[PDF] ❤ A Lady Awakened By Cecilia Grant – Dolove.info
I wanted to love it but didn t I felt a disconnect with the heroine for most of the book, and I m not sure what it was that held me back from her She s a bit introverted, socially awkward, straight laced and frumpy, and I tend to like that type of heroine, especially when she s paired with the quintessential rake And I did like watching her sort of come out of her shell, I just think it took her too long to do so By the time she s personable, the book is ending, and I felt like I didn t get to know the new her The story was new ish, though, and I did love how the entire countryside was involved The little bit of subterfuge that goes along with the love affair was an honorable one, though the ending was kind of disappointing to mealthough I suppose it kind of had to go there Listened to the audio, and this is the same narrator who does the In Death series by J.D RobbSusan Ericksen She did a fantastic job, as always. Thanks to Jill for recommending this d but novel I closed the book with a deeply satisfied sigh, but at first I totally disliked the heroine It s not to everyone s taste A Lady Awakened is book 1 of the Blackshear Family series The writing style is witty and light I chuckled several times , balanced by sad, painful, or poignant sections The plot includes several heartwarming story lines The romance includes a LOT of sex, progressing from cold, quick sex to blast furnace love scenes No lust was so gratifying to a man as the lust that blossomed only after esteem had taken root He might have gone his whole life without finding this out, if he d never been exiled to Sussex The setting is Regency England, about 1815, in a rural neighborhood near Brighton by the Sea, in Sussex County The author did not capture the pastoral setting she s not particularly descriptive or vivid, but it s fine Martha Russell, n e Blackshear, is bound by duty, conscience and reason, but unbeknownst to her, she s also a woman of strong passions with mutiny burning in her belly The author does a magnificent job showing the metamorphosis of Martha, from a passionless prude to a passionate lover She is attractive, with shining chocolate brown eyes and long, honey colored hair but Grant does not belabor her physical traits like some authors do Mrs Russell is only 21, newly widowed after 10 months of marriage Theophilis Mirkwood Theo is heir to a baronetcy, sexy as they come and 26 years old He is tall and well formed, with dark blue eyes and pale golden hair This London playboy has been banished to Pencarragh, one of his father s estates, to learn agriculture and farm management from Mr Granville, his manager I loved Grant s development of Theo s character, from carefree playboy to beloved champion of laborers and tenants When the widow Russell learns that the heir to her home, Seton Park, is a known pedophile, having raped at least two teenage servant girls, she takes instant action to keep him away from her servants, by creating a baby an heir while her dead husband is still warm ASAP Martha pays Theo to give her his seed every day for a month, starting right now, if you please For Theo so earthy, so bawdy, so passionate it s hell Martha thinks that if she responds or derives any pleasure whatsoever from the act it will make her a whore, so she keeps duty forefront Theo employs every means to kindle Martha s desire, but the task was proving to be a labor worthy of Hercules My heart went out to this big hearted beautiful guy I was disgusted wtih Martha, yet sympathetic to her dilemma it felt authentic for the period Theo soon stops trying to awaken any responses in Martha and simply mates with her, working on the heir project But meanwhile, a beautiful friendship develops around Theo s varied plans to help his impoverished tenants and laborers plans that Martha fully endorses Theo has such a big The pacing dragged a little at one point, and I grew tired of sex served cold, so this is a flaw However, there were other absorbing story lines that held my interest when I grew irritated with puritanical Martha At about 70% into the book, Martha s passions FINALLY ignite, because she falls in love with Theophilus Often at his side, she sees him striding through rural Sussex, bringing hope and support to poverty stricken laborers, teaching a mentally impaired girl how to make a paper fan, re thatching roofs, supporting a new school, and creating a new economy It takes a while for Martha to realize she s in love with Theo, but after seeing him carry a dying man nearly a mile, she s a goner To a stunned and star struck Martha, he d never looked so powerful So capable So suffused with grace and might Theo finally got the passion he wanted from Martha And wow Once Martha knew Theo s heart, she gave herself totally to him, like a wild woman the scene in the chair These guys burned up the sheets A little striptease, some light bondage Untie me No, she said, and bent to kiss him again.He scrabbled at the knots He d free himself No This was your idea You ve no one to blame but yourself She gazed down at him like a governess out of someone s perverse boyhood fantasies.Good God She was enjoying this You want me, he whispered Yes, she said.What Martha loved best was that Theo valued her opinion, and sincerely cared about his people One night, while brainstorming how to improve the local economy, Martha muses Serious, conscientious, and seeking her opinion he could have had anything he wanted of her in that moment What the playboy loved best about the puritan was that she believed him capable of ANYTHING and supported EVERY idea he had Late at night, Theo tentatively broaches the idea of gaining investors for his dairy scheme Martha, being detail oriented, readily endorses his preliminary idea and offers several strategic tips Theo no dummy realizes her worth He could go through life forging one nebulous idea after the next, and know that she would hammer each one into practical shape I thought it perfect, this relationship that began so badly They complemented each other Martha s prudent attention to detail only magnified Theo s natural aptitude for visionary leadership Theo s gift for gab brought VISITORS into Martha s lonely life so now Theo totally walks on water in her eyes He showed her that she was respected, admired, and surrounded by allies Sigh Grant kept me up till 3am, blinking tears away But wait There s another storyline here A heartwarming drama unfolds where Theo s underprivileged tenants and Martha s household servants gain a new sense of unity and pride I loved the secondary characters, especially old Mr Barrows, the laborer s wife, Mrs Weaver Olivia and the abigail, Sheridan odd names for servants The details surrounded Mrs Weaver were particularly well done I also liked the vicar, Mr Atkins And how original, to cast a man of the cloth in a positive light There s MUCH to this story, including the routing of the rapist and the uniting of the community, but enough said Wondering if they had a baby together It s best to wait, but if you must know, see the spoiler view spoiler Martha did take his seed with great joy, but she ended up marrying him She figured out another way to thwart the soul less heir to Seton Park These poignant scenes showed how far the cold fish had come hide spoiler In Cecilia Grant S Emotionally Rich And Deeply Passionate Regency Romance Debut, A Deal With A Rud Rogue Turns A Proper Young Woman Into A Lady AwakenedNewly Widowed And Desperate To Protect Her Estate And Beloved Servants From Her Malevolent Brother In Law, Martha Russell Conceives A Daring Plan Or Rather, A Daring Plan To Conceive After All, If She Has An Heir On The Way, Her Future Will Be Secured Forsaking All She Knows Of Propriety, Martha Approaches Her Neighbor, A London Exile With A Wicked Reputation, And Offers A Strictly Business Proposition A Month Of Illicit Interludes For A FeeTheophilus Mirkwood Ought To Be Insulted Should Be Appalled But How Can He Resist This Siren In Widow S Weeds, Whose Offer Is Simply Too Outrageously Tempting To Decline Determined She Ll Get Her Money S Worth, Theo Endeavors To Awaken This Shamefully Neglected Beauty To The Pleasures Of The Flesh Only To Find Her Dead Set Against Taking Any Enjoyment In The Scandalous Bargain Surely She Can T Resist Him Forever But Could A Lady S Sweet Surrender Open Their Hearts To The Most Unexpected Arrival Of All Love I don t think I ve ever read a romance novel like this, which should be a recommendation in itself, seeing as so many of them follow one of the standard plots You know the sort of thing hero and heroine hate each other on sight but gradually fall in love hero heroine has to marry money to restore the family fortunes and gradually fall in love, etc.The gradual falling in love bit DOES happen, but it s done in such an original manner The heroine is a widow who wants desperately to remain in her marital home but her desire to do so stems from her sense of obligation to the local community rather than from any selfish desire to keep a roof over her head What I liked so much about this book was the way in which the two central characters, come together through a shared sense of community and duty It s not a traditional seduction and there are no mind blowing first time orgasms in fact, the sex is initially perfunctory and not at all sexy, which is rather a refreshing change from the majority of the romantic novels published nowadays This book is warm, and funny and also manages to include social observation through the ways in which the protagonists interact with their tennants and workers.I know this is an odd way to review a romance novel but what makes it so enjoyable is the fact that it s so DIFFERENT It s romantic of course and funny and tender and altogether a fabulous read Go on treat yourself In my idle hours, and in my less idle ones, I spend time than is reasonable pondering the following questions what s my favourite romance novel If I was sent to a desert island and could only take one with me, which would it be The answer usually changes with my mood But my God, Cecilia Grant s magnificent A Lady Awakened wins out very, very frequently Because, to me, it is perfection When people roll their eyes on finding out I read romance and are all bodice rippers members Fabio rapey heroes ok, no one actually says rapey , I give them a short list of brilliant, modern romance novels and Grant is always on it I read it for the first time back in 2014 when I first started reading romance and long before I discovered goodreads in any significant way Since then I have re read it all the way through twice I don t re read all that much and gone back to passages very, very frequently Not to over egg this pudding, but, if you haven t read this get on it, immediately.I will now attempt to review this book in a way that does some semblance of justice to just how much I love it and to just how good it is.The plot Heroine needs to get pregnant to steal an estate away from her dead husband s brother Pays the hero to act as her whore his definition , stud animal hers This seems a bit over the top when written down in this simple way But Grant makes it work with magic words and magic characters.And, oh, what characters Heroine, Martha Russell She s rigid, pious, blunt, principled, clever and brave Martha isn t likeable , and I like her for precisely that reason Grant isn t trying to sell her as a character to the reader, she just let s her be and she is absolutely committed to the heroine she s written On seeing the hero s torso for the first timeThat mattered to some woman Muscles and so forth Those taut flat ones across his stomach, for instance Women who didn t place the proper priority on a man s character had doubtless taught him to be vain of his physique, and even a woman of principle could enjoy, on some aesthetic level, the picture he made with his shirt removed 14% No swooning at the body of a Greek Adonis for our Martha, absolutely not And she s decidedly less impressed with what s beneath the trousersWhere she was molded, he was rough hewn he looked rangy, haphazard, his male parts an ill placed afterthought Like the last leftover bits of clay scraped together, rolled into primitive forms and stuck onto the middle of him, the stones in their rough red sack and that improbably appendage dangling to the fore Nor could she respect Mirkwood s exemplar, despite it s apparently remarkable size, and the jaunty JANUTY air suggesting confidence of its welcome anywhere 15% This really captures Martha in a nutshell And it s made all the delightful because Theo thinks she s admiring him and struts about like the rake he is The juxtaposition is amazing.This is a novel which does character growth like no other Martha remains quintessentially the same person throughout, but slowly, like a flower opening to sunlight, our hero, Theo gets into her mind and then into her heart because, with Martha, ever practical woman that she is, you cannot get into the latter without finding your way into the former Whilst that s happening, partially because that s happening, she becomes social throughout the novel, she sees some of her own weaknesses and she starts to remedy them.Theo Mirkwood A rake, exiled to his Father s country estate for his profligate spending in London He can t wait to get back The proposition from Martha that they have sex and he gets to make money from it is snapped up by him with very little thought At the start of this novel, that s just how he is By the end, he s a leader of men as Martha points out, he always has been, he just didn t see it yet He finds that all the characteristics in Martha that he disliked at first are the things he s come to loveBut she was never lovelier than when she spoke this way, all afire with the knowledge of wrongs to be righted and good to be done 59% She s a woman it s difficult to impress and impressing her makes Theo feel of a man than all the legions of women that came before her There s a small moment late on which shows just how much Theo has grown Grant does these small moments very wellWith one finger he crushed the painstaking folds of his cravat to bare his neck to the breeze on that side A month ago, his cravat was sacrosanct 65% Their love story is the very definition of a slow burn, despite the fact that they ve had sex by about the 20% mark At first, Theo is everything Martha dislikes frivolous, lazy, overly sexual Theo doesn t dislike Martha in the same way, but it s fair to say he doesn t understand her, she s a young woman completely outside what he has experienced to date in his easy London life Slowly, Theo finds himself, Martha starts to appreciate there is to him than she first thought and Theo starts to court Martha s good graces, at first because he wants to master her sexually and then because he falls for herYou re a leader of men, Mirkwood I should never have guessed it They were the most thrilling words a woman had ever said to him His head felt light and his legs unsteady who d have known a man could get drunk on a lady s good opinion 71%It s wonderfully subtle in its execution and beautiful to boot.Then there s the sex Oh, my, the sex It s the best kind because it s hawt but absolutely integral to the story and the characters Martha hates being in bed with Theo at first she wants to get her seed and get out As she comes to like him, then respect him, then love him, the sex gets good One of my favourite things about this novel is Martha s internal dialogue as she finds some enjoyment in the sex and then eventually, wanting Theo to have a whirl at pleasuring her She s put him off about it so many times, she s worried the ship has sailed for good and then she finds to her delight, that it hasn t Theo learns the merit of having to work to get a woman to enjoy herself and introducing Martha to the wonders of sex with someone you like and who likes you in returnNo lust, it developed, was so gratifying to a man as the lust that blossomed only after esteem had taken root 76% This is as true for the reader as it is for Theo It s delicious Grant achieves the story and the characters and the romance with a command of language and imagery which drives me mad with jealousy A few examplesBecause that is not what I choose to do The words had such clean edges, she might have sliced them on a tiny guillotine 9% And, how s this for a description of a heroineSo many different ways women had of being beautiful Mrs Russell s beauty was of a kind that spoke in whispers, veiled her like mist As though she has some hope of keeping it to herself, and granted her curves might escape a careless man s notice, so gradual were they She wanted a discerning lover One who saw all her sensual promise One who knew how to tease out the voluptuousness from an understated form 10% Theo s feelings on Martha unexpectedly helping him with a taskHe felt as though he were suspended in air, or floating on a strange warm sea Time might stop all round them and here he would be, washed with the music of soft feminine modulations, working away in the pleasure of unspoken companionship Why she should have confidence that his project must be worthy of her own industry, he could not fathom 43% Martha, on being invited by Theo to tie him upFor an instant she felt as though someone had flipped her skin raw side out she was one furious blush head to toe 72% Martha s perfectly in character declaration, as observed by TheoYes Duty Her whole body tensed with sweet,self conscious effort, as though she must find the way to deliver her next words through a mouthful of rocks My heart as well I love him Her cheeks went scarlet Any observer might conclude she d just confessed to some mortifying mishap 95% There are so many quotes I could have chosen I have half the book highlighted on my Kindle It s just brilliant I would not change any part of it and I look forward to re reading it periodically for the rest of my days. Reading this made me realize that one of my favorite things to happen in a historical romance is for the main characters to be forced together in an unusual way that unexpectedly fosters true intimacy In A Lady Awakened, what initially brings Theo and Martha together is sex unwanted, unpleasant sex Martha, a proper lady to her very core, feels forced to rent her feckless neighbor Theo s services as a stud so that she can quickly produce an heir, and save her late husband s estate from going to a man known for abusing his female servants Theo, at first happy to oblige, soon finds that servicing a woman who is disgusted by his best efforts is deeply disheartening.I m really making this sound good, aren t I Well, while Martha and Theo are meeting each other secretly for sex, they are also slowly getting to know each other And while Martha s high principles begin to infect Theo with an interest in his land and his dependents, Theo begins to make Martha aware that there s to him than she realized and that there can be to sex than procreation A Lady Awakened initially seemed a slightly misleading title, because Martha is not a stranger to either sexual desire or sexual pleasure, on her own She s at first unbelieving she could have pleasure with a partner, and then unwilling to compromise her ethically shady position any further by receiving it What eventually wins Martha over is not Theo s studly skills in the bedroom, but his increasingly stellar qualities as a person Serious, conscientious, and seeking her opinion he could have had anything he wanted of her in that moment She pressed her lips together Generosity demanded generosity in return Think on it Sleep on it You ll make the right choice She felt his pleasure as surely as though his skin was shuddering against hers He was all but a virgin in this, the experience of being taken seriously Perhaps no woman no one at all had ever gazed at him with quiet faith and encouraged him to believe in his own abilities I love the emotional symmetry here Martha, who needs so much to be taken seriously by men herself, discovering that this is something she can give to a man, who needs it as much as she does That realization of the possibility of reciprocity between a couple, sexually and emotionally, is Martha s true awakening.This is a leisurely told story, with information about daily estate life than is currently popular in historical romance, but I never found it boring Martha s cold affect made it harder to passionately love the story and the ending is not entirely satisfying, but it was a very interesting and rewarding read, and a promising debut. 4.5 I ve been hearing this author mentioned a lot lately, and now I know why This historical romance is easily on par with some of the best authors of this genre Balogh, Quinn, Kleypasetc.I think the one thing I enjoyed most about this story is how I got to see the romance evolve from a cold and simple business association to a deeply warm and passionate friendship all the way to a heart stopping love Both characters evolve emotionally as well, when they realize the circumstances of which they created may not have the intended outcome A Lady Awakened was a great tale that kept me fully engaged, with a strong storyline and two well developed, interesting characters I will definitely be reading the next in this series soon. Nothing Traditional About Thisok maybe a few thingsLook, let me start by saying, there was NOTHING about either the hero or heroine that made me swoon Never Ok, there was that one scenebut back to the reviewI cannot say enough about this book For once, we get a romance that has sex that s well, so not perfect And a relationship that s well, so not perfect I don t even know where to begin other than to say, this ain t yo mamma s regency romance Hero meh, the name I can t get over it Mr Mirkwood Theophilus Isn t that an asthma medication Such a child in a man s body Then again, aren t they all But he tries And he keeps trying And then he tries some and then he gets it and I go all melty like Heroine good lord, a bigger stick in the mud I just don t know But dammit, she has to go and be so honorable, so good, so giving And that s the issue She gives to everyone but herself Until she finally does And then, I go all melty like Watching these two unfold in to fully realized grown ups is delightful Everyone should, must, has to, read this book Please 4.5 starsDebutI understand you to have just proposed to engage me as your whore He gave one last cough Is that correct Disapproval thinned her lips again The better analogy is to a stud animal My concern is only with the issue I have no expectation of pleasure For Martha Russell her ten month marriage was both unfulfilling and unfruitful Without an heir her estate will be given over to her late husband s brother, a man whose past crimes against servants has gone unpunished but not forgotten To protect herself, her servants and tenants Martha knows that she must produce an heir and quickly.Theo Mirkwood has been banished to his family s country property in Sussex adjoining Martha s land For twenty six year old Theo his wasteful and irresponsible ways have become too much for his father He is sent to Sussex in hopes that learning the management of the estate will change him for the better.Theo and Martha s relationship drives this story There are other happenings that involve secondary characters their tenants, their servants, and the evil brother who is waiting impatiently in the wings to inherit Martha s home But they play a minor role to the overall love story This is a romance of opposites Theo is city bred, wasteful, spoiled, irresponsible, indolent and easy going Martha is countrified, responsible, practical, upright and uptight.From acquaintances to friends to lovers, the shift in the dynamic of their relationship evolves gently Almost day by day we see subtle changes in their arrangement Some readers may have a problem with the subdued pacing but it s necessary so that we see their relationship develop and blossom realistically.The author has done a thorough job in researching the historical details giving a credible setting to this romance in bucolic Regency Britain She portrays the life of the lower classes with stark reality.Written in beautiful prose this slowly simmering romance is deeply satisfying, thoroughly enjoyable The love scenes depict their growing relationship, developing sensually as their relationship moves from a business arrangement to love Cecilia Grant has written a lovely romance and an impressive debut Highly recommendedTurn over, he said, his voice already gone thick.Her eyes flew open I did not authorize anything out of the ordinary, she said, the words shrill with alarm I only want to look I promise we ll fornicate face to face like Christians He couldn t quite mask his laughter But let me finish looking My mind kept wandering It did not hold my interest I did not enjoy the rigid heroine with no emotional interactions.STORY BRIEF Martha did not marry for love She married to avoid being dependent on her brother Her husband died ten months later from a horse accident She learns that her brother in law James will inherit the estate and that he molested female servants when he lived there 16 years ago She believes it is her duty to keep James away from the estate in order to protect the female workers She also believes it is her duty to improve the lives of all tenants and workers in the area She financed a local school and is lobbying the families to send their daughters In order to keep James away, she must get pregnant within the next 30 days and claim that the pregnancy is by her husband She hires her neighbor Theo to have sex with her every day for 30 days.REVIEWER S OPINION Each time they have sex, she refuses to show emotion and refuses to experience pleasure She demands he perform as quickly as possible while she lies stiff as a board like a corpse There are 11 sex scenes like this, for about 2 3 of the book Talk about boring sex scenes She makes comments like I didn t hire you for pleasure I m not paying you to do those things Can you just get on with it please In the 11th sex scene, he s still trying to talk her into letting him pleasure her, which she will not allow She says I ve told you I don t want it My mind rules my body You re depraved beyond my worst conjectures She has no emotional interaction with anyone during the book She is uptight, rigid, critical, judgmental, pious, and holier than thou The only thing she cares about is her sense of duty to do good Her plans are to see the school s enrollment double, shepherd a dairy into being on the very next property and then turn her attention to all the good she could do in town If she remained at Seton Park, the days and years ahead could be gratifying indeed Ok, I can admire someone like this, Sister Theresa spinster for life, never smiling at anyone unless it is while she is giving them a gift She is self sacrificing When she has a loss, she does not cry When she eventually falls in love, it feels wooden I didn t enjoy reading about her Maybe some vulnerability might have helped I welcome unusual and different character creations from authors, but I need to be able to enjoy reading about them, be they good or wicked Martha was not fun to read about, and that is the biggest problem.Theo was interesting enough He had a good heart He was rich kid enjoying his life of wine, women, and gambling His father sent him to the country for a while in hopes of providing some seriousness to his life Of course, living next door to serious Martha definitely brought out that part of Theo He began taking an interest in the people on his land and their lives, thanks to Martha s influence I don t know why he falls in love with her, probably because he likes himself better as a result of her influence It wasn t a fun relationship to read about Maybe if she had shown some emotional desire for him I would have liked it better.One of my pet peeves is having a character deny their feelings and take actions against those feelings This is usually done in order to have a conflict It s different in this book yet similar Martha s entire life is denying her feelings She has none and never will.She eventually falls in love with Theo, so we are told But after that the sex scenes were still missing sensuality and hotness I didn t feel any desire coming from her It might have been fun to see her shell cracking with emotions coming through and her confusion about feelings be they sexual, love, or other.DATA Story length 346 pages Swearing language strong, including religious swear words, but rarely used Sexual language moderate to strong, but rarely used Number of sex scenes 14 Estimated number of sex scene pages 45 Setting Around 1814 England Copyright 2012 Genre regency romance.DISCLOSURE This book is an Advance Reader s Edition provided to me free of charge through the Vine Program in return for my writing a review.