The Subtleties of Seduction
Reviewed by Bernhard H. Kuhn
In David Orsini’s novella The Subtleties of Seduction, a boat race on Newport, Rhode Island waters during the summer of 1920 initiates a scenario of scandal, malice, and duplicity. Linda Maguire, a young woman who has always subdued her wilder impulses, becomes infatuated with Ryan Turner, a reckless nineteen-year-old youth. Linda’s engagement to Steven Bradford, a war hero and a promising lawyer, complicates her feelings for the two men. One afternoon, because she wants to be in the company of both men at the same time, she urges her fiancé to accept Ryan’s challenge to a sailboat race. But she is dismayed when Tracy, her younger sister, joins Ryan in the boat which he will be navigating. Instantly, she understands that Ryan and Tracy are lovers and that Ryan was merely playing a game with her when he roused her need for him. Ryan and Tracy have, in fact, devised the scenario of the boat race so that they can be alone together. What finally happens to Ryan and Tracy takes the rebellious couple as well as Linda by surprise.