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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seducing the Beast by Jayne Fresina



Seducing the Beast by Jayne Fresina
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (213 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Moonflower

Some men are born to make dynasties and some women are born to make trouble.

Hellbent on arranging a pardon for her exiled cousin, Madolyn Carver will stop at nothing to achieve her aim, even if it means seducing the mysterious Earl of Swafford. So what if he's known as "The Beast" and is immensely powerful? Plucky Maddy isn't frightened off easily.

Returned home after too long abroad, The Beast also has a mission. He must remove his younger brother and heir to the vast Swafford estate from the

clutches of a most unsuitable woman. When a misunderstanding leads him to mistake Maddy for his brother's cunning mistress, he takes her captive under the guise of The Beast's manservant. Now she can longer be a threat to his misguided brother's future, or so he thinks. And surely, The Beast's infamous iron will can resist the charms of one particularly disobedient, witty, intriguingly stubborn young woman.

But there is a far greater danger. A deadly assassin has come to the Swafford estate, and The Beast's fear of falling in love might just be his downfall. Maddy, the woman he won't trust, is the one innocent soul who can save his life--and his heart.

I like Maddie. I want to be Maddie! Can I please be Maddie?

I will have to say Madolyn “Maddie” Carver is one of the best heroines that I have read about in a long time. I LOVE HER!! She is fantastically smart, quick-witted with a wicked sense of humor, loyal to her family at the detriment of her own happiness, and lastly she has probably one of the biggest hearts in England. I forgot to mention, she can also put a big burly man in his place, lickity-split.

Maddie is a beauty in her own right with her long black hair and gorgeous blue eyes. She is very realistic though, she knows that with her temperament, she is not meant to be stifled by marriage. Now she must save a beloved cousin and she is prepared to risk her future by using all of her so called female wiles on the Earl of Swafford. The Earl is also known as “The Beast”, but she will not be stopped when determined. Madolyn Carver also has a fitting nickname, “Maddie the Merciless”. The Beast will not know what hit him.

The Earl of Swafford is faithful to two things: his family and the crown. Upon returning from an assignment ordered by the Queen, he finds yet another predicament. His brother, the heir to the estate, is in love yet again to an unsuitable wench. Now it is the Earl’s duty to protect his younger brother. He must remove the threat of the undesirable woman, immediately.

Normally I don’t enjoy a story that is one misunderstanding after another. Most of this book is one big misunderstanding and some half truths, but that is what made it great. During the Earl’s travels for the Queen he travels incognito, sometimes using the name Griff, dressing himself down as a common man. That is the image that he set forth when he meets Maddie. He plays himself off as an average man in the service of the great Earl of Swafford. While he built up the false image of the Earl as well deserving the name of The Beast, he tells Maddie that the Earl is married, yet he plays himself off as a manservant and in no way wed.

The circumstances that bring them together border on hilarious. Fate is definitely playing a dirty joke on the two of them the day they meet. Circumstance after circumstance builds until misconceived truths are bountiful. Griff comes to countless false conclusions that will ultimately be his downfall.

The journey they encounter together is beautifully written. This story pulled every emotion out of me; joy, happiness, sadness, despair, anger and lust. There were times I laughed with joy and then a chapter later I was so angry at the characters I wanted to scream. I think this is a true mark of a great novel.

One subject must be addressed though. Their relationship is an adulterous one. Without giving away any plot, let me just say Maddie has no idea that Griff is married. If you are familiar with the era (London - 1563) then you know it is a common occurrence. Maddie has no desire to ever involve herself with a married man so in that case I was extremely disappointed in Griff. I really did have a love/hate relationship with him. During their courtship he was amazingly gentle, but then when the truth came out I do believe I actually hated him. Those were the times I was also angry at Maddie. The abuse she allowed to befall her was inexcusable in my eyes. Ms. Fresina did a fantastic job pulling me in and not letting go. I wanted to rage and rally against the situation, but she wouldn’t allow me to put the book down.

I am guessing from the subtitle: Taming the Tudor Male in Three Easy Lessons, this will be a trilogy. I did research her website and discovered Ms. Fresina has already planned the future characters. I am downright giddy with her selections. This is an extremely enjoyable novel and looks to be an exceptional trilogy. The second installment is already out and this is me leaving to get it.

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