Cecilia Grant’s debut, A Lady Awakened is a wonderful historical romance, with an unusual premise: Martha Russell, who is recently widowed, propositions Theophilus Mirkwood, in the hopes of conceiving a child and preventing her estate from falling into cruel hands.
Martha is reserved, stern, and full of ideals about improving the lives of her tenants and women. Theo is reckless, fun loving, and has lived his life avoiding responsibility. He has been exiled to the country by his father who is tired of his frivolous ways. Martha and Theo are seemingly completely incompatible, their first meetings are stiff and awkward, and the sex is terrible.
However, both of them have good hearts, and strive to treat the people in their lives with decency. Slowly, Martha helps Theo to see the good that he could do, and Theo begins to tentatively make connections with the neighbors. Martha is full of ideas, but struggles to relate easily with others, while Theo is at ease with most people. Together, they balance each other out, and help each other to grow.
A Lady Awakened was sweet, gentle and sexy, with intelligent and engaging characters. I look forward to reading more of Grant’s work.