**advance reader copy received via NetGalley**
I received an advance reader copy of The Study of Seduction, the second book in Sabrina Jeffries’ The Sinful Suitors series, through NetGalley. In this historical romance with a marriage of convenience trope, I found the author’s style and the world she built delightful. I will be adding The Art of Sinning, the first book in the series, to my to-be-read list. The Earl of Blakeborough and Lady Clarissa were interesting characters with depth, and it was easy to root for their happily-ever-after.
Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, is on the hunt for a staid and steady wife when his best friend asks him to look after a ward. Edwin is very familiar with Lady Clarissa Lindsey, having crossed swords with her on several occasions as a close friend of the family. While he knows that dealing with Clarissa’s temptation will foul up his current bride search, he can hardly turn his best friend down – he doesn’t exactly have a lot of friends. Where Clarissa is vivacious and charming, Edwin is serious and unflappable, so any entanglement between the two of them is unlikely.
What starts out as a simple favor turns into a highly charged situation when a thwarted suitor reappears to harass Lady Clarissa. Edwin’s attempts to repel the blackguard are aggravated by the individual’s high diplomatic position and the unveiling of some extremely damaging information about Edwin’s family. In the end, it appears that marriage may be the only option…and even then, it could prove the death of the two aristocrats. This was such an exciting and emotionally charged story, and both lead characters came into the relationship with emotional and psychological baggage that added a realness and unique quality which makes this stand alone as a great read.