What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara
Overview by Amazon:
Henrietta Upperton is about to marry Alexander Sanford when he rushes off to India to salvage his family’s fortune. Then comes the devastating news that he has wed another. Eight agonizing years later, a storm washes Alexander ashore—injured, widowed, and hunted—and one glimpse of his ruggedly handsome face reawakens the desire Henrietta thought she had buried deep inside. Her body still yearns for his touch, but she’s determined not let him wound her again . . . not this time.
For Alexander, honor always comes first. But only now does he realize that when given the choice between two virtuous deeds, he picked the wrong one. On the run with his life in tatters and a pair of daughters in tow, Alexander burns for Henrietta. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. And yet he longs to wrap his arms around her warm body once again. What’s more, he is sure the lady craves the same.
This book had some interesting idiosyncrasies in it such as, the main character being called George, a gender challenged cat and the concept of honor being wielded like a religion. I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons.
First, I really liked the complex details the author uses to describe the lives of the characters. From the daily routine of the ladies, to the tapestries and wall paper in the manor to the food being served. I thought it was priceless that the elderly aunt doted on her gender challenge cat, but yet couldn’t stand the sight of children. This was probably very true of the times, yet it was humorous to read about it in a book.
Secondly, I really enjoyed the descriptions and imagery of the British aristocracy in India. I like to read historical romance novels, not just for the romance, but to learn about life back then. This book was well researched and it piqued my interest to read more about this time and setting. Alexander brings his servant/bodyguard with him from India and it was sad to read how he was never truly trusted or accepted because he was seen as beneath the English.
I usually really enjoy the steamy scenes in historical romance novels, and these scenes were well written, but for some reason I just had a hard time connecting with the two main characters sexually. I enjoyed the romantic reunion of the two and how they reconnected. Maybe it was Alexander adherence to his strict code of honor or the name “Henrietta” sounds so bluestocking and spinsterish, but I just wasn’t turned on by these two. I’m glad they reconcile and can put aside 8 years of loneliness, but I actually skipped over the love scenes.
The mystery of the wooden box and the strange Indian men in the village saves this book from being a back and forth about whether or not Alexander and Henrietta (gah – that name!) should reunite. I was intrigued about the contents of the box and what were the villains lurking around looking for. This plot point comes to a head in the final moments of the book and it helps resolve a lot of the issues (their relationship, his children, his manservant).
When Alexander washes ashore from his wreck, he has lost everything monetary that was to fill the coffers of his family. He has two partners we are introduced to, Lord Lindenhurst and Battencliffe. Although they make appearances, they are short and I would assume they are the other books in the Eton series to come.
The thing I liked most about Henrietta was her penchant for swearing. It was hilarious that a woman of these times would curse a blue streak – even if it was in her head a lot of the time.
This was a good, solid read. I wish I could have connected with the main characters outside of a chaste relationship, but I did still care what happened to them and how they found each other again. I’m intrigued to read the next book in the series and hear more about Alexander and Henrietta as well as solving the mystery of Lindenhurst and Battencliffe.