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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Becoming Mr. Brooking by Marguerite Butler

Becoming Mr. Brooking by Marguerite Butler
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Genre: Historical (Regency)
Length: Full Length (175 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Book Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Edwina Tolliver is the sister of noted botanist Sir Horace Tolliver. More than anything, the Tolliver family fortunes rest upon securing sponsorship of her brother's scientific expedition. The last thing she expects, or needs, is to be so helplessly attracted to their sponsor's secretary, Mr. Brooking.

Graham Hatterly is fond of pranks. As far as he's concerned, life is about having a good time. When his secretary, Mr. Brooking suddenly becomes ill on the eve of traveling to investigate a business proposal, this younger son thinks it will be a lark go in his secretary's place. The last thing he expects is to meet the woman of his dreams.

Trapped in the Cotswolds by a flood, there is no escape from the temptations and complications that arise from Graham's game of becoming Mr. Brooking.

Becoming Mr. Brooking is an engaging and rather humorous Regency story that gives the reader a bird’s eye view of how Graham Hatterby, a younger son, evolves from a somewhat useless rake and wastrel to a mature, caring man with a purpose in life.

Edwina Toliver, orphaned at sixteen, manages the estate of her absent-minded, scientist brother Sir Horace. She works with extremely limited funds, while he pursues his scientific interests. She is about ready to strangle him if he says, “You’ll manage” one more time when she tries to tell him they are desperate for money. Intelligent and talented in art and science, Edwina labors without recognition. She writes the proposal and sends it to The Second Fiddle Club requesting funding for Sir Horace’s expedition to Africa. She signs a man’s name as if her brother has a secretary. Little did she know the impact that missive would have on her life.

When Graham Hatterby shows up early, unannounced, and disguised as his secretary Mr. Brooking, Edwina must rally all forces and funds to accommodate the gentleman that she hopes will approve funding for her brother’s expedition.

Like most deceits, Graham’s creates a tangled web that ensnares himself and Edwina, bringing dismay, hurt, and grief.

Even though events and outcomes are predictable, Marguerite Butler uses the mores and taboos of the Regency period to create an entertaining story of a girl, past her prime in Regency time, and a man, drifting aimlessly until fate or whatever brings them together. The conflicts, complications, humor, and love make Becoming Mr. Brooking delightful reading.