THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION
The Sinful Suitors Series, Book 2
by Sabrina Jeffries
Narrated by Beverley A. Crick
March 22, 2016
Running time 9 hrs 21 min
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife … if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?
I hear a lot these days about “rape culture.” This book deals with sexual assault, and stalking. In the story, the woman blames herself, the perp blames her and she knows if it gets out she will be considered ruined, “unchaste,” if it is discovered. In fact she believes she can never marry because of the rape and that she will no longer be considered a virgin.
Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.
Many feminists have provided great definitions of what rape culture is and how it plays out everyday. Emilie Buchwald, author of Transforming a Rape Culture, describes that when society normalizes sexualized violence, it accepts and creates rape culture. http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/
I do like it when authors bring forth important issues and show their historical context.
And what a shame that Lady Clarissa is undergoing a similar nightmare again with a psychopathic stalker. Throughout, I wanted to just call the police, but there wasn’t a police force in the way we have them now.
The tipping point comes when the characters finally realize they do not have to face these issues alone. In this case the men even have a club for the express purpose of protecting each others’ sisters and wards. This belief arises when in his psycho-brilliance, the bad guy isolates them much as an abuser would.
Of course, the reader is allowed to see how very perfect a match this is while the lovers stumble through the relationship mine fields. So, it’s fun to see them falling in love.
It’s not all about the social issues, either — I liked the inclusion of automatons of the period. I have seen dueling pistols from the 19th century that sported birds that sang when the trigger was pulled, but the automatons discussed here are more complex.
The narrator is competent, but I wasn’t crazy about the way she does male voices. They often sound prissy. Edwin is okay, Warren sounds like he guffaws all the time.
I thought the ending was a little anti-climatic, but over all I enjoyed the book and I applaud Jeffries taking on these tough topics.