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Proof by Seduction (The Carhart Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – April 29, 2016
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About the Author
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition (April 29, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 370 pages
- ISBN-10 : 144951216X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1449512163
- Item Weight : 14.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.93 x 8 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I've read books from the Brothers Sinister and the Worth series, and was excited to traverse into the world of the Carharts. I'd hoped to read this book before the interview so I was a bit more prepared for the Q&A session, but I am really bad at blogging deadlines because I'm so focused on real-life deadlines, so that didn't really happen.
The opening of PROOF OF SEDUCTION is really great. We're introduced to Madame Esmeralda (who I couldn't help picturing as the Disney Esmeralda), gypsy fortune-teller extraordinaire. She's meeting with her favorite client, Ned, cousin to a skeptical marquess who also happens to be a scientist and a bit of a jerk. He challenges Madame Esmeralda's claims by forcing her to prove herself, which results in a battle of wills, a reluctant attraction, and a rather cringe-worthy attempt at matchmaking.
Lord Blakely was an interesting character, and his scientific background and stuffy demeanor kept his nastiness from being as unpleasant as it might otherwise have been. I enjoyed his verbal battles with Madame Esmeralda/Jenny, and thought that their interactions were great at adding tension - both sexual and otherwise - to the story. The way that they struggle for control over Esmeralda's attempts to "prove" herself were hilarious. Nary a loophole wasn't exploited to its fullest comedic extent.
My problem with this book is that it drags. Terribly. The beginning is the best part. After that, it's all downhill. Around page 100 I actually asked myself, "Things seem like they're about to wrap up - how on earth is she going to fill the remaining 147 pages?"
With sex, of course, and many back-and-forth arguments.
The sex scenes are for the most part well-written, but they are repetitive (like the arguments). And there are some rather jarring descriptions, like a woman's ladyparts being described as "her wetness" and other little niggling details like that that pulled me out of the moment and made me go "ew."
Then there's Ned. I wanted to like Ned. And at first, I almost did. I felt sorry for him. He's a boy with a huge pair of shoes to fill, and an older cousin who doesn't take him seriously at all. But he's also a weenie. I get that he was depressed, and that depression doesn't always make you pleasant to be around, which I think the author was going for (to her credit), but his characterization just seemed to vacillate so much, he started feeling more like a cartoon caricature of adolescent weeniness.
PROOF BY SEDUCTION isn't a bad book, and features some great lines. But it isn't Milan's best work. I get the feeling that she enjoys wrapping up stories neatly and quickly which is probably why she writes so many novellas and why they are so good. But that talent doesn't translate well to novels, and this one felt like it was very fluffed up when 100 pages or more could have been easily shaved off. The ending, too, seemed a bit over the top. I mean, really. An elephant?
2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars.
I mean, where else can you find a beta hero dealing with depression, a heroine masquerading as a fortune teller, and elephants playing a major, romantic role?
What I like about Milan is we get alot of emotions. Hero emotions (in this case cold, prickly, no one likes me so I'll be snooty), heroine emotions, and side character emotions. Even the hero's little sister came across as well-rounded.
And Milan doesn't have her characters make the easy emotional decisions, either. It would have been easy in this book for the fortune-teller to make several problems go away by still pretending to be a fortune teller, but she doesn't.
And then there's the elephants. :) They make everything more fun.
If you're looking for pure, romantic, emotion/character-arc heavy romance with more or less acceptable historical adherence, and a sly sense of humor, this is your series.
To summarize, the heroine is poor but educated. She poses as a fortune teller to make money. One day, a loyal young man who is a regular patron brings his older cousin, the hero, who wants to discredit her. Of course, the hero begins to see past all of her layers of clothing and tons of makeup to see an intriguing (possibly sexy!) woman. And, of course, there is interesting tension that develops because she dares to talk to him in a way that rarely anyone else dares to. And..of course, she slips when she's mad and uses words like "ossify and desiccate" so that the hero can discern she is from Quality. And of course, they quickly get into a situation where she is nearly undressed and he finds her so and is aroused...this is all in the first three chapters. Really contrived, cliche, and just plain lacking a good story. I read a previous Courtney Milan book and wanted to give her another chance...now I am definitely not reading any more of them.
H/small h for heroine ??) is so closed off - it is almost like he has Aspberger's. I grudgingly liked him. The Heroine I adored. She has an unquenchable spirit. What appeals about a particular book is personal and relative.
I would say we have similiar childhood experience. She is who I aspire to be. Ok enough of that. The book is well written. I believe the author tried to make the love scenes more than just gratuitous maybe superfluous is a better word. I won't go into the synopsis, there is probably one or two already here. I will encourage that you read this
book. It is formulaic for sure... a cinderella story (pretty woman-ish?)but Ms Milan skews it by letting us take a
look at the real before she retreats back to the happy ending. I could pick this book apart for any number of reasons like I say my enjoyment is relative but I think the story is a good one and Courtney Milan is a good writer. AND a small peeve.. There was no "Oh, God, you are such a scum bag but I just can't keep my legs closed,"
or "I know you have "bedded" everyone in the known universe but I'M the one... so take me..my legs won't close."
What's real is that rarely happens. A strong woman in a romance..? Thank you! Give it a try!!!