Monday, June 30, 2014

Title:       Vixen in Velvet [The Dressmakers, book 03]
Author:   Loretta Chase
Rating:   ★★★

The Dressmakers is one of my favorite regency romance series. And while I am usually hesitant to read the sequels in series, I did not hesitate to read Ms. Chase's latest offering because based on experience from the second book, I know I'll only be happy with Vixen in Velvet.

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?

As a dress aficionado, one of my fascinations with the story are the gowns. Since I'm not an expert on regency-period dresses, I try to visualize what the author is trying to convey, and most of the time, I get excited. I hope Loretta publishes photos of her imaginary dress collections, and I think that will only make me love the story more!

In Vixen in Velvet, we are brought along the charming and delicious discovery by Leonie and Simon of love. I like that there isn't any complicated denial of their feelings. I like the characterization of both male and female protagonists, and I like that they seemed really suited to each other. There was instant attraction, but no foolish declarations of love. I like that it wasn't a case of insta-love, and that I saw their gradual ascent into adoration for each other. I like that while Simon wasn't the silent but strong type, he knew how to handle Leonie's temper, and he was able to respect her whenever she said she was busy with work.

I especially like the Noirot sisters because they literally came from nothing and have built themselves up successfully through hard work and ambition. As Leonie is the last unmarried female, her fears about their beloved shop were reasonable. I was slightly disappointed that the husbands of her sisters Marcelline and Sophie became concerned about their running of the shop, even though they said the wives will still have free rein over it. But I suppose that in keeping with the rules of the ton and their elevated station, something had to give. That issue was deftly solved by Ms. Chase, and I, as a 21st century woman, became even more curious about the ways of the ton.

All in all, by the time I was finished, I was feeling very happy that I finally got to read Vixen in Velvet and that it was everything I hoped it would be. If you're a fan of regency romance and dresses and strong female protagonists, I really recommend The Dressmakers series :)

Vixen in Velvet