Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: A Study in Seduction by Nina Rowan


Lydia Kellaway's world is defined by numbers and she is happy that way. There are no variables or surprises and there is always a solution to any problem. To retrieve a locket from Alexander Hall, Lord Northwood, she approachs her latest problem with the same mathematical strategy that has worked well her life so far: armed with her calculations and research, she approaches Alexander, confident in her methodology -- but she doesn't count on Alexander Hall to complicate matters for her.

Alexander's life's mission is to restore his family's good name and standing in society, after his mother selfishly ruined it by running off with her lover. He has done everything considered proper: chair a committee, help charities, etc. Now he is trying to marry off his siblings to improve their family's connections. Meeting the unconventional Lydia has made Alexander realize that he needs a break from his life. Lydia and her math problems are a breath of fresh air for him: when he is immersed in answering them, the world melts away and he is doing something that is purely for his own pleasure and not anyone else's.

Being with Alexander has also allowed Lydia to discover that there is life outside of mathematics -- but, each day and pleasure she experiences with Alexander, brings up unwanted memories from her past that threaten to come between her and Alexander.

Lydia and Alexander were wonderful characters -- very dynamic and sympathetic, with very complex baggage. Both of them are trying to protect their families, but at the expense of their own personal lives. I thought it was ironic that one man's refuge is another man's prison: Alexander found escape and enjoyment in doing the math problems that Lydia creates -- and Lydia has cloistered herself in the world of mathematics.

Every encounter, every conversation chipped away at their armors, leaving them vulnerable to one another -- but, they learn that, being thus exposed makes them stronger and not weaker.

"Tell me what you want and you can have the locket back."

She spun around, her skin reddening with anger. "How dare you manipulate me!"

"It's a fair trade."

"It is not. No trade is fair when the winner also loses."

"What does that mean?"

"It means you haven't a care for either of the things being exchanged," Lydia said. "The locket means nothing to you and everything to me. My wishes mean nothing to you and everything to me. So I tell you what you want to hear and win the locket back, but I've still lost, haven't I? You've still gotten what you want."
- pp. 59

There is also another layer in the story -- the mysterious "C" and his correspondences with Lydia's sister Jane. He peers into the domestic lives of Lydia, Jane and their grandmother with seeming omniscience and adds an edge of suspense and danger to the story. I kept wondering who he was and what he wanted with Lydia and her family.

Lydia's pursuit of the locket, the mystery man, and interesting supporting characters (Jane and Alexander's father are my favorites) make this a fascinating read that I couldn't put down.

I love Math and this book rekindled a bit of my puzzle-solving self. And this is why readers of historical romances should give this a try: Nina Rowan blends the unlikely combination of mathematics and romance and came up with a winner of a book.

A Study in Seduction is the debut novel of Nina Rowan and the first book in her Daring Hearts series. The second book, A Passion for Pleasure will be released this April 30, 2013. To find out more about Nina Rowan and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook and on Goodreads.

I read this book as part of the Reading Romances 2013 Challenge for March as well as the Romance Reading Challenge 2013 hosted by Nadia@The Bookworm.



11 comments:

  1. Interesting! I love an intellectual heroine and particularly love the idea that she's a mathematician. And thanks for the heads-up about a debut author - always great to find a new voice! :)

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  2. Great review! I need to grab a copy of this one. :)

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  3. Hi, Sarah! Hi Melissa!

    Thank you both for your comments! I was also attracted to the heroine and her talent in Math.

    I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did. ^_^

    Have a great day!

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  4. I'm not sure how I feel about characters with "complex" baggage, but the mathematics angle definitely sounds intriguing. Great review :).

    - Chris

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  5. Lydia and Alexander sound like great characters. Math and romance? You've peaked my interest. Great review.

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