Title: What a Lady Demands The Eton Boys Trilogy
Author: Ashlyn MacNamara
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: Cornwall, 1813; Cornwall 1821
Published by: Loveswept
Published Date: November 4, 2014
Sold by: Random House LLC
Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.
Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.
My Thoughts: I didn’t catch reading the other two books of this series, however, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed book two, a standalone, since the absence of book one before this read, had no effect on the pleasure of its experience.
The story is well-balanced with its emotional complications and richly conflicted characters. Well-paced with facts of the tale, dropped felicitously on its path, only increased my eagerness to discover more. Passionate scenes between Cecelia and Lind were in good taste and lent balance to the totality of a love story where two wounded souls find each other and are made whole.
When Cecelia Sanford, age three and twenty, applied to be governess to Viscount Lindenhurst she hopes her past family relations with him will land her the job. Forget about not knowing anything about schooling children – she couldn’t even seem to school her own mind. She needs the placement sorely, for her own self-esteem and to show her brother, a past friend of Lind’s, she could apply herself and succeed. She’s another secret she must keep to herself, and dares not speak it aloud.
Cecelia’s past, she determines, must remain past. She wants a new life. When she receives a note from Adrian Eversham, she’s a bit afraid, annoyed, and with her new determination in life, ignores it. Cecelia, additionally, has this attraction to Lind. She can’t seem to stop her brazen approaches to him, her tart-tongue responses, and her wish Lind would touch her. She’s in a bit of a pickle. She’s a governess, not a mistress!
Lind lost his wife some four years past in a terrible water accident and almost lost his son. Unable to save them through his own physical challenges, he blames himself – and can hardly look at his son, for his abnormalities from the accident stare him in the face daily.
Lind abhors lying, that is, people lying to him, and runs his household like the military, where there is no place for emotion. Cecelia is thrust into this environment, seeing beyond the obvious. Lind is full of hurt, guilt, and revenge and seeks revenge from one of his oldest friends, Battencliffe. He’s unable to see beyond striking back. Can Cecelia help him out of this quagmire which is only making him more miserable?
Blakewell, Lind’s son, is protecting himself from his outside world by creating his own little world of toy soldiers, war maneuvers, etc. All others have left him, his mother, his father in that he’s totally ignored, and all the parade of governesses that come and go. Cecelia is determined to make a difference, for him, for Lind and for herself.
Lind wakes up to the virtues and bedevilment of Cecelia’s personality wedged into his life. Forced to protect her from her own rash actions and his, he begins feeling more than the need to protect her reputation.
He ought to be relieved, but the trouble was he felt more than relief. At her acceptance, a tingle had taken up residence in the general region of this heart, the sensation very much akin to prickling after one’s leg has fallen asleep. A piece of him he’d buried deep was awakening, stretching, breathing fresh air, and rejoicing in a new day.
I appreciate Ms. MacNamara’s talent with words. She told a tale of humor, secrets, fear, change, and above all, passionate love.