Published by Bantam Genres: Historical
Reviewed by Miranda
In Cecilia Grant’s emotionally rich and deeply passionate Regency romance debut, a deal with a rumored rogue turns a proper young woman into . . .A Lady Awakened. Newly 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 fee. Theophilus 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?
Mrs. Martha Russell is left in quite the predicament following her husband’s death. Her husband’s will is very detailed. If she is pregnant and the child is a boy Martha inherits his estate, if the child is a girl, she retains a portion of the estate while the majority goes to his brother Mr. James Russell. If she is not pregnant the estate goes to Mr. James Russell. Mr. James Russell has a horrible reputation as a cad and manipulator. Martha cares about the people living on her land and refuses to allow him to bring harm to these people.
Mr. Theophilus Mirkwood has been exiled from London. He expected the country life to be boring but oh what a surprise he received when he meets Mrs. Martha Russell. Mrs. Russell’s proposal is downright wicked and tempting.
Martha has a month to conceive and she engages Mr. Mirkwood in a deal for his seed. If he can impregnate her in time she will pay him a hefty sum. Martha’s not hard on the eyes and Theo is ready for some fun. He never expected this duty to be a difficult one but Martha isn’t exactly keen on experiencing pleasure. Can Theo take Martha to new heights or will she keep him firmly grounded? Let the battle of wills begin. Theo and Martha’s journey is wild and unique. Can these two unlikely allies find love?
The premise of A Lady Awakened really intrigued me. I was interested in the plight of a woman desperate enough to get pregnant that she would hire a man to help her. Unfortunately, I had trouble getting into the story. For me it is a bit slow. I wanted things to happen faster. A lot of the story is uncomfortable because of how uncomfortable Martha is regarding sex. I never felt the powerful connection I wanted to between Theo and Martha.