Wednesday, February 2, 2011
How to Woo a Reluctant Lady
For years Lady Minerva Sharpe had loved Giles Masters, her brothers friend from afar, but it did not take long for her love to wither after she snuck into a scandalous party and he compared her to a tart and a doxy. He was in the process of stealing some documents from the host of the party and she has no idea that his reaction was fear that she would reveal what he had been up to. Over the years Minerva had written Giles into her very popular pulp fiction novels as the hero/ villain of the story, Lord Rockton, including the thieving incident. Giles had been working for the Crown, trying to find evidence against a swindler and when his handlers see the resemblance between him and Rockton they demand and end to the writings. Mrs. Plumtree has issued the ultimatum to her wayward grandchildren that they must all marry quickly or all of them will forfeit their inheritance. While her two older brothers have already complied, Minerva still hopes that she will be able to find a way of getting her grandmother to rescind the ultimatum.
Giles shows up at Halstead Hall after Minerva has placed an ad in the paper looking for a husband and it does not take him long to realize that he wants to be Minerva's husband. He has been battling his attraction to her for years but his work for the Crown has required him to appear a dissolute gambler. Now he is a respectable barister and can offer Minerva a real life, however she only agrees to it if it's a pretense because she hopes her grandmother will be furious. It is Minerva's brothers who are furious and completely against the match and it is not long before their suspicions are proven correct when Minerva and Giles are caught in a compromising position and forced to marry. While the bedroom aspect of their marriage works smoothly, Minerva is disturbed to discover that Giles is keeping many secrets from her. When Giles receives blackmail threats the secrets become even more harmful to their relationship and both begin to worry that they will never get past this. But when they find a clue into Minerva's parents' deaths they must work to help each other and solve the mystery and find love.
Well this book took me a VERY long time to read and I will admit that part of it was due to the slow nature of the book, the majority of it was because I spent far too much time doing stuff besides reading such as school, shopping, and watching television. I really liked the Sharpe family in Jeffries' previous two books and I think it has something to do with the fact that I like Jeffries' heroes more than I like her heroines and when the heroine is the "main" character it rather drags the book overall. Minerva was interesting because she was a writer, but I felt like there was nothing unique about her as all of her other characteristics could have been shared with every other romance novel heroine. Giles was also a typical hero as he had a past as a ne'er do well and a scandalous past and hidden demons in his closet that were far more bark than actual bike. Even his work for the home office was a little bland and not developed enough for me to understand precisely what he was doing and why it was so important. Neither of them were as well done or interesting as any of the characters in her previous books in the series.
This book continues the minor intrigue into the Sharpe parent's death that was covered up by the grandmother and while presented as an accidental shooting and a suicide, may have been an intentional murder suicide or a double murder. This was definitely a side plot to the story and I rather enjoyed it because it was in the back ground, it served to bring both of them very close together, and I really want to know what happened to their parents! Unfortunately his blackmail scheme played a much larger overall part in the story and was the cause of much dissension and problems between Minerva and Giles and yet I really didn't care about it. It seemed like a big deal was made about something that was not and I got sick of it rather quickly. It did create some very nice angst and tension between them which was nice as it broke up the monotony. There was some pretty hot sex between them, nothing too scorching, but there was quite a bit of it and it was also a nice break from the otherwise rather boring prose. I am hoping that the next additions in the series will be much improved.
Rating: This book had redeeming qualities and while I can see that some people would enjoy it, it was far too slow and predictable for my taste.