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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Noble Dilemma by Susanne Marie Knight



A Noble Dilemma by Susanne Marie Knight
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (123 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

After Bethany's elderly aunt dies, she is left without a home. When a distant relation, the Earl of Ingraham, offers her a London Season, it would seem to be the answer to her dilemma.

But Bethany has no interest in attracting an eligible suitor. She has other plans for her future. Her dream is to support herself by writing a novel, following in the footsteps of her favorite author.

However, literary ladies are frowned upon, not only by Society but by the Earl, who is smitten with Bethany's beauty and character.

Fretting about her guilty secret, she agrees to further intrigue by acting as secretary to one of the royal dukes.

Will Bethany give up her chance for true love to continue her writing career? Or, will the Earl find a way to solve this noble dilemma?

A Noble Dilemma is a tight intriguing novel placed in the regency era. Miss Bethany Branford is one of those stalwart’s of the era, an under-funded gentlewoman forced into the life of genteel caregiver. Her circumstances seem to have cropped up in that era all too often: Bethany is blessed with a lively mind, a writing talent, and beauty enough to find some other direction in life.

This is good, because she’s forced to, before she’s ready for such an undertaking. Although we see the challenge before her, it's immediately exciting when we also see that Bethany’s cleverness allows her choices.

David Greyle, the fourth Earl of Ingraham makes a pleasant enough introduction; we seem him as a teasing and amusing adult brother, faintly annoying but also indulgent. We discover Bethany is to make his acquaintance and already in the reader’s mind we can see where this is going.

But – wait! Bethany is preparing for a ‘new chapter in her life.’ In fact, she can hardly wait! We are forced to remember she has choices and skills… and suddenly, events and emotions are much less easy to predict. In fact, perhaps most surprisingly, we discover we don’t even quite know what to hope for: yes, this path would be nice… but then again…

Subtle surprises, above average characters, and a wonderful eye for detail set A Noble Dilemma apart. Secondary characters are both important and singular. Activities are appropriate and fun to read about; from dinners to carriage ride, dinners to the obligatory trip to London.

Fans of this particular type of historical will enjoy this – most especially because it both fits, but somewhat escapes the mold. Truly charming.

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