Title: The Seduction of Lady X
Series: The Secrets of Hadley Green #3
Author: Julia London
The surprising news that dashing steward Harrison Tolly, illegitimate son of the Earl of Ashwood, is the rightful heir to his father’s estate comes at a most inopportune time. With a wedding on the horizon and a baby on the way, a new life of privilege and prestige would be a blessing but for one problem: his heart belongs to another woman.Harrison keeps his desires for his employer’s wife, Lady Olivia Carey, so hidden that even she does not know of his devotion. Her callous husband, Marquis Carey, went into a rampage after Olivia’s troublesome younger sister returned from her tour of Spain pregnant, and Harrison impulsively stepped in to save the entire family from scandal. Now, like Olivia, he is trapped in a loveless arrangement. When a tragic accident claims the marquis’ life soon thereafter, can Harrison seize his chance and cast aside one sister for another? Or will doing so expose the Carey family’s darkest secret—and ruin his only chance to win Olivia’s heart?
I am not usually a fan of the hero and heroine falling in love while one of the two is still married to another person, and that is exactly what you have in THE SEDUCTION OF LADY X. When it comes to adultery–whether it be sexual or emotional–I usually am a black or white type of reader (and person). But Julia London somehow did the impossible and made me love this book despite all the biases and prejudices I had toward such a setup going in.
When Olivia’s parents arranged her marriage to Lord Carey, she was initially excited. She was young, he was courteous and handsome, and she had great expectations that they could fall in love with each other and live happily ever after. However, after it becomes clear that she is unable to bear his child, their relationship soon deteriorates and her husband becomes verbally (and eventually, physically) abusive.
Harrison Tolly is, in my opinion, a hero among heroes. He has worked for Lord Carey from the beginning, even helping to arrange the marriage agreement between Lord Carey and Olivia. He secretly was attracted to her at the beginning, and that attraction gradually developed into love. Now, at the start of the book, they both secretly love each other, and we get to see how their relationship evolves while Olivia deals with her husband, who grows more and more dangerous–and ultimately, what happens when he dies.
This was a very romantic book, which I loved. Readers should be warned that the pacing isn’t very fast… but neither does it drag. In my opinion, the pacing works perfectly well for the events of the story and the interactions of the characters. This book is a discovery, if you will, as we see Olivia and Harrison slowly learn how the other feels, a book about two people who were meant to be together but know they can’t, that to do so would be wrong, yet are drawn to each other anyway.
Since this is my first Julia London book, I had no idea what to expect, and I still don’t know if this is indicative of the type of story she usually tells, but I was honestly blown away. It’s unlike any other romance I’ve ever read and certainly not at all what I was expecting.
There were times that certain plot points seemed to become very tiresome and repetitive (specifically, the debate about what to do with Olivia’s sister), but overall this is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for something very romantic and out of the ordinary.