My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Hmm, can’t say I enjoyed An Impolite Seduction as much as I did the book 1 of The Countess Trilogy by Alison Richardson. I’ll just get to the review to explain why I ended up feeling this way.
In book 1, The Countess's Client, we meet the young and worldly Prussian countess Anna, to whom sex is basically a ‘healthy exercise’. She has had plenty of lovers in the past. Anna is of highborn and her POVs are quite snobbish. I did enjoy her jaded and uppity POV because I thought she was smart with an interesting personality. I still think she’s mostly smart, if only she could lose quite a bit of her snootiness. Anna had an adventure (or misadventure, depends on how one looks at it) of sort in a brothel where her cousin took her because he thought it’d be... fun. Anna did have fun with a lowborn mechanic who was working for the King, a Scot named James McKirnan. She masqueraded as a whore to ‘service’ this lowborn man whom no other prostitutes liked because of his station (and obvious assumption that he has little money). However, things go wrong when later, James falls for her and asks Anna to become his mistress. There was no HEA surely because Anna finds a way to spurn James’s ‘idiotic’ emotions and proposition. After all, a countess like her would NEVER make her affair to this lowborn man known to the world. For shame!
3 years have passed ever since and Anna thought she’d seen the last of James back in Paris. She’s now in England to attend the marriage of a cousin, Charlotte. The dialogue starts out the usual funny Anna-way, who thinks her cousin is ‘destined to have an uninspiring wedding night’ because her intended is a prude of the first order. To make matters worse, Charlotte is also a virgin. That won’t do! Anna thinks girls should never keep their virginity till their marriage bed (something she didn’t do herself) and find a way to get rid of it ASAP.
Anna makes an attempt to talk to the groom to have some much needed experience. Though handsome, the man is apparently beyond any hope of a change, so she talks to her cousin instead. It seems Charlotte understands the necessity of this step before her marriage and agrees to Anna’s plans. Anna writes to a young Italian rake (don’t know if one of her lovers though, was never mentioned) to perform the task. Oh well, I did want to read the whole scene between Lorenzo and Charlotte because whatever little I read was hot. I totally enjoyed how Anna would translate Lorenzo’s dirty words into something flowery for the sake of Charlotte’s delicate sensibilities before leaving them to carry on with ‘the plan’. *snickers*
Even though Anna’s plan here went accordingly, she had no luck in hiding from James, who is also attending the marriage ceremony. Oh yah, he’s here alright and is well aware of her presence. The man is still mad (according to Anna, though I knew he was mad for her) and dangerous! Worse, he now has plenty of money (you gotta read Anna’s reaction as to how ‘vulger’ James is *eyeroll*) and building a house nearby.
But James... Good GOD, that scene at the dinner table, where many of the guests were present... I can’t even explain what James did. It was SO hot, I became James’s champion just by reading that scene. I was laughing and shaking my head. There was no denying how mad he is for Anna. As usual, Anna’s body is giving her all the signals that it still wants him something bad, maybe more than the others she’d had so far but she’s still determined to make him go away. Oh f*cking is alright, having any kind of emotional attachment is not!
Then James goes and proposes to her- this time, marriage. Anna is horrified. She can’t marry a lowborn, a commoner and lose her title! What is there in life if she loses her title??!!! Anna is now ever determined to get away from James. This is THE point where I began to get very annoyed at her. Her interesting personality suddenly didn’t seem that interesting to me anymore.
The later parts of the story do regale us with the battle of will (and lust) between Anna and James (with a VERY hot sex scene between them). James talks to Charlotte’s prudish husband about their affair to make her agree to his proposal. Anna is angry at him for this, and at Charlotte’s husband for lecturing her about ‘the necessity of a marriage because she used her body without the bond of it’. As a payback, she arranges for Charlotte to witness what a hypocrite her husband was where sex was concerned (the guy was shagging the upstairs maid with a vigor and interest he never showed to Charlotte because she’s his wife... don’t ask!).
Lorenzo was already pining away for Charlotte and Anna helps her to reach him while planning a divorce.
As for James, Anna does some stuff (I wanted to slap her for it) to prove that James is a pervert, just as Charlotte’s husband, so that he can never make any other efforts to trap her into a marriage she so obviously doesn’t want.
Umm Anna, not as smart as I thought you were! I’m sorely disappointed in you. *sigh* I just hope that she improves in the final installment. 3.5 stars for the good writing and for James. Damn but that guy’s HOT!