July 16, 2013
Watch out! It's the flexing finger hero!
You know keddoes, about half way through A Woman Entangled, I noticed that our hero,
Now on to the book. I was very excited when A Woman Entangled was released. I have been very impressed with Cecilia Grant's writing, especially her book, A Lady Awakened. Through her writing, she has managed to energize some old plot lines, so I was looking forward to being led down an interesting path when I opened this story. Well, it didn't take me long to find a character I hated and loved at the same time.
Let me introduce you to Kate Westbrook, a really hard heroine to like. Kate wanted more than what she had. She wanted it more than anything in the world; it's sort of an obsession with her. You see, her father was born into aristocracy, but because he fell in love with an actress and then married her, his noble family turned their collective backs on him. However, Kate's parents have provided her and her siblings with a loving household. The Westbrook’s actually reminded me a little of the Bennett family, except the Westbrook’s cared for each other. But Kate wants more. She yearns for a life that she doesn't know the first thing about. She has created all of these fantasies about how wonderful it would be to be accepted in her father's old world. She is ashamed, she is resentful, she is embarrassed, she is sad, she is jealous of the wealthy elite world of which she can never be a part. Like all heroines, she has a plan, a purely selfish plan, but a plan nonetheless. Unbeknownst to her parents, she has been in communication with her father's family over the years. Just little notes, a best to you note here, a congratulations note there. She just knows that someday his family will say, "sure come on over and have some grub with us." Well, that moment happens, not the grub part, but along the lines of "come over and see my magnificent home" invite. Imagine her chagrin when her aunt explains to Kate that she is good enough to be a companion. Kate's world does a little collapsing at this point. Eventually, her vision clears and she realizes that not everything that glitters is gold. Kate is a really unlikeable person. Most of the problems that she faces are those that she has created for herself. Only occasionally does she show any redeeming qualities and those are with her sister Rose and her new friend Louisa. I think I would have liked Kate better if it hadn't taken her soooooo long to see the beauty of her own world. Then there is her treatment of the finger guy, Nick.
Nick, our hero, also has problems. If you've read the other books in this series, you will remember Nick as the third brother, and he has cut his brother Will out of his life. Remember Will married the courtesan - evidently that isn't good for one's family or career. So, Nick spends quite a lot of pages grumbling about the loss of business due to his brother's action - accompanied by an occasional twinge of guilt. Throw into all of this angst his past/present association with Kate. Kate, who I forgot to mention is beautiful with a capital B. Nick and Kate have a past of sorts; you see, Nick made the mistake of falling in love with Kate, then attempting to propose marriage to her. Little did he know that he wasn't good enough for Kate. He is a mere working man, a barrister just starting out. She wanted a lord, so she dumped all over his feelings. However, he has moved on, sort of. Over the years he has become a permanent fixture in Westbrook family's household - like a brother. Of course, we who have read countless romance novels know that brother thing never works out. But for me, as a couple Nick and Kate worked better as friends than a romance couple.
There was way too much time spent on exploring Kate's self-indulgent dreams and Nick's guilt that this couple didn't have time to build any chemistry. The whanky-roo when it shows up, while exuberant, seemed out of place. And supposedly innocent Kate exhibited no signs of shyness while participating in the big bounce. In the end, I didn't care whether they ended up together or not. I was really more interested in some of the secondary characters in the book: Vi, Kate's brash sister; Kate's friend, Louisa; and Lord Barclay. The Westbrook's had a number of interesting siblings and I'm hoping the author spends more time exploring this family.
Overall, I love Cecelia Grant's writing and I do recommend all three books in the Blackshear series. It's just this one had the weakest couple.
Time/Place: Early Victorian England
Sensuality: Hot, not sensual