Seducing Mr. Heywood

Written by Jo Manning
Review by Nan Curnutt

Beautiful, wicked, seductive Lady Sophia Rowley is bored by her forced seclusion on her late husband’s country estate. Add to her boredom the fact that her children, whom she has virtually ignored since toddlerhood, are now given over to the guardianship of the local vicar, Mr. Charles Heywood. This worthy gentleman, upon first meeting Sophia, ungracefully loses his footing, tossing wine on her new gown then grasping the front of it and tearing it as he falls, thus displaying her charms. It is quite obvious to see why Lady Sophia is disgruntled. What she needs is a diversion. She invents one for herself by seeking to seduce the unworldly vicar. What she learns is that an innocent vicar can often have unconscious seductive powers of his own.

Jo Manning accomplishes the unthinkable in this, her second Regency novel, by transforming the villainess of her first novel into a heroine. Ms. Manning’s novels are peopled with multifaceted characters that seek to do good or bad according to their own set of principles. Events are most often resolved satisfactorily regardless of the machinations of these characters. The author’s historical research into the Church of England and a mathematical prodigy of the time add historical interest to this already charmingly written novel.