Sir Tobias Aldridge was left at the altar, and to make matters worse, his ex-fiancée, Sophia, has returned to London with a new husband on her arm. Toby vows to humiliate her just as she humiliated him. His plan changes, however, when he spots Isabel Grayson at a ball, and he decides that rather than humiliating Sophia, he will humiliate the whole Grayson family by making Isabel fall in love with him, only to jilt her.
Isabel Grayson has come to London with her brother and new sister-in-law. A pious and conscientious woman, Isabel quickly realizes that the fastest way to be able to restart her charity work is to marry a member of Parliament: this way, she’ll become a Lady of Persuasion, and she’ll be able to do her charity work. When Toby introduces himself to her, she agrees to let Toby help her find the perfect husband, not realizing that the perfect man is already in front of her.
A Lady of Persuasion is the last of Tessa Dare’s loosely-connected trilogy. What makes the third installment of a trilogy great is that it wraps up all of the loose ends introduced in the previous volumes. In this respect, A Lady of Persuasion does not disappoint. Because it takes place over the course of several months, and the characters in the previous books are connected to Toby and Isabel, the reader gets to see how both Sophia and Gray, and Lucy and Jeremy are faring. We also get a secondary romance featuring Josiah, Gray’s intriguing half-brother.
While I enjoyed these elements of A Lady of Persuasion, I did not particularly enjoy Isabel and Toby’s story. I didn’t mind that Toby introduces himself to Bel for less than honorable reasons, but I found it unforgivable that he keeps up the pretense for as long as he does. I also understand the reason for Bel’s piety, and on some level find it refreshing to see a virgin heroine who doesn’t take to sex like a fish to water. At the same time, I found I didn’t have a lot of patience for some of Bel’s hangups.
Overall, for as much as I enjoyed Surrender of a Siren, I was highly disappointed in A Lady of Persuasion and found that by the middle of the book, I was reading because I was interested in the secondary characters, not because I particularly cared about Toby or Bel. A Lady of Persuasion was a disappointment for me, but I still enjoy Tessa Dare’s writing.