I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
Why yes, I was a complete slacker and didn't get my TBR post up on Wednesday like I was supposed to. IN my defense, I had contractors tromping all through my house and I was busy being sick, too. Good times.Somehow this book kind of makes it all better. I had been wanting to read this for quite some time and I don't know why it waited. This is just a luscious and amazing story, and I really appreciated the way in which the characters are brought together.
Martha Russell is a repressed, uptight young widow hellbent on making sure that her late husband's villainous brother doesn't inherit the family estate, forcing her out to live as her brother's dependent. In order to remain there, she needs an heir.When she learns that Theophilus Mirkwood has been exiled from London by his family to stay at a neighboring property, she hatches a plan. She will pay Theo in return for a month of sex. If she conceives a son, he'll get extra. Being hired as a stud animal of sorts is a disconcerting experience for Theo and Martha isn't exactly thrilled over the prospects of relations with Theo either.And so begins a most interesting relationship.
There are lots of sex scenes in this book, and the author does such a good job of showing the shift in mood from perfunctory duty sex to deepening emotional intimacy. Theo and Martha are neighbors and when they're not in bed, they find they actually have much to talk about. We see Theo gradually realizing how much responsibility rests upon his shoulders as he learns what it takes to manage a property and lead those who work for him, and we watch Martha battle with her conscience as she begins to respond emotionally to Theo. She's a very strong lady, but her life has been so lonely that she finds herself having to learn not only how to be in a romantic relationship but how to have friends.And even though early 19th century English settings often drive me nuts, I loved this one. Instead of wallpaper history and characters with 21st century sensibilities, we get well-crafted leads with something closer to 19th century manners and a historical setting that feels believable. There are passing mentions of current events as well as plot threads that show the characters' deep involvement in estate management problems and village life of the time. This is definitely an author for my auto-buy list!