by Marcia, guest reviewer
Lady Paget, Cassandra Belmont is rumored to have killed her husband---with an axe. She is in terrible financial straits and must find a rich man who can support her and her household; Alice her companion and former governess, Mary the housemaid and cook, Belinda, Mary’s illegitimate daughter and Roger the three legged, one eared dog. Cassandra does not really like men so she has no qualms about seducing and trapping one into a financial agreement. She has no intention of marrying, even if it were possible.
Cassandra, dressed in black and wearing a black hat and veil, goes walking in the park with Alice and she spies Steven Huxtable, Earl of Merton. She has heard that he is very rich. He has a cheerful, open, innocent manner and look about him and she thinks that he would be easy to manipulate. It doesn’t hurt that he is gorgeous. When Cassandra learns that Steven will be at a ball that evening, she decides to attend, even though she does not have an invitation. So begins her seduction.
Steven notices Cassandra walking in the park. Even though he cannot see her face, he senses that she is probably attractive. When she enters the ballroom that evening he is sure that she is the woman in black and is stuck by her incredible beauty. Cassandra is tall and voluptuous with a crown of glorious red hair and vivid green eyes that slant slightly upward. She is a siren. But it does not take but a few minutes for him to hear the rumors; the ballroom is buzzing with them. Steven does not believe these rumors for a minute. They are ridiculous. What woman could even lift an axe never mind kill someone with it. If indeed she did kill her husband, she probably had a good reason, didn’t she? He is intrigued and wants to ask her to dance. So begins the redemption of her reputation.
Those readers who are familiar with the first three books in the Huxtable Series will not be surprised by Steven’s maturity and strength of character. He has been carefully raised by his oldest sister and later his guardian, Elliot Wallace, Duke of Moreland. The characters from those earlier books are also an integral part of this story, but readers who have not read them need not worry. Mary Balogh does a great job of thoroughly and succinctly bring the reader up to speed and this book stands on it’s own.
Seducing an Angel is by no means a moralistic tale, but there is a subtle, spiritual thread that weaves it’s way through seduction, temptation and desire and leads the characters to the whole cloth, the laughter and generosity of friends, the love and intimacy of family and the warmth and protection of home. All of Mary Balogh’s stories have heart and through her words we catch a glimpses her character’s souls and we love them too.
Rating: 5 Stars