(The Dressmakers, #3)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
From the Diary of Leonie Noirot: The perfect corset should invite its undoing . . .
Lethally charming Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne, has reluctantly returned to London for one reason only: a family obligation. Still, he might make time for the seduction of a certain redheaded dressmaker—but Leonie Noirot hasn’t time for him. She’s obsessed with transforming his cousin, the dowdy Lady Gladys, into a swan.
Leonie’s skills can coax curves—and profits—from thin air, but his criminally handsome lordship is too busy trying to seduce her to appreciate her genius. He badly needs to learn a lesson, and the wager she provokes ought to teach him, once and for all.
A great plan, in theory—but Lisburne’s become a serious distraction, and Leonie’s usual logic is in danger of slipping away as easily as a silk chemise. Could the Season’s greatest transformation be her own?
NOTE: If, like me, you thought this was the last book in the series, you will be delighted to hear that Lady Clara Fairfax will be getting her well-deserved Happy Ever After
This is the third book in The Dressmakers series and is a delightful blend of engaging story, charming characters and delicious sensuality. Loretta Chase is a wordsmith, par excellence…every word is carefully crafted to produce writing that flows as smoothly as one of Maison Noirot’s exquisite creations and the dialogue sparkles with wit and humour.
Here are just a few of the things that I loved.
Watching the business first, last and always Leonie trying to resist the devastatingly charming Simon was an absolute delight. I love the way Ms Chase describes Leonie’s reactions:
…her usually well-ordered brain was wandering into strange byways and taking excessive notice of physical sensations.
Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne
Simon finds Leonie’s methodical brain fascinating and there is a very memorable scene where he’s turned on by just listening to Leonie reading numbers from a mercer’s bill!
“One hundred twelve yards of black princetta at twelve shillings nine pence per yard.
She went on reading the bill, while he went on kissing her, murmuring in her ear, encouraging her. ” More numbers,” he whispered. “More numbers.”
The book is rich in Ms Chase’s trademark wit and humour and one of my favourite moments is when Simon is trying to persuade Leonie to go to Astley’s Circus with him rather than listening to his cousin reading melancholy poetry in an overcrowded, overheated room.
“A hot stuffy room, crammed with excitable young women and irritated men, and Swanton and his poetic friends sobbing over fallen leaves and dead birds and wilted flowers,” he said. “Yes, I can understand why you can’t bear to be left out.”
It is also peppered with the most delightful and creative use of words.
…the Fairfax family, to which the Earl of Longmore belonged, was large in its main branch and prolific in its associated twigs and vines.
She had compressed his meandering verbiage amazingly.
The loves scenes are deliciously sensual without even a whisper of purple prose. Look out for the rather wicked scene involving a hat, a naughty, teasing smile and a table!
Of course, the dresses play an important role in the story and I love how they are described in such intricate detail. I could actually see all those ruffles, flounces, immense sleeves and delicate embroidery. What I particularly enjoyed was the way in which Simon views the dresses from a purely male perspective.
The immense sleeves provided the main excitement, slashed to reveal what would appear to be chemise sleeves underneath – a glimpse of underwear in other words.
I appreciated all the research (detailed in the Author’s Note ) Ms Chase undertook to give the story its historical accuracy and she even admits to some anachronisms which were necessary for the story.
There is so much more I loved about this book but I’m hoping that you will discover this delightful, witty, entertaining and romantic story for yourselves.
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read July 2014
The Dressmakers series so far (please click on the covers for more details):