Chapman, Janet. The Seduction of His Wife (2006). 331 Pages. Pocket Books. $6.99
It’s not often that I come across romance novels that I feel are worth reading more than once. Despite the beautifully and perfectly cliché title and cover, this is a good story, with a fun romance and an interesting premise.
From the Author’s Website
Sarah quite willingly – and happily – becomes a wife, a mother, and a widow all in one week by agreeing to marry by proxy Grady Knight’s eldest son, and adopt Alex’s children to secure their custody before it is publicly known Alex is dead. But sometimes even the most well-intentioned plan can backfire on its perpetrators – which Sarah discovers the day Alex Knight comes back from the dead.So what’s a woman to do when she finds herself married to a complete stranger? Run back to her tiny island in the Gulf of Maine, and resume running a Bed & Breakfast she no longer owns? Or put up with her very-much-alive husband just long to keep Grady Knight out of trouble, then quietly divorce Alex and continue her plan to operate a set of sporting camps three miles farther up the shoreline of Frost Lake?
Bolstered by the smart, confident, feisty heroines in the romance novels she reads, Sarah decides to stay and fight for her dream – all while fighting her growing attraction to her maddening husband. Alex, on the other hand, sets out to seduce Sarah for all the wrong reasons, but quickly finds himself falling in love with her for all the right ones.
Alex Knight fought the fatigue weighing on his eyelids and brushed an unsteady hand through his hair in an attempt to wipe the fog from his brain. He needed to stay focused on the road ahead, to avoid the final irony of cheating death in the jungles of Brazil only to die in a car wreck less than ten miles from home.
It’s difficult to know what to expect when reading a romance novel; will it be the same old (winning*) formula with different names and a new setting, or will it somehow put new twists on an old story to make it fresh again? Sometimes, all that really matters is that there are two characters who eventually love each other, and who live happily-ever-after (or at least for now).
It’s not often that you start with characters who are already married, who don’t really know each other, and who end up falling in love. That’s part of what makes this so interesting. Add to that a sense of humor– Sarah reads silly romance novels which Alex discovers he enjoys reading out loud to her– and a few good characters, and what you’ve got is a funny, relatively-unique (for the genre) book which is solidly written.
I also enjoyed the setting; rural, northern Maine, in a logging town. I’m from a fairly small, rural town (which had its own fair share of logging after the San Francisco Fire). It’s always sort of fun to read books which are either reminiscent of or outright about your hometown, and this book was no exception. (It helped that I have at least a passing familiarity with most of the big equipment mentioned in the book).
Because it is a romance novel, which tend to have a low re-read rate, and I did re-read it, this book gets a 4/5.
* Romance novels are a huge market for good reason; they’re nice, fluffy books which make you feel good as they set ridiculous standards for the behaviors and relationships of men and women. The idea of boy-meets-girl-they-fight-then-fall-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after may not be unique, but it is gratifying to know that you were right from the beginning, and they could be happy together.