Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ARC Review: Portrait of Seduction

Portrait of Seduction
Carrie Lofty
Historical Romance
Sequel to Song of Seduction
Carina Press/May 2, 2011

From Goodreads ~

Salzburg, 1805

Greta Zwieg forges masterpieces. With her copies on their walls and the original paintings safely hidden, the noble families of Austria can rest assured their treasures will survive Napoleon’ s advances. But now Greta's uncle is changing the rules, selling her counterfeits as originals. Greta abhors the deceit. Anxious for her family's safety in a perilous time, she is nevertheless determined to put things right.

Oliver Doerger is living a lie of his own. Acting as valet for his aristocratic half brother, Oliver thwarts an attempt on Greta's life and is overwhelmed by the forbidden passion that flares between them. Although he’ s not truly a servant, he is a bastard and a spy—certainly no match for a woman of such exquisite quality.

Though both fear discovery, they cannot resist each other. When the truth comes out, and the city falls into chaos, Greta and Oliver will be forced to choose: love or duty?

What a lovely change of place for a historical romance. Often, romances written during this period either take place in England or France. Rarely, do authors venture into other lands and give readers a look at the turmoil caused by Napoleon and his need to conquer. Ms. Lofty takes the reader into Salzburg, where the aristocracy refuses to let the threat of Napoleon spoil their fun. It's here that Oliver and Greta meet in a most inauspicious occasion.

Greta Zwieg was left under the guardianship of her uncle at the age of ten. She feels indebted to her uncle for taking her in after her parent deaths. To prove herself worthy of his hospitality, she paints and her uncle sells her paintings, allowing Greta to feel as though she is contributing towards her keep. It's when he begins to sell her copies as the original works of art that throws Greta into conflict. She tries to stop him but he is a cold bastard and reminds her of his "generosity" in allowing her to live with his family all these years. It's easy to feel for Greta. She really has no choice at this point but to go along with her uncle. I thought Lofty did well in showing the few choices women had in this time period. Falling for Oliver doesn't help, since he is a servant and below her station.

Oliver Doerger is more than meets the eye. A valet/servant for his half-brother, Oliver is also a spy, having spent time in the army, learning his craft. He's very good and not easily distracted until he sees Greta. He knows he has no chance with her, she is of the nobility and he a servant. But he's still deeply attracted to her. They continue to find themselves together at various functions and at one point living in the same house. It doesn't take long for them to act on the attraction, leaving them both wondering where it could lead, if anywhere.

The romance is mixed with the turbulence of the time and the past that comes back to haunt Oliver. You feel that Greta, at least, wants to take control of the only thing she can, her body. She begins as the aggressor and I liked that about her. You go girl! She fumbles a little but her and Oliver are so right together, you know they just have to give in to it. And boy do they! Beautiful, steamy love scenes with that sense of danger just lurking around the corner make for some tender and heartfelt moments.

The story took a bit for me to get into and get caught up in. There was a secondary characters whose story line I felt dragged on for too long, slowing down the flow at times. Once I did get drawn into Greta and Oliver's adventurous romance, there was no turning back. The feel of the time period, the mounting tension of the political arena all added to make a captivating story.

Portrait of Seduction is the sequel to Song of Seduction but I believe it could be read as a stand alone. The hero and heroine from Song do make an appearance but enough back ground is given on them that I didn't feel left of out the loop as they became part of Greta and Oliver's story. Now I must go back and read Song of Seduction!

Rating: B+


  1. I really liked Song of Seduction so I am looking forward to this one a lot!

  2. Marg ~ I can't wait to read Song of Seduction. Liked what I read of the hero & heroine so far.

  3. Oh, I really liked this book! But if you loved this one, I think you'll really LOVE Song of Seduction. I think? LOL! I know I did. :D

    Great review!

  4. Hils ~ I've go Song waiting for me on my nook. I really like Lofty's writing. :)

  5. I really, really need to try Ms Lofty... ideally, before RWA. Everyone who've read her seems to enjoy her books! Maybe I'll start with this one, since I prefer art than music...

  6. Nath ~ yes, give Lofty a try. Me, Hils & Wendy all like her, what more do you need? LOL