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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Arrival of Lily Curtis by Rachel Brimble

The Arrival of Lily Curtis by Rachel Brimble
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (260 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty…so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily - on the understanding if her attempt at independence fails, she will return home and marry a man of her parents' choosing.

Viscount Westrop will ensure his legacy is passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny and feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth - Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew's lineage will undoubtedly be in peril.

A lady hiding in plain sight gets the adventure of her lifetime by falling in love with the very kind of man she tried to run from.

Get ready for a cast of characters that bring to life a delightful tale of romance sure to bring smiles and sighs to a reader. First I met Elizabeth a/k/a/ Lily. She’s a well respected young lady who has just finished her last season. I got the sense that she enjoys life and wants to experience everything she can but her parents are of a mind that enough is enough. As with all good and caring Regency era parents, they want her taken care of and settled. Back in the day that meant marriage to a person of their choosing. That’s when the plot and the conflict start to unfold for a reader. I got the sense that her parents really do love her and even when they try to stand firm, she has them wrapped around her little pinkie. For the next thing I knew, Lily a/k/a Elizabeth is embarking on an incredible journey of full discovery and surprises. When Elizabeth communes with her inner Lily, her personality shines. She’s spunky, saucy, tart and definitely not the type of person to be subservient. She tries though. But no matter how docile she attempts to be, she is what she is and that is what makes her character so adorable.

Andrew is the hero. He’s a nice balance of duty and guilt, and yearnings he thinks will go unsatisfied. He’s loyal and has a heart as wide open as the sea. He doesn’t treat his servants as peons but as real people who happen to be in his employ. His butler, Nicholas, is a prime example. Somehow I don’t see just any type of guy being willing to have a man work for him who has Nicholas’ personality and quirks and yet he does. It’s part of Andrew’s charm. He’s loyal to those he calls friends but the one major aspect I respected is that he didn’t have blinders on. He’s well aware of the debauched behaviors that thread through the Ton and that knowledge is key.

I enjoyed the growing relationship between Andrew and Lily. It seemed Lily seduced him not with come hither looks and sultry caresses but with her attitude, her spark and her innocence. Her bearing and her way of speech intrigue him because he senses she’s more than she’s telling. And I admired his forgiving nature. He’s a special man and a very likeable character. I thought Andrew and Lily were a perfect match. In regards to their getting together in the biblical sense, the buildup was sensual and the delivery delicious.

The secondary characters were the servants, which were a delight. Each played a role in helping a reader know the hero and heroine and provided pushes and tweaks to the plot. There’s another character that is not so nice. I am impressed with Ms. Brimble’s use of profane speech at one point. It was perfect. What I mean by that is, it was used with a deft hand to illustrate the villain’s diabolical and twisted mind. After the proper and quite dignified manner of most interactions in the story, its appearance made an impact on this reader and truly set the stage for some nasty goings on.

I really wanted to have a rating higher for this story because I enjoyed myself immensely while reading.

There are some editing issues that pop up sporadically so it’s not perfect. Then there was the whole notion of a young woman actually getting away with making that deal with her parents. Not only did she get it but they helped set it up. For that time period, I’m of the opinion that that would never happen for real. It just seemed too farfetched. Once I got past that notion and concentrated on the story and the budding fascination Andrew and Lilly have for the other, it ceased being a major head-scratch. I was having too much fun.

The Arrival of Lily Curtis is a fun and entertaining read filled with characters that come alive. Their dialogue was clever and spirited, or in the case of the villain, very diabolical and twisted. It’s a true romance between two people who think they have to settle for less and end up getting more love and happiness they ever dreamed of. It’s a happy story with an adorably romantic and cute wrap up after a very intense and dramatic climax. This book is well worth taking the time to read and I’m glad I did.