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Monday, November 17, 2014

ARC Review: What a Lady Demands by Ashlyn Macnamara

What a Lady Demands is the second book in the Eton Boys trilogy. Old friends Sandford, Lindenhurst and Battencliff have had a severe rift in their friendships. This story centers on Lindenhurst and Sandford’s younger sister, Cecilia.

In What a Lady Demands we find two considerably damaged characters. The way they have dealt with their disastrous pasts are on two completely different ends of the spectrum. Ashyln Macnamara has presented quite a few uncommon twists that I haven’t seen in a Historical Romance.

At first Cecilia Sandford seems like a spoiled ‘on the shelf’ debutante when she applies to Viscount Lindenhurst for the governess positon for his son, Jeremy. We gradually learn that she has had a dreadful past. One in which I’d never have thought she’d have survived as well as did. She is a very resilient, independent, courageous woman. She has tried to overcome her past and not dwell on the bad.

Richard Blakewell, Viscount Lindenhurst, is an angry, revengeful, uncompassionate, and strict military man. He requires his servants to have very high morals. I can honestly say I couldn’t stand him and he was very hard to warm up to. Even after we learn how and why his wife betrayed him, I did not see him as a victim. I felt more sorrowful for poor Battencliff than I did for Lind.

Jeremy, is a tragically sad little boy. He’s lost his mother and then lost multiple governesses’ because his father has sent them packing due to a lack of progress on teaching him to read and write. (he’s only FIVE!) Cecilia becomes his best advocate and stands toe to toe with Richard several times to Jeremy’s benefit.

The fireworks between Lind and Cecilia start almost from the first. They both try to resist as they’ve both been burned in past relationships. Sensual and steamy, when they connect their passion leaps off the page. When Lin finally gives in to the attraction for Cecelia, we see an emotional thawing alter his character. “You haven’t had a champion for years. Your father died when you were still in the schoolroom and your brother was gone. Who is going to protect you from … if I do not?” My heart melted for Lind right then!

I loved how Cecilia stood up to Richard and didn’t back down on anything she felt so strongly about. The title, What a Lady Demands, certainly fits this novel. When Lind suggests marriage she replies with “When I’m not even suitable to act as your governess, because I’m so scandalous and impure, but you’re still willing to marry me?” I cheered her on! It really shows how much he really cares for her despite his attempt otherwise.

Ashlyn Macnamara has given us a message through this story of revenge, redemption and recovery. Love only flourishes when you can compromise. Revenge is never the answer. It will only come back on you. I truly enjoyed this novel.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

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