Thursday, March 26, 2015

What a Lady Requires by Ashlyn Macnamara

Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries, Ashlyn Macnamara’s blazing hot novel tells the story of mismatched newlyweds who discover a simmering connection.
Unlike every other proper young lady, Miss Emma Jennings views marrying well as little more than a means to an end. Such a merger would provide her industrious father with social credibility, and Emma with a chunk of her vast inheritance. Emma’s practical views are shattered, however, when her father ties her to the fabulously handsome ne’er-do-well Rowan Battencliffe, a man she loathes on sight—from the smile that promises all manner of wickedness to the way he ogles her with those striking blue eyes.
Deep in debt, especially to his wine merchant, Rowan figures the sooner he gets his finances in order, the sooner he can go back to doing what he does best: burning through ridiculous sums of cash. Which is why Rowan agrees to marry the merchant’s daughter, a prim and proper woman with delightful curves and an ample dowry. But Emma seems to think it’s her business to reform him! Their marriage is a tinderbox—and it’s just too tempting to resist playing with fire.

Published & Release Date: Loveswept, March 31, 2015

Time and setting: 1822 England  

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 231 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flames

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

I received What a Lady Requires from the publisher via Net-Galley in exchange for an honest review. I had read What a Lady Demands and enjoyed it immensely. The deliciously enticing book cover and book description pulled me in, and looked forward to reading this addition to the trilogy with great anticipation.  

Miss Emma Jennings is far different from other young women of her day. She loves working with numbers and making investments turn a profit. Since her father is in trade, he has indulged her every whim in that regard. When he finds her a brilliant match that will enable her future offspring to inherit a title someday, she goes along with her father’s wishes, even though her first meeting with Rowan Battencliffe does not show him in a good light.

Rowan believes he is a failure. He betrayed a friend and is now living with the consequences. Dismal with finances, when his friend sets out to seek his revenge, he has no defense against him. Soon, he is facing financial ruin. When his brother, the Earl of Sparkmore arranges a match with a cit’s daughter, he accepts with relief. Not only does he get a wife with a generous dowry, she also has the ability to get his finances on the right path.

Can this mismatched union ever bring the couple joy, or will their differences and secrets keep them apart?

The premise for the plot is an interesting one. A bluestocking and a rake, a troupe I usually enjoy, and this tale of a mismatched couple had some delightfully witty dialogue between the pair. I also enjoyed revisiting with the characters from What a Lady Demands a great deal.

I also enjoyed the sexual tension between Emma and Rowan. It sizzled, threatening to set my Kindle ablaze and had me fanning myself several times. The build-up to the first sexual scene was excellent and while the scene did not contain explicit content for the most part, it was very satisfying, dwelling more on the emotion behind the act than what body part goes where. I find that type of scene the most rewarding as a reader.  

Unfortunately, this other parts of the book fell a bit short of my expectations. While it is well-written and edited, I struggled with liking the hero and heroine. Emma is just too interested in her bookish ways to be a likable character for me. While she has many redeeming characteristics, Ms. Macnamara spent much of the book emphasizing her negative traits.

Rowan’s character came across as a bit dim-witted at times with no explanation as to why he has such a struggle with understanding numbers. I suspect some type of learning disability. More information about this would have helped me have more empathy for his problems. I did like his character better than Emma’s and could feel his shame and pain over what he believes he did to his friend.

Even with these issues, I enjoyed the story, and I am glad I read it. The pacing is steady and kept me engaged for the most part. The second half of the book moves a bit faster. If you like a bit of a mystery to unravel with some humorous moments, then you may want to give this one a try.  Happy reading!

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