She is his last chance for a future of happiness…
Jenny Keeble has never let her humble upbringing stop her. She’s made her way in the world as a fortune teller, one who convinces her clients her predictions are correct by telling them what they most want to hear. Business is good… until she meets her match in the form of Gareth Carhart, the Marquess of Blakely, a scientist and sworn bachelor.
He just doesn’t know it yet.
Broodingly handsome, Gareth is appalled to discover his cousin has fallen under the spell of “Madame Esmerelda,” and he vows to prove her a fraud. But his unexpected attraction to the fiery enchantress defies logic. Jenny disrupts every facet of Gareth’s calculated plan— until he can’t decide whether to ruin her or claim her for his own. Now, as they engage in a passionate battle of wills, two lonely souls must choose between everything they know… and the boundless possibilities of love.
Proof by Seduction was Courtney Milan’s debut a few years ago. Since then, she’s become a staple in Regency romances. I adore the witty voice and humor she weaves into many of her novels. Recently, I decided to go back to her first book and reread the story. Here’s my thoughts, after a second reading.
For our hero, Lord Gareth Blakely has a heart of ice. He’s rather serious, his nature devoid of fun. He was raised for the sole purpose of one day taking over his title, which led to a rigid upbringing with little mirth. He’s a scientist with no belief in the mystical, which clashes with our heroine.
Jenny masquerades as Madame Esmerelda, a seer and fortune teller, to swindle coin from her unsuspecting customers. She uses the talent of persuasion to fool others into believing her grand hoax, but would choose another life path if she’d the option.
Gareth sets out to prove Madame Esmerelda is a liar and a deceiver, because his cousin, Ned, hangs onto her every word. Years prior, Ned visited Madame Esmerelda when he was in the pits of depression and suicidal thoughts. However, the Madame predicted his life would turn around. Hope and happiness in his future! Ned decided to live, and eventually came to fulfill her prediction. Ned still visits Madame Esmerelda to seek advice, but Gareth will have none of this.
Jenny feels a strong bond with Ned and will do much to protect him. However, Gareth feels the same way. The two approach this matter differently. Jenny fools Ned into believing in the supernatural, while Gareth wants to disprove such flummery.
Ned asks Jenny to make a prediction. Not wanting to reveal her truth, she predicts Gareth will meet with the woman he’ll marry at a ball. Three tasks he’ll need to perform to make certain the match happens. Gareth and Jenny attend the ball together. As the two come closer in this dance of wills, love flourishes between the fortune teller and the skeptic.
I love this book for its humor and sincerity. The romance between Gareth and Jenny feels genuine. Gareth is often placed in humorous scenes where his cynical side plays into the comedy. It was a fresh book years ago, and it still is today. I love it. I recommend it.