Review of “Silk is for Seduction” (The Dressmakers #1) by Loretta Chase

Chase, Loretta. Silk is for Seduction. New York: Avon Books, 2011. 

Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0061632686 | 371 pages | Historical Romance

3.5 stars

Loretta Chase is one of the well-known, prolific romance authors who somehow passed me by when I was discovering the genre. But I was motivated to pick this one up after winning a recent giveaway of book four in the series. And while there were things I liked about this one, it felt more lackluster, and hope the series improves as it goes along.

One thing I loved even before diving into the story was the little epigraphs containing from real newspapers and magazines of the day, and, as I read, connecting them to the plot elements of the story. It shows Chase has done extensive research into the period, and sprinkles it in, along with a lot more than I thought I wanted to know about dressmaking in the 1830s.

I also liked that, while the heroine’s family are set up to be swindlers and thieves, instead of following the common trope of making her deviate from them and be unrealistically lily-white and innocent, she is independent, charming, and can be a bit manipulative. I love that she didn’t care about the consequences of pursuing Clevedon to receive his potential future duchess’s patronage, although she did try to keep her distance and set limits when things went beyond business.

As for Clevedon, I found him less inspiring. He wasn’t as bad as I feared, given that he’s presented as a rake, and he’s also an arrogant duke. I did like that he treated her as an equal, not talking down to her, and that he was the one who was trying to persuade her that societal judgment didn’t matter to him, instead of being the one to reject her, but other than that, I really didn’t feel a lot for him, and I didn’t get the sense that their relationship and their reason for being attracted to, and later, in love with, one another was well defined beyond the physical and sexual attraction, and maaaybe the fact that he bonds with her daughter.

However, I am excited to read the other books to see what the supporting characters get up to. I’m hoping that Lady Clara plays a supporting role in future books again leading up to gettting her own, without stealing the show as much as she did this time around, because while I did love her, and can’t wait to read about her journey to HEA, I felt she took over this book a little more than she needed to.

I’m really not sure who to recommend this to, as I’m sure most people who read romance have already read Loretta Chase, and, in retrospect, this is not the one I would have started with. But this might be a good one if you happen to have read her before and somehow missed this one, or if you happen to like dressmakers, dukes, or heroines who are a bit different from the norm.

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