A Wild Pursuit (Duchess Quartet #3)
by Eloisa James
Published by Avon Books, 2009.
Paperback, 402 pages.
Listed $6.99, I borrowed it from the Library.
It is whispered behind the fans of London's dowagers and in the corners of fashionable ballrooms that scandal follows willfully wild Lady Beatrix Lennox wherever she goes.
Three years before, the debutante created a sensation by being found in a distinctly compromising position. Now, the ton has branded her as unmarriageable, her family has called her a vixen, and Beatrix sees no reason not to go after what -- and who -- she wishes.
And she wants Stephen Fairfax-Lacy, the handsome Earl of Spade. Beatrix, with her brazen suggestions and irresistibly sensuous allure, couldn't be more different from the earl's ideal future bride. Yet Beatrix brings out a wildness in the earl he has tried to deny far too long. Still, he's not about to play love's game by Lady Beatrix's rules. She may be used to being on top in affairs of the heart, but that will soon change.
Every time I read the next book in this series I like it better than the one before. This volume ties up the knots created in books one and two, particularly with Lady Rawlings. Also, we get to see the cousin of Book 1s hero that we met briefly, Stephen Fairfax-Lacy. As usual I like the ladies Eloisa James creates and writes about. It turns out they are like us; real, emotional, insecure, fearful. Their parents say and do things to them that are inappropriate and damaging just like our parents did to us. For me, these books are akin to Susan Elizabeth Phillips in the emotional sense even though the setting is early 19th century.
Beatrix Lennox has been misunderstood and branded her whole life. A father that neither loved nor cherished her and a self-esteem of a twig set her up for social disaster. She had enough self-respect not to become a pity-bride but not enough to understand the full implications of her actions. Typical teen angst on a serious Social Scene that we moderns can barely fathom. (Maybe the Brits, but Americans? Not likely.)
Fairfax-Lacy discusses enough dissatisfaction with the political process to sound believable. Tiresome Enclosure Acts and Corn Laws were giving him headaches and he was tired of fighting for the little-guy with no reward. I could see that (and I learned a few things, to boot).
A little more sexual than I usually read but not erotica by any means. The emotional pull was definitely the strength of this story. Seeing people's points of view change believably through seeing for themselves rather than making a judgment call based on gossip alone was satisfying.
I am looking forward to the next in this series, Your Wicked Ways, where we finally learn the outcome of poor Helene Holland whose presence has been in all four books.