by Madeleine Conway

September 2003
ISBN: 0-8217-7568-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Sybilla Smethwick is fiercely protective of her older sister, Honoria, who has been raising her son alone since the tragic death of her husband, Lord Henry Swaffham. When the sisters receive word that Henry’s older brother Augustus, the ninth Earl of Ampthill, wishes to meet them, Sybilla is suspicious of his motives. After seven years of ignoring Honoria and young George, why should this undoubtedly arrogant aristocrat or any of Henry’s family, want to meet them now?

Augustus is certain that his brother’s widow is nothing but a fortune hunting jade. Nonetheless, he has hopes that his nephew may be a worthy heir. When Augustus does meet his late brother’s family, it is his sister-in-law’s beautiful forthright sister, who presents him with the most resistance. Intelligent and quite outspoken, Sybilla makes no bones about her distrust of the earl when he extends an invitation to visit his country estate for a time.

Augustus does not know why Sybilla’s obvious distrust bothers him so much – until he realizes that he wants as he has never wanted any other woman before. However, seducing Sybilla will not be easy because no sooner does their little family arrive at Augustus’ estate, that accidents begin to happen to young George. Someone is intent on making sure George will not inherit and now Augustus must focus his attention on keeping him safe even as his growing desire for Sybilla becomes a major distraction.

Despite a slow start and a frustratingly convoluted ending, Seducing Sybilla is a worthwhile read. Sybilla’s constant jumping to wildly erroneous conclusions can be a little annoying but she manages to redeem herself quite well in the end. Unfortunately, what could have been a truly great romance is lost in the characters various misconceptions and suppositions.

But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Cynthia.

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