Synopsis: Caroline Broadhurst is about to take a lover — at her husband’s command. For fifteen years, Caroline has done everything her much older husband has desired — except provide an heir. Now he has given her an ultimatum: seduce a suitable gentleman and bear a son. Caroline would never think of bowing to such a shameful order, but then she meets Jack Applegate.
Jack has longed for the beautiful, untouchable Caroline for years, but the chasm between them was too wide to ever dream of crossing. Now, fate and passion have thrown them together, but the potential scandal threatens to smother their love. And when a violent secret comes to light, only a terrible sacrifice will prevent the flame of their affection from being snuffed out forever. . .
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My feelings are torn when it comes to this book. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure just how much I like it. The synopsis grabbed me, drawing my inner hopeless romantic out. All About Seduction was written with a historical theme, where opportunities were not freely given to women. It was a time set where women were married off to families who wanted prestige and sons. I can never fathom a time where a woman’s ability to bear a child sets the future of the marriage. And I think that is the root of my problem.
In All About Seduction, Madison introduces us to Caroline, who is married to a man much, much older than her. In a time where women have no voice, Caroline struggles to fulfill her duty as a wife and as a woman. Her husband and her are sleeping in separate rooms and have not been intimate in some time. But after fifteen years of marriage, he longs for a child, enough that he propositions her.
You see, he’s sterile, but he oh so desperately wants an heir to take over the mill and his property. He is so proud that he will not leave it to Caroline. But! He is even more desperate for an heir, that he proposes Caroline to sleep with men of his choosing. That’s right. Caroline’s husband wants Caroline to sleep with another man to produce an heir.
I can understand the time and the circumstances of society. I can understand marrying into a marriage, that lacks love, to fulfill family duty. Caroline’s husband is a mean and uncaring and will use any means necessary to get what he wants. If he has stooped this low to get an heir, I shouldn’t be surprised to see that he used guilt and deceit to get Caroline to agree. And Caroline is so loyal, so of course, she agrees.
The balance to Caroline’s husband is Jack, most definitely. There was an accident at the mill that cause Jack to severely injure his leg. Caroline insisted that he stay at the house while they provide him the rest and medical care that he needs. He is warm and sweet, patient and kind, and what Caroline needs to find peace at the end of the day. Caroline, unbeknownst to her, plays a Florence Nightingale role, and slowly the two fall for each other.
The relationship between Caroline and Jack were strong, and I appreciate the fact that it wasn’t instant love. I’m glad that there was a lot of reluctance for both parties. It made everything realistic, especially with this setting. Virtue, loyalty, duty…all great ingredients for a beautiful story.
There are many moments that warm up this book. There are strong emotions that are written through out the book, each one bringing you to a different level of joy and sadness. Madison challenged my perceptions of society and familiar duty, even if it was told through this historical romance.