January 5, 2015
"You can do side bends or sit-ups, but please don't lose that butt." - SirMixaLot
Yes, yes I confess! I was surfing the Barnes and Noble website when the cover of What a
Lady Demands caught my eye. It's really quite a cheesy cover but, hey, my eyes just couldn't look away from the firm butt packed in those tight white pants. So, what could a girl do? I bought the book. See, sometimes book covers do sell - you just never know.
What a Lady Demands is the second in The Eton Boys trilogy and it probably would have helped a bit if I had read the first in the series. There are parts of this story that are not meant for a standalone novel. There seems to be a large back story for our heroine, Cecelia Sanford, and that back story wasn't fully explored, so at times I had hard time understanding Cecelia's motivation. Because of this missing part I didn't have a clear understanding of Cecelia's need to hide from her brother, and that was irritating. It should not have been necessary for me to read the first story in the series to catch on to what made Cecelia click.
Nonetheless, I did like the Cecelia we are presented with in this book. She is an endearing character who has some dark secrets. (By the way, those dark secrets were more titillating than anything else and didn't really add much to the story.)
I found the first half of the book enjoyable; however, the last part of the story lost its sparkle when all the doom-and-gloom secrets are revealed. Between Cecelia and our hero, Lindenherst, there is plenty of guilt, angst, and lies hanging over their heads - maybe too much. Spoiler alert.
I believe I would have liked the second half of the tale better if Lindenherst hadn't been so stubborn and persistent with his revenge. I also had a problem with his treatment of his son. His demeanor toward Jeremy was not hero-like. He was cold, disproving, and unloving to the boy. At first, I didn't know if he was cold to the child because Jeremy had some kind of disability or, as I suspected, because Jeremy wasn't his son. For me it didn't matter what his reason; his treatment of a very endearing child was atrocious.
What saved the story for me was the relationship between Cecelia and Jeremy. Cecelia is able to break through Jeremy's wall of pain to the child beneath who is desperately seeking his father's love. I just wish Lindenherst had been more deserving of Jeremy's idolization. However, this story is a romance and the strongest chemistry should be between Cecelia and Lindenherst, not Cecelia and Jeremy.
Villains: Let's talk about the two men in this book who were villains - two villains - one for the hero and one for the heroine. The heroine's villain, Eversham, is a handsome, sensual sleaze ball and is truly a villain. The hero's villain, Battencliffe, happens to be his ex-friend and one of the Eton boys. Battencliffe is handsome, selfish and has a long way to go to become a redeemable honorable hero. He is also the one who Lindenherst is seeking revenge against. I also have to say that at one point in this book our true villain, Eversham, is leaning against a fence. Now, I admit I have a thing for guys in romance books leaning against things. I don't care if it's a wall, fence, fireplace, horse, chair, there is just something about that action that is very sensual. And, in this book when the author propped up the villain against a fence, my little heart went pitter-pat. Be careful, authors, when using a stance mostly reserved for heroes; it may make the villainy harder to grasp. As far as Battencliffe, I have to say the author has created a pretty intense bad boy for her next hero. He is hardly honorable, incredibly selfish, so it should be interesting to see how Ms. Macnamara does it.
Overall, What a Lady Demands was a story that could have been so much more. The first part of the story was lovely with a strong heroine and an angst-filled hero. What started as a strong beginning was lost in the revenge plot and an over-the-top villain in the second half. I was disappointed the second part didn't live up to the promise of the first. This could have been an outstanding romance if not for the revenge/blackmail distraction of the second part.
Time/Place: Regency England