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A Lady of Persuasion

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Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible rake, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he’s just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at his enemy, than by stealing the scoundrel’s sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is dou Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible rake, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he’s just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at his enemy, than by stealing the scoundrel’s sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is doubly rewarding. Isabel is determined to marry a wealthy, powerful lord and become a lady of influence, using her rank and fortune to fight social injustice. Sir Toby, with his paltry title and infamous reputation, is unsuitable husband material—but he makes her blood race, her heart pound, and her long-buried passions come to the surface. If she can reform the charming devil, she’ll get exactly what she craves: society’s respect. But it’s a dangerous gamble. For if Toby wins this battle of persuasion, Isabel could lose her heart.


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Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible rake, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he’s just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at his enemy, than by stealing the scoundrel’s sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is dou Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible rake, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he’s just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at his enemy, than by stealing the scoundrel’s sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is doubly rewarding. Isabel is determined to marry a wealthy, powerful lord and become a lady of influence, using her rank and fortune to fight social injustice. Sir Toby, with his paltry title and infamous reputation, is unsuitable husband material—but he makes her blood race, her heart pound, and her long-buried passions come to the surface. If she can reform the charming devil, she’ll get exactly what she craves: society’s respect. But it’s a dangerous gamble. For if Toby wins this battle of persuasion, Isabel could lose her heart.

30 review for A Lady of Persuasion

  1. 5 out of 5

    chan ☆

    2 clueless main characters = 2 star read this one at least kept me interested to the end, unlike the second book in the series. but it was also worse?? i really wanted to like toby, and i initially really liked isabel. but the more the story went on the more irritated i got at the lack of communication. i get ppl were more private with their childhood trauma & emotions or whateva but the constant lack of understanding between the two of them was pretty unbearable to read about. toby was constantly 2 clueless main characters = 2 star read this one at least kept me interested to the end, unlike the second book in the series. but it was also worse?? i really wanted to like toby, and i initially really liked isabel. but the more the story went on the more irritated i got at the lack of communication. i get ppl were more private with their childhood trauma & emotions or whateva but the constant lack of understanding between the two of them was pretty unbearable to read about. toby was constantly putting isabel on a pedestal that she really didn't want to be on. isabel was trying to make toby get into government which was really not what he wanted. they were both immature af. and i get it's ye olden days but, not to be crass, if it's not a name you can scream you should not name ur hero that. toby i rest my case.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dinjolina

    Well... I loved the first two books. And Toby? I just could not wait to read about him! But Bel annoyed me so much I could not even read it to the end. I just skipped it all and read the epilogue. She was a horrible whiney person. Yes, charity is admirable,and your faith in God is a good thig. But please don't be a darn Mother Teresa if you are not one. We had the constant motive of her oh-so-sizzling Spanish blood that clashes in a big CAA-BOOOM! with her want to be all prim,proper and saint like. I hate Well... I loved the first two books. And Toby? I just could not wait to read about him! But Bel annoyed me so much I could not even read it to the end. I just skipped it all and read the epilogue. She was a horrible whiney person. Yes, charity is admirable,and your faith in God is a good thig. But please don't be a darn Mother Teresa if you are not one. We had the constant motive of her oh-so-sizzling Spanish blood that clashes in a big CAA-BOOOM! with her want to be all prim,proper and saint like. I hate saint-like people.Yes,you should love,you should care.You should be like Evie from London's Perfect Scoundrel. So...I just didn't like this book. In the end, I liked Toby even thou he was a bit childish and immature-but Bel just ruined it all for me. -Oooh!I'm going mad! -Oooh,my daddy didn't love me! -Oooh I can't eat sugar that has 2% chance to be produced by slaves! -Oooh, my boobs are to big! Fu*k you Isabel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Warda

    A sign that a book isn't working for you is when you start skim-reading quite early on. I was so tempted to DNF it, but since I adore Tessa Dare's work so much I decided to stick with it. It didn't get better. I couldn't connect to the characters and the plot bored me. I just didn't care. A sign that a book isn't working for you is when you start skim-reading quite early on. I was so tempted to DNF it, but since I adore Tessa Dare's work so much I decided to stick with it. It didn't get better. I couldn't connect to the characters and the plot bored me. I just didn't care.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (BAVR)

    Warning: GIFS and light spoilers ahead! Blergh di blah crap. There are no words to describe what a tedious experience reading this book was. I have no one but myself to blame. Well, I suppose a portion of the blame can fall on my GR buddy Karla for this buddy read. We went into it for the LULZ and suffered instead, the blood of bad romance staining our hands forevermore. Our mistake, I guess. A Lady of Persuasion isn't much of a story. Reading it was like watching one of those reality shows where Warning: GIFS and light spoilers ahead! Blergh di blah crap. There are no words to describe what a tedious experience reading this book was. I have no one but myself to blame. Well, I suppose a portion of the blame can fall on my GR buddy Karla for this buddy read. We went into it for the LULZ and suffered instead, the blood of bad romance staining our hands forevermore. Our mistake, I guess. A Lady of Persuasion isn't much of a story. Reading it was like watching one of those reality shows where stupid people talk about their private lives and do nothing. And just like the cretins on reality TV, I didn't give a flying freak about the book's characters because they're so. goddamn. stupid. The most frustrating part about Dare's writing is that she can write. Sentences are written with clarity, punctuation is used correctly, and words are actually spelled right. Her craft breaks down in the plotting and characterization. Plot urgency is non-existent, and character growth falls by the wayside. So much time is dedicated to trying to be fucking clever that nothing of consequence happens. Also, just in case you missed it before, the characters are fucking stupid. So, let me break this down as briefly as I can for you. Images will be used to break up the monotony. If you're reading my breakdown and think, "Wow, her summary of this story doesn't make any sense," that's because the actual story doesn't make a lot of sense. Also: there's a medium to high chance that this book broke me sometime last week, making it entirely possible that I can't write a summary that makes sense. You'll understand why in a moment. Basically, this is the story of two strays from an established series. Everyone else has already hooked up with their soul-mates, leaving Sir Toby and Isabel to hook up in a pair the spares scheme. Bel traveled to England with her brother Gray, the hero of the last story, from her home in Tortola. She's one of those reformer types who gives genuine reformers a bad name, so from the start, reading anything from her perspective is like eating dinner with a vegetarian who glares at you when you order a cheeseburger. Bel's brother kindly gives her a fancy debut, and she decides to use it in the most insincere, mercenary way possible. She wants to marry a man of influence so that she may become a lady of influence (this term is used so many times that I could create a drinking game out of it) and pretty much operate him like a puppet to further her "causes." At her debut, she meets Sir Toby, the jilted ex-fiance of the last story's heroine. Naturally, he embodies the frivolous lifestyle that Bel finds so distasteful, but he also has a boner for Bel's half-Spanish/half-English looks and doesn't seem to mind that she's a horrible cow 97% of the time. Toby initially pursues Bel because he wants to get back at Gray for stealing his girl. Bel scoffs at the idea of marrying a measly sir, which is laughable because she's pretty much a NOBODY from an island. Does she really expect to catch a duke or even a viscount? OK, Bel, sure. None of this matters, though, because Bel and Toby end up engaged IN THE FIRST SCENE. The build-up is so intense, I tell you. Blah, blah, blah ... they fool around a bit ... blah, blah, blah, Bel acts like a bloody cow ... blah, blah, blah ... marriage and gratuitous sex ... blah, blah, blah ... Toby runs for the House of Commons ... blah, blah, blah ... everything sucks ... blah, blah, blah ... inconsequential fight that means nothing ... blah, blah, blah ... reunion, the end. Since the plot is just a bunch of meandering bullshit, I was left with a lot of time to focus on the characters. WAY TOO MUCH time to focus on the characters. In short, I don't want to know these people anymore. Let's start with Bel, because her personality disorder unfortunately influences everything. Bel is one of those people who takes a noble idea, like stopping slavery, and turns it into something extreme, like refusing to eat any sugar that she can't 100% verify wasn't made from slave labor. Sure, I guess the idea is noble, but try not wanting to tear her face off when she starts wrinkling her nose and acting like she's the WORLD'S GREATEST MARTYR when Toby takes her out for ices and she just *sob* can't *sniffle* eat them *sob*. At one point, she totally judges Toby for wanting to buy a new walking stick. Apparently, even if you have the money to buy a walking stick, you shouldn't. Because Bel the Sanctimonious Do-Gooder thinks it's frivolous. And in Bel's opinion, passion shared with one's spouse is NOT moral. Because Bel said so. Gah. She rarely smiles, never laughs, and climbs out of bed after each orgasm to work on her charities. In Bel's opinion, actually enjoying one's life is wrong because some people ... like, don't enjoy their lives and stuff? Near the end of the book, Bel displays a shocking intolerance for French people, too. A few French seamstresses flirt with Toby while fitting her for a new wardrobe, and Bel's all like, "All French people are WHORES!" She sucks, is what I'm trying to say. Every time Bel has a thought or says a word, this is my reaction: "Tell me more about how selfless and moral you are, Bel. I'm totally not calling you a bitch in my head. Do go on. And then there's Toby. Poor, sweet Toby. He isn't blameless in all of this, either. After being jilted, Toby is plagued with a shit-ton of insecurities. So, even though Bel comes right out with her awful ambitions to marry a man she can control politically, he's like, "This is the lady for me!" Like a moron, he claims he'll run for Parliament JUST SO SHE'LL MARRY HIM even though he has no desire whatsoever to get into politics. All this trouble to get into a frigid, holier-than-thou reformer's petticoats? M'kay, Toby. I can't think of one reason for him to actually like Bel, so I'll just sum up his obsession as a demented NEED to possess a woman who won't jilt him for a sea captain. Once he gets his talons on Bel, Toby isn't letting go. Romance at its finest. The secondary romance characters are annoying, too. Lady doctor with a chip the size of fucking Siberia on her shoulder snarls and pouts at bitter widower with stick up his ass. Their love did not move me. I'd get into the HEY, LET'S TALK ABOUT BEL'S INABILITY TO BLOCK HER OWN ORGASMS EVEN THOUGH ORGASMS ARE ONLY FOR DIRTY, DIRTY WHORES portion of this summary, but the prospect of writing it turns me into this: In parting, I'll leave you with this SOLID, totally TRUE piece of information. I will never tempt fate and read another Tessa Dare book again. NEVER. (Okay, probably never. Shit.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dina

    It's official: Tessa Dare has become one of my (very few) auto-buy authors. Three books, three winners. What else could I ask for? Just keep 'em coming, Ms. Dare. If you write it, I'll read it. :) Note: I have no time to write a review now, but I'll try to get back and do it eventually. It's official: Tessa Dare has become one of my (very few) auto-buy authors. Three books, three winners. What else could I ask for? Just keep 'em coming, Ms. Dare. If you write it, I'll read it. :) Note: I have no time to write a review now, but I'll try to get back and do it eventually.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rane

    What happens when the well known and infamous rake Sir Toby Aldridge and a reformer for all causes in need of help Isabel Grayson surprisedly fall in love! The last in the trilogy by Tessa Dare, A Lady of Persuasion was a wonderful ending to this amazing trilogy. Bel Grayson (The sister of Gray hero from Surrender the Siren) is a true do- gooder willing to help any and all causes while at the same time fighting down her passions and feelings due to a harsh life lesson by her mother whom went ma What happens when the well known and infamous rake Sir Toby Aldridge and a reformer for all causes in need of help Isabel Grayson surprisedly fall in love! The last in the trilogy by Tessa Dare, A Lady of Persuasion was a wonderful ending to this amazing trilogy. Bel Grayson (The sister of Gray hero from Surrender the Siren) is a true do- gooder willing to help any and all causes while at the same time fighting down her passions and feelings due to a harsh life lesson by her mother whom went mad and her father who had one affair after another. Bel’s hot and cold personality got on my nerves, while I liked her she would suddenly show her self then like a shield of ice would incase her and she would focus only on her causes. Making her come across as narrow-minded to others that needed her like her husband Toby. But through Toby she starts to see she can be herself, she can get mad, laugh , she doesn’t have to be perfect she can be human with feelings. The change throughout the book of Bel was one of the true golden moments of the book. I *(heart)* Toby (who first appears in Goddess of the Hunt) in ALOP he’s PO’d for good reason, the woman he wanted to marry jilted him and comes back married to another man, thinking he may get some revenge he sets his eyes on a woman whom he thinks has eyes for Gray, instead he’s capture and floored by this woman whom he’s surprised to learn his Gray’s sister. Toby sets out to win her over throughout the book even going as low as to lie. Dare makes it where you just can’t hate Toby, who’s trying every which way to truly be the knight and shining armor that Bel dreams about. Like Toby taught Bell to laugh and be herself, Bel taught Toby do something, not just waste away being a Sir, but to do something he wants to do to better himself in the end. Toby does that in spades and through his love for Bel he becomes a better man and Bel through her love for Toby becomes a more open person. The passion between these two is smokin’ hot with Toby and Bel burning up the pages. The need of a cool glass of water or a fan is requirement or fair warning if you read this book and comes to these pages *grins* Although I wanted him to have his own book, Joss who really capture my attention in SOTS got his own HEA as he finally was able to move away from his grief after the death of his first wife. I was really happy to see him finally in love! Dare doesn’t disappoint with the humor which is now classic in her other books, with Toby’s crazy family to Lucy’s labor and Bell finally getting pissed off and showing someone a walking stick can be used as a weapon. These parts had me laughing until I was crying... and there’s also the lambs... Overall: fun read that will have you cheering for two leads as they find their way to each other through love, a great ending to a great series!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beanbag Love

    This one actually only rates 3.25 from me. Isabel and Toby are somehow the title for this series, and their story really doesn't deserve to be elevated that high. While I still love Dare's writing, I was disappointed in several aspects of this book. First of all, Dare loses one star right off the top for squeezing Joss and Hetta's HEA into a tiny side story. Their back stories and their personalities, the difficulties inherent in an interracial marriage during the Regency era, are enough to fill This one actually only rates 3.25 from me. Isabel and Toby are somehow the title for this series, and their story really doesn't deserve to be elevated that high. While I still love Dare's writing, I was disappointed in several aspects of this book. First of all, Dare loses one star right off the top for squeezing Joss and Hetta's HEA into a tiny side story. Their back stories and their personalities, the difficulties inherent in an interracial marriage during the Regency era, are enough to fill a whole book. This felt rushed, forced and, frankly, like a cop-out. At least give them a novella fer cryin' out loud. Sorry to rant, but they're two of the most interesting characters in the whole series and I think they got ripped off. Okay, that huge mistake aside, I didn't like the heroine all that much throughout. She had her moments. She was funny at times with her inner thoughts, but mostly she was just tedious. She's very devout and pours her energy into charity work, which unfortunately makes her pretty darn judgmental and pushy. Devotion to civic duty doesn't have to make one that way, but that's the way she acted and it really hurt her story. Her history is interesting but, although we saw those inner thoughts and got some insight into the hell she'd experienced as a child, the hero really never does. Toby's a nice, if vapid, hero. He's pretty dashing, saving everyone from ruin and potential serious injury or death. He comes off a bit selfish at times, but he's gone the extra mile to keep several people from being hurt badly. His need to keep his happy-go-lucky lifestyle is challenged, however, by his fiance/wife's demands that he help her change the world. World-changers annoy me. Sorry. When someone sets out to "change the world" it's the most arrogant and narcissistic motive for whatever action they're taking. It's all about them. As if they have the ability or even the right to "change the world". There's a fine line between feeding the poor and the poor feeding your ego. I thought Isabel crossed that line a few times. HOWEVER -- I do love Dare's writing. I was frustrated because I felt this couple was well-suited, but I never got to see their true personalities outside of their inner thoughts. When they do reconcile at the end it seems contrived. Like they just decided they had to be together, but I didn't see a rational thought process on getting there. It's not unromantic. It's just not as well put together as the other ones. If this were the first book of Tessa Dare's I'd picked up, I still would go for the backlist, and I'm still very much looking forward to her next release, so I guess it can't be all that bad. It's just that I know for a fact she can do better and good characters were not served as well as they could have been. :^(

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    2 Stars...It was just ok I'm so very disappointed...and very very shocked! I've been a HUGE fan of Tessa Dare ever since I read "Goddess of the Hunt" and as you all know I do not give ratings where ratings aren't due, and I'm not going to start now. This author built two perfect and entertaining characters in her previous books...And I can't believe this is how she decides to tell their stories. We all get to know Sir Toby in "Goddess" and I found myself in awe of him...I liked Toby from the sta 2 Stars...It was just ok I'm so very disappointed...and very very shocked! I've been a HUGE fan of Tessa Dare ever since I read "Goddess of the Hunt" and as you all know I do not give ratings where ratings aren't due, and I'm not going to start now. This author built two perfect and entertaining characters in her previous books...And I can't believe this is how she decides to tell their stories. We all get to know Sir Toby in "Goddess" and I found myself in awe of him...I liked Toby from the start but when Dare shows us his true colors in this novel she turns him into a yappy tripping over his own feet drooling no guts of a man... Isabel Grayson is even worse than Toby. She's an exotic beauty; Dare really had a way of showing us how glamorous she was, but reading about her is literally like watching paint dry (I'm not kidding)... It's been a long time since I've disliked a character so much. I'm still so confused at how this story went so wrong. But boy did it ever. The only bright side to this book was the secondary story of Joss and Hetta, I was hoping they would get a book of their own, but they didn't. I do however realize that not all books in a complete series can be 5 Star reads, but to let a story go so carelessly?! That wasn't very smart. LoL! Can you tell I'm really upset about this?. I'm crossing my fingers tightly that this is a fluke incident by this author. I will read the next in the series, but if it's anything like this one I'll not spend my hard earned book money (*smiles*) on this writer again. Tessa Dare does have the stuff to make it in this book filled world...She proved that with the first two in this series (Both 5 Stars), but if she keeps writing like this she's in trouble before she's even given herself a chance.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    After being jilted by his fiancee, Sir Tobias Aldridge finds himself at loose ends. When his former fiancee, Sophia, comes back to town with a new husband, Toby wants revenge against the man who married the woman he considered his own. What better way than to marry the man's sister. Isabel Grayson is looking to marry a powerful lord that will allow her to become a lady of influence. She fights for the poor and knows she needs wealth and power to make a statement. Toby doesn't have the big title After being jilted by his fiancee, Sir Tobias Aldridge finds himself at loose ends. When his former fiancee, Sophia, comes back to town with a new husband, Toby wants revenge against the man who married the woman he considered his own. What better way than to marry the man's sister. Isabel Grayson is looking to marry a powerful lord that will allow her to become a lady of influence. She fights for the poor and knows she needs wealth and power to make a statement. Toby doesn't have the big title that she is looking for, but he does make her heart race every time she looks at him. When he proposes after just meeting her and promises to run for a seat in Parliament, she agrees to marry him. But will the impetuous marriage really work? The last book in the Wanton Dairymaid trilogy was a little slow. I liked Toby and knew he was talking himself into a corner with his lies to his new wife. Isabel was a bit too sweet. She is a do-gooder who flogs herself if she does or feels anything she thinks is inappropriate. The couples from the previous books all make an appearance in this one. It was a a solid historical romance worth reading. My rating: 3.5 Star.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie(babs)

    Lady of Persuasion is the third and final book in this marvelous trilogy by Tessa Dare. Tessa has written a beta hero who is a gentleman in public but quite the tiger in the bedroom. This is quite the change from those heroines who embody the Madonna/Whore complex. They are women who are polite and proper in public, but when they are alone with the men they desire, off goes their proper mask and out comes a seductive and lustful woman who will do whatever they want with the hero in terms of bedr Lady of Persuasion is the third and final book in this marvelous trilogy by Tessa Dare. Tessa has written a beta hero who is a gentleman in public but quite the tiger in the bedroom. This is quite the change from those heroines who embody the Madonna/Whore complex. They are women who are polite and proper in public, but when they are alone with the men they desire, off goes their proper mask and out comes a seductive and lustful woman who will do whatever they want with the hero in terms of bedroom acrobatics. Toby makes sure to rip off the mask of his heroine and their bedroom activities are very steamy and hot. This time Tessa gives the hero his due. Toby Aldridge puts Jeremy and Gray to shame. He is one hero who will have you swooning just like Isabel Grayson (the sister of the hero in Surrender the Siren) does. Toby was first introduced in Goddess of the Hunt. Lucy, the heroine of that story wanted Toby for her own. He was also engaged to Sophia, who ended up jilting him in Surrender the Hunt. A Lady of Persuasion begins with Toby at a ball thinking about murdering someone. Not that Toby would ever think of going through such a horrible act, but Toby is upset and angry because the woman who left him at the altar has returned home with her new husband by her side. Her husband Benedict Grayson, or “the scoundrel who stole Toby’s bride, his future and his respectability” has returned to England and is welcomed back with open arms. Toby is not opening his arms. And you can’t blame the poor guy because he feels that he was ridiculed and embarrassed. Even though Toby wasn’t in love with Sophia, that fact of the matter is that she dared to marry a man with a shocking reputation, while Toby is everything proper. He has the credentials and respect. How could this woman leave him for a feared privateer? As Toby stews, or rather pouts much like a little boy whose favorite toy was taken from him, he notices a lady who stands out from all the others. His mind, body and soul are overwhelmed by this beauty and Toby decides he wants her even though he has no clue who she is. It seems that his dark haired angel only has eyes for that dastardly privateer Grayson. Now Toby will have his revenge and steal the young woman’s favor from Grayson and make her turn her appreciation towards him. The woman in question is Benedict Grayson’s sister Isabel. She thinks Toby is one of the most handsome men she has ever seen. She also thinks he is too perfect with his smooth poetic words and will simply not do as a husband. Isabel comes to the conclusion that Toby isn’t a paragon of virtue. She needs to marry a man of honor and principles, one that won’t turn to any vices. Toby doesn’t understand why Isabel would want such a fuddy duddy. He doesn’t know that the reason Isabel wants this specific type of man is because of her mother’s own fiery natures that backfired on her. Isabel wants a life with a man that will be simple and understated. Unfortunately for Isabel the moment Toby walked into her life everything she wants no longer matters because Toby has laid claim to Isabel and won’t settle for anything less than marriage with her. What Toby wants, he will get and maneuvers things in a way where Isabel accept his proposal. He promises Isabel something that he knows he cannot deliver. He lies, plain and simple, to get what he wants and even though he knows it will backfire on him, he hopes by the time Isabel finds out his deception, she will be so in love with him and will forgive him. Now you are probably thinking what a low down dirty skunk Toby is for lying to Isabel right from the start of their relationship. I couldn’t help but think Toby was going to be in for a world of hurt because Isabel holds him in high esteem because of this promise he makes to her. But Toby wants to be that type of man Isabel can admire. Toby has a way of making Isabel desirable and loved. He uses those honey coated words of his to make her lose all sense. Toby wants to be Isabel’s knight in shining armor, her protector and hero. Isabel comes across as a bit too righteous. The reasons stems from her past and because of her issues with her mother. Toby is the perfect man for her because he is able to show Isabel that the passion she holds deep inside of her is perfectly alright to give into, especially with him. And the intimacies Toby and Isabel share, and the emphasis on share, are steamy, emotional and some of the best I have read in any historical romance this year. These two cannot keep their hands off of one another. Not only do we see Isabel and Toby together as married couple, and it was such a joy to see Toby loved being married (YAY to a hero who loves marriage), but we also see past characters such as Lucy and Jeremy. The scene where Lucy is going through labor is so laugh out loud hilarious and not to be missed. Also Tess makes sure to give Gray’s half-brother Joss, who made quite the impression in Surrender the Siren, his own story. Because I promised not to give anything away about Joss and what happens with him, I will say his was a very welcomed secondary one. I really wished Joss would have had his own book because his character is so interesting and just as worthy as the other Dare heroes. A Lady of Persuasion is close to a perfect read as you can get. Toby and Isabel’s story was everything I was looking forward in a romance.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Milan

    A Lady of Persuasion is the final book in Tessa Dare's trilogy, and it’s the story of Toby—Lucy’s school-girl crush from Goddess of the Hunt (which you should have already purchased). It’s also the story of Bel, Gray’s sister, from Surrender of a Siren. Which, y’know, you should already have purchased, too. Sorry. Not trying to make you feel guilty. But speaking of which, A Lady of Persuasion is a book about guilt. It takes Isabel, a lady who is afraid of feeling good, and in fact, feels guilty w A Lady of Persuasion is the final book in Tessa Dare's trilogy, and it’s the story of Toby—Lucy’s school-girl crush from Goddess of the Hunt (which you should have already purchased). It’s also the story of Bel, Gray’s sister, from Surrender of a Siren. Which, y’know, you should already have purchased, too. Sorry. Not trying to make you feel guilty. But speaking of which, A Lady of Persuasion is a book about guilt. It takes Isabel, a lady who is afraid of feeling good, and in fact, feels guilty when she does, and pairs her with a man who teaches her how to laugh and have fun... and feel very good indeed. It does so while wending its way through the Society for Superceding the Necessity of Climbing Boys, Don Giovanni, ice cream, and more sheep than any good shepherdess could shake her little shepherding crook at. Bel might not want to have fun, but Tessa clearly does, and she will make you choke with laughter at the things that happen. But like all of Tessa’s books, the funny parts do not indicate that it’s a book without seriousness. A Lady of Persuasion is also a deeply serious book—a book about a man who fears that he may not be serious enough, and a woman who needs to learn to let go of her seriousness and enjoy life. And so you’ll get to the end, and amidst all the laughter, you’ll feel a tug on your heartstrings. Because Tessa will persuade you to adore her characters. Finally, I have this last thing to say: this is also an enormously brave book. Because there is a secondary romance in this book. It’s between a wonderful man and a brave, headstrong women, who have a great deal in common. One of the things they don’t have in common, though, is the color of their skin. That romance is a perfect gracenote for what is already a phenomenal book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    4 stars for the side couple. 2 stars for the main couple. The side couple literally only had like 4 short scenes together throughout this whole book, but they were everythinggggg. On the other hand, I have to say the main couple and this book as a whole were rather dull. The characters didn’t feel particularly endearing in my opinion. The protagonist’s passion for justice was beautiful, but not executed in a way where my heart was engaged. It all felt so vague to me, and as a result, the protago 4 stars for the side couple. 2 stars for the main couple. The side couple literally only had like 4 short scenes together throughout this whole book, but they were everythinggggg. On the other hand, I have to say the main couple and this book as a whole were rather dull. The characters didn’t feel particularly endearing in my opinion. The protagonist’s passion for justice was beautiful, but not executed in a way where my heart was engaged. It all felt so vague to me, and as a result, the protagonist felt bland. For the main guy, he was OK but not particularly great either. And the romance as a whole was ho-hum, but it did get slightly better towards the end. Overall, 2 stars because I was honestly bored with this book. There were a few good moments with the side romance between Joss and Hetta (who need a novella by the way) and with the couples from the previous book, but everything else was blah. Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below) Is there a happy/satisfying ending? (view spoiler)[Yep. (hide spoiler)] Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level? (view spoiler)[No, no, low-medium. (hide spoiler)] Tears-worthy? (view spoiler)[A few scenes were rather emotional, but this is not a particularly sad book. (hide spoiler)] Humor? (view spoiler)[Some bits but I didn’t find it as humorous as Tessa Dare’s other books. (hide spoiler)] Favorite scene? (view spoiler)[Joss and Hetta’s scenes. When Lucy was giving birth. (hide spoiler)] What age level would be appropriate? (view spoiler)[Mature audience. Explicit details on sex. (hide spoiler)]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Saly

    For me a heroine can make or break a story & in this one I thoroughly disliked the heroine. There was nothing special about her and I don't know why the hero put up with her. For me a heroine can make or break a story & in this one I thoroughly disliked the heroine. There was nothing special about her and I don't know why the hero put up with her.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    God, how I hated this heroine. She was absolutely obnoxious. I could see how she came to be that way, but I still found it hard to care for her. *insert random muttering and grumbling* This book is a perfect example of why romance trilogies/series often piss me off. I liked the hero in the previous two books, he was a charming rogue. But then, in time for his own book, he got a personality transplant, and became this boring, eager to please, sappy wuss. WHY??? Was that really necessary, Dare? *in God, how I hated this heroine. She was absolutely obnoxious. I could see how she came to be that way, but I still found it hard to care for her. *insert random muttering and grumbling* This book is a perfect example of why romance trilogies/series often piss me off. I liked the hero in the previous two books, he was a charming rogue. But then, in time for his own book, he got a personality transplant, and became this boring, eager to please, sappy wuss. WHY??? Was that really necessary, Dare? *insert random muttering and grumbling* I read Mrs. Giggles' reviews of Dare's other trilogy, so I'll be skipping it over.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Feeney

    Jilted and now scandalous rake,Sir Toby Aldridge, sees his ex-fiance sophia and her husband Gray at a ball. He sees Gray's beautiful dance partner, and seeking revenge he whisks her away. When realising its Gray sister Isabel he does something rash, he proposes. Isabel Gray while dancing with her brother is swept out on the balcony by a beautiful stranger. Isabel has a plan, she must marry a titled man with money, and political views. This way she can become a influential member of society so th Jilted and now scandalous rake,Sir Toby Aldridge, sees his ex-fiance sophia and her husband Gray at a ball. He sees Gray's beautiful dance partner, and seeking revenge he whisks her away. When realising its Gray sister Isabel he does something rash, he proposes. Isabel Gray while dancing with her brother is swept out on the balcony by a beautiful stranger. Isabel has a plan, she must marry a titled man with money, and political views. This way she can become a influential member of society so that she can carry on her charity work and make a difference to the needy. Toby is a mere Baronet but Isabel still accepts his proposal. In fear of being jilted again, Toby has 2 months before the wedding to convince Isabel that he shares her views. He promises to run for a seat in the House of Commons but has no intention of winning. Soon Toby must choose between being a politician to please Isabel or to lose her if he dosen't. Ok the reason this got 3* was totally for Toby. He was great in the previous books, witty cheerful and everyones friend. Bit browbeaten here! I usually rate a book on three things, the Hero, the Heroine and plot. Well it was the Heroine that fell flat in this book! Why did TD match him with, annoying, boring, goody two shoes Isabel, that had no sense of humour whatsoever. She was all goodness and light and I couldn't stand her (dont know what that says about me). I kept wanting to beat some sense into her. I actually started enjoying the substory about Grays brother Joss and Hetta more and wishing they were the main characters in the story. The last chapter is great as you catch up on all the characters from the previous books, except for a wild bewildering statement Lucy makes to Toby? Im still trying to figure that out...I would have given this 5* if the Heroine had not been so dull.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I really didn't care for this one. I think with 3 stars I'm being really generous, since it was only by an incredible effort, and a lot of page skimming, that I managed to finish it. I loved the hero, Toby. He's a perfect physical specimen, and blessed with the ability to not only charm ladies, but also to get on with them as well. He's perfectly happy to drift through life enjoying himself and making the lives of those around him more pleasant. I have to admit, though, that I really disliked the I really didn't care for this one. I think with 3 stars I'm being really generous, since it was only by an incredible effort, and a lot of page skimming, that I managed to finish it. I loved the hero, Toby. He's a perfect physical specimen, and blessed with the ability to not only charm ladies, but also to get on with them as well. He's perfectly happy to drift through life enjoying himself and making the lives of those around him more pleasant. I have to admit, though, that I really disliked the heroine intensely. It wasn't really that she could only enjoy herself through doing good works, or that she lectured the poor hero to start with, it's that she became a holier-than-thou harpy, setting up the sort of expectations that only very young children have (for heaven's sake, my 4-year-old has a better grip on life). To me she was a 12-year-old with big boobs. I'm glad the hero found her blind innocense so enchanting because it irritated me beyond words, but not as much as her plan to change the frikkin' world, or that she really thought the hero was perfect, or that she basically didn't want to listen to his objections he might have to her ordering his life for him, and this after watching her father debauch his way around Tortola, and her beloved brothers pirate and pillage their way around the Caribbean. Some of the saucy writing that I love from Tessa Dare was there, but not enough. Finally, I have to agree with other reviewers that this story would have been far better if it had concentrated on Joss and Hetta. That would have made for a far more interesting and complex story. I really enjoyed that previous 2 books, and The Stud Club trilogy is now one of my favs, but this books just didn't do it for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Desi

    Forging steadfastly ahead past the first few shaky chapters with their weird setups, awkward characters' thoughts, and iffy premises, this book went from a rocky 2 star start to 4 star end. I've not read an author that pulled off a"Most Improved" in the middle of the actual book before. Toby is a darling. It's been a while since I've encountered such a light hearted, charming yet deeply caring, open hearted lead male character. I love that his family was not the usual angsty variety too. I also Forging steadfastly ahead past the first few shaky chapters with their weird setups, awkward characters' thoughts, and iffy premises, this book went from a rocky 2 star start to 4 star end. I've not read an author that pulled off a"Most Improved" in the middle of the actual book before. Toby is a darling. It's been a while since I've encountered such a light hearted, charming yet deeply caring, open hearted lead male character. I love that his family was not the usual angsty variety too. I also quite liked how much of the book was from the man's perspective. Bel was too prissy and preachy but somehow she never became too grating as a character. The author always pulled back just as I was about to get irredeemably annoyed at her. A different more relatable less self righteous heroine would have improved the book significantly. The scene where she presented him with the cane went a long way towards redeeming her. And Dayuummn the "You're not welcome. This is a family matter, not a charity event" line that Toby dropped on her later in the book was all kinds of stellar. Once the marriage happens the book grows mightily and settles into a heartwarming rhythm with genuine emotions, endearing interactions, well done steamy scenes (plot appropriate and sensuous without being vulgar or repetitive), and actual character growth (less so on the Bel side of things). It's flawed yes, (particularly that awkwardly squeezed in secondary romance that frankly should have been a separate novella) but the wallop it packs and the choice lines delivered makes it worthy of enjoyment despite its flaws, which frankly I don't feel the need to enumerate further. LINES I LIKED “I’m but a pauper next to you, but even we paupers have our pride. Perhaps I have just this one coin to give, but I should like to watch it glitter a bit, before you go burying it under ten-pound notes” ----- She pulled back and studied him, that boundless trust shining in her eyes. “You would not ask it of me, if I could not.” And right then, Toby knew. He knew he was doomed. He could run for Parliament. He could win. He could become bloody Prime Minister and the Prince Regent’s closest adviser. He could travel to Ceylon and back just to bring her a cup of tea, converting a thousand heathens along the way—and he would still never live up to that look in her eyes. No man could. Someday, somehow, he would hurt her—and it would mean the end of everything. Oh, she would forgive him, generous soul that she was. They would still share a cordial affection. But she would never look at him like this again, as if … as if he deserved her faith in him. One day, they would both know he did not. But for now—and for as long as he could keep it so—it remained Toby’s secret. ---- And when their lips met, the world stopped. God, he loved kissing her, nearly as much as he loved bedding her. Toby had never thought himself an especially fanciful fellow, but damned if there wasn’t something magical in the brush of her mouth against his. Not in the sense of fairy-story pixie dust or cauldrons bubbling with superstitious claptrap. Magic of the ancient, primeval sort. The unleashing of an elemental force. ---- Bel buried her face in the linen of his shirt, now softened with heat and the scents of both man and horse. And then she began to weep. “Yes, darling,” he murmured, stroking her back. “Go ahead, cry. The danger is over and you are unharmed, and for that you may weep just as long as you wish. Shed tears enough for us both, if you’d be so good.” ----- “Still, at fourteen I had my dreams. Pictured myself charging around French battlefields, spilling Bonapartist blood.” Toby laughed a little. Ah, to be young and spend hours spinning detailed, grandiose fantasies of changing the world. Isabel certainly wasn’t a girl any longer, but she’d somehow retained that youthful idealism he’d long outgrown. He didn’t always understand her zeal, but he did admire it. At times, he envied it. Honor, Justice, Charity … the way she pronounced those terms, he could hear the capital letters implied. They were words she spoke often, but never lightly. ---- Grinning like a fool, Toby adorned her gleaming ebony crown with the ivy wreath he’d fashioned, then framed her bewildered smile in his hands. “Isabel, I know I’ve told you this a hundred times or more. And now I regret not saving the words for this moment. For that matter, I regret ever speaking them to anyone else, because now the words seem too paltry, too common. Completely inadequate. But I promise you, I’ve never meant them more honestly than I do right here, right now. You are … beautiful. Truly, you take my breath away.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, my. Now that was impressive indeed.” “Was it?” “Yes,” she laughed. “Even I’m breathless, and I’m not romantic by nature. I can’t imagine what that little speech must have done to your young, impressionable ladies.” ------ “The way the note hangs in the air, even after she ceases to sing ... I know I’m not actually hearing it any longer, but I feel it, resonating in the air. In me.” He was silent. Bel’s cheeks heated. She must sound ridiculous and naïve. “I understand perfectly,” he finally said. His voice held no trace of amusement—only warmth and tenderness. “I think I feel that way sometimes, when I’m parted from you. Even when you’re not with me, it’s like … there’s an echo of you that settles in my chest.” He lifted her hand from her lap and brought it to his lips, then pressed it to his solar plexus. “Here. I feel you here, always. Sometimes it hurts.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    K.

    Trigger warnings: death of a friend, death of a spouse (in the past), difficult childbirth, slut shaming?? Sort of???, gun violence, lying. Definitely my least favourite of the three, and possibly my least favourite Tessa Dare book overall. Bel was...kind of insufferable with her relentless dogooding, and Toby was. Hmm. Not exactly controlling, but he spent a lot of time being all "WE ARE GOING TO GET MARRIED" and then lying to get out of the conditions that Bel wanted if they did get married. Or Trigger warnings: death of a friend, death of a spouse (in the past), difficult childbirth, slut shaming?? Sort of???, gun violence, lying. Definitely my least favourite of the three, and possibly my least favourite Tessa Dare book overall. Bel was...kind of insufferable with her relentless dogooding, and Toby was. Hmm. Not exactly controlling, but he spent a lot of time being all "WE ARE GOING TO GET MARRIED" and then lying to get out of the conditions that Bel wanted if they did get married. Or something??? Also, after reading the sentence "Toby scrambled to unbutton his fall before his erection burst right through his trousers." and literally all I could picture was the chestburster scene in Alien, and NO THANK YOU SIR. Basically, all I know is that I cared about the side romance of (view spoiler)[Hetta and Joss (hide spoiler)] far more than I cared about Bel or Toby. So...this one sort of boiled down to *shrug* for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    What a disappointment. After a really good first part and a second solid, I felt rather let down by this final part of the trilogy. I just didn't like it. I never felt any sort of attachment to the (main) characters. I didn't understand any of their "problems" or motives, and the "drama" part was too shallow. It felt as if there wasn't any resemblences of plot at all. Everything happened so fast, I was always waiting for something big to happen, some event that might give this story some directi What a disappointment. After a really good first part and a second solid, I felt rather let down by this final part of the trilogy. I just didn't like it. I never felt any sort of attachment to the (main) characters. I didn't understand any of their "problems" or motives, and the "drama" part was too shallow. It felt as if there wasn't any resemblences of plot at all. Everything happened so fast, I was always waiting for something big to happen, some event that might give this story some direction, but it didn't. It really feels as this was just quickly written to wrap up the trilogy. The hero, Toby forgets his main reason of acting - the revenge factor - after what feels like page 2, and as for the heroine Isabel... why would feeling love and passion eliminate her chances of doing good? I just didn't understand that concept. Maybe there is some hidden meaning I didn't grasp, but I just couldn't be bothered to search for it. I just wasn't interested in either of them. Shall I ever look back and try to remember Isabel, her big boobs will probably be the only thing stuck in my mind. Another thing that disappointed me is the "waste" of the secondary couple, which would have deserved a story of its own. Ms. Dare can do so much better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tandie

    I've read some of Dare's other books & enjoyed them. I just couldn't get into this one. Lots of skimming! I wanted to kick Mr. Nancy-pants (Toby) in the teeth. Bell was a walking/talking contradiction. She's run out of charitable causes, so she decides she's going to marry for a title and money -then use her new status to take do-gooding to a new height. I guess she feels like it's okay to be a fortune hunter if you're going to use your husbands status & money to make a real difference in the wo I've read some of Dare's other books & enjoyed them. I just couldn't get into this one. Lots of skimming! I wanted to kick Mr. Nancy-pants (Toby) in the teeth. Bell was a walking/talking contradiction. She's run out of charitable causes, so she decides she's going to marry for a title and money -then use her new status to take do-gooding to a new height. I guess she feels like it's okay to be a fortune hunter if you're going to use your husbands status & money to make a real difference in the world. Phhhht! She's such a martyr, she has to be GOOD to make up for the bad deeds of her father and brothers. My biggest problem was that I just didn't care about the main characters. I liked the side characters better. DNF due to boredom

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    It's a good book, but I got a little tired of Isabel's angelic nature. Honestly, I prefer a heroine with a little more spunk. It's a good book, but I got a little tired of Isabel's angelic nature. Honestly, I prefer a heroine with a little more spunk.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Missy Ann

    Made it almost a third of the way in. I can't stand it. It's awful. I want to choke the life out of Bel. It's a shame, I really like the first book - but this one was a waste of time. Made it almost a third of the way in. I can't stand it. It's awful. I want to choke the life out of Bel. It's a shame, I really like the first book - but this one was a waste of time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Allison Merkey

    A haiku review Bel is too preachy Toby is a whiny boy Side stories are good Thank you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zel Polev

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought this was on its way to be the best book in the series. I mean, I guess it is, but not because it was great but because the other books weren't good. I docked points because the resolution wasn't satisfying. The book started out very promisingly and it was on its track to become a good book. Isabel and Toby were a great pairing. Isabel was this charitable and serious lady and Toby was the laissez faire decadent gentleman. I liked his efforts to get her to loosen up and I liked the idea o I thought this was on its way to be the best book in the series. I mean, I guess it is, but not because it was great but because the other books weren't good. I docked points because the resolution wasn't satisfying. The book started out very promisingly and it was on its track to become a good book. Isabel and Toby were a great pairing. Isabel was this charitable and serious lady and Toby was the laissez faire decadent gentleman. I liked his efforts to get her to loosen up and I liked the idea of her educating Toby. Where did it go wrong? The middle and the end. The character development was nowhere to be found. I mean I guess they found their resolution but it was atrocious. I found myself rolling my eyes and confounded as to why they came to the conclusion that they did. Specifically, the hero really got insufferable as the story went on. He went on and on with his self pity on the fact that Isabel didn't return his love. First of all, she is not obligated to love the hero simply because the hero loved her. He was so obsessed about whether she loved him or not that he didn't stop to think whether she should. Instead of doing things that she loved, he only did things that satisfied him. I couldn't believe the self indulgent thoughts he had and it was near the end of the book. Surely, he has to realize what an ass he was. He gets there near the end but it wasn't worth trudging through the middle and end parts. Even then, it was one line and I wasn't convinced he really loved her in a healthy way. What made it all the more frustrating was she told him what she wanted. She wanted a husband that helped her with her charity. That is it. Charity was a big cause for her and instead of doing anything to further what she wanted, he was more concentrated on bending her to his needs. It was so frustrating. I'm also not happy with the resolution of her coming to him. I think the author tried to make her hang ups about love to be a big deal but it came across as contrived. I felt like it was just there to even out the playing field because he was being an ass and her coming to him to resolve their conflict is a bit ridiculous. She had a reasonable bone to pick with him, which is her marriage is predicated on a life. Her only stipulation to marry him was she wanted to advance her charitable causes. He lied to her, promising that he would help her cause. Not only did he not do the bare minimum, he actively undermined her efforts when he ruined his name and later hers when he published stories in the scandal sheets. He didn't have a bone to pick with her. His issue was that his love was unrequited. She wasn't obligated to return his feelings and it is really hard to sympathize with him when she tells him everyday what is important to her and he undermines it. She wasn't asking for the moon and he whines about how he can't meet her expectations. I really hated the way he talked about her not returning his feelings. It had the tone of him putting the blame on her. It was galling because he gave himself the absolution that he wasn't the problem and he very much was. The story had a promising start and very questionable ending. My favourite part was Isabel refusing to eat ice. She didn't know where the sugar was sourced from. She was morally opposed against using sugar that came from places that treat their workers poorly. She saw first hand how the plantations were ran and only consumed from places that supported human rights. I thought this was the promising part of the story. He could get her to loosen up. She could educate him and be a better person. Sadly, what ensued is none of those situations. He was too absorbed in what he wanted instead of being proactive and self reflective on his shortcomings. The story revolves around Isabel and Toby. Toby was attracted to her from the beginning. I rolled my eyes when the conflict about him wanting to get back at Sophia and Gray came up. No. It was not that. It was just inserted here and there to create a conflict. However, it was out of character for a guy who complied with Sophia and Gray's story when he could have ruined them if he wanted to. Isabel told him of her desire to find a husband soon. She wanted to be a lady of influence so she can help those in need. He proposed to her. He gave her the impression that she could help her in her goals and she accepted. She was a very serious person. He found her endearing. He fell for her and was quite absorbed in getting her to return his love. Meanwhile, he was lying to her about his efforts in the political sphere. He had no intentions of winning the campaign. He was adamant that she not find out about this. They fell for each other. They had a big fight when she discovered that he had no intentions of winning. She overheard him talking to the cartoonist. There was a recent unflattering image of her in the cartoon. She found out that he had been paying the cartoonist to draw unflattering image of him so he could lose the election. When that hadn't been working, the cartoonist turned his eyes on her. They fought. He left the house. He left because he was being a gentleman about the fight when in reality, the fight came about because he was being a lying ass. He had to attend to the death of a father figure and that gave the excuse for him to leave. They continued with their lives. She advanced her charitable works by demonstrating the machine alternative to child labour. He attended to his political duties. Now that his political opposition died, he was the clear favourite to win. They reunited when she came to him. He also reflected a bit on his actions. They got back together.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Oh dear lord. Here I am again. A Lady of Persuasion is officially my least favorite Tessa Dare book, and hopefully that will remain the case. There are still some awesome, unique things for a historical romance, but also I unship the main ship, which is sort of hard to get around. Here’s the problem: I don’t like Toby much. He puts women on a pedestal and he’s a flirt, which is fine, except that he’s a smarmy flirt. Also, he sets out for Isabel because she’s dancing with Gray and he wants to get Oh dear lord. Here I am again. A Lady of Persuasion is officially my least favorite Tessa Dare book, and hopefully that will remain the case. There are still some awesome, unique things for a historical romance, but also I unship the main ship, which is sort of hard to get around. Here’s the problem: I don’t like Toby much. He puts women on a pedestal and he’s a flirt, which is fine, except that he’s a smarmy flirt. Also, he sets out for Isabel because she’s dancing with Gray and he wants to get one up on Gray. Serious ew. Why would I ship him with her? Setting that aside, the two are a horrible match. She agrees to marry him because he promises to be something he’s not and doesn’t plan to be: an MP. He marries her because she’s hot and he can get his own back with Gray, who married Sophia, his former fiancee. The two go on absolutely horrid dates and don’t share any of the same interests, aside from banging each other. I felt that connection in the other books in this series, but I really don’t see it here. All they have is sex, and that’s not enough. It’s not even as enjoyable to read about because I don’t like them. I wish I liked Isabel, but the way that she’s treated in the text is truly awful. She ought to be this strong character, who cares fiercely about helping the poor and has fierce morals. However, she’s treated as more of a comical figure, alternating between a serious but slightly dumb angel and a fiery Latin beauty. People win arguments with her by saying things to her that make no sense, and she gets confused and goes along with their plans. However, I did enjoy the fact that the other characters from the series get a fair amount of camera time. One of my favorites scenes was actually Lucy giving birth and giving Jeremy hell, because they were my favorite ship of the series. Though actually they might not have been my favorite ship if the ship from this book that I actually loved had been the focal point, rather than shunted off to the side. Hetta and Joss only get a few scenes together, and their relationship building takes a lot of sudden leaps because they don’t get a lot of time together. That book, though, I would have LOVED because they understand each other in a very real way, since they both work hard to be respected in roles society doesn’t want them to have, her as a lady doctor and him as a black gentleman. I love that Dare put this in at all, because I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical romance with a black character before, let alone one who gets a ship. If only it had been THEIR book. Dare does some really great stuff in this book, but you have to struggle through the heinously bad main ship to get to it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I found this book really disappointing, mostly because I found Isabel borderline insufferable. For all her so-called angelic goodness, she was completely selfish and very self-centered. She was a know-it-all and self-righteous and I spent half the book wanting to give her a good shake. Every time she started nagging Toby to do these things that she wanted without thinking about him at all? I went a little nuts. She was also sort of hopelessly naive, and I didn't understand that at all. How can s I found this book really disappointing, mostly because I found Isabel borderline insufferable. For all her so-called angelic goodness, she was completely selfish and very self-centered. She was a know-it-all and self-righteous and I spent half the book wanting to give her a good shake. Every time she started nagging Toby to do these things that she wanted without thinking about him at all? I went a little nuts. She was also sort of hopelessly naive, and I didn't understand that at all. How can she have been present for a birth and actually know things about it and still know so little when it came to Toby? Her "turnaround" at the end was so rushed that it was less character growth and more revelation. Maybe that fits with real life sometimes, but it's unsatisfying for a reader. Then there's Toby. I kind of liked Toby in this book. He certainly had the character growth I thought that Isabel was missing. But. I did not understand how he fell in love with her at all, and that's because I just didn't see it. It was like one page he's out to get revenge on her brother, then he's in love with her on the next. It didn't make any sense to me. Plus...he was lying to Isabel the whole time. Even though I kind of hated her, that's pretty much the definition of not ok, and that was frustrating. Especially because it played right into her puffing herself up all the time. I did enjoy seeing more of Gray and Sophia because I loved them and they continued to be awesome in this book. However, the extra romance that was added in, as well as the birth scene, didn't add much for me and felt sort of like filler pages. I guess I was just expecting a lot more from this book because of how much I liked the two predecessors in this series. This plot just felt sort of half-hearted and rushed and the characters were missing that certain spark, both as individuals and as a couple.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mei

    I'm disappointed... This series started so well, but with each book the rating went down one star... :( I was so curious to read Toby's story... but it just didn't live up to the expectations! Toby was really immature. I couldn't get why he didn't want to do anything with his life! He had a wonderful family, didn't have an abusive father, a shrew of a mother, odious sister/brother... So why???? He was like a butterfly: very decorative a nice to look upon, but without substance. And Isabel... She wa I'm disappointed... This series started so well, but with each book the rating went down one star... :( I was so curious to read Toby's story... but it just didn't live up to the expectations! Toby was really immature. I couldn't get why he didn't want to do anything with his life! He had a wonderful family, didn't have an abusive father, a shrew of a mother, odious sister/brother... So why???? He was like a butterfly: very decorative a nice to look upon, but without substance. And Isabel... She was so obsessed with her mother's illness that it went over the top! She suffered from Mother Theresa's synrome! She wanted to save the world! She reminded me of those girls who apply for Miss Contest who when asked what are they aims reply: "Stop the hunger" or "Stop te war" or "Save the children"!!!! The 3 stars are due to the writing style and the dialogue that, even if empty headed, were fun. I must say that I'm happy this series ended, because I would have been afraid to read another book...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Before starting this massive Tessa Dare re-read, I'd actually managed never to read this one. It's... not my favorite. Mostly because the hero, Toby, spends the entire book lying to the heroine under the assumption that as soon as he gets her with child, all of her ambitions will disappear. Yuck. Also, the heroine, Bel, is disturbingly isolated (home girl has no friends, really) and has disturbing ideas about marital relations. There are a couple of scenes that are really interesting (the cravat Before starting this massive Tessa Dare re-read, I'd actually managed never to read this one. It's... not my favorite. Mostly because the hero, Toby, spends the entire book lying to the heroine under the assumption that as soon as he gets her with child, all of her ambitions will disappear. Yuck. Also, the heroine, Bel, is disturbingly isolated (home girl has no friends, really) and has disturbing ideas about marital relations. There are a couple of scenes that are really interesting (the cravat scene in particular) and help even the playing field between these characters, but... while I ended up on the positive side of ambivalent by the end, it's still my least favorite TD book. (I mean, something had to be, right?) I loved the secondary romance between Bel's brother and the doctor lady. I wanted this book to be all Hetta and Joss all the time. Those two have chemistry!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Loved this book, Loved this series, and Love this new author!! I actually won this book from Tessa Dare's website and she wrote a little note in it and autographed it! This book was my favorite of the three in the trilogy. Toby was so sweet, funny, charming and such a gentleman! I am so glad he got his happy ending! I have been able to relate to the leading females in each of the three books in one way or another. It was so wonderful reading their stories and watching them grow and work through Loved this book, Loved this series, and Love this new author!! I actually won this book from Tessa Dare's website and she wrote a little note in it and autographed it! This book was my favorite of the three in the trilogy. Toby was so sweet, funny, charming and such a gentleman! I am so glad he got his happy ending! I have been able to relate to the leading females in each of the three books in one way or another. It was so wonderful reading their stories and watching them grow and work through their own personal battles. I would recommend these to just about anyone! :) I can't wait for Tessa Dare's next trilogy The Stud Club to come out in early summer 2010!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    For a character who wasn't Catholic, she sure had a lot of Catholic Guilt™ For a character who wasn't Catholic, she sure had a lot of Catholic Guilt™

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