I was eagerly anticipating reading The Seduction of Sebastian St. James, having finished Rachel Van Dyken’s first book in the House of Renwick series, The Ugly Ducking Debutante. As I truly enjoy her characters, I was interested in seeing her newest creations and what twists and turns of the plot she had in store for me.
Sebastian St. James, the Duke of Tempest, is known as the “Angel Duke” for more than one reason. Not only is his appearance angelic, but his conquests and heroics are flawless, as well as his honesty. In short, he is a man of perfection. However, despite having all of this he does lack one thing, a person to share his life with. Thus, he travels to his lifelong friend Nicholas Devons’ (Earl of Renwick) home in order to find a suitable match among the eligible women of the Ton. He finds a partner in crime in a woman named Emma, who is in a similar situation, as her parents (her father is a wealthy viscount) are forcing her to marry in order to obtain social and economic security, as well as protect the family inheritance. With this common bond, Sebastian and Emma grow affectionately close. Their relationship is put to the test however, as a man from Emma’s past makes a play for her hand. This backfires and causes details from Emma’s past to come to light, which have the ability to ruin the carefully laid reputation that Sebastian has fought so long to protect and cultivate. What will become of Emma and Sebastian? Are these new details about Emma’s life true?
Sebastian is one interesting character. His rakish tendencies, coupled with his need for a flawless reputation, were interesting characteristics to find packed together in one person. Emma on the other hand has been dealt a serious blow in life and is understandably skittish of men’s affections. This odd couple, as I liked to refer to them, were extremely interesting to read about and watch blossom.
While the books may not be 100% historically accurate, they are still written in a descriptive manner that transports the reader into the time and place from which Sebastian and Emma hail. The descriptions of the balls and parties that the characters get to attend make me pea green with envy. The lush settings add to the romanticized feelings within the novel, making this love story even more enjoyable. I found myself wanting Emma and Sebastian to dispense with the inner monologues that were keeping them apart from each other, and finally see how the other person could solve all of their problems. But isn’t that how life goes? As humans we make things more difficult for ourselves rather than opening our eyes and taking advantage of what’s right in front of our faces. Their inability to see the benefits of their relationship made Emma and Sebastian seem very real and relatable.
Van Dyken is currently at work on a third book in the Renwick Series, The Redemption of Lord Rawlings. I highly suggest that you get to work on reading The Seduction of Sebastian St. James as well as The Ugly Duckling Debutante if you haven’t done so already in order to catch up before Rawlings is released! You won’t regret it!
4 out of 5 Stars
The Seduction of Sebastian St. James by Rachel Van Dyken
Astraea Press (2011)
eBook 187 pages