Seducing Charlotte

Seducing_Charlotte 2

Welcome to the Chicks’ new book club, Lit Swagger! This month, our featured book is Seducing Charlotte by Diana Quincy. It also happens to have been my pick… not that my neighbours caught me happy dancing or anything ;) Anyhoo, like many romance novelist hopefuls, I paid a lot of attention to the contest circuit, and I must say, Ms. Quincy’s impressive Contest Diva status had me chomping at the bit to read one of her novels.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

~~~~~

Even if he is considered the catch of the season, Charlotte has a low opinion of the wildly handsome Marquess of Camryn.
  
He’s an industrialist who thinks nothing of replacing workers with machines, depriving them of honest work. Camryn is everything a social reformer like Charlotte detests.

Yet an undeniable attraction simmers between them, but Camryn is the last man Charlotte can have affection for. 

Rebellion is brewing in England and soon both are swept into the turmoil of the burgeoning Luddite movement. The desperate workers are bent on demolishing the machines which have left them destitute. 

Camryn vows to destroy the rebel movement, unaware that the only woman he has ever loved harbors a secret, shocking connection to one of its leaders that could shatter them both.

~~~~~

My absolute favourite aspect of this lovely read was the snappy dialogue between the hero, Cam, and the heroine, Charlotte. I’m a sucker for witty characters who can think on their feet and say the things most of us only think of afterwards. I’ve included a small snippet below from one of those awesome exchanges. It was tough picking just one!

~~~~~

“Why have you asked me to dance?” Charlotte’s curt tone sliced into his wayward thoughts.

“In order to apologize for my behavior the other evening.” He struggled to ignore her enticingly subtle floral scent. The last thing he needed was to come to an embarrassing point right here on the dance floor like some untried swell. “It was not my place to cut you in that way. Please accept my apology.”

“Why did you do it?”

He should have guessed she wouldn’t let him off so easily. Most other females would have. They were happy to flirt and fawn over him, but this tempting chit was decidedly unlike most females.

“I would rather not go into that,” he finally said, sounding high-handed, even to himself. “Suffice it to say that I very much regret causing you any pain or embarrassment.”

“No.”

He raised his forehead. “No?”

Charlotte cut him a defiant look, pressing her lush lips into a tight line he had the mad urge to kiss away. “No.” She emphasized each word as if he were deaf, daft, or both. “I. Will. Not. Accept. Your. Apology.”

“I beg your pardon?” he said, startled to be confronted so directly. Most maidens hung on to his every word, laughed at witticisms even he knew weren’t particularly amusing.

“You, my lord, are a rag-mannered coxcomb and I will not accept an apology without a full explanation for your behavior.”

“A rag-mannered coxcomb?” He could hardly believe his ears. “Now see here, Miss Livingston—”

She sighed, her exasperation plain. “No, you see here, my lord. I tire of your strange temperament, your arrogant manner, and most of all, I tire of dancing with you. Please excuse me.”

She was halfway off the dance floor before Cam recovered himself and strode after her.

~~~~~

Whew! I love it when a heroine, especially a historical one, has that much Swagger and knows how to BRING IT! :)

What are your impressions of Seducing Charlotte? Did you enjoy the story. Why or why not?

I’ve included some questions below to help stimulate your assessment:

1. Did you feel the heroine’s Swagger? If yes, can you give an example? If no, where would you like to have seen her pick up the whip?

2. Is this couple meant to be together? What are their strengths? If you were their couples’ therapist, what issues would you have them work on?

3. How many flames would you give this book? Were the love scenes steamy and engaging? Did they make you want to jump right into bed with them?

4. Did the plot feel fresh and unique? Were you surprised by any of the twists?

5. What secondary character would you most like to see in their own story?

6. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use any symbolism to reinforce the main ideas? (symbolism: people, actions or objects that stand for something greater than themselves)

7. Was the setting realistic and did it draw you in? Did you learn anything new?

8. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that’s funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character?

9. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not…and how would you change it?

10. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?

Comments

  1. I, too, loved the repartee between the characters and the strong-mindedness of the heroine. Diana did a good job of balancing her strength with her vulnerability. She also created a plausible reason why the H/H could not be together. Although I typically like a strong alpha male, Cam had a good balance between outward confidence, and an endearing unsureness where Charlotte is concerned.

    • Hi Jaye, I’m with you, I definitely like the behind-closed-doors vulnerability Cam has for Charlotte. There are so many take-no-prisoners, chest-beating alpha heroes out there, it’s nice to have a tad less domineering and in-your-face hero for once!

      • I love a swaggering heroine who knocks an alpha male on his kiester, whether physically, sexually or emotionally. She makes him learn that all the ways he so easily manuevered through the world aren’t going to cut it with her. Whoot!

  2. RoseAnn DeFranco says:

    LOVED this book! Strong heroine with TONS – O- SWAGGER, a hero unafraid to declare his intentions or his imperfections. This book is fast paced and will keep you turning the page.

    SEDUCING CHARLOTTE has a fresh perspective in the genre with the potential to lead the charge in a new wave of Historical Romance. Love an author unafraid to takes risks!

    This book was entertaining as well as educational about the Luddite movement.

    Five out of five flames of steam for a couple destined for a long and steamy happily ever after!

    • Hi RoseAnn, thanks for chiming in! I’d never read a historical romance that talked so openly about the Luddite movement, so that was interesting for sure.

    • I loved learning about the Luddites, too, RoseAnn. But then I am a learner, by trade. I adore a writer who regales me with new facts.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      RoseAnn, I totally agree with you about breaking boundries…Loved the first page of the book with the…ahem…. What a luscious hook! DQ also has such a talent for creating characters that are both strong yet somewhat blinded to their own flaws… A complete homerun with our lovers making each other recognize the their own flaws. Character growth regardless of a romance is so empowering with the romance just being the icing on the cake!!!

  3. Well,I love historicals! And this one didn’t disappoint. The opening sucked me right in… as it did Cam. I also enjoyed the author incorporating the Luddite Movement. I’ve read about this movement in a few other novels, and I like when authors include political and social issues in historicals. Also, Miss Quincy has a good grasp on the language used during this period, which always enhances a story for me. Looking forward to her next book!

  4. 1. Ms. Quincy excels at giving her heroine Swagger. And, I especially enjoy when it’s more subtle. When Charlotte makes Cam work for it! Example: Cam: “What was that look you gave me?” Charlotte: “It’s of no consequence.” Cam:”Please do tell me.”

    2. Too funny-couples therapy! Cam and Charlotte are a clear case of how opposites attract. The opening scene sets the tone immediately-with her bearing witness to his . . . pleasures. I love that Ms. Quincy waits to give us Charlotte’s take on this episode, and she does it brilliantly with Charlotte’s vivid, jealous, recollection.

    3. How many flames are there? It’s hot, alright. I think the opening scene sums it up well.

    4. Absolutely. This plot worked for me and was unique. Workers rights and industrialism in a ROMANCE. Very unique, and well done. I loved that Charlotte had to make Cam see the light of things.

    5. I loved Willa.

    6. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore?

    Workers rights. Poverty and the lower, working class.

    8. The old way of life from the villages dotting the English countryside would soon be gone.” The awareness and sadness Charlotte feels as a result of industrialization is written so well, and so poignantly. It really made you love Charlotte for her perceptive, clever mind and lovely heart. You can see why Cam fell for her.

    9. Is the ending satisfying? Yes, and the characters were still THEMSELVES. They didn’t change or become different people. And, who doesn’t like a happy ending.

    10. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
    You seem to know so much about the industrial age in England and you obviously had to do a lot of research on the topic. What did you find to be the most surprising fact you discovered?

    • Kick ASS, Michele! Great responses! I loved the exchange you mentioned in #1, too. I also love the oh-so-British the exchange Cam and Hartwell (the duke) had the morning after Cam was found in Charlotte’s room after Fuller (her brother) had broken in:

      “Am I to understand the two of you came to an understanding last evening?”

      “Not precisely.” Cam took another bite. “However, I will bring her around.”

      One side of Hart’s mouth twitched upward. “How exactly do you propose to do that?” He eyed Cam’s swollen lip. “If last night was any indication, you might not survive another effort to persuade her.”

      LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!! So droll. So British! Love it.

      • I loved that exchange, too, Misty. In fact, I loved the relationship between Hart and Willa. Where is their romance, I ask you? Am I missing a book in this series? ‘Cause I have a feeling their story would be a scorcher, too.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Michelle, Great summation…It’s so interesting how you felt the characters didnt change yet some of us felt they did change! I suppose you are right…Neither gave up their beliefs about industrialism yet they were able to see another side of the problem and how it could be approached. So I guess they didnt really change too much and stuck to their guns by allowing additional information to filter through their original beliefs…Really cool! Thats why this book club thing is so awesome! I love seeing the story through others eyes! You learn so much about the beauty of the written word and its translation! Awesome review!!!

  5. Okay, can we just talk about the OPENING?! OMG. At first I was like….O.O

    But then I was like… hahahahahaha!

    It was definitely a risk she took in opening the story that way. I was a little conflicted by this, but Cam quickly redeemed himself. What did you guys think?

    • RoseAnn DeFranco says:

      With you on the Risk, Misty! Jaw dropping opening, then Charolotte’s reaction to it – Amazing, risk taking writing!

    • I really liked the opening. When I man’s reaction to that sexual act is boredom, well….that tells you quite a bit!

    • Hey, it certainly sucked me in. I started laughing and thought, oh yeah, she’s got me well and truly hooked. Good job!

    • Josie Matthews says:

      Hey Mist! I loved the juxtaposition of Cam in the first few pages. Hot, sexual, alpha male…then realizing how unfullfilling his rakehell lifestyle truly is…DQ set it up perfectly for the reader to be attracted but not put off but this shocking first scene. We are so careful to keep the hero monogamous but here she pulled it off perfectly…an AHA moment for our sexy hero Cam…Loved it!

  6. There were several lyrical places in the novel, this is one of my favorites:

    “A gentlewoman blessed with quiet curves has secrets of the flesh known only to her husband. How fortunate for him that he alone of the male species will ever see her thus.”

    Of course he’s whispering this as he’s kissing her neck. Total panty-dropping combo there!

    Any other just-take-me-now moments that struck the rest of you guys?

    • Josie Matthews says:

      That is SUCH a sexy part of the book. What ever happened to poetry and men? My man pretty much just grunts!!!! There were so many romantic,sassy panty-dropping lines between these two characters that I can’t even remember.

  7. I loved the ending because I’m a sucker for fast-forward. Seeing Char and Cam with children fit this novel and historical setting perfectly. I like to see a little glimpse of how their HEA has unfolded.

    Do you guys like to see the H/H with children in an epilogue?

    • I’m with you on that, Misty. I love epilogues and that glimpse into the continuation of the HEA, children included.

    • Josie Matthews says:

      I yearn for an epilog. I become so attached to the characters that I usually hate to see a story end so when I turn a page and see an epilog after the HEA I jump for joy!

  8. I also love a good epilogue, and this book delivered on that front. The Luddite plot line hasn’t been overdone (as so many of the Historical plots have) so that was a learning experience for me. And there were some GREAT lines in this book.

  9. Josie Matthews says:

    We can’t forget to mention our ‘villian’ in this book…Was it Nathan? I felt he was and if so, what a great use of a unlikely antagonist….He kept them apart but unwittingly so…At times I really resented him and DQ kept the secret of Nathan/Ned hidden just long enough to keep the reader wondering…What the heck is going on with this guy! A real feat of wonderful writing. It’s so hard, as a writier, to know what secrets to keep and for how long in order to keep that reader on the edge of their seat. What superb writing!

    • Wow, that’s so interesting, Josie. I had the opposite reaction. I actually found myself liking Nathan a lot and really sympathizing with him and the way he was raised. I want HIM to have his own book!

  10. Thanks for this wonderful discussion and for selecting SEDUCING CHARLOTTE as Lit Swagger’s first book of the month! I can’t wait to see what next month’s choice will be :)

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