Art Of Seduction Paperback – Jan 30 2007
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Painter Mason Caldwell is devastated when her work isn't accepted for the 1899 exhibition. Believing all is lost, she wanders around Paris during a rainstorm and ends up jumping into the Seine in an attempt to prevent a woman from committing suicide. Her effort fails, and she leaves Paris to recover from her ordeals. When she returns, she finds that once she was believed dead, her art became all the rage. So she decides to remain dead, pretending to be a fictional sister named Amy. She soon meets a man who, for all his charm, may be intent on unmasking her as a fraud. O'Neal's latest imaginative romance combines sensuality with a look at the dark side of the art world. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"[A] dramatic story that is both sensuous and spinetingling...Superb."
"One of the most brilliant debut novels to come along in many months. Powerfully written, sophisticated, well researched, highly romantic."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
First disappointment? This is supposed to be a romance--eg; the novel is to chronicle the developing romantic relationship of the h/h from first meeting to "HEA". Mason and Richard supposedly fell in love with one another between their first two trysts. From then on, the story is taken over not by a sensual cat-and-mouse game between the liar, Mason, and the secretive Richard, but by a series a scenes that consist of Mason snooping around to find out who Richard is and keeping her pretense alive despite the suspicions of the police.
Which would be fine plotting in and of itself had both Mason and Richard possesed their own POV--with the exception of two small chapters, the entire book is through Mason's POV, and since she spends most of her time covering her tracks, living her life, etc, etc, (and many scenes do not feature Richard.) Combine that with the over-the-top secondary characters, the very awkward dialogue, the vague setting of 1889 Paris, and lack of true character development, and you've got this very disappointing novel.
While O'Neal is well-known for her sexually adventurous heroines, exotic settings and high-action/adventure quotient, The Art of Seduction falls flat. For the best (IMO) of O'Neal, try The Last Highwayman and Princess of Thieves.
As Amy reaps the benefit of her late sibling's masterpieces, art expert Richard Garrett feels something is off kilter with the grieving relative who does not act like she mourns a loss as she enters the most closed galleries in the world. Richard also has issues with Amy's seemingly endless supply of the late Mason's works. He plans to learn the truth behind the meteoric rise of the dead artist and this suddenly surfaced sibling, but he finds himself in a chess game with a master while his heart betrays him.
Mindful of the Dick van Dyke-James Garner 1960s movie The Art of Love, THE ART OF SEDUCTION is a delightful erotic charmer starring two antagonists falling in love. The story line is a fast-paced cat and mouse game mostly overlooking the Seine as Richard tries to prove that Mason's death is a sham while Amy attempts to thwart his advances. Readers will enjoy their gender war, but to know who is right requires reading about the garret in the artist not the artist in the garret.