Warning: This book earns a flaming hot, chili on fire!
This is a historical romance set in England. Martha, the lead heroine, is recently widowed. If she does not produce an heir, her estate will go to her late husband’s brother, an abusive man who formerly raped the servants. To protect the people who live in her household, she devises a plan to conceive a child and pass it off as her late husband’s heir. A man is needed for this, unfortunately for Martha, because she has no particular interest in the actual act. Regardless, she approaches Theo, a new neighbor known for his exploits with women to help with her scheme. She will learn that Theo isn’t the player everyone assumes, and that with respect, love will often follow.
A Lady Awakened is getting a lot of hype and I had to give it a try. It was, quite frankly, the best historical romance I’ve read this year. It is endorsed by Mary Balogh, one of my favorite romance authors. I have read more than one negative review on this book and wanted to write with each one, “What is wrong with you people?” They don’t like that Martha isn’t fawning all over the hero---but I loved that! The book is highly sensual; hence the chili pepper on fire rating, but those scenes drive the story. Martha is looking at Theo as a chore to achieve a goal, and he eventually gives up trying to seduce her and just performs the act, but as he proves that he is worthy of her respect that all changes.
I enjoyed the fact that the characters are country land owners and not dukes and princes, and that the author included concerns of a community of that time era. It was a smart read, emotionally driven, and lovely. I couldn’t put it down. From a feminist perspective who loves the romance genre, I think this would be an interesting discussion. There is one minor addition I think would have strengthened the heroine’s motivation at the end, and if it’s voted in we will discuss! :D All and all, it really was a great read.
I have nominated it for this month’s vote.
"a book group member"