Monday, July 29, 2013

ARC Review: Lady Anne's Lover by Maggie Robinson

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The only other person to sell more copies of The London List than Baron Benton Craig is Lady Imaculata Anne Egremont. But while the baron had never wanted to be the subject of such publicity, Lady Imaculata had planned out all of her wild schemes and crazy antics on purpose -- to escape her father. As the stunts get more reckless and as Lady Imaculata's reputation gets more shredded, she resorts to desperate measures and answers an ad she had found in The London List.

Now Mrs. Anne Mont is in Wales to work as housekeeper to Major Gareth Ripton-Jones, a man she expects to be ancient, senile and manageable. Gareth isn't what Anne expected him to be. Instead of a kindly old man in need of companionship, she meets a gin-soaked, one-armed veteran in a house that is riddled with dead vermin -- but this little hiccup isn't going to stop Anne. She needs to hide in Wales and expects to make her home here for the next two years before she reaches her majority and gains control of her inheritance and independence, so, armed with a battered copy of The Compleat Housewife, Anne is determined to restore the house and reform the owner.

So much wrong had been done to Anne by her father but, instead of cowering or surrendering, she's been fighting back with all the resources at her disposal. I love that she never seems daunted by the challenges she faces. She has an amazing attitude that it is impossible not to love her.

"...We'll have three weeks to get to know each other better. Maybe by then you'll feel more comfortable with me and tell me what is troubling you so."

"I'm not troubled, not at all."

He gave her a wry grin. "You may not drown your troubles in spirits like I do, Annie, but I recognize a fellow traveler."
- loc 608

Anne contains a duality in her nature: she is outrageous, which has ruined her reputation but it has also helped her come up with ingenious solutions to her problems and survived. She is desirable, which is the core of Anne's struggle with Gareth, who makes her feel so wanted, so loved, so desired, but the same emotions bring back the shame and the betrayal she felt with her father. All her life, people have wanted to bend her, to break her, to get her to say "yes" to their demands -- it was only fitting that, when it finally came time for her to consider a marriage, she was the one who did the proposing. And the "yes" she finally says to Gareth isn't one of surrender or submission -- but one of agreement and consent. (Read Chapters 18 and 19)

Gareth, on the other hand, has had his heart and hope ripped out from him and trampled. When Anne first meets him, he is a man who has been drinking himself into oblivion -- it was heartening to see the change in Gareth when Anne comes into his life. From a man with a bleak future to a man making plans.

He was too honest. She needed to be, too. "Perhaps I won't leave," she said softly. "I might not want to after all. Not after -- this. What we've just done. But I cannot be sure yet. I don't want to give you false hope."

He gave her a crooked grin. "I'll take any sort of hope I can get, Annie. I'm not particular at this point."
- loc 1545

There is humor, yes -- but there is also a sadness in how these two people with no reason to hope or dream have fought against convention and conformity to find love and happiness for themselves. As I was reading Gareth and Anne's stories, the word that came to mind was "survivors" --

For readers who have been following this series, this is the book that ties everything together -- and proves what Evie boldly claimed in Lord Gray's List. The London List is an essential part of the everyman's life and has touched people as far away as Wales. It was built on the scandalous lives of the wealthy but it moves and breathes on the hopes and dreams of people who read it.

Lady Anne's Lover will be released on July 30, 2013. It is Book 3 in Maggie Robinson's The London List series. For more information about Maggie Robinson and her wonderful books, click below:


Disclosure: I received the ARC through Netgalley. (Thank you to Maggie Robinson and to Kensington for accepting my request.) Yes, this is an honest review.



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