The Luckiest Lady in London
By Sherry Thomas
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Felix Rivendale, Marquess of Wrenworth, is the perfect
gentleman to the finest detail, but he is not real. He is all image, carefully
constructed by a young man scarred by a loveless childhood and determined to
maintain emotional distance even as he wins the affection and admiration of
London’s elite. When he finds himself orphaned at seventeen, he makes his plans
planned to eclipse her in both acclaim and influence – a fitting tribute from
the son for whom she had so little regard.
for his father, Felix’s tribute to him would be to never repeat the man’s great
mistake of loving with all his heart and soul. Friendship he would permit, and
perhaps some mild affection. Love, however, was out of the question.
made one powerless. And he had had enough powerlessness to last ten lifetimes.
In this new life of his, he would always hold all the power.
Every move Wrenworth makes is planned to elicit exactly the
response he desires, and he glories in the fact that everyone is ignorant of
the cold, manipulative mind at work behind the façade of perfection. But he
also becomes bored with the perfection of his pretense and a bit disappointed
that no one has the wit to penetrate his disguise. Then he meets Louisa
Louisa Cantwell lacks beauty, wealth, and family
connections, but she is intelligent, pragmatic, and highly motivated to find a
wealthy husband. She has always known that her mother’s small income will cease
at her death, and Louisa and her sisters will be dependent upon their own
resources, which essentially are non-existent. Louisa accepts quite stoically
that she must marry well in order to provide for her sisters. She has no
illusions about her situation, and she plans competently and sets realistic
goals. She studies the social world like a textbook, and she learns to make the
most of what she has. Her teeth are crooked, so she learns to smile without
showing them. She is small bosomed, but bust enhancements can work wonders. She
learns to create the impression of beauty without being beautiful. She is
struck by the uncommon good looks of Wrenworth and recognizes her instinctive
response to his appeal, but she knows he is far above her touch. She is also
almost instantly aware that he sees through the front she has so painstakingly
Wrenworth, in his turn, is reluctantly fascinated by this
woman who clearly is attracted to him but who is able to control the attraction.
wasn't so good an actor that he couldn't see through her pretense at fifty
paces. She was, however, good enough that he'd been slightly surprised at the
transparency of her infatuation. When their gaze had met for the first time, he
had almost heard the wedding bells ringing in her ears.
it dissipated into thin air - not just the look, but the infatuation itself.
And that had firmly caught his attention.
At first, he plans to make her his mistress until his
fascination exhausts itself. When she rejects him, he does something he
never expected to do: he asks her to become his wife. Even though Wrenworth is
far wealthier than the men Louisa had chosen as potential husbands, she knows
he is dangerous to her, a man she can never truly trust or fully know. Despite reservations on both their parts,
they marry. Then things get really
I start anticipating the next Sherry Thomas book as soon as
I turn the last page on the current one, but my anticipation ratcheted up
tremendously when I read the following paragraph on Thomas’s blog:
Luckiest Lady owes its genesis to The Lord of Scoundrels. I read the book late in the previous
century and thought to myself, Hmm, what if, after a pretty horrendous
childhood, instead of turning into Lord of Scoundrels, a man turned into The
Ideal Gentleman instead? Two sides of the same coin, right?
Lord of Scoundrels
is high on my list of all-time favorite romance novels, and I adore Dain. I’m
also a believer in the wonder of stories that begin with what ifs. So I was
incredibly eager to read this book. But my first reaction was disappointment. I
understood the hero’s motivation, I found the hero fascinating, but I didn’t
like him very much until I was well into the book. No doubt my response was due
in part to the enthusiasm with which I embraced Thomas’s Fitzhugh trilogy. If I
say that I’ve read it three times already and fully expect to read it again,
you will have some idea of how much I love that series. It was a tough act to
follow. But when I reread The Luckiest
Lady in London, I discovered that my response to Wrenworth in a sense
mirrored Louisa’s, and maybe I was reacting just as Thomas planned for her
readers to react.
At any rate, by the second reading, I was able to appreciate
Wrenworth more fully as a character who is a maelstrom of emotions that he
devotes his considerable will to controlling. His fascination with Louisa
renders him vulnerable to her and threatens his control. Small wonder that his
fear of her is equal to his desire for her. It is rare to see a hero and
heroine who mirror one another’s complexities to the degree that Wrenworth and
Louisa do. She is as intelligent and self-controlled as he is, and she
recognizes and accepts her passionate nature. And by “passionate” here,
certainly I include her desire for Wrenworth, but I also include other things
that matter to her. The scenes between these two are sometimes witty and amusing
and sometimes darkly sensual, but they are always credible and riveting because
Thomas makes the reader believe in these two characters and who they are
separately and together.
Another thing at which Thomas excels is her ability to
capture the power of that first moment of attraction so that the reader
experiences it on an almost visceral level. These are Louisa’s thoughts on
was difficult to draw breath. Her heart palpitated in both pleasure and panic.
And she flushed furiously, too much heat pulsing through her veins for her to
control or disguise.
heartbeat later, however, she was cold. She could not say how she knew it, Lord
Wrenworth having been nothing but flawlessly courteous. All the same, she was
suddenly dead certain that on the inside, he found her patently ridiculous,
perhaps even laughable.
I hope the quotations I have included are sufficient to show
you Thomas’s masterful command of prose. Her ability to use words that have the
depth and flavor and richness of a glass of truly excellent wine is always one
of the joys of reading—and rereading—her books. If you too value beautiful
prose, intelligent and complex characters, and a story that will engage your
heart and your mind, I highly recommend The
Luckiest Lady in London. And if this should be your first Sherry Thomas
book, I envy you the delight of a backlist that stands with the best in the