From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:
The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:
ladies would die to wear it . . . and gentlemen would kill to remove it!
Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are . . . not.
The prize seems well worth the risk—but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . . and a blazing scandal.
And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk . . .
And here is Milena's review:
Warning: I am a huge Loretta Chase fan. All right, I'm really only an average-sized Loretta Chase fan, but I do adore her books. Lord of Scoundrels ( A | BN | K | S | ARe ) is one of my all-time favourites, and I've never met a Chase book that I didn't at least like very much. So if you think that LoS is a plotless mire with a dangerously stupid heroine, you probably shouldn't take my word for this being a A- book.
That said, there are things in Silk Is For Seduction that will, I think, appeal to most readers. The heroine, Marcelline, in particular. She is one of three Noirot sisters, who are trying to become big shakers in London's fashion world. Marcelline is neither a débutante nor a blushing virgin (she even has a child); in fact, she will lie, cheat and do just about anything to get her designs on the future Duchess of Clevedon.
I loved Marcelline to bits. She's a businesswoman, and her work is not just a decoration she's ready to drop at the first twitch of a duke's eyebrows. She loves it – all of the fabulous dress designs the Noirot sisters produce are hers – and she doesn't want to abandon it, even in exchange for a life of luxury. The hero – Duke of Clevedon, of course – is quite the opposite, a true man of leisure, who doesn't even begin to understand Marcelline's devotion to her business. He calls it “her little shop” and sees her work as “dreary”. This condescending attitude makes Marcelline angry, not only because he doesn't understand that she needs to work to survive, but also because he doesn't understand how important it is for her to be able to keep doing it, to keep being creative.
In fact, the biggest reason why SIFS is not a pure A for me is the hero. He's drop-dead gorgeous, and can be very charming (of course!), but he's so forgettable when compared with Marcelline (and a host of other female characters, including his soon-to-be-former fiancée, the other Noirot sisters, and even Marcelline's daughter) that it's somewhat hard to see why such a strong, intelligent woman would fall in love with him. But when she finally decides to give him a sporting chance, he does say “I want you to be you”, which is a declaration of love right after my own heart.
One final gripe I have is the cover. I mean, how could the meeting where that cover was approved have gone?
“We have this story about a dressmaker, with tons of detailed, loving descriptions of gorgeous and historically accurate dresses. What should we put on the cover?”
“A generic, no-period-need-apply gown that doesn't look remotely like any of the dresses from the book, obviously.”
“Great! Love the concept!”
Well, I don't. But I do love Silk Is For Seduction, and will in all probability go back to it more than once.