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Nearly a Lady (Berkley Sensation) Mass Market Paperback – June 7, 2011
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"Johnson beautifully tells a rags-to-riches tale in this story of familial duplicity and greed. After his father dies, the Marquess of Engsly discovers that his sire had taken in a ward and was sending yearly payments to her. Is the ward still alive on the family's Scottish estate? Engsly asks his brother, Lord Gideon Haverston, lately retired from the navy, to investigate. What Gideon finds are two women living hand to mouth in the run-down horror known as Murdock House. Winnefred Blythe, the ward, and Lilly Ilestone, her companion, have been living on only five pounds a year, taking in wash and mending to add to their income, because Engsly's stepmother pockets the rest of the allotted funds each year. While Gideon arranges to have them repaid and provides a London season to find them husbands, he falls in love with the charming Winnefred. Johnson's delightful characters and honest dialogue enhance the transformation of not only the girls, but also their savior." — Booklist
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Good hero and heroine; secondary romance only minimally developed.
May where it should be might; trod where it should be tread. Nominative pronouns used as objects of prepositions, even in the singular ("of he" anyone?). Disagreement of subject and verb. Painful.
The hero, Gideon, was such a doll. He had some issues from the past, but he didn't let that ruin his whole personality. He's cheerful and funny and gets enjoyment from making other people laugh. He's drawn to Winnefred, but he isn't the kind of guy to take something he doesn't think he can keep. He tries very hard to be a good boy with her and I had nothing but respect for him. We still felt the tension between them, and we got to see Winnefred's confusion and Gideon's difficulty with his decision, but how can I not love a guy that thinks about what's best for everyone in the situation, not just himself?
Winnefred is just as awesome as Gideon. She has fears and insecurities from her past that try to take over if given half the chance, but she is a strong character and doesn't let them get the best of her. She may draw into herself after being hurt--and I love the way the author describes Winnefred in some scenes where she's trying to get Gideon to open up about what's troubling him--but she never runs. She's willing to put her own heartache aside to help those that she considers a friend.
When these two come together it is absolutely delightful. They become honest to goodness friends and while they're both attracted to each other, they don't let that get in the way of their enjoyment in being friends. There is nothing I love more than great dialogue and a genuine friendship between the hero and heroine.
"What you are, Winnefred," he told her with a grin, "is seasick."
If he'd told her she was the Queen of Sheba, she wouldn't have been more shocked. She gaped at him, absolutely speechless.
"Who'd have thought?" Gideon reached for her slice of cheese and ate it whole. "Our Winnefred has a delicate constitution."
She found her voice again. "Delicate."
"As the petals of an orchid," he crooned poetically and--in her opinion--stupidly. "As a single snowflake in spring."
Something like a laugh escaped her throat. "Snowflake."
"Precisely." He took a bite of bread. "The ton's chaises will certainly be put to good use this season. Lilly's explained how to execute a proper swoon, I hope? Because it won't do for you to go flipping over the backs of furniture haphazardly. There's an art to it--"
"I have never swooned in my life." Though it had been a near thing only a few moments ago.
"Looked to me as if it were a near thing only--"
"Have we anything besides watered beer?" she asked quickly.
How could I not be charmed by that?
The attraction between them is lower key than a lot of the HRs out there today, but I felt the tension throughout and was very pleased that the author never rushed that connection. By the time they came together I was absolutely convinced that they were completely gone for each other. They had come to fit so well that I had no doubts about the strength of their feelings and the longevity of their relationship.
In addition to Winnefred and Gideon's romance, we also got a brief secondary romance. I was expecting them to be built into a story of their own, so I was pretty surprised to see their arc wrapped up in this book. I thought their connection was sweet and that their storyline never took away from the main romance. I really wouldn't have minded a closer look at their second chance romance, but I also wasn't disappointed that we didn't. I guess the author struck a nice balance there.
Nearly a Lady was a character and dialogue driven book. There were no subplots or random events to take away from the unfolding romance between Winnefred and Gideon. If you're not a fan of that style then I'm not sure if you would be completely satisfied by this book. I, personally, love that style and adore getting such an intense look at the hero and heroine and their relationship. I was completely wowed by this and cannot wait until her next book is released. Hopefully I'll love it just as much!
"Did you expect me to believe that?" he asked in a dangerously soft voice.
"I don't know what you mean."
"Oh, you do." He took a step toward her. "You most certainly do."
She began to back up without thinking, and he moved forward in return. Slowly, steadily he stalked her across the room.
"Do you think me a jester, Winnefred?"
"A fool to poke fun at because I've made you laugh a time or two?"
"Harmless then, because I kissed you in the moonlight and let you go?"
"Is it the limp? The cane?" In a move so fast it took her breath away, he swept forward and pinned her to the wall. "Did you think I couldn't catch you?"
*Review originally posted on Fiction Vixen*