Reviewed by Jen
Greta is a 20 year-old orphan who lives off the charity of her uncle. But she earns her keep, painting forgeries for him. And she bides her time for the day he will arrange a proper marriage for her, as he has long promised.
During a family trip to the opera, Greta finds herself at the wrong place at the wrong time, and is taken hostage by a political zealot. Her life is saved by an unlikely hero... the valet of one of the other guests. Of course, no one realizes that Oliver is much more than a valet. He is really half-brother to Christopher, the man he pretends to serve. He's actually undercover, using his position as an overlooked servant to learn political secrets. He and Christopher are worried about the future of their Austrian home and know it's only a matter of time before Napoleon advances there.
Despite his much lower station, Greta is drawn to Oliver in a way that she can't deny. And through a series of events, she ends up a guest in Christopher's home. At that point, things escalate quickly between them. Unfortunately, they both expect their love affair to be fleeting. Greta has been promised to a man of her uncle's choosing and Oliver knows that she is far beyond his reach. But this is a love story, after all... and the fun is in watching the two of them break down the walls between them. That, and watching their amazing sexual chemistry unfurl. We're also treated to some action as the story progresses, surrounding Greta's forged paintings and a shifty man from Oliver's past.
I really enjoyed this book. Both characters were so sympathetic. I liked them both and found myself very invested in their relationship. The sex was hot, especially seeing Oliver take the dominant position, despite his subservient role in the outside world. I was grateful, too, that it didn't cross over into BDSM (which I don't really enjoy.) It was just right for my taste.
Some of the secondary characters had clear backstories of their own. After a little digging, I found that they were featured in a previous work, Song of Seduction. But I never felt like I was missing anything.
All in all, it was a good book with hot sex, romance, and a happy ending. 4 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Portrait of Seduction
by Carrie Lofty
Release Date: May 2, 2011
Publisher: Carina Press
Labels: ARC, by Jen, Carrie Lofty, Historical Romance