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Enchanting Pleasures (Anglais) Poche – 30 avril 2002

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St. James’s Square, London


Fate had just dealt Viscount Dewland a blow that would have felled a weaker, or more sympathetic, man. He gaped silently at his eldest son for a moment, ignoring his wife’s twittering commentary. But a happy thought revived him. That same wife had, after all, provided him with two male offspring.

Without further ado he spun on his heel and barked at his younger son, “If your brother can’t do his duty in bed, then you’ll do it. You can act like a man for once in your life.”

Peter Dewland was caught unawares by his father’s sudden attack. He had risen to adjust his neckcloth in the drawing-room mirror, thereby avoiding his brother’s eyes. Really, what does a man say to that sort of confession? But like his father, Peter recovered quickly from unpredictable assaults.

He walked around the end of the divan and sat down.

“I gather you are suggesting that I marry Jerningham’s daughter?”

“Of course I am!” the viscount snapped. “Someone has to marry her, and your brother has just declared himself ineligible.”

“I beg to differ,” Peter remarked with a look of cool distaste. “I have no plans to marry at your whim.”

“What in the bloody hell do you mean? Of course you’ll marry the girl if I instruct you to do so!”

“I do not plan to marry, Father. Not at your instigation nor at anyone else’s.”

“Rubbish! Every man marries.”

Peter sighed. “Not true.”

“You’ve squired about every beautiful gal that came on the market in the last six years. If you had formed a true attachment, I would not stand in your way. But since you haven’t made a move to attach yourself, you will marry Jerningham’s girl.

“You shall do as I say, boy,” the viscount bellowed. “Your brother can’t take on the job, and so you have to do it. I’ve been lenient with you. You might be in the Seventh Foot at this very moment. Have you thought of that?”

“I’d rather take a pair of colors than a wife,” Peter retorted.

“Absolutely not,” his father said, reversing himself. “Your brother’s been at the point of death for years.” Inside the drawing room, the silence swelled ominously. Peter grimaced at his elder brother, whose muscled body proclaimed his general fitness to the world at large.

Erskine Dewland, who had been staring meditatively at the polished surface of his Hessians, raised his heavy-lidded eyes from his boots to his father’s face. “If Peter is determined not to marry, I could take her on.” His deep voice fell into the silent room.

“And what’s the point of that? You can’t do the job properly, and I’m not wedding Jerningham’s daughter to . . . to . . . in that case. I’ve got principles. The girl’s got a right to expect a sound husband, for God’s sake.”

Quill, as Erskine was known to his intimates, opened his mouth again. And then thought better of it. He could certainly consummate the marriage, but it wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience. Any woman deserved more from marriage than he could offer. While he had come to terms with his injuries, especially now that they had ceased to bother his movement, the three-day migraines that followed repetitive motion made his likelihood for marital bliss very slight.

“Can’t argue with that, can you?” The viscount looked triumphantly at his eldest son. “I’m not some sort of a caper merchant, passing you off as whole goods when you’re not. Mind you, we could. The girl wouldn’t know a thing, of course, until it was too late. And her father’s turned into such a loose screw that he’s not even accompanying her out here.

“Point is,” Dewland went on, turning back to his youngest son, “the girl’s expecting to marry someone. And if it can’t be Quill, it’s got to be you. I’ll send your picture over on the next boat.”

Peter replied through his teeth, each word spaced. “I do not wish to marry, Father.”

The viscount’s cheeks reddened again. “It’s time you stopped gadding about. By God, you will do as I say!”

Peter avoided his father’s gaze, seemingly absorbed in flicking the smallest piece of lint from the black velvet collar of his morning coat. Satisfied, he returned to the subject at hand. “You seem to have misunderstood me. I refuse to marry Jerningham’s daughter.” Only the smallest tremor in his voice betrayed his agitation.

The viscountess broke in before her husband could bellow whatever response he had in mind. “ Thurlow, I don’t like your color. Perhaps we might continue this conversation at a later time? You know what the doctor said about getting overtaxed! “ “Balderdash!” the viscount protested, although he allowed his wife to pull him back onto a couch. “By George, you had better obey me, Mister Peter Dewland, or you will find yourself out the door.” The veins of his forehead were alarmingly swollen.

His wife sent a beseeching glance to her youngest son. His jaw was set in a manner that his father would have recognized, had there been a mirror in the near vicinity.

But before Peter could say a word, his father erupted out of his seat once again. “And just what am I supposed to say to this young girl who’s coming all the way over from India? Tell her that you prefer ‘not to marry her’? You planning on telling my old friend Jerningham that you decline to marry his gal?”

“That is precisely what I suggest,”Peter replied.

“And what about the money Jerningham’s lent me over the years, eh? Given it to me without a word of advice, just sent me over the blunt to do with as I like! If your brother Quill hadn’t pulled down a fortune speculating on the East India Company, Jerningham might still be lending me money. As it is, we agreed to consider it a dowry. You will marry the gal, or I’ll . . . I’ll . . .”

The viscount’s face was purple all over now, and he was unconsciously rubbing his chest. “Quill could pay back the money,” Peter suggested.

“Bloody hell! I’ve already allowed your brother to turn himself into a merchant, playing around on the Exchange, I’ll be damned if I’ll allow him to pay off my debts!”

“I don’t see why not,” Peter retorted. “He’s paid for everything else.”

“That’s enough! The only reason your brother, the only reason I allowed Erskine to take on the smell of the market was because, well, because he’s a cripple. But at least he acts his age. You’re naught but a fribble, a sprig of fashion!” As the viscount drew a breath, Quill raised his head and met his younger brother’s eyes. In the depths of Quill’s silent apology, Peter saw the manacles of marriage looming.

His father was glaring at him with all the frustration of a ruddy, boisterous Englishman whose younger son has proved to be nothing like himself. Peter cast a desperate look at his mother, but there was no help to be found.

He quailed. His stomach churned. He opened his mouth to protest, but could think of nothing to say. And finally, the habits of a lifetime’s submission took hold.

“Very well.” His voice was hollow.

Kitty Dewland rose and came to give him a grateful kiss on the cheek. “Dear Peter,” she said. “You were always my comforting one, my good child. And in truth, darling, you have escorted so many women without making an offer. I’m certain that Jerningham’s daughter will be a perfect match for you. His wife was French, you know.” In her son’s eyes there was a bleak desolation that Kitty hated to see. “Is there someone else? Is there a woman whom you were hoping to marry, darling?”

Peter shook his head.

“Well, then,” Kitty said gaily. “We will be right and tight when this girl what’s her name, Thurlow? Thurlow!” When Kitty turned around she found her husband leaning back and looking rather white. “M’chest doesn’t feel so good, Kitty,” he mumbled.

And when Kitty flew out of the drawing room, she was far too discomposed to note how odd it was that her beloved butler, Codswallop, was hovering just on the other side of the door.

“Send for Doctor Priscian,” she shrieked, and trotted back into the room.

The plump and precise Codswallop couldn’t resist taking a curious look at the elder Dewland son before he rang for a footman. It was that hard to believe. Erskine had a physique Codswallop had secretly admired: a body remarkably suited to tight pantaloons and fitted coats, the kind of body housemaids giggled about behind stairs. Must be some sort of injury to his private parts. Codswallop shuddered sympathetically.

Just then Quill turned about and looked Codswallop in the face. Quill’s eyes were a curious green-gray, set in a face stamped with lines of pain and deeply tanned. Without moving a muscle, he cast Codswallop a look that scathed him to his bones.

Codswallop scuttled back into the hall and rang for a footman. The viscount was supported off to his bedchamber, followed by his clucking wife. Young Peter bounded out the door looking like murder, followed rather more slowly by Quill, and Codswallop pulled the drawing-room doors closed with a snap. d

Some three months later, the whole affair was tied up. Miss Jerningham was due to arrive on the Plassey, a frigate sailing from Calcutta, within the week. There was one last explosion of rage on the part of the viscount when Peter announced, on the day before Miss Jerningham was due to arrive, that he was taking a long sojourn in the country.

But by supper on the fifth of September, the sullen bridegroom had taken himself off to his club rather than to Herefordshire, and Viscount Dewland repeated over stewed pigeon that the marriage would be an excellent solution to all their problems. There was an unspoken acknowledgment between Thurlow and his wife that Peter, if left to his own devices, might indeed never marry.

Revue de presse

“Another winner...delightful heroine, masterful hero, and an ingenious plot: intelligent, sexy fun.”
Kirkus Reviews

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5 71 commentaires
35 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Well-written, sensual Regency-setting 28 juillet 2002
Par curvynovelsdotinfo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
Heroine:   plump/voluptuous
   Gabrielle Jerningham is a bride being given away by her father.  Literally.  The old man, who has no love for his awkward and untidy daughter, jumps at the chance to ship her from his palace in India half-way around the world to England, where she'll marry the son of his old chum Viscount Dewlan sight-unseen.  Or nearly so.  Declaring it makes her face look too round, Gabby refuses to send a portrait of herself to her betrothed.  But the viscount sends along a miniature of his younger son Peter, whom he deems his only chance at keeping the family line secure. (Quill, his eldest, was injured in an accident some time before and believes himself unable to father children, since participating in any type of activity involving repetitive motion leaves him plagued with migraines for days afterwards.)
   Gabby, young, alone, and aching for love becomes deeply infatuated with Peter's likeness, imagining him to be a tender and soft-spoken gentleman who will cherish her from they moment they first meet.  But reality breaks her heart when she arrives in England and discovers that he is nothing more than an arrogant fop with minimal interest in the fairer sex, except where the topic of fashion is concerned.
   Quill sees that Gabby is presented with options which could only result in a lifetime of misery:  return to her hateful father in India; marriage to Peter, who is also sure to tear her down every chance he gets; or be saddled with a cripple if he should marry her himself.  The headstrong financial whiz elects to pursue the last course of action: marry the voluptuous Gabby and take her to his bed regardless of the physical consequences he knows he'll suffer.
   Gabby soon falls in love with her handsome fiancé and will risk anything to help heal his malady, even if it means deceiving him.  But is the cure worth the risk of losing the respect of the man she loves? Or even the man himself?
      What worked for me:
    Even though the main romance was an enjoyable one to follow, I personally loved the secondary romance, which had more touches of the traditional Regency novel.  I could easily have seen this storyline fleshed out as a fourth installment in the "Pleasures" series.
    Size-wise Gabby is soft and lush in the eyes of Quill, but appears overly-fleshy to his brother Peter.  For myself, I saw her as looking like Kate Winslet might if she added 20 pounds or so.
       What didn't work for me:
    Far more naive than other girls her age, Gabby's impetuous behavior was for the most part charming.  Or at least it was until the climax of the story, at which point she just seemed extremely immature by acting out in the same all-or-nothing fashion of Juliet Capulet.
    A good read for fans of sensual Regency-Setting romances who appreciate excellent writing.  Though it can stand on its own, I think folks owe it to themselves to read the two earlier books of the trilogy first.  I certainly plan on seeking them out myself.
If you liked "Enchanting Pleasures" you might also enjoy "The Last Days of a Rake", "Unmarriageable", "The Accidental Bride", "The Bride and the Beast", "The Fire-Flower", or "Suddenly You".
21 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 an enchanting read 11 juin 2001
Par tregatt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
"Enchanting Pleasures" is, I think, the best Regency romance novel that Eloisa James has written to date. And while the whole premise of Quill Dewland's illness seems a bit unbelievable to me, the story line and characters are still enjoyable and crisp, and made for riveting reading.
Viscount Dewland owes his good friend Jerningham a large sum of money, and instead of repaying the loan, which he can now do because of his eldest son's, Quill, industriousness, the Viscount has decided that his younger son, Peter, will marry Jerningham daughter, Gabrielle. (Quill quite ineligible because of an accident that makes it difficult and painful for him to perform his martial duties.) Peter is aghast: a fastidious man with firm ideas of what his wife should look and be like, he is appalled at having to marry a woman sight unseen, esp as he has no immediate desire to do so right now. However the Viscount is adamant and quite ill, and so Peter finds himself agreeing to marry Gabrielle in order to placate his father.
Of course Gabrielle Jerningham ('Gabby') is the exact antithesis of Peter's notions of the perfect woman. Gabby is a pretty, plump, warm hearted and clever young woman, whose charming manners and winning ways soon enchants everyone she meets ... except Peter. Peter only sees that his fiance is unpolished and unsophisticated, with dreadful clothes and hair that keeps falling down. Quill however finds Gabby to be absolutely captivating. However there is the small matter of his illness, and even if it were not for that, Gabby is still Peter's fiancee. In the meantime, romantical Gabby, who had fallen in love with Peter's likeness, realises that Peter is quite disappointed with her. She is resolved to try and live up to his expectations in order to win his approval, but is not quite sure of what else to do save dress more elegantly. She is also rather disconcerted to realise that Quill's mere presence seems to thrill her, and the fact that Quill seems to have an appreciation of her intelligence and warmth in a way that Peter does not. Gabby is quite confused at the turn things have taken, when news arrives that the Viscount's illness has taken a turn for the worse; Peter leaves London in order to support his mother, leaving Gabby to spend more time with Quill. What will happen? Will Quill and Gabby realise that they are meant for each other? And what of Peter?
I enjoyed "Enchanting Pleasures" especially because of Gabby Jerningham. She is such a warm hearted, intelligent, charming and straightforward young woman, and I really found myself rooting for her to find her soul mate. There are three subplots to this novel: the Gabby-Peter-Quill subplot, the finding a cure for Quill's illness subplot, and the missing Indian prince subplot. All three subplots are woven together rather well. The missing Indian prince subplot is a rather interesting and informative one, esp if you are interested in a small thumbnail sketch in what was going on in India during the early 19th century, and with the East Indian Company. I found the whole Quill's mysterious illness bit a little far fetched, but then I'm not that well informed on medical matters, and perhaps Quill's illness is probable.
"Enchanted Pleasures" is an enjoyable read. There were several instances when I found myself chuckling out loud: as when Gabby realising that neither brother really listens to her when she speaks, wonders if not really listening is an inherited trait; and when Gabby pretends to be an empty-headed young lady when she is questioned by an East Indian Army official about the missing prince's whereabouts. This is a really fun novel and made for really enchanting reading.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great finale to this wonderful Regency series 5 juin 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
In 1806 London, Viscount Dewland informs his younger child Peter that since his older son Quill is disabled and incapable of having a wife, Peter will marry the daughter of his friend Lord Jerningham. Peter refuses, insisting he will never marry. However, the Viscount turns ill as he explodes with anger because he owes his friend who lent him money without any cause or collateral except friendship. Gabrielle will be coming from India to marry Peter or else. Peter reluctantly agrees due to his father's perilous health, but plans to escape his fate.

After receiving a picture of her fiance, Gabby looks forward to marrying the gorgeous Peter. However, she fears that she will never attain the level of deployment Peter expects from a wife and activities in London soon prove her correct. Then there is also Quill, who sends her heart aflutter every time she sees him. He, in turn, decides he will marry Gabby regardless of his severe headaches or his younger sibling.

As expected from Eloisa James, ENCHANTING PLEASURES lives up to its title as fans of regency romance will receive much pleasure from this enchanting tale. The story line is fresh, but it is the characters who make the tale so crisp. Gabby is an innocent original while the two brothers are the type of male protagonists female readers want in their literature (and in their boudoir). Ms. James is a fabulous talent and her "pleasure" novels continually prove that she is heading to genre greatness.

Harriet Klausner
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Transparent plot acted out by idiots. 7 juin 2010
Par Ridley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
This was my first Eloisa James and I must admit that it doesn't make me want to try a second one of her books. It wasn't badly written, well not too badly, but the book's bra straps were totally showing.

Erskine Dewland's viscount father has arranged for Quill, as Erskine is nicknamed, to marry Gabrielle Jerningham, the daughter of a duke's younger son who has been living in India as a missionary. However, Quill's riding accident a few years back left him with a bum leg and migraines - acute three-day migraines which are triggered by horse riding and sexual congress. Unwilling to be married if he can't be a true husband, his father compels Quill's younger brother Peter to marry her instead, much to Peter's consternation.

Thus begins a sort of comedy of errors.

Gabrielle has grown up in India in an extremely sheltered home and is utterly ignorant of English rules of decorum and social skills in general. Her frequent gaffes, clumsy moments and misjudgements are meant to be humorous, I suppose, but I found them grating. I didn't understand why she wouldn't ask for guidance or quietly observe how others behaved if she truly wanted to impress the propriety-focused Peter as she said she did.

So we stumble along the romantic love triangle plot, an odd sub-plot involving smuggling a young heir to an Indian throne and a seemingly random sub-plot romance between a male character whose presence in the novel is never explained and woman who's connected to Gabby in a loose friend of a friend sort of way. I can't for the life of me imagine what the extra romance sub-plot was included to show, but the prince smuggling was very obviously to show how very super clever Gabby is. Hello plot? Your slip is sticking out a bit there in the back.

There are a number of rather heavy handed moments like this. Gabby's friend Sophie must have been a heroine of an earlier novel, as we're given a wealth of info about her and her husband that does little to advance this plot. She's also unreasonably loyal and perfect as a friend. I get it. She's Sophie's friend. There's no need to make her a total Mary Sue to make the point.

It's evident fairly early on that Peter is gay. Not only gay, but romance novel gay - obsessed with fashion, parties and gossip. He does not want to marry the ungainly Gabby at all - dismissing her as uncultured, clumsy and chubby - and treats her unfeelingly. His POV shows a callous, selfish man rather than a sympathetic outsider caught up in unfortunate circumstances. As we spend a fair amount of time with him, it's a downer to not be able to empathize with him. And again, we get it, he doesn't want to marry Gabby, he didn't have to be a total jerk about it. He is one of many unsympathetic characters in this novel.

And, to be honest, Gabby was wholly unlikeable herself. I can't abide a liar, and Gabby can't tell the truth or keep a promise. Quill makes her promise not to buy crazy remedies to try to cure his migraines, as he's tried them all and has just accepted the migraines are a part of him. So what does she do? She slips him a dangerous medication because she loves him and knows what's best for him. James does not even begin to torture her nearly enough to redeem her for that violation.

Quill was pretty much the only likeable character in the book. He's crippled by a riding accident, but gets on with it, refusing to dwell on what he can't change. When he sees how miserable Peter and Gabby would be, and he acknowledges how much he likes Gabby himself, he sets out to marry Gabby - three-day nausea-filled migraines be damned. He's honest, responsible and sensitive. He's also surrounded by idiots.

Sad to say I disliked the book. Entirely too transparent a plot, too much telling, plot exposition in dialog and unlikeable characters team up to make me a sad panda indeed.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sweet 11 juin 2001
Par Huntress Reviews - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Gabrielle ("Gabby") Jerningham was sent from her father in India to marry the man due to gain the title of Viscount Dewland. Even though the oldest son was named Erskine ("Quill"), she was to marry the younger son named Peter. Quill had a head injury some years ago and rhythm, for any amount of time (such as making love or horseback riding), caused him to suffer a severe migraine for the next 3-5 days. Therefore, he was considered lame. If a man could not make love to a wife, then he could not have a child, or heir. So Peter would have to marry Gabby.
Peter was considered perfect by the Ton. He found Gabby to be too talkative, have too curvy a figure, and no sense of style. In fact, he disliked everything about her. Quill thought just the opposite of Gabby and was determined to claim her himself! Her love was worth anything, including nauseating migraines!
At the same time, the East India Trading Company and England's Foreign Affairs believed Gabby knew the whereabouts of the missing Indian Prince, Kao Rasi. Kao was only 10 years old and was to be a pawn in the Indian government. Gabby would never reveal she knew where Kao was or her part in his disappearance.
*** No gripping suspense, just a sweet love story. I felt the urge to slap the hero and heroine often though. The co-characters, Lady Sophie and Lady Sylvia, were a delight! I often found myself smiling or chuckling at them. This one is not the author's best work, but still highly enjoyable. ***
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