Three little girls are spirited away from their home by strangers and then abandoned in an old farmhouse. Too young to have any knowledge of their home village or even their last name, they are adopted by a childless widow and given a safe home filled with love. This is the background for Sara Bennett’s new trilogy.
The first novel, Lessons in Seduction, finds the eldest sister, Vivianna Greentree, traveling from her Yorkshire home to London. Her mission, to help other children in need, has been thwarted by Lord Oliver Montegomery’s plans. She intends to make him change his mind. Vibrant and passionate, Vivianna does not see anything wrong with her plan. Surely Lord Oliver will realize that the fate of 25 orphans is more important than his use of the property. In fact, she hopes that he will donate Candlewood to her cause once their lease is up.
Oliver Montegomery is not the dissolute rake that he presents to the world. In fact, his public persona is a planned disguise. Determined to expose his brother’s killer, Oliver is driven to find the proof he needs. If he must tear Candlewood down brick by brick, so be it. It is tragic that the orphans will be displaced, but his plans must move forward. Just as he feels things coming together, a lecturing termagant arrives fresh from the country and insists on disturbing his plans and his peace of mind.
With a backdrop of staid Victorian London, Lessons in Seduction offers us forbidden pleasures. Carriage rides in the dark have never held such appeal. Kisses stolen unexpectedly simmer the blood. Vivianna wants to be resolute and in control, but she has only to be near Oliver, and all her good intentions fly right out the window. Oliver wants to avoid this do-gooder, but something compels him to stay nearby.
Ms. Bennett has written a sensual delight. The passion smoulders on the pages and begs the reader to continue until the final scene. The pace is very quick but not rushed. There are some fascinating subplots and supporting characters who steal your heart when you are not looking. I will definitely be watching for Marietta and Francesca’s stories in the coming months.