Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Seduction of Lady X by Julia London



I love reading romance novels with seemingly impossible scenarios and this is one of them: Harrison Tolly has worked as a steward for the Carey family for fifteen years and, has been secretly in love with Olivia, Lady Carey from the first moment he saw her.

Harrison is an honorable man, despite his less than spotless origins (he's the bastard son of a courtesan), and never reveals his feelings to Olivia, his Lady X.

To complicate matters even more, Olivia's younger sister, Alexa, comes home from a tour of Spain pregnant and refuses to name the father. In order to protect Olivia and her sister from Edward, Lord Carey's wrath, Harrison steps in and offers to marry Alexa.

As Harrison tries to sort out the mess that he has made of things, Mr. Fish from Hadley Green pays him a visit and informs him that he is the rightful heir of Ashdown, which Harrison immediately refuses -- choosing to live as a steward in order to be near Lady Carey.

So how does one tell the love story of two people who cannot express their love for one another?

"...does she ... does Lady X know of your regard?"

"Apparently not," he said dryly.

Lady Carey bit her lower lip. "But if she knew, she might ..."

"She might what?" he asked impatiently. "Leave her husband and live in reduced circumstances with her reputation destroyed? No, madam. To confess my affection and esteem to Lady X is to compromise her completely, and I would never dishonor her."

Lady Carey looked up then, her eyes full of understanding.

And sadness.
p. 143

In The Seduction of Lady X, Julia London explores what people are willing to endure for the sake of love. Harrison was willing to sacrifice his future, his legacy, his fortune, and his name for his love for Olivia. Olivia sacrificed her chance at happiness and freedom for love of her sister.

Admittedly, the author resorts to a convenient way to resolve the tangled muddle our hero and heroine find themselves in but, then again, I think it works to balance out the plot -- I think it would have been too much if she gave a complicated solution to the problem. (Think Occam's Razor)

Is this the last installment in Julia London's Secrets of Hadley Green series? In some sense, it feels like it is: an heir to Ashdown has been found and the question about the missing jewels has been answered -- though it was answered a bit too casually with a one-line answer from Harrison (p. 330), though -- and the revelations regarding Hadley Green wasn't much in the spotlight in this book. In fact, it felt like a postscript added after London resolved Harrison and Lady X's story.

That aside, this was an amazingly written story -- very daring and ambitious, putting your hero and heroine in a complicated situation but Julia London proves her skill in creating one of the most moving love stories I have read this year.

Do I want this to be the end of the Hadley Green series? No and I hope that it isn't! Julia London has created a scandalous but compelling set of characters -- these are not saints or paragons, but they are lovable, flaws and all.

This is the third book in Julia London's The Secrets of Hadley Green series. The other books in the series are:

Book 1: The Year of Living Scandalously
Book 1.5: The Christmas Secret (e-novella)
Book 2: The Revenge of Lord Eberlin
Book 3: The Seduction of Lady X

For more information about Julia London and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting. I usually like London's historicals, but for some reason I was never terribly interested in this series. Clearly, I need to fix that error! Do they stand alone well, or should they be read in order?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Sarah!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      I think this one stands alone fairly well but I would recommend reading Book 2, if you can. That's the book that really explains and explores the premise of the series.

      re: Reading in order -- not that essential. The story of book 3 is actually set far away from Hadley Green and, as I said in my review, the question of the "mystery of Hadley Green" isn't really dealt with that much in this book.

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  2. I'm still debating if this book is for me, but I'm definitely curious!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Preet!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      It's an interesting read -- it's the situation that makes this novel -- how do one create a love story between a married woman and a very honorable man? I was curious enough to read through to the very end. ^_^

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