Portrait of Seduction by Carrie Lofty

Portrait of SeductionPortrait of Seduction by Carrie Lofty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first read Carrie Lofty's Song of Seduction, I was just drawn completely into the story, the setting and the characters. It hit the right inner HR reader cord in me. When learned of the sequel, and it following a character the reader wanted to know more in Song- Oliver Doerger. This book could do no wrong in my eyes, and lived up to the hype I had for it.

To help those families protect their masterpieces of art and history, Greta Zwieg with her uncle's pushing forges these art pieces. Greta lives in her art and it's world, protecting her from the pains that lay outside, but the outside world slowly starts to invade her haven when her uncle starts selling her works as the original and one night a madman takes Greta hostage at the theater, only to be saved by mere valet, whom starts to change her world and how she sees it and herself.
Oliver Doerger is a spy and valet for his half-brother. In order to keep those safe, Oliver hides behind this disguise. But once he lays eyes on Greta and saves her life from a radical, he starts to wish to break from the mold and life he'd lived. As a person from his past comes back for revenge and Napoleon's army slowly moves toward the city, Oliver is torn between his duty and the woman he has fallen in love with.
Time is ticking for these two, as society's status, stole paintings and many barriers separate these two. Greta and Oliver must overcome much in order to be together.

There was another character one that is truly never seen by felt throughout the story, and that’s the threat of the looming army out to attack the city. In other romances set in this time, we’re never shown this. Much of the action takes places in ballrooms of the ton in their bubble, with soldiers coming home to try and heal. While others follow the war already in progress. We never get a look the before, the fear and madness that overtakes the people from the common man to the peer. This dark cloud follows and propels much of the actions of Greta and Oliver.

Greta at times was a hard nut to crack, and understand. Caught in a bubble of her and her uncle’s making. Greta at times seems very unaware of those around her, which is unheard of a artist, whom have to observe in order to feed their soul and create. Because of her uncle ruining her parents marriage and lives, and her father and mother not being in the same social status, this puts a fear in Greta when her attraction to Oliver starts to heat up. She doesn’t see him as a man but more as a servant and in the beginning when she’s forced up against a rock and a hard place is pretty darn selfish and doesn’t really consider his feelings. CL works her magic making her characters shine and human when she makes Greta have a bucket of cold wake up and see the damage she has done and while scared, afraid but very ashamed of her actions and ask for Oliver’s forgiveness. These actions start to break that barrier not only between Greta and the world but also between the readers. She grew and made some hard choices and mistakes but it added to her overall growth as a character.

Oliver, oh Oliver- how I adore thee! He was a man of mystery, honor, but had a dark past that made him the man we meet. Being born a bastrad caused Oliver no ends of grief early on in his life, and later life in the army and being a spy/valet to his half brother gave him a sense of purpose to his life. His life is turned upside down, when he meets Greta who doesn't truly see him. He goes out of his way to prove himself, but the little things like learning about art and having more honor and knowing when to step back or when to push ahead is what wakes up not only Greta but Oliver, who is trying to break free from the mold. Oliver put duty and family first and foremost in his life, and later when love takes over, you see a man wanting to better himself while trying to fight the past that comes back to haunt him in a so called friend. Like Greta he does make some mistakes along the way, CL has a beautiful way of making the characters see for themselves their mistakes instead of an outside view, THEY see what they did wrong and how to fix it, and this was a true asset that I loved in the overall of the story.
Not to mention the smokin' hot sexual tension and yummy scenes between the two had not only me reaching for the cool drink, but further the growing relationship between the two characters, and a better understanding of one another.

The only trouble I did have was the pacing of the book, with it's brisk walking pace at the start, became slower and slower at times, making me edgy and wanting things to move along, or hurry up. By the finishing line, the story had me gripped in the pages, as CL describes the army invading the city, and the terror felt by all. But I felt this was a symbol of not only the city but of the characters and their own rebirth, of leaving the past behind and rising of the ashes anew, with a perfect epilogue, showing a perfect HEA and change for all.

Carrie Lofty is an author to look out for, her works prove she can step out of the norm and end up being truly great. I'll be eating up her works like potato chips- cause I can't get enough!

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