Xpress Reviews: Fiction | First Look at New Books, July 12, 2013
Louisa Stratton needs a husband—and fast. She is returning home to Rosemont after a yearlong sojourn across Europe with her maid, having written to her taciturn Aunt Grace that she had met and married Mr. Maximillian Norwich in Paris. Who can live up to the perfection of the nonexistent Max? Louisa is forced to hire Capt. Charles Cooper to impersonate her incomparable spouse through the 1903 Christmas season. Charles can use the very generous fee now that he has fallen on hard times and an overabundance of gin after a tour in Africa during the Boer War. Saddled with guilt, nightmares, and the loss of sight in one eye, Charles takes the voluble Miss Stratton at her word that she just needs his public face to put off her less than supportive family before she can flee once more. Then life at Rosemont goes from odd to downright dangerous—and decidedly seductive.
Verdict Robinson’s (Captain Durant’s Countess) “poor little rich girl” who never felt cared about as a child and even less so as an adult finds acceptance and love with a former soldier more damaged than she is. These characters are delightful and dotty and acerbic in the best possible way. This reviewer was in thrall from page one. Highly recommended for all romance readers.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal
“In the Arms of the Heiress is the first book in Robinson’s turn-of-the-century Ladies Unlaced series, and it is an absolute delight. Funny, poignant, and sexy, it has all the charm of a classic screwball comedy with more substance. Charles is a tortured hero, a type that Robinson creates with great skill, but the specifics of his working-class history, the horrific details of his experience in South Africa, and his unique combination of angst and humor make him distinctly individual. Louisa is a darling. I fell for her on the second page when she imagines Maximillian’s death and thinks “If there had really been a Maximillian, she was sure she’d show all the proper feeling for losing the love of her life. She probably wouldn’t rise from her lonely bed for weeks, perhaps months. Years. She’d rival the late queen in her longing for Albert, only she’d be far more attractively dressed.”
The secondary characters add dimension, particularly Kathleen, the loyal, tart-tongued maid who has her own love interest. Louisa’s family left me indignant on her behalf, and the mystery of the attacks on Charles and Louisa kept me guessing until very near the multi-threaded end. The mystery of the supremely confident and competent Mary Evensong remains unresolved. I have speculated wildly about the implications of her name. I’m hoping the second book in the series, In the Heart of the Highlander (October 1, 2013) will answer all my questions. It features Mary and a Highlander hero. I’ve already starred it as a do-not-miss-this book on my calendar.
If you like historical romance that leaves you with a laugh and a sigh and a decided impatience for the next book in the series, I highly recommend In the Arms of the Heiress.”
Be still my author heart! And here we go: the Penomet Pump review is here!
“Robinson casts a gothic aura over her story of an heiress fleeing in disguise to a dark house whose master hides many secrets. She cleverly lightens the mood with lively repartee and steamy sensuality, yet maintains the tension of the mystery to the very end.” Yay!
I fiddled around on Goodreads yesterday and set up a page to connect with readers and have a more immediate “conversation” and notification than I can by newsletters or blogs. I’d love if you joined me! Ladies Unlaced. Thanks to Elyssa Patrick for the beautiful banner!
I got my first official review from RT Book Reviews Magazine for In the Arms of the Heiress: 4 1/2 stars! My best review ever. And a Knight in Shining Silver Award for the hero Charles Cooper! “Tortured war veteran Charles Cooper finds salvation In the Arms of the Heiress in Maggie Robinson’s touching tale.”
Here’s more: “With the start of the Ladies Unlaced series, Robinson takes on turn-of-the-century England and the delightful concept of an heiress in search of freedom who discovers the wonders of love with a most unconventional ex-soldier. These endearing and appealing characters capture readers’ hearts, but it is the underlying humor of the story and the charming secondary characters that ensure a marvelous read.” Yay!