Lady Anne's Lover
By Maggie Robinson
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Arriving in Wales with the fervent hope that her new employer, a retired soldier, is too old and feeble to notice that she has neither housekeeping nor cooking experience, the newly-named Anne Mont, a plain, respectable widow, is surprised to discover that Major Gareth Ripton-Jones is neither old nor feeble. He is, however, so drunk that he probably won't even notice she's there...or so she hopes.
Things aren't going well for our hero. He returns home from a successful military career to discover his father has mismanaged the family estate to the brink of bankruptcy. Then he's seriously injured by a fall off a tenant's roof and the woman he loves dumps him for greener pastures when the fall results in the loss of his arm. If that's not enough, when his former lover is found brutally murdered, all eyes turn to Gareth, the spurned fiance, as the most likely suspect. Perhaps he can be excused for seeking oblivion in the bottom of a bottle. But not for long...
When Anne learns of Gareth's financial situation she proposes a solution to both their problems. If they marry, she gains access to the fortune left to her by her mother. Gareth can save the family lands and Anne can travel far, far away to a place where she can live an independent life and her powerful father will never find her. Gareth, who by now has sobered up enough to realize his new housekeeper is young and beautiful, has other ideas...ones that involve a marriage in more than name only. But someone is determined to keep that from happening. Could Anne be destined for the same fate as Gareth's former love? And even if she escapes that fate, will Gareth be strong enough to turn his life around and make himself into a man worthy of her love? Then there's her father, a man with evil in his soul and his daughter in his sights...
Considering the subject matter, this book could easily have turned into a heavy, angst-ridden story - the kind I struggle to finish - but Robinson's skill kept that from happening. By infusing humor, sharp dialogue, snappy banter and a heroine with a rapier tongue and a surprising amount of adaptability and determination, Lady Anne's Lover was transformed into an enjoyable story that kept me entertained from beginning to end while still retaining the emotional strength that the journey demands. The villain of the piece is rather easily identified but that didn't detract from my pleasure in the story.
Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was the realistic pacing of the novel. No easy fixes here. Both Anne and Gareth require time, introspection and growth before opening their hearts to one another and I'm happy Robinson gives them that time. Watching Anne confront her tormentor at the end of the book - with Gareth by her side but with the strength to stand on her own - brings the story, and the London List trilogy, to a most satisfying conclusion.
You don't have to have read the previous two books in this trilogy before reading Lady Anne's Lover though you'll probably want to after reading this book. The first two books are Lord Gray's List (read my review here) and Captain Durant's Countess (read my review here).
If you enjoy books filled with heat, heart and humor then give Maggie Robinson's London List trilogy a try.
The hero of Lady Anne's Lover faces the very difficult challenge of conquering alcoholism while the heroine has been subjected to abuse by a parent. Have you read any other historical romances that feature characters facing these challenges? Any books that you would recommend? If you haven't read any books of this type, tell me about what you've read lately or are reading now.
One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a signed copy of Lady Anne's Lover.
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I don't believe I've read about those two topics. The book I am reading right now has the hero who is a viscount and blind. That is a first for me. It's The Arrangement by Mary Balogh and quite good!ReplyDelete
I'm looking forward to reading that one, catslady. Kay Stockham has a contemporary called BLIND MAN'S BLUFF that features a blind character. I liked it a lot.ReplyDelete
I am interested in this unique novel. Facing adversity in life is what makes novels memorable and profound.I am reading The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn.ReplyDelete
The Last Summer sounds interesting, traveler. I enjoy early 20th century settings.Delete
I recommend Sweet Awakening by Majorie Farrell, Keegan's Lady by Catherine Anderson, and Montana Bride by Jillan Hart for an abused heroine theme.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the recommendations, jcp. I'll check those out!Delete
Great review, PJ! I really liked the mix of humor and heavier issues in this one.ReplyDelete
Mary Jo Putney's The Rake and the Reformer/The Rake is the classic and certainly one of the best treatments of alcoholism in romance fiction. I also recommend Carla Kelly's One Good Turn. Other "problem reads" that I highly recommend include Sarah Mayberry's Within Reach (the stages of grief), Joan Kilby's Maybe This Time (post-partum depression), and Anna DeStefano's Three Days on Mimosa Lane(the aftereffects of traumatic events). All are heart-rending but excellent.
Thanks for the recommendations, Janga. Like you, I think MJP's The Rake and the Reformer is one of the best out there. I was glad when the book was reissued as The Rake and introduced to a new generation of romance readers!Delete
Meredith Duran's last book, That Scandalous Summer, had a heroine with a drinking problem. The character would reach for a drink to make herself feel better or in social situations.ReplyDelete
I haven't read that one yet, Kim. Knowing Duran's skill, I'd be surprised if she didn't do an excellent job of handling the topic.Delete
Can't wait to read--loved her other books.ReplyDelete
Hope you enjoy it, loseydoris!Delete
Hmm... I haven't read books like that. I have read books where the hero tries to overcome alcoholism and that is it. Reading In the Arms of the heiress actually and enjoying the hero quite a bit! :)ReplyDelete
Isn't he a wonderful hero? I adore him! I just found out that the next book, In the Heart of the Highlander (Mrs. Evensong's story) will be out October 1st. Can't wait!Delete
Only Yours by Susan Mallery has a hero who was thrown into a fireplace by his father (I think) when he was a child. I read that awhile ago when it came out, but that book & the whole Fool's Gold series is excellent.ReplyDelete
Thanks for another well done review. I do enjoy Maggie Robinson's books. They always have well drawn characters and interesting plots. This is the type of book I enjoy. Will be looking for it.ReplyDelete
I haven't read any historicals with characters facing similar problems lately. But have read both historicals and contemporaries with similar characters in the past.
I recently finished reading the first 5 books in Elizabeth Hoyt's MAIDEN LANE SERIES. I like to wait until all books in a series are out, but couldn't wait any longer. They are a touch dark in atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyable. Now I can't wait for book 6. I read Annie West's IMPRISONED BY A VOW, a Harlequin Presents. Two people with damaged lives, one reacting with strength and hope for the future, the other shutting himself off from emotional closeness. I just finished HAUNTED WARRIOR by Allie Mackay. Another enjoyable read. Not a historical, but the past has a strong influence on the characters. The touch of fantasy/paranormal is key to the story, but doesn't overwhelm it. The Highland setting is perfect for ghosts, magic, and ancient guardians to seem expected and a bit normal.
Great review. I love characters that have deep dark challenges and see them fight through it and conquer. I know I've read about alcoholism before, although it was talked about in the background of the story and was a shadowy aspect of the hero but it works right? And there had been hints of abuse in other historical romance readings for both the hero and heroine (not connected stories) but they also weren't gone into depth about it either. But I can't for the life of it come up with the titles of these books.ReplyDelete
Like in An Heir of Deception by Beverley Kendall, the hero had spout of alcohol abuse but it wasn't the major part of the plot, just background info. Oh, Sherry Thomas' Ravishing the Heiress was one of those too, I think. Oh man, I can't remember.
Thank you for the wonderful review. I am looking forward to reading this book. I love reading books with damaged heroes who have overcome obstacles or are in the process of doing so.ReplyDelete
Great review. I adore Maggie's books. Just love her characters. I can't remember reading about these problems in any recent books. I do agree that The Rake is one of those keepers and was an amazing read. I'm now finishing up a book called What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. An excellent read. It deals with a woman who awakens from a fall and has lost the last 10 years of her life.Not knowing her young children, just her husband. But 10 years ago she was pregnant with her first. A must read. You would enjoy this read . I can't wait to read more of her books.ReplyDelete
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I can't recall reading any books on those topics, but I did enjoy The Dark Lady by Maire Claremont which dealt with opium addiction. I just finished reading Mary Balogh's The Arrangement, featuring an mistreated young lady and a blind hero, and it was a fantastic story.ReplyDelete
No, I have not read an historical romance that tackled either of these two problems (alcoholism and parental abuse). I do believe these two crimes/problems occurred back in Regency, Georgian and Victorian times as I don't believe human behavior has changed much in the last two centuries. But I just haven't read about it in any of my romance novels. I think it is admirable that they are tackled in this particular story by the author. It makes the story more realistic. Being able to be realistic and yet still make it a not-too-heavy story takes the skill of a terrific writer, and I think Maggie Robinson is that...definitely! firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
Forgot to answer the question (I keep doing this!). I've been reading Highland stories by Tanya Anne Crosby. Her Highland heroes are to live for! :-)Delete
Putney's The Rake is excellent, one of my alltime favorites. She did an excellent job showing Reggie's struggle with alcoholism once he acknowledged the problem, very much like steps used in AA today.ReplyDelete