Lady Anne’s Lover
By Maggie Robinson
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Lady Imaculata Egremont has spent the two years since her debut making herself the most scandalous lady in London. Her exploits have filled the pages of The London List, and her name has figured prominently in London’s spiciest scandals from nude plunges in fountains to public kisses shared with another lady. What the gossips don’t know is that the lady has courted scandal deliberately in an effort to make her father, an earl with political clout and a reputation for high morality, grow so disgusted with her behavior that he abandons his incestuous plans for his daughter. When Evangeline Ramsey (Lord Gray’s List) learns the truth, she helps Lady Imaculata transform herself into Anne Mont and to leave London to answer an ad for a housekeeper in Wales.
Major Gareth Ripton-Jones has lost a great deal, and it looks as if he is about to lose more. A hero of most of the major battles of the Napoleonic Wars, he returned home whole only to lose an arm in a freak fall. The woman he hoped to marry, disgusted by his disability, dumped him, and then his father died, leaving him with an estate in ruins. When his former beloved was murdered, the village concluded Gareth was the culprit and ostracized him. Having given up on saving his estate, Gareth is expecting to be forced to sell his land, and he is drinking himself into a stupor while he waits. Since the locals refuse to work for him, he is forced to advertise in The London List for a housekeeper.
Anne’s housekeeping skills are laughable, but the major is so inebriated that he hardly notices. He can’t ignore the curves of his housekeeper who appears far too young to for her job and for the widowed status she claims. Anne sets out to solve the major’s problems, starting with an attempt to scold him into sobriety. When she proposes a marriage of convenience that will allow her access to the fortune her mother left her and give the major a way to save his land, Gareth agrees, thinking the marriage may be convenient in more ways than one. The ending is predictable, but along the way to a satisfying HEA, the murderer is revealed, the evil earl defanged, and two delightful, deserving protagonists find love.
This is the third and final book, following Lord Gray’s List and Captain Courant’s Countess, in Maggie Robinson’s series featuring a London tabloid. Lady Anne’s Lover reveals Robinson’s knack for combining humor and heat with a heart-stirring tale. I loved Anne from the opening sentence. Despite the real horror of her situation, she displays ingenuity, strength, and courage and maintains a sense of compassion for her fellow human beings. Her bumbling attempts at housekeeping are funny, but it says much about her character that she is tenacious in her efforts. She is also straightforward in expressing her views about the major’s surrender to self-pity and alcohol. It took longer for Gareth to win my heart. I thought he could have used more of Anne’s strength of character, but I will admit that if his victory over alcohol had been won speedily, I would have complained about that. He comes through in the end, and much can be forgiven a man with sapphire eyes. I should also note that although Gareth defends her honor, Anne is just as much her own savior in the penultimate scene. Thank you, Maggie!
If you haven’t read the London List books, you are missing a rare treat. Lady Anne’s Lover can certainly be read as a standalone, but why deny yourself the pleasure of a stellar trilogy. If you’re a fan of historical romance that sizzles and scintillates and satisfies, you’ll become a fan of Maggie Robinson.
I realized when reading this book that several of my favorite historical romances feature heroes battling alcoholism. Do you have favorites that treat this subject? Are there any historicals that feature heroines who are recovering alcoholics?