It’s always a refreshing surprise to stumble across an historical romance heroine who knows her own mind and is sexually empowered. Add a wounded hero and it’s double bonus points for me. This story is book two in the Eton Boys Trilogy, but I didn’t read book one and I thought this held up just fine as a standalone.
Cecelia is trying to build a new life for herself, free of her brother’s censure and away from the looming scandal that could drop on her head at any moment. So she seeks refuge with a position as governess to the son of her brother’s childhood best friend. She knows Lindhurst is a widower and badly damaged by the war, and she figures she can trade on his history with her family to get her foot in the door. It has absolutely nothing to do with the girlhood crush on him she nursed for years. No, really.
She finds out quickly that Lindhurst carries more than just physical scars. He was irrevocably damaged by the death of his wife. He’s demanding and abrupt. And he doesn’t seem to care even remotely for his young son. Cecelia, however, takes to the boy right away, determined to help him overcome his disabilities. She challenges Lind like no one else does. But can the promise of her affection help him put away his quest for vengeance against the man he blames for ruining his life?
It’s a pretty good tale as the secrets of both Cecelia and Lind are slowly uncovered. I like that there was more to each of them than what we saw at face value. Cecelia’s backstory surprised me more than Lind’s. I won’t spoil the details, but I really appreciated how she rose above it and set a path for herself to retake control of her life. I also really liked her as a character; how she spoke her mind and refused to be cowed; how she was willing to put herself out there and own her own desires.
Lind, I had a little bit tougher of a time with. It’s hard to get 100% on board with a hero who was so unwilling to let go of his late wife’s ghost. I sort of understand why, but when you add that to how he treated little Jeremy for much of the book, well, I didn’t love him. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching him get together with Cecelia, but there were times I felt like he didn’t deserve her. It kept me from totally connecting with the romance.
Overall, though, I thought it was well done. I am interested to see how the author will redeem Battencliffe in book 3, because I really didn’t like him here.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
What a Lady Demands
by Ashlyn MacNamara
Release Date: November 4, 2014