Reader Reviews

Swoon is a bit like Robert Greene’s ‘The Art of Seduction’ because it backs up its assertions with examples from history (such as Lord Byron and Gabriele D’Annunzio) and from romantic fiction. It goes even a few step further by including tales from modern-day Casanovas, historical love texts (Ovid’s works and Kama Sutra), and various religions.

Swoon isn’t a book that teaches you how to get laid. (Although it can lead to that.) It is not a step-by-step manual for finding love. (Although you can learn how to by reading between the lines.) It is deeper than that. It shows you how you can win a woman’s heart. And once you capture her heart, you capture her body, mind, and soul.”
Alex Ding, blog

“I just finished reading Seductress.  I really enjoyed it. [Betsy Prioleau]’s book made quite an impression.  I have been telling anyone within 10 yards all about it ever since I started it.  She is such a fabulous writer and if her goal was to inspire 21st century ladies to discover and own their sexual charisma, she definitely inspired me.  Also, I love any book with such a wealth of insane anecdotes–the women she chose lived large in the truest sense.  Next up: Swoon.”                                                                                                                                                      —Ellen Charles, reader

“Prioleau has not only done a lot of pretty interesting contemporary research; she’s also studied science, history, and culture to paint us a portrait of the guy most likely to win hearts. Her choices are sometimes, but not always expected, and include Casanova himself, Lord Byron, Albert Camus, Mick Jagger, and Ashton Kutcher. Prioleau concludes that we need more of these Romeos today, and dedicates the book to her husband, Philip.”
Women Around Town blog

“The book Swoon by Betsy Prioleau examines this type of man. She writes that the great seducers are not necessarily the type that evolution would choose for a ladies’ man. He may not be the most attractive or fit, he may not be stable or faithful. But he has that je ne sais quoi. You can’t put your finger on it.”
Single Gal Starting Over blog

“In Betsy Prioleau’s excellent and surprisingly comprehensive book, Swoon, she examines what characteristics make a man a lady killer from way back in history to today.”
Lorenzo Baccalà blog

Brilliantly researched, witty and deliciously sexy, Swoon is recommended to all aspiring seducers and the lucky women who will undoubtedly and most willingly swoon into their bliss.”
Enchanted by Josephine blog

Slam-dunk, we have a winner! Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them is the most enjoyable of the seduction books to hit the shelves recently.”
Thesy Surface in Los Angeles blog

“Using modern psychological research, biographies and interviews of actual renowned seducers, and examples from modern romance novels to illustrate what women actually want, Prioleau elucidates the features that the majority of these men possess which keep women enthralled. The romance reader will find many common themes in terms of the personality traits of their favorite heroes, but the romance writer can mine numerous ideas from the data and the examples she offers.”
Tori MacAllister blog

Swoon is a fun, frothy look at the myth and reality of lady killers or Casanova’s from the dawn of time to the 21st century… This is a book that the men of the world desperately need to read, if they want to learn what it is that women really want from a man in a relationship.”
Scandalous Women blog

“Swoon is a wonderful book that examines aspects of men and women and what makes our hearts flutter and why.”
Jenny Loves to Read blog

“Quick, highly informative and quite witty. Prioleau is able to insert her own dry humor into stories of love lost and won.”
Book Addict Katie blog

“The book Swoon by Betsy Prioleau was a captivating and fickle read. I never knew of so many words for a lady-killer.”
Thoughtful Impressions blog

“Swoon does exactly what it says it’s going to and delves into the traits that seem to attract women to what are known as ladies’ men… Prioleau has done her research!… She breaks down previous stereotypes of the common bad boy womanizer and uncovers that most sought after men actually love and respect women, have wonderful relationships with their mothers and sisters, and that the brain might just be the sexiest organ alive!”
— The Blog of Litwits

“This one hits the mark — I’ve been shoving it at people all around me and yammering about Prioleau’s assertions and ideas.  Those who enjoy popular non-fiction on sex, society, and human behavior will likely dig this one!”
Unabridged Chick blog

Swoon provides a fascinating hypothesis that ladies men truly love women and give them what they really want… I found Swoon thought provoking. I agree with many of the suppositions presented. In fact, I will probably think about it a great deal for the next few days. I would recommend this book for those who want to take a more intellectual look at romance, sex, and what women really want.”
Literally Jen blog

“There is no doubt about it, this book is full of incredible historical information about leading men throughout time. The amount of research that went into this book was immediately apparent. Dozens of books, movies, and historical figures are discussed at length, dissecting various qualities and aspects of seduction.”
Tiffany’s Bookshelf blog

“As a former romance editor, I was immediately intrigued when I heard about this book… I particularly enjoyed the range of subjects the author investigates…”
Staircase Wit blog

“This book was definitely interesting…. I really liked how the book was divided into different segments. Prioleau uses each segment to explore a different characteristic that could add to the success of the great seducer. He should be a good talker, a good listener, and have a litany of other characteristics in order to be a good seducer. It was really fascinating to see how Prioleau broke it down.”
A Bookish Affair blog

“I think you will find a remarkable and noteworthy read in Swoon.”
— Patricia’s Wisdom blog

“This was an interesting read. I enjoyed seeing which Casanovas the author chose to share with us. ”
— A Chick Who Reads blog

“Prioleau takes quite an academic perspective when looking at the “ladies’  man”…who he was, is and even will be in the future… There are definitely some lessons to learn here for men and women.”
Peppermint Ph.D. blog

“Betsy Prioleau has taken it upon herself to untangle what it is that makes us swoon… But, my favorite part of what she’s done in her book, Swoon, is to list novels under which we can find characters exhibiting the traits women find so alluring.”
Dolce Bellezza blog 

“I read Swoon in the hope that some of its subjects would even slightly resemble me. I loved the book anyway.”
Andy Borowitz, comedian and New York Times best-selling author

“Betsy Prioleau’s witty and compelling book is a fresh take on the question of what women want. I wholly agree with her thesis that the true seducer is not the swaggering Don Juan of myth and melodrama, but the ordinary-looking man who likes, loves, and listens to women.”
Molly Haskell, author of Frankly, My Dear: Gone with the Wind Revisted

“Betsy Prioleau’s vivacious prose grabs the reader, as does her marvelous wit, her insight into sexual desire, and her extraordinary research. It’s a fascinating, very sexy read, especially her interviews with great lovers of today who detail why they’re so successful in their seduction of women.”
Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of Letter from a Stranger

Swoon is a revelatory—and revolutionary—work that radically expands our understanding of human desire and unveils the mysteries surrounding passionate love. Prioleau answers Freud’s vexed question: “What do women want?” It is also a profound cultural history of eros with evocative case studies of great seducers. The reader of this remarkable book will be happily seduced and enlightened.”
Peter J. Buckley, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

“How did we forget what women really want? Men who pulse with vitality, who enjoy female company, who give great conversation, whose sheer ardor compels our surrender—as Betsy Prioleau reminds us in her beautifully written, deeply researched, and desperately needed rediscovery of the men who make us ‘Swoon.’”
Gail Sheehy, author of Sex and the Seasoned Woman

“I came to know and love Betsy Prioleau‘s work long before I wrote my first book… I am fairly clamoring for the book she has out today – Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them – in part because I know it’s going to be another fascinating look at an undiscussed part of history, and in part because (and this will come as a surprise, I’m sure) I love a rake. I love a scoundrel. I love a rogue. I’m a swooner.”
— Sarah MacLean, New York Times best-selling historical romance author

A study of the great ladies men of history. I was surprised that they were not all rich and good looking. These were only men that loved spending time with women, not ones that just used women like Mystery and JFK.”
— Spyrunner, a reader and member of

“On the long plane ride to New Zealand, I devoured Swoon. Absolutely FANTABULOUS! I look forward to more of your delicious writing in which so many truths are love-bombed into our psyches– finally!”
Mahima Joishy, a reader

“What a fun read!  And what a talent you are!  Fascinating and  exciting!!
Dennis St. Germain, a reader

“What a great book–you immediately pull the reader in for a marvelous  journey that encompasses fantastic scholarship in so many  fields.  Bravo!  Love your humor and so enjoyed those who were  interviewed.  You provide such insightful commentary while bringing many  smiles to your readers.”
Sue Rosen, a reader

“I finished Swoon to my great delight.  What a  triumph–collecting, reading, and organizing your material in such a lively and  scholarly way.”
Judy Webb, a reader

“Betsy Prioleau in her book Swoon also makes an interesting point on why giving men physical gifts can be particularly tricky …”
 Gave That: The Gift of Giving blog

“The end of the semester has brought the long-delayed pleasure of finishing Swoon. It’s a terrific book, learned, funny, and humane. I found myself genuinely liking your gallery of seducers past and present: whatever their faults might be, these guys are “life-enhancing,” to borrow Berenson’s term. You show us that the greatest lesson for the would-be seducer is simply this: pay attention.  And this is a lesson that might be applied with profit to many domains of life.”
Robert Harrist, an art professor at Columbia University

Critical Reviews

What makes a ladies’ man?  A new book reveals the secrets of successful seducers.” – The Independent

Betsy Prioleau may be an academic, but she writes like a dream… Swoon is sharp, sexy and completely engrossing.”BookPage

“With exceptional vocabulary and bright prose,”  Prioleau offers “a thoroughly researched, irresistible, accessible look at ladies’ men.”Library Journal starred review

 “With wit and erudition, Prioleau cuts through the cultural lore and reveals who these master lovers really are and the arts they practice to enswoon women. What she discovers is revolutionary. Using evidence from science, popular culture, fiction, anthropology, and history, and from interviews with colorful real-world ladykillers, Prioleau finds that great seducers share a constellation of unusual traits.” Bookish

“Swoon doesn’t conform to the dreay do-gooding of the worst of self-help literature.  Instead, Prioleau offers a romp through centuries of amorous lisisons and seduction techniques.  If you are willing to be seduced into some entertaining badinage, it is worth a read.”— Sunday Times UK review

“Es la cabeza, y su ‘pico de oro’, lo que las enamora.”
El Mundo (in Spanish)

“You can’t mistake men with that ‘wow’ factor. They phosphoresce, they crackle, they create a whirlpool of sexual allure that sucks in every woman in sight. But how? And why? A new book explores the mysterious mojo of the master seducers. “Telegraph Weekend Magazine

“The ladykillers: Casanova inspires men to seduce with charisma not cheesy chat-up lines.” –The Daily Express

The myth of the six-pack is popped in a new book by New York-based cultural historian Betsy Prioleau. Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them looks at what really attracts women. –The Irish Examiner

“After writing a book about famous female seductresses, which exposed an intellectually compelling woman with the ability to land – and keep – the best men, Prioleau set out to discover their counterpart. In her new book, Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them, she describes notorious Casanovas as unexpected lovers with a true appreciation for the opposite sex.” Cupid’s Pulse

“In Swoon, Betsy Prioleau sifts through history and fiction to prove that the use of “Casanova” as a slur against self-serving lotharios sullies the name of an apparently moral man who was simply envied for being so appealing.”
 Psychology Today

“Prioleau outlines the many traits that make classic ladies’ men irresistible; provides copious examples from throughout history, literature and modern culture; and rails against the romance-repelling pick-up scene of recent years.” Secrets of a Don JuanNew York Post

“This book argues ”the mind is the biggest erogenous zone” and praises the art of conversation… Besides studying historical rakes like Lord Byron and Potemkin, Catherine the Great’s lover, for her book, Prioleau also met with ordinary men that did extremely well with the ladies.”Secrets of Seduction: Why don’t need to be George Clooney to make women ‘Swoon’-ey,  New York Daily News

“A witty and well-researched investigation into the true nature of the ladies’ man… the book will appeal equally to men. But for women, Swoon presents a dazzling parade of lovers who embody what women want, which isn’t always what we’re told or what one might expect.” The Miami Herald

Swoon grabs you from the very beginning.  It’s everything you want to know about the great lovers in history.  Definitely a sexy read, Swoon will have you admitting that yes! this really is what women want- from way back,  and that there really is a recipe for love… The writing is of superb and impeccable taste… Brilliantly researched, witty and deliciously sexy, Swoon is recommended to all aspiring seducers and the lucky women who will undoubtedly and most willingly swoon into their bliss.”

“A smart, entertaining look at enduring objects of women’s desire, from Casanova and Lord Byron to Mick Jagger and Ashton Kutcher. Key trait: They really adore women.”— Notable: Books of Love for Valentine’s Day Tampa Bay Times

 Swoon: How to Be a Modern-Day Casanova,

Won’t You Be Your Own Valentine?Chicago Tribune

3 Books to Swoon Over, Bethanne Patrick, AARP Blog

Swoon & Seductress.” Aside from being the professor who had the greatest impact on me and introduced me to so many great works, her books are amazing.” Jessica Collins Redding’s HamletHub

“An amusing and informative history of Lotharios… The text leaps effortlessly from philosophers to academics to real people, putting Sumerian fertility gods in conversation with Casanova.Barnes & Noble Review

“A fun, frothy complement to cultural historian Prioleau’s Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World (2003)… A merrily readable literary history/dating manualKirkus Reviews

“Prioleau’s breathless prose makes for a fast read…” Chicago Tribune

“From Lord Bryon to Ashton Kuthcher, Prioleau examines ladies’ men throughout history and discusses why it is that women were and are so attracted to them. This book is the perfect read for the woman who is looking for something fun and informative, and it offers answers to some age old questions about attraction.”Sheen magazine

“Hanky-panky is American slang for doing what comes naturally. In this Valentine’s Day week, I offer you Swoon, a book about great seducers and why women love them — one I knocked off in an afternoon. Written by Betsy Prioleau, it is her second to deal with hanky-panky. (Her first, Seductress, examined history’s most powerful sirens.)”
The Spectator

“Prioleau covers her bases… For those reading the book for more than its entertainment value, the credibility her research loans the work is a boon. It is also rather unusual to encounter a book that is enjoyable on both sensual and cerebral

Fun… A man looking to unleash his inner Casanova could find some good tips.”
Boston Globe

Swoon is an enjoyable book with much to teach the men of the world about women.  While the bad news is that one has to be born a ladies’ man, the good news is that we can all learn to become better.”

 “In two sections, “Anatomy of the Great Seducers” and “The Seducer’s Way,” Prioleau introduces the men women have adored and then analyzes why women love them, pursue them and never forget them… this deliciously gossipy book offers persuasive answers to that old question: What do women want?”Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A closer look at the Lotharios, Casanovas and ladykillers who have dominated female fantasies throughout history… doubles as a dating manual with tips on how to protect one’s self from these nightmarish guys. ”
Fresh 102.7 (CBS Radio)

Seductress: Ageless Advice for Bold Women, Deirdre Donahue, USA Today, November 3 2003

Books of the Times; Stop Purring, Ladies, and Pounce, Janet Maslin, The New York Times, December 5 2003

Grays’ Anatomy, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Dan Neil, February 11 2007