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review 2016-07-16 00:00
A Gentleman Undone. Cecilia Grant
A Gentleman Undone. Cecilia Grant - Cecilia Grant Lydia Slaughter is a kept woman but if she could only get together some more money she could be her own woman, she uses her gift for numbers at the gaming tables and crosses paths with Will Blackshear, when the two of them join forces things could be very different.

There were portions of this that rankled a bit.
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review 2016-06-25 00:00
A Lady Awakened
A Lady Awakened - Cecilia Grant This is one I really enjoyed, the romance was a slow burn that just worked for me.
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review 2015-12-27 00:00
A Lady Awakened
A Lady Awakened - Cecilia Grant Much to my surprise, I finished this book and liked it well enough. Praise the Lord I have finally broken out of my 2 stars book phase, however temporarily, we shall see.

Ms Grant's style isn't showy. A lot of hints you cannot miss and a clever use of undertone which gives you just enough to appreciate the scene without being overtly obvious. I liked that, especially in the first 40%. Theo's internal dialogue made me literally laughed out loud. Oh what is a man to do when treated like a stud animal!

I however, cannot say that I like all the talks about tenants and agriculture. I skim-read whenever Theo and Martha visited the tenants and the pastor. I know this was supposed to build up Theo as the dependable man that Martha wanted him to be. But I was bored whenever they are out of the bedroom (shame shame).

And the bedroom. I don't think the sex was very hot. There certainly are a lot of it, since Theo was really supposed to be the stud. The sex scenes are rather uncomfortable, but I expected this entire business to be uncomfortable so I thought that was how it should be. I would be appalled if all of a sudden they have some earth-shattering sex because "it must be love". I would have thrown up in my mouth I think. However awkward the sex scenes are, this is where they got to know each other, the bedroom had my attention, unlike all the tenant visits and talks about dairy products and agriculture.

Overall, I liked the writing and will read from the writer again. The lead characters in this book do not have a lot of chemistry between them but somehow their relationship did not require that. Once Theo supposedly fell in love with Martha, well, chemistry mattered less and esteem took over. So somehow it worked for them. Ms Grant was very successful in painting Theo out to be a playful character. Their initial meeting at the church where Ms Grant wrote about Theo breaking out a smile when he met Martha's eyes, I could see the scene in my mind, very cleverly done. I know some reviewers did not like Martha. I can only say that I did not mind her, which is a feat itself because normally I would have really despised such a heroine: scheming, calculating, cold, mother hen, etc. etc. but somehow I did not mind her. The plot is simple: Martha wanted to be impregnated by Theo to keep the estate to protect the servants and tenants (how noble). Theo was chosen as the stud and they went about this impregnating business while affections grew. Basically it is a woman finding her physical desires and Theo happened to be the man present. A woman's road to sexual satisfaction rarely spells a great story for me. So I am happy that at least I liked the story and was able to finish it.

There are not many surprises in the story. After 70% I had the feeling that the story had no material to continue because at 70% Martha realized that she actually desired Theo. And Theo realized that he loved Martha and went as far as telling her that and proposing, only to be shot down by Martha, of course because the book still had to go on for another 30%. I thought the ending was rather artificial but hell this is fiction, I will let it pass.

I am beginning to realize that I would only rate a book 4 stars or more if I can establish some kind of a personal connection to the characters. That alone makes 4 and 5 stars rating a rarity. This book is precisely what a 3 star read for me: interesting read which I was able to finish but I felt no personal connection. It was not a compelling story for me for that reason.
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review 2015-05-11 00:00
A Lady Awakened
A Lady Awakened - Cecilia Grant I am FAITHFULLY ASSURED that this book improves, but the weird non-con-ness of the sex early on is Not What I Want to be reading right now, so failing out.
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review 2014-12-21 02:59
Cecilia Grant's "A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong" (prequel to the Blackshear family sries)
A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong: A Blackshear Family novella - Cecilia Grant


I've read a large number of Christmas-themed Regency novellas, a number of them recently published where Christmas is just incidental background to a stock "Regency-style" love story. This story is not like that at all and with the possible exception of one or two by Mary Balogh, I don't think I've ever read a finer Christmas-themed novella than this one about an overly duty-bound young man (Andrew Blackshear, eldest of the Blackshear siblings) and the utterly delightful Miss Lucy Sharp, daughter of a rather free-thinking baron.  Both of the protagonists are intelligent, thoughtful people, coming at relations between a man and a woman from opposite ends of the propriety spectrum (with Andrew being the one who is excessively concerned with propriety and how things will look to other people, while Lucy is far more pragmatic and free-spirited.)  The two of them fall in love over a couple of days of Christmas while undergoing various mishaps, each of them coming to respect the other person's quirks and point of view. All of this is beautifully, intelligently, humorously written, and the Christmas celebrations they experience during their journey are so wonderfully woven into the story that they are integral and vital to the story.  Very, very highly recommended.

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