Author: Ashlyn Macnamara
Series: The Eton Boys Trilogy #3
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Format: Kindle e-book
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.
What a Lady Requires is a historical romance and the third book in The Eton Boys Trilogy. I haven’t read the previous books, but didn’t find that to be a detriment to the enjoyment of this novel. In fact, I was immediately drawn in by the storyline, as well as each of the characters. Though I didn’t read the two novels that precede this one, I had no trouble at all following the plot or understanding the characters and how they relate to one another. Additionally, the backstory of each is doled out with just the right pacing that we are able to easily connect with each of them and appreciate where they’ve come from and how it pertains to their present situations.
Emma Jennings is a smart cookie with strong business acumen, which was not something encouraged or generally accepted for women in her time. Her father was a good man, however, who encouraged her aptitude thus giving her a special strength. She is a truly appealing character from the moment we meet her. Her family has money thanks to their wine business, but as merchants they have no status in the community. Emma’s father has the goal of marrying his daughter into a titled position to allow her the status he was unable to give her. Emma doesn’t care about the status, but understands her father’s desire to increase her standing, so she has always accepted that when the time came her marriage would essentially be a business transaction. And, if there’s one thing Emma truly understands it is business dealings.
Enter Rowan Battencliffe, a handsome and charming ne’er–do–well of a man, who has lost all of his wealth due to poor decisions both personal and investment wise. He comes from a titled family, however, and that serves to make his brother and Emma’s father see a perfect union to be made with the couple. Their relationship starts off shaky at best, but each understand the importance of the roles they are playing and attempt to make the best of the arrangement.
Emma and Rowen come to know each other, in every sense, after their swiftly arranged marriage takes place. Emma has two major jobs to fulfill in their coupling, providing a male heir to carry on the family title and reforming Rowan’s poor money sense by teaching him proper accounting practices and how to make good business decisions. These are two imperfect people, at least by society’s standards, who are truly perfect for each other. Under the surface, Emma isn’t quite as straight laced as she appears, and Rowan isn’t quite the rogue his reputation presents. Together they are able to delve to a place of true understanding of each other and get past their outward appearances. Though they need to work through some major difficulties, they are able to eventually trust enough in one another to reach the unexpected conclusion of making a happy and fulfilling life.
This novel was a quick read for me and I completed it in just a couple of days. This was one of those books that I didn’t want to put down and I could have read it in one sitting if life permitted. The pacing of the action ranges from steady to swift and I never once lost interest in the story or the characters. I already miss Emma and Rowan, as well as the world they live in. Often times these types of novels have a trite or hokey ending, but that wasn’t the case with this one. Unlike the books that do that, I actually think the end of this one was my favorite part. If only it wasn’t the end. I truly enjoyed the atmosphere and characters that Ashlyn Macnamara created here and I will definitely be seeking out the previous books.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
My gracious thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion review.