Reviewed by Lynelle:
Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.
Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?
A Lady Awakened is the debut novel by Cecilia Grant. Our heroine is Martha Russell, who has recently become a widow. Due to the fact that she had no children with her late husband she is to be lose her home and her brother-in-law is to inherit the estate. There are several factors that play in Martha not wanting to lose the estate, so she comes up with a plan to try and become pregnant and pass it off as her late husband’s heir. Enter in our hero Theo.
I was confused on my feelings about Martha. On one hand she is very caring about her tenants and puts theirs needs on the top of her list and the only thing she really wants for herself (besides get pregnant) is to not be cast out of her home to live as a dependant with her brother and his wife. On the other hand, Martha I felt was “mechanical” or rigid and all business, and shows very little emotion. I realize some people are programmed this way (she’s not a romantic person), but that’s not the type of character I want to read about.
Theo I liked more and I thought he was charming and found that he had a good heart. He has been banished to the country because he was lazy and indulged too much in his entertainments, i.e. women and gambling. His father hoped for him to learn about land management and to be more serious and to think beyond himself. At first he’s bored and has absolutely no interest in anything but as he meets his tenants and learned to importance of his station, he slowly learns to think of and care for others.
For me, this book just moved too slowly. It was hard for me to get the motivation to keep reading. Although over all I liked the story and the development of the characters, I wasn’t swept away with it. The lack of emotion that Martha showed really bothered me and each time Martha and Theo had sex, it was so blah. Maybe I’m just more used to faster paced stories with action and more conflict *shrug* All I know is that I WANT the passion and the love and the desire and I just felt this story was lacking all those things that I enjoy in a romance.