September 29, 2016

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna White | My Review

The mark of a truly great book--and author--is when you don't want to see it end. And this is how I feel upon finishing A Lady Unrivaled. Roseanna has outdone herself with this conclusion to her Ladies of the Manor series--where we finally once and for all get to see the end of the Fire Eyes diamond intrigue. This book also allows the reader to re-meet the past books' beloved characters and their families, get to know new characters, old characters with 180-turnarounds of redemption--and one of the latter just happens to be the now-unrivaled in my book, Cayton.

Oh my gosh. I thought Brice from A Reluctant Duchess was my all-time fictional crush. He still ranks way high up on my lengthy list. But Cayton. CAYTON. While we technically met him in The Lost Heiress and saw him again fleetingly in book two, now we get a front-row seat to this redeemed, poignantly and endearingly imperfect but dashing hero's heart. A heart deeper than his title, lands or riches--a heart working to grow past the regrets of his past, be involved as a loving parent in his daughter's life--and a heart that is (mostly) patient with one Lady Ella who is constantly getting lost.
Lady Ella Myerston is Brice's younger sister--another character we got to meet in the earlier books and oh, when the news broke that this third and final book was about her, I was thrilled. In Roseanna's author's note she confesses that this is the heroine most similar to herself. Which explains why I love Ella so much.
Ella is truly a lady unrivaled. She is bold, so very lovable, and has a huge, open heart and a joy that emanates from page one. It has been a while since I felt such a true kinship and desire to be friends with a fictional character as I did with Ella.

Now Ella and Cayton together. Oh the sparks. It takes a deft hand to craft such unique sparks riddled with both foreshadowing and meaning from their "meet-cute" and onward through the story. Ella reminded me a lot of Belle from Beauty and the Beast with her cheeriness and bookish ways, while Cayton--redeemed, complicated, occasional grump with a hidden enormous and creative heart--reminded me of The Beast. Just a tad. Their witty repartee was positively delightful, and I loved loved loved how Ella drew him out

Perhaps my favorite part and quite frankly, a part of the essence of grace with how God sees us, His works in progress, is this.
Cayton asks Ella, "You know nothing about me. Why are you so determined to believe in me?"
Ella thinks a moment, considers and admits her "cliche attraction," until she arrived at the only answer that came to her mind. "Someone has to."

I could just keep gushing and gushing and give away far too many spoilers about this wonderful story and its characters, so I will leave you with this. Iif you like/miss Downton Abbey--pick up this series of books.
All the mysteries, the upstairs-downstairs tête-à-têtes, secrets revealed, and the delectable drama with such redemptive themes threaded through out this novel makes it a truly unrivaled book, a tender, and blithe romance. My favorite of the entire series.

ABOUT THE BOOK: 
 Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smile--even if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better.

Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving her--and his daughter--from those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two small children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.
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