Joint Review: Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty

Publisher: Carina Press.

Where did you get the ebook from: ARC from author.

Release date: Out now.

This review contains some spoilers.

Blurb taken from Carina Press’ official website:

Austria, 1804

Eight years ago, composer Arie De Voss claimed his late mentor’s final symphony as his own and became an icon. But fame has a price: fear of discovery now poisons his attempts to compose a redemptive masterpiece. Until a new muse appears, intoxicating and inspiring him…

Mathilda Heidel renounced her own musical gift to marry, seeking a quiet life to escape the shame surrounding her birth. Sudden widowhood finds her tempted by song once more. An unexpected introduction to her idol, Arie De Voss, renews Mathilda’s passion for the violin—and ignites a passion for the man himself.

But when lust and lies reach a crescendo, Arie will be forced to choose: love or truth?

Lou: I have to admit, this was so refreshing having a book set in a different country, with characters that have different nationalities than British or American. While historical romance is my favourite genre, it’s such a change to have characters that are not of the peerage. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with reading about Duchess’ and Dukes – I enjoy them immensely – but it’s a wonderful change to read characters in a setting where they come across as people who have different problems to combat compared to people in the higher class. And with Song of Seduction, it was purely about two people who had scandals in their past to overcome, and not the usual scandals of sex, elopement, or a child out of wedlock.

Has: Exactly! This was focused on characters who were not aristocratic and in a sense it felt more realistic. I think this is what made the book stand out for me. The romance was internal focusing only on Arie and Mathilda, rather than external from outside obstacles. Its more difficult to write that sort of plot I think, but it was definitely more fulfilling for me as a reader. And their past scandals and issues ended up as a bridge where they could relate to one another. The tone and the rich language really reflected that too. It was so rich and vibrant. It really felt like I was savouring a visual feast.

Lou: The writing used was so lyrical and melodious. This book was wordy, and there was no rush of instant sex and hormones exploding all over the page in a race to consummate the deed. This book was very emotional, and Mathilda and Arie were two very unique characters – in the sense that they were so scared and hesitant of their own feelings. Usually, you either have the hero or the heroine as the leading character acting as the pursuer, but in Song, there was no pursuer, but a slow coming together of two damaged individuals. Mathilda not being able to get over her past marriage and thinking that she wasn’t allowed to love or be free again to play music, to Arie screwing up everything in words because of not knowing how to act around Mathilda, and the overwhelming guilt of his plagiarism.

Has: I really loved the slow but steady build up of their getting together. It really felt like a dual musical performance; the language, imagery and tone when they each encountered each other was like a piece of music. And the overall pace of the book flowed really well, and their chemistry when they were playing together, and when they challenged each other really came alive. I liked the fact that they were both each other’s muses, and brought out the best in each other. Although it did bring out heartache and memories, but that was needed to move on and heal for both Mathilda and Arie.

“Even if her mind objected, she took the violin and bow he offered. A melody followed quickly thereafter. Sad and defiant, awed and frightened, her sudden composition became an elegant, moving encore to the storm of emotions she had survived.

He should have expected as much, but surprise shivered along his backbone all the same. A lifetime of experience suggested she would merely hack at the strings in a performance akin to her artless sobs. But Mathilda remained a special case. More than a study in the physical process of overcoming grief, her composition painted a graceful portrait of turbulent intelligence and deeply rooted insecurities. The spontaneous piece left Arie joyful, alive with awe, and a shade of envious green.”

Lou: While I admired the lyrical prose, towards the middle, I did find myself thinking of there being an overload of it, and I found myself skipping some descriptions. There is definitely emotional angst to this book, and it did feel like a roller coaster of emotions with Arie and Mathilda both making mistakes, and not knowing where to step around each other. But the sensuality between them was so lush, and the heat level was freaking smoking hot. They both weren’t very experienced, but they definitely brought out their sexuality to the core.

“Mathilda kissed her maestro with the unrestrained passion of a woman who held nothing in reserve. Her mouth became a partner to his and toiled at the happy task of learning him. Thoughts of retreat vanished. Impatience demanded more. The connection she had sensed on stage proved a mere prelude to this, a more staggering intimacy. Words, melodies—those powerful means of communication became ungainly barriers.

But rhythm…she understood rhythm. In the midst of their kiss, she wanted to melt into the man who held her enthralled. The steady push and withdraw of their tongues became her native language. It beat in her blood, a rising tide of delight surging beneath her skin.”

Has: I actually thought the angst worked, and it didn’t feel overwrought or over dramatic for me where there could have been a danger of that actually happening. Both are very artistic and passionate people, and Mathilda and Arie have closed themselves due to doubt and guilt because of their past. Their music and their encounters were catalysts to release all of that pent up emotions. I definitely agree about the sensuality element. I have to say that there is a love scene in this book where they really took the time to seduce and explore each other – and it was oh so very hot! I actually think (and I have read quite a few erotic romances) this had one of the best love scenes that actually combined sensuality with real emotions.

Lou: And the love scenes weren’t riddled throughout the pages which I was glad of – as these days, I find myself skipping the sexual scenes if books are overloaded with them. The emotional intensity between Mathilda and Arie was of a mental state, and in a non sexual way also – there was sexual desire, but it wasn’t the main element. Arie was so damaged, and he wanted Mathilda so badly, but he pushed her away with his words. He didn’t want to be her musical idol when he had been living a lie for so long. I did think that Mathilda holding up Arie as her idol, and fantasy love while her husband was alive did feel in a way immature in nature, but with her past life of her parents, perhaps she needed that fantasy to cling on to.

Has: She needed that dream and fantasy. Her past was a prison of expectations and a lack of passion. Music was a way to express herself, and although Arie was her idol, in a way the revelation of him being not perfect helped to crack that fantasy. It showed the real man beneath her idolisation. Also, she had a teen crush on him, and he soon shattered her illusions when he confronted and challenged her in the beginning, and she needed that. But his music helped to draw her out of her shell.

Lou: And I really liked that Arie didn’t take her idolisation for pleasure, nor did he graciously thank her. He was rude, he was snappy, and he did indeed break that illusion which enabled Mathilda to step out into the real world again. But he still couldn’t mention the plagiarism to her. It felt like if that lie become known to Mathilda, then everything else around him would crumble down. There was definitely a darkness to this story with the horrible childhoods they had, and there was a darkness shrouding them.

Has: I agree about the darkness, and it was of their own making too, but it helped because they both shielded each other towards the end.

Lou: The ending brought the book to a nicely closed finish I thought. Mathilda turned out to be the pursuer towards the end, but I loved that she didn’t remonstrate with him, but just accepted him and his faults – especially when he left. Overall, Song of Seduction is a wonderful romance story that has a rich prose, and two unique characters that weren’t of the norm in romanceland. I’d say bring on more characters and books with both hero and heroine that aren’t of the peerage. I definitely think more historical romance books with different nationalities and settings are needed. Spice it up a little :D. I give Song of Seduction 4.5 stars.

Has: I agree! I thought this was a fantastic and memorable romance with a great eye for historical detail, and I love the juxtaposition of the imagery that their music illustrated and that reflected their courtship. It was definitely for me a visual, lyrical and evocative book with two flawed, but real characters who found each other. I just love the fact that unlike other romances, it was a simple love story but raw with its emotional intensity with music and redemption at its heart. I am also eagerly looking forward to the follow up, Portrait of Seduction! I also give Song of Seduction 4.5 stars.

5 thoughts on “Joint Review: Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty”

  1. Guys, awesome review!! I’ve got this book on my Carina Press wishlist because I’m intrigued by the talk of the setting, characters and romance 😀 It’s the kind of HR I love to read…and I know from reading experience CL has a great voice!

  2. Thanks! 😀

    It’s a fabulous read Leontine, and I love that both hero and heroine are from different countries. Sometimes, I think it gets a little boring with the usual fare of British characters in historical romance, where most of the books are situated in London, England.

  3. This story sounds so gooooood. I’ve read a couple of excerpts and loved them both!!! I do like to find real historical characters rubbing elbows with my romantic historical fictional characters. Diana Gabaldon does this a lot with her Outlander series and I’m always looking forward to whom they will encounter next!!! Would love to be entered in your drawing for this ebook….although I don’t have an ereader yet….I read them on my laptop.

  4. I loved the eye to detail and the prose was really rich and lyrical. I think if you ever get into a funk with historicals, this book is definitely a change from the usual fare – especially the Regency set books. I think the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars in the next book is going to be great. I love that we are getting that old school vibe back with historicals. It was definitely missing with a lot of romances.

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