Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Seduction in Silk - Jo Beverley (Signet - Aug 2013)

Series: Malloren (Book 13)

Peregrine Perriam, son of an earl, has no desire to marry, but when he's named heir to Perriam Manor, he finds he has only a month to persuade a stranger, Claris Mallow, to the altar or the property will be lost to his family forever, and his line will be cursed. 

Having survived her parents' tormented marriage, Claris prefers poverty to any husband. When a high-born stranger demands her hand, she drives him off at pistol point. 

Perry finds weapons of his own, however, and soon Claris is compelled to accept his proposal. But she does so on her own terms--especially that the marriage be in name only. Once mistress of Perriam Manor, however, she discovers she isn't immune to Perry's charms. Perhaps a real marriage might be worth the risk--including a real marriage bed... 

Not my favorite of Jo Beverley's books.  There's usually a bit more conflict and suspense in her books that just wasn't there in this one.  Perry has been left Perriam Manor by his cousin, under the condition that he marry Claris Mallow.  He doesn't want to marry anyone, but he doesn't want to lose the house, so he goes off to convince Claris.  Meanwhile, she has no desire to marry either.  Her parents had a miserable marriage and upon their deaths she is raising her twin brothers.  There isn't much money but they are getting by.  When Perry shows up to get her to marry him she doesn't want anything to do with him and chases him away.  But she can't deny that marrying him would have benefits that would make life easier for her family so she gives in.  She has demands of her own regarding the marriage and Perry is desperate enough to give in.  It isn't long before both want more from the marriage that the business arrangement they had agreed on.

I have mixed feelings about Claris.  I really liked her independence and the strength she had to have to make a life for herself and her brothers, grandmother and friend.  I loved the scene where she used the pistol to chase Perry away.  She did end up agreeing to marry him after realizing how the marriage would help her make a better life for her brothers.  It bothered me a little that she seemed to give more weight to the goodies Perry provided than the benefits to her brothers.  Claris worried that marriage to Perry would see the end of her independence.  She was somewhat reassured by his actions as he kept the various promises he made, though she seemed to be constantly expecting him to go back on his promises.  She had a tendency to take almost everything he said or did the wrong way and accuse him of breaking his word.  Even though she had insisted on a marriage in name only, she decided that she wanted a child of her own and told Perry of her change of mind.  I liked the way that she didn't hold back once she made that decision.  Claris had been very nervous going into the marriage feeling that she was not up to the task of being a nobleman's wife.  She was helped along the way by Genova Ashart (Winter Fire) and began to feel a bit more confident.  I really enjoyed seeing her grow into her role as lady of the manor, but she still seemed a bit on the whiny side to me.  I enjoyed her trip to London to see Perry and loved the way she stood up to a couple of the snotty ladies.  

Perry's inheriting of Perriam Manor was a complete surprise to him.  The conditions to do so were unpleasant but he was determined to do it to keep the manor in the family.  He was terribly overconfident when he went to Claris the first time and it wasn't really a surprise to see him get shut down fast.  I liked his sense of humor about it and loved his conversation with Genova Ashart about how to win Claris.  I really liked the way that he was willing to give her complete control over the manor.   It was fun to see him realize that he was attracted to her and bemoan the fact that he had agreed to a marriage in name only.  I liked the way that he is kind to Claris and her family and does whatever he can to make the transition a smooth one.  Perry is an usual hero in that he has no interest in the managing of the estate and admits that he has no clue as to how to do it.  He insists that he is a Town guy, but he sure seems to like his time in the country with Claris.  He has his duties in the city, most of which are tied to positions gotten for him by his father.  One thing that bothered me about Perry was how he was under his father's thumb.  I didn't like the way he caved in regarding the disposition of the manor.  I liked seeing the work he did for Rothgar and thought a little more could have been done with that.  When Claris came to visit Perry in London it caused him to think even more about the effect she has had on his life and how important he finds it to do things that make her happy.  I liked the way that he finally took control of his life.

Secondary characters were done well within the story.  Claris's grandmother was a pretty good foil to show Claris's goodness.  Athena was not the most pleasant of people and showed up to be pretty selfish.  I liked her friend/companion Ellie and was rooting for good things to happen with her.  I loved Claris's brothers.  They were a great mixture of good and mischievous.  I liked the way they tried to watch out for Claris.  They also enabled Claris to see a different side of Perry.

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