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Lady Cecily And The Mysterious Mr Gray (The Beauchamp Betrothals) Paperback – May 3, 2018
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Do not expect LADY CECILY AND THE MYSTERIOUS MR GRAY to be a cute little story where pretty people make googly eyes at each other, where some aristocrats are slightly shocked then charmed by the colourful Romany man, and that after a little pish posh, all is well; this is not fluff. LADY CECILY AND THE MYSTERIOUS MR GRAY is one of the most emotionally gripping stories I have recently read, and a spellbinding one; not because of some mystery, but from a human point of view. Zach has dealt with prejudice for most of his life, from people like Cecily’s family, and he chose to life his life the way he wanted: that of a Romany, like a nomad. Cecily has always done the right thing, done what was asked of her, never ruffling any feathers, but she loves her family and her life of privilege. Cecily and Zach do fall in love, but what is right: doing what one must or doing what one wants to do?
Janice Preston paints an extraordinary picture of Regency society and its prejudices, which affect even our heroes and heroines. I was extremely surprised – and delighted beyond belief – at how realistically the question of this “forbidden” romance was handled. I nearly subtracted a star from my review because of a detail in Zach’s past, but then mentally I added three more stars for the way Zach reacted to the situation, and how bravely Ms. Preston dealt with the prejudice issue. There is so much tension on all sides, and so well conveyed, that I could almost feel the atmosphere vibrating with the tension, the sparks flying between Zach and Cecily, and the storm brewing on Leo’s side – Cecily’s older brother, the Duke. Leo is one formidable character, and slightly terrifying. LADY CECILY AND THE MYSTERIOUS MR GRAY is filled with exceptionally fleshed-out characters, and I loved Daniel Markham and Olivia – one of Leo’s daughters, among others. Character development is possibly the most impressive I have ever read, and no one has it easy.
I could say so much more, but some of it could be seen as spoiler material, so I will reluctantly abstain, but take my word for it, you will cheer, you will feel humbled, maybe even slightly ashamed, you will hurt and weep and rejoice; I believe LADY CECILY AND THE MYSTERIOUS MR GRAY will leave no one unmoved. I was alternatively stunned, ecstatic, and in tears at how the story, and the romance, unfolded. Janice Preston’s weaves her magic through her dynamic, eloquent, flowing prose and smart dialogues, thus creating a Regency world of such authenticity that I was immersed in that world from the beginning. I am in awe.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Zachary Gray is attending the wedding of his friend's sister into the powerful Beauchamp family, when he notices a beautiful woman deep in contemplation. They strike up a conversation, and feel an instant rapport, which only increases over their next several meetings. Being half Romany, Zach is aware that he's not considered suitable for Cecily, truly not even as an acquaintance. Still their attraction grows. They are determined to stay away from each other, but can't seem to do so.
As Cecily's brothers begin to notice that she is often in Zach's company, their opposition to the connection becomes stronger and more vocal. Cecily is torn between taking the safe path and pursuing her suitor of a year ago, or risking losing her position in society as well as her family to follow her heart and a future with Zach.
I admit that I was very disappointed at first with Cecily's failure to stand up to her brothers and her reluctance to immediately fully accept Zach. However, upon seeing how society truly treated him, calling him a gypsy and worse, and treating him as less than human, I began to understand how drastically her life would change. As Cecily's brothers, Leo and Vernon, were heroes of the last two books in this series, it did pain me to see them so hard headed and reluctant to even consider Zach, and to watch them use their influence to separate the couple.
LADY CECILY AND THE MYSTERIOUS MR. GRAY is more than a lighthearted romance, as it delves into people's prejudices and fear of what and who is different from them. Zach is a beautiful person, despite the abuse he suffered and the things he lost. He's a gentle soul who has his own demons to face and choices to make if he is to have any chance of a future with Cecily. I love that Cecily had the full support of her brother's wives right from the get go. Though he was slow getting there, Leo eventually showed his true nature and what he was made of when the chips were down, and I felt he nicely redeemed himself. I think Cecily and Zach's happily-ever-after was sweeter because it was so hard won, and their passionate love story concludes with a romantic scene that had me smiling, if a bit teary eyed.
As reviewed at rosesareblue dot net. I received a complimentary copy of this book.
Such a book is this latest by Janice Preston.
Lady Cecily and the Mysterious Mr. Gray is the third in the Beauchamp Betrothals series and I simply could not put it down. Cecily is the daughter and sister of dukes. Zach Gray is, well he’s Romany. We first met Zach when he was still going by the name of Absalom and had saved the life of Thea’s brother, Daniel, in book two of the Beauchamp Betrothals. This new episode in the story of the Beauchamp family opens at the wedding of Lord Vernon (Lady Cecily’s brother) and Thea. Cecily is sitting next to Zach in church and the tale develops from there.
Zach has a back story which is filled with betrayal, violence and a change in circumstances that altered the course of his life for the following ten years.
At her brother’s wedding, Cecily realizes that she has to change the course of her life or dwindle into a maiden aunt always living in someone else’s home.
How, despite the duplicity of a nobleman, Zach and Cecily find their lives intertwined and how they come to a HEA makes for a fantastic read with many twists and turns.
Brava, Ms. Preston, you’ve penned another winner.