, it may deserve 6 stars.

Leonie is the third Noirot dressmaking sister to find her true love, after Marcelline in Silk Is For Seduction (Avon Historical Romance) and Sophy in Scandal Wears Satin (Avon Historical Romance). She's the businesswoman/number-cruncher of the dressmaking business, Marcelline being the creative genius and Sophy the marketer/promoter. Numbers and neat columns, credits and debits, weighing pros and cons of everything, that's Leonie's life.

But it's a lonely life now that Marcelline and Sophy are married and much less involved in their dressmaking business. Her sisters' husbands would prefer that the three sisters, including Leonie, leave the business and devote themselves to life in the peerage. But Leonie can't even consider that possibility. "It hurt, physically, to think of abandoning it. The shop was her link to Cousin Emma. She'd made them into a family and taught them to have a real life... How could Leonie give that up? It would be like giving up some part of her heart."

That's the main conflict of this romance. Can she give her heart to a man who may want her to give up that other important part of her heart? The lovely resolution of this dilemma at the story's end will please any romance reader.

To add a little bit more interest, there's a blackmail/scandal issue involving hero Lisburne's friend Lord Swanton, poet of questionable talent, whose immense popularity with young women has more to do with his looks and sensitivity than to his talent. And there's the problem of a certain Lady Gladys, needing a makeover in looks and personality. Leonie and Lisburne make a wager over the possibility of turning her into this season's success and the recipient of at least one marriage proposal before the season is over.

When you consider the plot, it's not "all that", but when you consider the writing, well, it's "all that" and more. One particular aspect of the romance that's written so well is Lisburne's attraction to Leonie's accountant's/mathematician's mind. Like when he says "When you talk in numbers, you drive me mad." Or "...when you speak of your ruthless ways with customers in arrears, my heart pounds." There's a lovely seduction scene which has Leonie reading a list of dressmaking product prices and quantities to Lisburne that is truly funny and romantic at the same time.

For me, this is class-act HR writing. As I said earlier, it didn't give me that total romantic thrill of LoS and it has minimal angst (something I love in HRs), but compared to most HRs available lately, it's excellent.

BTW, we still have Lady Clara's fate to worry about. She was informally engaged to the H of the first book, ran off with a fortune hunter in the second, and mostly just hangs around in this third book of the series. I assume Chase's next book will have her find true love.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I was over-expecting. 9 July 2014
By lark - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've loved just about every novel Loretta Chase has written and I enjoyed this one, too. Still, it was a little deflating. I expected Leonie to exhibit the same pizzazz as her sisters in the previous two books and she just didn't, not for me, anyway.

I liked Leonie. I admired her. But she just lacked the sparkle, the panache of her sisters. With very little participation by Marcelline and Sophie, always a feature of their stories, Leonie was sort of cast adrift to carry her story by herself...and she just seemed a little flat to me. I think this was the main problem, actually. In the previous novels, the sisters had been so closely entwined. They were so together against the world! Even after Marcelline married, there was still the ongoing connection, their support for each other.

Lisburne was all that we like in a hero, but he couldn't carry the load all by himself. After her introduction in Sophie's story, I expected Gladys (Lady Clara) to produce some uproarious scenes, but no, this seemed to be only a small table-setter for her story.

This was a pretty fair story and many readers have enjoyed it, so did I. I just wasn't carried away by it. Had I not read the earlier books, I think I would have thought this a good standalone. I had read them, though, and as I said, perhaps I was just expecting too much. I loved the others and I *am* in line for Clara's story.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What not to wear, Regency-era edition 24 Jun 2014
By Penny Black - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Just as in the first two books, fashion plays key role in this installment of The Dressmakers series. In a clever spin on the ugly duckling turned swan trope, the youngest and yet unwed Noirot sister Leonie decides to bolster the success of the family business by making over Lady Gladys Fairfax, a fashion-challenged noblewoman whose first season was a spectacular failure.

The story offers a nice change of pace with the hero who has had a solid relationship with his father and who isn't tormented by deep psychological issues. But, I wish he didn't initially view his pursuit of Leonie as a way to pass the time he had to spend in London. With her two sisters married to noblemen, he should have realized she was no ordinary shopkeeper, and that the only reason for her to keep the family business a going concern was sentimental. I was appeased somewhat, at the end of the book, when she made him work for their happily ever after.

Minor quibbles aside, the romance is light, banter between characters witty, and plot flows effortlessly, making this novel a perfect summer read.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chase is a great author, but this doesn't live up to the series 27 Jun 2014
By LyinLyon - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've loved the first two books in Chase's "Dressmaker" series and eagerly anticipated the release of Leonie Noirot's book. "Vixen in Velvet" started off with such promise; the first chapter held my attention and immediately set the stage for attraction and banter between Leonie and Simon, the Marquess of Lisburne. In fact, I would say the first 40% of this book was excellent and up to par with the earlier 2 books in the series. But sadly, the well set-up story arc fizzled into the mundane. If you've enjoyed the series, then you're going to need to read this book, but it's likely to be you're least favorite. Also, you really should read the previous 2 stories before reading this book. "Vixen in Velvet" offers only a glimpse of the historic struggles that the sisters of Maison Noirot have endured; and Chase gives the barest details of the sisters' relationships and previous storylines. All that being said, Chase is still an excellent writer and the book moved along and was enjoyed. It simply wasn't all that memorable and I don't think Chase ever truly developed Leonie into a unique, unforgettable character.


I have a few key issues with this story that made it fall flat for me.
1) Sophie does not appear in this book until the very last chapter and I don't even recall a line of dialogue. Marcelline might as well have been left out because she adds nothing to the story the few times she appears. The series went from having the sisters' relationships being a central (and enriching) part of the series to Leonie standing alone. I greatly missed the other sisters, who were each such strong and interesting characters.
2) In the previous books, each sister had very strong and unique character traits. Marcelline was seductive and a master at flirting. Sophie was a master of disguise and turning drama into revenue for the shop. Leonie's defining characteristics seem to be OCD (extreme need to keep order in her office) and a love of accounting. Chase never develops Leonie into her own, unique character, which is unfortunate because without the other sister being involved in the story, Leonie never develops into the amazing character you are so hoping she will. Also, Chase seems to give up on giving Leonie her own unique traits by saying several times that Leonie also has some powers of seduction and also can blend into the background when needed. It comes off as Leonie being a lesser version of her sisters' striking talents.
3) Scenes within the shop and with customers are so enjoyable and central to the prior 2 books. The termagant cousin of Lady Clara, Gladys, sets the stage nicely for that thread to continue in this book. Gladys throws temper tantrums and there were several places where Chase could have written fabulous scenes showing how Leonie can manipulate the customer, but these scenes fall flat. And most importantly, we never know the details of how Leonie gets Gladys to make a spectacular transformation. Once again, the stage was well set by Chase, but the actors never delivered.
4) It very much felt like Lady Clara was thrown into this book just to keep her thread running through the series since her story is next. She really didn't add anything to the book and I didn't learn anything new about her.
5) While Leonie and Simon have initial chemistry and their early flirtations are quite enjoyable, Leonie's character lacks any authentic-feeling turmoil to make me believe there's any reason for her not to fall directly into bed with Simon. Chase wants the reader to believe that Leonie is wed to the shop and business as a way to remain close to her beloved, deceased aunt, who had taught all of the Noirot girls about being dressmakers. I could have bought that as a reason, but no real angst was shown or developed so it seems like a silly reason, instead of a deeply emotional one. Also, Leonie regularly thinks that aristocrats will do what they like and that Simon would never settle down with her. Ok, really? The eldest sister is married to a Duke and the middle sister is married to a high ranking lord. It's not even remotely feasible that Leonie would think she can't make a match with the Marquess of Lisburne. The class difference between a Duke and dressmaker was a great plot line in the first book, but it doesn't work in the third book with the already married sisters highly ranked and regarded well.
6) Leonie falls in love and I just didn't feel it. There wasn't that deep emotion that I felt between the Duke and Marcelline. The story jumped from good flirtation to suddenly in love over having had an exhausting day and Simon making her some sandwiches. That's not love, that's being overwrought and vulnerable.
7) Leonie "leaves" Simon before he can leave her (and break her heart in the process), except that it's the least dramatic or emotional "leaving" scene ever. It's about 80% into the book and Simon basically knows he's going to win her back. I didn't feel the loss on either character's part. At this point, the book already felt like it was going through the motions, rather than wrapping up any true emotional arc.
8) The subplot of someone spreading rumors that hurt Simon's cousin and also Maison Noirot was so forced and predictable. And, most importantly, it didn't help to flesh out the characters. It felt like some sort of drama was necessary so Chase wrote in that part of the story.

I still love Chase as an author and will continue to read her work, but this book feels like Chase never fully figured out how to make Leonie and Simon's story stand apart, beginning with creating Leonie as an amazing character with attributes that would make her stand out. It fell flat and felt route, especially when compared to how "Silk is for Seduction" was such a refreshing new take on this genre. It was still an enjoyable read, but totally forgettable and not one I'll pick up again.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Final Book About the Three Sisters 25 Jun 2014
By S. Melo - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
VIXEN IN VELVET it's the third book in the Dressmakers Series and the final one about the three sisters who run the dress shop (Chase has said that she will write the story of the sisters' client Lady Clara.) The three sisters are members of the infamous dreadful DeLucey family of swindlers and cheats. The youngest sister Leonie Noirot, is trying to keep her family's shop together since both older sisters are now married to peers. Leonie is the practical one. She has the accounting mind and unlike her more flamboyant sisters she is the backbone that keeps them going.

Leonie meets Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne, when she is working on advertising the shop. Simon is attracted to her and figures on having a little liaison while he is in London accompanying his cousin who is a poet with whom women are currently obsessed. Simon is attracted both by Leonie's looks but also her logical mind. (There is a very sexy scene involving an itemized bill).

I loved this book. I liked how Leonie is different from her sisters and her book reflects those differences. Unlike the other books, Leonie is not one to disbelieve that the two could overcome the class differences (reasonable since both her sisters did exactly that). Instead, Leonie knows that Simon is a charmer who women cannot take seriously. I also loved Simon who keeps Leonie on her toes and has a secret that I loved (don't cheat and read the ending first).

These two are incredibly well drawn characters. I liked that the two are kindred spirits and that Simon and Leonie work together to solve the problems they encounter. Chase has a deeply emotional yet humorous take in romances and this book is no different. She has done a tremendous amount of research and when she takes liberties, she discloses such in her afterward. I always get an interesting glimpse of the time when I read her books because she provides voices from the past. In this book, she gives readers authentic "bad" poetry of the time.

There is also a secondary romance in the story that was sweet. This book has less angst than the first two books, but the characters were sweet and funny and we're so perfect for one another.

This book really needs to be read as part of the series because it takes as given the prior events and readers who start here might be confused by the past references. Fans of the series will be pressed by the same.
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