A change from the more familiar historical romance here: this story is NOT in London, nor is it mired in the strictures of the aristocratic society, a late Victorian era story that was a joy to read.
Oh the second chance romance: we all have someone that will always be in the ‘what if’ pile, and Rachel Brimble gives us a lovely look at Monica’s chance to get her answers. In a lovely twist that isn’t embroiled in the Tonne and the social atrophy of that set, this Victorian era story has lots of elements to make it unique.
Monica is the eldest daughter, and while she longs for a life more exciting than her small village of Biddlestone, she doesn’t act on those feelings until a potential husband is presented to her. Refusing the husband, Monica alights for Bath, a coastal city far different from her home village, to start her life anew. Five years of toil and she is the undisputed queen of the theatre community: wealthy, independent and unwilling to answer to anyone she has the life she dreamed of. But, her years estranged from her family did not make her untraceable, and she receives a letter telling of her father’s passing and her mother’s ill health. Monica decides to return to her childhood home for his funeral.
I found her a bit selfish and perhaps more ‘forward’ than a woman of her time would have been, but in her defense, she also had a very narrow view of the world as a whole, despite her time alone fending for herself. The class structure of the time was rigidly defined, but starting to change, and her confusion in this absolutist thinking when she herself had overthrown the expectations showed most clearly in her concern for the estate’s tenants and what would happen to them should the estate fail. And in her feelings and reservations about Thomas.
Thomas has grown up on the estate – and always had a crush on Monica. One that he thought returned for much of his young years. I had a few problems with Thomas, while I appreciated his loyalty to his own family, the estate and even to Monica, his temper and lack of restraint on his many passions felt immature and made him less believable as THE match for Monica. But, they did circle about one another near endlessly for a long while there: These two pined away and circled about the very obvious attraction and feelings, sometimes with a near callous disregard for one another’s feelings, and then suddenly Thomas asserting that he wouldn’t hold her back from her dreams or desires.
Fortunately, we do move on from that, and they both seem to come to their senses, and a lovely romance is in the offing. These two are SO very stubborn that a visit from someone to bash their heads together for sense would not have gone amiss, but when they got it, it was lovely.
Little moments are left to wonder about: Monica’s sister has her own infatuation with someone who remains nameless, and there wasn’t a clear picture of Monica’s mother and what eventually happened with her, but this was a fun story that kept me engaged and enjoying every moment.
Title: What a Woman Desires
Author: Rachel Brimble
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Lyrical Press
Published on: 5 January, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound
From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams—but is she brave enough to open her heart…?
Monica Danes always wanted more than the village of Biddlestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parents’ choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theater—a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of tragedy, Monica returns—intending to leave again as soon as possible.
Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Danes estate since he was a boy—and has been enamored with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn’t a suitable match for his master’s daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared—and their undeniable attraction. But now that she’s returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy—and to show Monica a life, and a love, she won’t want to give up...
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.