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?
SERIES: Ladies of the Manor #3
GENRE: Historical Romance, Christian Fiction
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2016
“Just remember who you are… not who you were.“
The Ladies of the Manor series has been my first introduction to Roseanna White and her books. They are, I am happy to report, everything they were lauded to be – and more! This book in particular, A Lady Unrivaled, is perhaps my very favorite of the three. And it comes down to three main reasons.
Ella and Cayton bantering.
There are, of course, many other things to love about A Lady Unrivaled. Not the least of which, the way that these ladies of the manor are not bound by society’s restrictions or expectations but carry concealed weapons on their persons and charge in to save the day despite being barely pregnant and nearly due (two different people there, in case you were wondering).
But we had all these marvelously strong yet feminine characters in the previous two books as well, and while I love them there is just something about A Lady Unrivaled that shines the tiniest bit brighter.
That light is Lady Ella Myerston, front and center stage. With her delightful quirks and her charming wit and her sincere heart, she not only spreads sunshine everywhere she walks within the pages of the book but to the reader as well. She truly is a lady unrivaled, and I was thrilled to “meet” her again and see her story come to life. Combined with Lord James Cayton (whom we’ve also met before), their chemistry is fantastic and I’m not sure I’ve yet stopped smiling at their banter.
“The paths are muddy, my lady, and you not so slender that you fail to leave a print.”
He had to be trying to sound so crotchety. He had to be. “My, you are charming. Careful, or I may fall at your feet in adoration, and then you’ll have to carry my not-so-slender muddy form back to the castle.”
By the way, I totally pictured Cayton as Colin-Firth-as-Darcy through the entire book, regardless of whether or not his physical description matched. And now you may too. And you’ll thank me for it. Remember – I accept strawberry Starburst and chocolate in appreciation 🙂
Underlying the awesome characters and the witty humor and the delicious romance (that first kiss – WOW!) is a gentle theme of trust. Trusting who we are in Jesus… not living in the regret of who we were without Him. Trusting what we know is right… even when we can’t see the outcome. Another theme is more sobering, specifically of how deep a pit that greed can lead us into – far deeper than anyone ever dreamed we would fall. And while it is true that, as Corrie Ten Boom said so wisely, there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still, the story woven so beautifully, and also so tragically, throughout the Ladies of the Manor series reminds us that we all have a choice when given the opportunity for Divine Rescue.
Bottom Line: Meeting James and Ella along the way in White’s Ladies of the Manor series left me eagerly anticipating their own story being told. To say I was not in the least disappointed would be a complete understatement. A Lady Unrivaled takes you from laughter to tears to holding your breath in suspense to fond smiles of kinship to fanning yourself over that doozy of a kiss. And always always – no matter your current emotional state – it keeps you totally immersed in the story and in these characters. Reuniting with beloved characters from the previous books – as well as some rather dastardly ones that we can’t quite seem to get rid of – is quite simply the icing on the cake for what is an absolutely fantastic conclusion to an absolutely fantastic series!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 5 stars / LOVED it!
KissingBook Level: 4 / I’m not kidding about that fan. Go ahead and buy that fainting couch too.
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 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 Edwardian British romances. She makes her home in the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com
Other Books in this Series
So Very Ella
Back in 2008, I went to my first writers conference, where I met my current best friend and critique partner. I’d been pitching the first book in a series I was rewriting from my childhood, so this was the first project of mine our newly formed critique group did together. Specifically, the third book in the series, which I was then calling Diamond Blaze.
It was about a girl very much like me. Optimistic in the extreme. Always looking for a reason to smile. Her name was Lady Ella Myerston, and though she was the heroine in the third novel in a series—friend to heroine from book 1 and sister of hero in book 2—Ella stood on her own. Or I hoped she did. You see, it’s not very often I try to write a character so much like me, and I wasn’t sure what my new critique partners would think.
I was delighted and relieved when my critters, as I call them, loved her—it felt a little like them loving me. 😉 With Stephanie, that BFF/critique partner, Ella became part of our language. “That’s so Ella” meant “that’s so hopefully and optimistic.” It’s a phrase we used for years, long after that series got shelved and we focused on other projects.
When I finally sold a rewrite of the first book to Bethany House and The Lost Heiress released last September, I was so excited to get to breathe new life into the other books in the series as well. I gave some new twists and turns to Brice’s and Rowena’s story in The Reluctant Duchess, took it to new depths, but it was still largely the story I’d first written seven years before.
Ella’s story, though . . . we eventually settled on the title A Lady Unrivaled, but it was the hardest one in the series for us to name. And writing! Ella’s story didn’t work anymore as I’d had it. I had to toss out the entire thing and start fresh, with a new premise and new plot. But Ella—Ella had to remain Ella. I learned more about her as I rewrote the series, of course, and I added a few things not like me, naturally. But Ella still seeks a reason to smile, always. She still believes in hope, in every situation. And her knack for misplacing things—herself included—might be borrowed (and exaggerated) from my remarkable ability to lose things that I sat down right there two minutes ago.
Ella got new adventures, new goals, new excitement in her life—but she’s still the Ella I got to know all those years ago. And her hero, Cayton, is still the sometimes surly, too-realistic, very different-from-Ella man he has to be to counteract her.
My editor, in her notes to me, said, “Cayton and Ella are so very different. In a way, you wonder how they’ll make it work. And yet you can’t help think they will, and want them to.”
The love story in this book is partly mine, too. Because though on the surface my husband isn’t much like Cayton, in the ways that matters, he is. He’s my opposite, but my perfect complement. He doesn’t always see the bright side I cling to, but he’d never ask me not to cling on anyway. We view the world very differently—and can face it because we’re together.
I love all my books, all my characters. But A Lady Unrivaled . . . well, it’s just so very Ella. I hope you love it just a fraction as much as I do!
Roseanna is giving away a complete set of the Ladies of the Manor Series PLUS a special surprise straight from England! (US addresses only for paperbacks; an international winner is eligible for digital gifts, though!)
Follow along with the Celebrate Lit tour by clicking here for a list of tour stops!