Review: Ripe for Seduction (League of Second Sons, Book 3) by Isobel Carr

ripe for seductionHeroine: Lady Olivia Carlow is a widow without the protection of widowhood. Her husband was a bigamist, which was revealed upon his death. If finding out her marriage was a sham, having the ton know too is a worse blow. Now she is a social pariah and the men who wooed her in her first season are circling to proposition her this season. When Roland sends her a letter with a scandalous proposal she blackmails him in front of his mother with it to secure a pretend engagement. She will give him back the letter after he squires her around town, fending off the barracudas. Her ultimate goal is complete social ruin, so she can retire to the countryside and avoid the ton for good. Her plan can’t possibly backfire, can it?

Hero: Roland Devere was drunk at the time he sent that letter. Who knew she’d blackmail him with it? However, the pretend engagement will suit his needs very well. Roland entered a bet with his fellow second sons about who would be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed. It’s a bet he plans to win. As he gets to know her though, Roland realizes he wants the engagement to be real.

Review: The side plot, rescuing some girl from her brother’s schemes to give/sell her in marriage to an abusive brute with deep pockets is totally irrelevant to the story. Cut this out and the story would be more concise and less choppy. Additionally, it was weird to have the secondary romance be the heroine’s father with the hero’s sister. Mmm…kay. It also takes up as much page time as the main romance, and in some places outshines the hero and heroine. I did like the boat race and the semi-public tryst that took place there between Roland and Olivia. It was pretty titillating! The rest of good sex scenes were with the sister and dad.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Ripe for Seduction (The League of Second Sons)

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Get into Bed with Isobel Carr (Author Interview)

ripe for seductionKeira: How does one join the League of Second Sons? What credentials are needed beyond being a second son?

Isobel Carr: The way I pictured the whole thing starting was with a bunch of disgruntled younger sons forming a plan over a late night of drinking after the Hardwicke Marriage Act passed in the 1750s. The Act brought huge changes to England, especially when it came to clandestine marriages. It’s the reason all those Regency couples raced off to Gretna Green (the first town on the Great North Road after you cross the border into Scotland).

Suddenly, a runaway marriage with an heiress was a much harder thing to accomplish. This was a BIG deal to younger sons (and was one of the reasons it took forever to get the act through Commons, which was stuffed to the gills with younger sons).

So initially, the club was just the band of younger sons who formed it, but over the years, it would have expanded as they invited others to join, and then the membership was expanded from just second sons to all younger sons. They don’t take politics (Whig/Tory) into account, and they don’t take school (Eton/Harrow) into account either. Like all clubs, you’d need a sponsor (another younger son), but I don’t see it as something as formal as White’s, where you had to be voted in.

Keira: What juicy tidbit does Lady Olivia Carlow have on Roland Devere? Must be something huge to blackmail him into playing her betrothed during the London season!

Isobel: The tidbit is the letter he sends. It¹s rude. It¹s presumptuous. And it would be hugely embarrassing for him if his parents ever found out. I based it on a real life event from the mid-eighteenth century, where a young rake sent a starchy widow just such a letter. Furious, she went directly to his parents and introduced herself as their future daughter-in-law. The young man, who DID care about his parents’ good opinion, was trapped between a rock and a hard place. Call the lady a liar and let his parents see that letter, or accept her version and hope to plead his way out later. The lady in question did eventually brake off the engagement and let the man off the hook (I don’t think she ever had any intention of marrying him, given how horrible her first marriage had been), but I was really taken with the chutzpah it took to respond the way she did. So much better than just pitching a fit.

Keira: Which do you love better: blackmail romances or wager-based romances? Or in the case of Ripe for Seduction, both!

Isobel: I like anything naughty that can both bring a couple together while also serving as a hurdle for them to get past. I¹m not always a huge fan of the wager-based ones because they so often all take the same tack of having the woman find out and be hurt. I want to see something a little different. Something with a twist.

Keira: How do you define love and can love survive said blackmail and wagers?

Isobel: In real life, I define love (and friendship) by who gets a kidney. When I’m writing, it’s not much different. The person you love most, in that sweeping romantic way, may drive you nuts, may piss you off, may do things that make you want to cave their head in on occasion, but when push comes to shove, you¹d do anything for them.

Keira: What is next on your plate? What inspired you to start the project?

Isobel: I’d always planned The League of Second Sons as a six part series, so I have three books to go (Marcus Reeves, Anthony Thane, Dominic de Moulines). Next up is Ripe of Revenge (title subject to change, LOL!). It’s my take on the secret baby plot. I’m also tinkering with a few ideas for novellas. I love writing short!

Buy: Ripe for Seduction (The League of Second Sons)

Review: Ripe for Pleasure by Isobel Carr

by Aggie S., guest reviewer

Ripe for Pleasure is another book about the League of the Second Sons. It seems each book I read regarding this group of young gentlemen gets more interesting as you learn more about each character.

One of London’s most sensual courtesans decides to publish her memoirs because she needs money to survive when she is too old to act as a courtesan. Her previous protectors (as they were called back then) had all but stopped supporting her. Her home is ransacked in the middle of the night while she is still home. She thinks it has to do with the book she is currently writing. As she runs out the door to get away from the men ransacking her place, she runs right into Leonidas Vaughn.

Leonidas Vaughn is a second son, who with his cousin finds letters referring to a hidden treasure at the number 12. His cousin wants that treasure no matter what he has to do to get it. He gets angry when Leonidas keeps getting in his way. Leo finally has to bring his brothers from the League of the Second Sons in to help him protect Viola and find the treasure before his cousin does.

Viola wants to finish her memoirs as quickly as possible, so she can get away from Leo and back to enjoying her life as she wants too, but as usual things happen to change this too.

It’s an interesting read as old English love stories go. I give this book a 3 as it was easy to put down and pick up again later. I wish there had been something different than the usual kidnapping and killings going on.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Ripe for Pleasure (The League of Second Sons)

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