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Seducing Mr. Knightly (The Writing Girls)
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on September 2, 2013
Derek Knightly is in love with his mistress and wife; his newspaper, The London Weekly. One of his female writers, Annabelle Swift is in love with Mr. Knightly, has been for over three years. Everyone at the paper knows Annabelle loves Mr. Knightly, except Mr. Knightly. Quiet, shy, apologetic Annabelle writes an advice column for the paper, how to pour tea, etc., very bland subjects. Tired of waiting for Mr. Knightly to notice her, she asks her readers for advice on how to attract the attention of the man she loves, hereby titled, The Nodcock. The readers give her varied advice, some of it works, for instance, lowered bodices. Mr. Knightly certainly notes that. Feeling bolder, Annabelle continues forward with her seduction; all the while Mr. Knightly is wondering who the "Nodcock" is and encourages Annabelle to continue with her column as she is currently doing, after all their publications have increased as has Annabelle's popularity. What Mr. Knightly didn't foresee was his heightened interest in Annabelle as he sees her change before his eyes; also the jealousy that he feels wondering who the man is that she is trying so hard to get to notice her. Annabelle wants Knightly to love her, come to her on his own but when she discovers that he is supposedly courting and considering marriage to a titled lady, she becomes disheartened and doesn't want to become the woman to step between him and the lady, even though her friends encourage her to fight for him. The story is funny, tender, sensual and well written.
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on September 2, 2014
I thought I might dislike this story, despite having already thoroughly enjoyed Wallflowers Gone Wild by Maya Rodale. The plot seemed to hinge on the embarrassment of Annabelle, and I can't stand to see people embarrassed. Yes, Annabelle finds herself in mortifying predicaments (if I ever accidentally grope a man I have been infatuated with for years, I can only pray that I will spontaneously combust before he reacts), but she does so with an acknowledgment of the ridiculousness of her circumstances and a sense of humor that makes it bearable. And really, Annabelle risks a lot to get her heart's desire. Some embarrassment is worthwhile for that reward, isn't it? And the object of her affection thoroughly understands the blows to her ego she suffers in the name of love, because he takes risks right back to convince her she can accept him. I often feel romance novel male protagonists haven't earned their happy-ever-after, but Derek really did. Annabelle went out on a (breaking) limb for love and he went out on a limb right back.

Additionally, Derek's codename of "the nodcock" only gets more entertaining with repetition and his realization that all of their coworkers, and a significant proportion of the population of London, were aware of Annabelle's pursuit, even though he was almost totally oblivious. I defy you not to laugh at the scenes of Derek's friends taking Annabelle's part right to his face, before and after he realizes he is, in fact, THE Nodcock.
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on December 25, 2017
Definitely funny & innocent heroine that had lots of humorous events surrounding her pursuit of her love, Knightly. Maya's writing reminds me of Tessa Dare's. Havnt read the other "Writing Girls" series, but will soon since i enjoyed this light-hearted story.
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on February 19, 2013
Loved this book (thanks to Audrey C, who listed it on her listmania page). For years, mousy and quiet Annabelle pines away for her boss, self-absorbed, handsome Derek Knightley. Is Derek a name in the UK? I digress. Annabelle, advice columnist, enlists the help of her friends and readership in how to break through the tunnel of Derek's vision and make him notice her. Can a woman find her happy ending if she is the pursuer? Her strategy defies the human courtship pattern (boy notices girl and gets noticed, girl decides if she is available, boy closes the deal). Will Derek and Annabelle close their deal?
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I was looking for book that would be an easy read for a few nights...maybe a little predictable but with some entertaining value. That's just what I got! I loved the premise that a writer of an advice column turns the tables and asks for advice from the readers to solve her problem...the man she loves barely knows she's alive after working for him three years, 6 months, two weeks and three days...or something close to that time length. All the little conversations between side characters were very fun to read as were the articles from the newspaper. There was enough cleverness in the plot to make this a delightful "Cinderella," story.
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on November 14, 2013
I wish I could give this more than 5 stars it really deserves it. Right from the first page I was hooked! I couldn't wait to see what Annabelle would do next. I made such a fool of myself all the way through laughing out loud at some of the comments (such as nodcock which is exactly what Derek was!) and the things she would try. I know what it's like to be shy and withdrawn and desperate for a guy to notice me so I could really put myself in her shoes all through the story. I could really relate to Annabelle on so many levels.
All this plus steamy sex scenes Wow! Get me a fan please.
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on January 13, 2013
This is a delightful novel that made me smile throughout. Annabelle's love for Derek is reminiscent of infatuations that we've all experienced. Her responses to Derek when he walks into a room made me smile. That Derek never notices her adds to the interest that is generated in her quest to win him. All of the antics that she engages in to win Derek's notice, with the help of suggestions from her readers, made this a sparkling gem.

Rodale is able to transport readers in this novel. I like that she makes Annabelle move past her infatuation to genuine emotions and makes her realise that there is more to true love than sighing over another person. Derek was not so self centered or power obsessed that he could not see and appreciate the answering emotions within himself. I thoroughly enjoyed that he accepted that he could be the mysterious nodcock that Annabelle loves and later engages in the male version of her antics to win her hand.

The characters are fun and the secondary are also entertaining as they help Annabelle achieve her dream. The plot moves at a good pace so that there is never a lull in the reading. There are two excerpts from this novel that I read in Once Upon a Ballroom: Original Short Stories and Exclusive Excerpts. In that, Rodale writes two of the scenes differently. I wish that she had incorporated them into the actual novel.

Overall, this a refreshing read of the usual unrequited love romances. It is funny and very absorbing. A good read from beginning to end.
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on December 11, 2012
I have a minor obsession with Victorian Romances and I don't mind if they have lots of cliches as long as the characters are likable, the story is well written and the plot is engaging and instills some hint of freshness into the tried and true tropes. What I did not expect was a truly delightful plot with wonderful characters that was completely original - as far as I've read (and I've read a LOT). This is the first time I've seen anything like this plot and omgoodness did I love it!

Annabelle is an advice columnist for a weekly paper run by Mr. Knightly, a sexy man hunk who was unfortunate enough to be born on the wrong side of the sheets and resents his noble family for their ill treatment of him after his father's death (a man who loved and cared for him). Mr. Knightly loves his newspaper and has done everything in his life to get his half-brother to have to acknowledge him; he has worked his way up to a powerful position, being in charge of the dissemination of news. Enter Annabelle, one of four women whom he has hired to help make his newspaper a little something special.

Unfortunately for Annabelle, she's nothing special. She's the type to give and give and give and never ask in return. In fact, that's exactly what she's been doing for the past three years that she's worked for Mr. Knightly, she's given so much advice to all the people that have written in that just once, she wants to do something selfish. So she asks her readers for advice in return, begging them to help her get her man to notice her.

This unusual request starts off a firestorm, increasing paper circulation and Annabelle becomes the city's darling as they root for her to win the affections of the "nodcock" who is so obtuse to her. People from every class are entranced by her story, her updates as she tries out their advice, and the young woman herself. For herself, Annabelle starts to gain quite a bit of self-confidence and picks up more than one apparent admirer, to the point where Mr. Knightly starts to find himself rather jealous - much to his confusion. He can't even talk to his own mother without hearing about the plight of Annabelle... and eventually he starts to wonder if HE might be the 'nodcock'!

There are a few other hurdles in the way of true love of course, but I have to say, this book completely turned upside down my expectations for Victorian romances. If more were as original as this one I don't know how I'd keep money in my pocket. A truly delightful read with wonderful characters who not only grew on me, but grew together in wonderful ways.
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on August 7, 2016
Funny, humbling, and a touch of Cinderella. Annabelle is a treasure we get to know and watch grow. Derek is a nodcock, but one you can't help but respect and love
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on May 5, 2015
My favorite of the set. I love all of the characters in this book and seeing the growth of the hero and heroine. I only have a few issues with some of the word usage and inconsistencies in history.
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