Vixen in Velvet (The Dressmakers #3)
Author: Loretta Chase
Release Date: 24 June 2014
From the Diary of Leonie Noirot: The perfect corset should invite its undoing . . .
Lethally charming Simon Fairfax, Marquess of Lisburne, has reluctantly returned to London for one reason only: a family obligation. Still, he might make time for the seduction of a certain redheaded dressmaker—but Leonie Noirot hasn't time for him. She's obsessed with transforming his cousin, the dowdy Lady Gladys, into a swan.
Leonie's skills can coax curves—and profits—from thin air, but his criminally handsome lordship is too busy trying to seduce her to appreciate her genius. He badly needs to learn a lesson, and the wager she provokes ought to teach him, once and for all.
A great plan, in theory—but Lisburne's become a serious distraction, and Leonie's usual logic is in danger of slipping away as easily as a silk chemise. Could the Season's greatest transformation be her own?
Leonie is a very relatable and likable heroine. She has her feet firmly planted on the ground, and she puts her intelligence and determination to good use in running Maison Noirot. She is rather clearly in need of some fun, so it was great to see Simon bring out the more playful and flirtatious side of her.
Simon is such a gentleman. He's kind and funny, and boy is he determined to flirt up a storm with Leonie. He's also very respectful of Leonie and her business, which is important considering that he's nobility so many would have looked down at Leonie for being in trade.
I thought Leonie and Simon were an ideal match.They have that spark of attraction right away and I love their conversations, they're always witty and engaging. They take their time falling in love, as Simon slowly seduces Leonie's business brain until there's no more resistance.
I did enjoy this romance, and the cast of secondary characters were wonderful and played their own roles in the story. There's a mystery to solve when a woman claims to have a child with the poetic Lord Swanton (Simon's cousin) which adds an interesting element to the plot.
Unfortunately I found it rather difficult to maintain my attention about a quarter of the way in. The beginning was fun and I enjoyed Leonie and Simon's meeting and subsequent initial interactions, but after a bit of that my interest started to wane. It picked up well enough in the latter part of the book, but it was a shame that the pacing was a bit off for me.
Overall, this is a charming and romantic read with two characters who couldn't belong together any more. It's the first book I read in The Dressmakers series and it reads very well as a standalone, but I'm definitely going to read Leonie's sister's stories soon.
*I received a review copy, from the publisher, for my honest opinion. Thank you!