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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville

The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville
Publisher: Avon Books
genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Water Lily

Being kidnapped is teaching Miss Celia Seaton a few things about life:

Lesson one: Never disrobe in front of a gentleman . . . unless his request comes at gunpoint.

Lesson two: If, when lost on the moors, you encounter Tarquin Compton, the leader of London society who ruined your marriage prospects, deny any previous acquaintance.

Lesson three: If presented with an opportunity to get back at Mr. Compton, the bigger the lie, the better. A faux engagement should do nicely.

Lesson four: Not all knowledge is found between the covers of a book. But an improper book may further your education in ways you never guessed.

And while an erotic novel may be entertaining, the real thing is even better.

I loved the premise of Miranda Neville’s The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton—a fringe ton debutante whose prospects are destroyed by a casually cruel comment of the reigning haut ton’s golden boy finds herself in the unique position to extend payback when the golden boy loses his memory. Celia Seaton is a strong, smart, resourceful woman with a devilish sense of humor. I laughed aloud at some of her fabrications and enjoyed seeing her and dandy Tarquin Compton romp through the Yorkshire countryside. Both Celia and I fell in love with Tarquin as Terrance Fish.

Tarquin’s character was believable with and without his memory. His charm and self confidence battled nicely with his newfound knowledge of how tough it would be on the fringes of high society. He gets the unique chance to look at himself from someone else’s point of view and it opens his eyes to what is important. I enjoyed seeing the transformation.

The romance and Celia’s “amorous education” were fun and titillating, but Celia’s attitudes in the last quarter of the book felt a bit too modern and idealistic for the time. I wanted her to accept life/polite society the way it was instead of contemplating foolish alternatives. Secondary characters shouldn’t have supported ill-conceived ideas. Those ideas were ruinous and should have been addressed as such. I wanted those secondary characters to be a bit more well rounded and realistic.

Still, all’s well that ends well and The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton ended very well.

Truthfully, reading this book was a nice way to spend a cold and windy weekend. By the way, Ms. Neville’s author’s notes made me smile and like the book even more. I recommend reading them as well.