01 June 2011

Review: How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries

The Book:

Lady Minerva Sharpe knew she did not want to follow her grandmother’s edict to marry or forfeit the family inheritance. What better way for Minerva to change her mind than by a pretend engagement to a rogue? Giles Masters may have fueled her imagination for the spy in her Gothic novels with a memorable kiss, but she certainly has no inclination to actually marry him. When more news on the mystery behind her parents’ deaths comes to light, Giles and Minerva begin to investigate, and find themselves discovering their desire for each other. But when Giles’ secret life as an actual spy comes to light, will Minerva be willing to believe in her love again?


The Yarn:

The third in The Hellions of Halstead Hall series (after The Truth About Lord Stoneville and A Hellion In Her Bed) brings us a witty heroine in Lady Minerva Sharpe. Already known to break aristocratic rules as the author of many gothic novels, Minerva is faced with the same task that faced her two elder brothers: marry within the year or forfeit the family inheritance. Of course, her grandmother just wants to see her grandchildren happy after the tragic and mysterious death of their parents. Whether they like it or not.

Minerva has mooned over Giles Masters, who has proven himself a rogue of the first order, since a kiss on her nineteenth birthday. Minerva translates her scorn into her work and thinly veils Giles as a spy and scoundrel. Little does she know that Giles' behavior hides the fact that he is an actual British spy. Giles is determined to outwit Minerva at her own game, only to find himself in a starring role.

I have always been a fan of Sabrina Jeffries' writing. She is one of those authors that bring us smart, but flawed heroines. Their flaws do not usually fall under the "wilting flower" syndrome that many modern romances see fit to stick their female leads with (I am looking at YOU, Harlequin romances!) but usually flaws that you see from men: intelligence, stubbornness, fortitude, and strength of character. This is one of the reasons I prefer Regency romances; the women rarely wilt.

Jeffries also writes amazing series. She does an excellent job of building layered storylines for characters over successive novels. In fact, if you have read her School for Heiresses series, this set of tales is built from those characters' lives. History is built by a plot rich in details, humorous pursuits, and sometimes a mystery. Jeffries includes all of this in the Hellions series as she moves each book through the siblings' lives and loves, and she never leaves a detail behind.

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady is a fun read for any romance reader, especially those who love a Regency with a sharp heroine. I cannot wait (but I will have to, at least until November) to see what happens next.

The Ink:

Title: How to Woo a Reluctant Lady (The Hellions of Halstead Hall, #3)
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocket Star
Date: February 2011
Read: Mass Market Paperback (Provided by Goodreads and Pocket Star)