I actually started reading this before both starting and completing Sorcerer’s Stone — I love being on vacation, I get so much reading done! After reading my super-depressing and/or super-heavy books from the library (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, The Late Hector Kipling, and the awful Solar), my brain needed a break. Actually, I think I started reading this one before I finished Solar. It sounds like something I’d do.
Anyway. Here’s why I picked the book up from Border’s in the first place: the quote on the back. “Marry a young woman because he lost a bet?”
Arranged marraige by gambling? Okay, sure. I had to see how this one ended.
Jack Byron (no relation to the poet) is gambling, and he loses a ton of money to one Ezra Danvers. Knowing that Byron can’t pay back the debt, Danvers agrees to not only forgive the debt, but bestow Byron with 120,000 pounds should he agree to marry Danvers’s daughter. But only if Grace believes the marraige to be a love match. Byron, seeing no way out, agrees.
Expecting a horrible, ugly spinster, he is pleasantly surprised when Grace Danvers turns out to be a beautiful, tall redhead. He doesn’t realize it at the time, but as he courts her, he actually begins to fall in love with her.
Of course, just before they are about to be married, Grace finds the copies of the settlement between Byron and her father. She realizes she was just a pawn to wealth for Byron, and she creates a settlement of her own: she will marry him, and they will go through the Season in London, but afterwards, they will separate. He will buy her a house, and he will also give her half of the money. Ashamed, Jack agrees to the settlement.
But when they move to London, they begin to bridge the gap they’ve created. And just when it looks like they’re truly falling in love in spite of everything, Jack’s former mistress kisses him in front of Grace, leading Grace to believe that he’d been cheating on her all this time. She demands the house and the settlement, and they separate.
They come back together when Grace a) realizes that she’s pregnant, and b) realizes that the house he bought for her, he planned the garden for her all on his own (oh right, the garden thing. See, he first begins to court her in a garden in Bath. She’s an artist, creating a folio of flowers and plantlife to be published. So one of the things she shouted at him when she first found out about the settlement was that he was a poser in the realm of botany). The book doesn’t actually end with the birth of the baby, which was one of the only things that surprised me about the book — usually, tawdry historical romances end with either a reconciliation or a birth.
Now that I’m finished with the novel, I’m actually contemplating whether to sell it back or not. I mean, there are some that, as soon as I hit “post,” I send back to Annie’s Book Stop because the thought of having them in the apartment any longer drives me batty. But … I may actually read this again, a few years down the road? I thought it was kind of sweet? I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting sappy in my old age.
Shut up, all of you.
Grade for Seduced by His Touch: 2.5 stars.