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A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family, #1)
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A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family #1)

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  2,200 ratings  ·  455 reviews
In Cecilia Grant’s emotionally rich and deeply passionate Regency romance debut, a deal with a rumored rogue turns a proper young woman into . . . A Lady Awakened.

Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an he...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Jill

4.5 stars

Debut

"I understand you to have just proposed to engage me as your whore." He gave one last cough. "Is that correct?"

Disapproval thinned her lips again. "The better analogy is to a stud animal. My concern is only with the issue. I have no expectation of pleasure."


For Martha Russell her ten month marriage was both unfulfilling and unfruitful. Without an heir her estate will be given over to her late husband's brother, a man whose past crimes against servants has gone unpunished but not fo...more
Sarah
Good grief. This was just...I don't even know. Excuse me while I lick my wounds.


A LADY AWAKENED; or, MAULED BY TEH FEELZ.

MARTHA: I am prim & proper & devoid of emotion. I have successfully smothered Feelz since I was a child. Feelz are good for nothing. Feelz have no place in life.
LAWYER: So, hey. There's a problem with your husband's will.
MARTHA: It had better not demand Feelz.
LAWYER: No, it's demanding your departure from this house.
MARTHA: Oh, that's right. My marriage sucked from...more
willaful
Reading this made me realize that one of my favorite things to happen in a historical romance is for the main characters to be forced together in an unusual way that unexpectedly fosters true intimacy. In A Lady Awakened, what initially brings Theo and Martha together is sex -- unwanted, unpleasant sex. Martha, a proper lady to her very core, feels forced to rent her feckless neighbor Theo’s services as a stud so that she can quickly produce an heir, and save her late husband’s estate from going...more
Jane Stewart
My mind kept wandering. It did not hold my interest. I did not enjoy the rigid heroine with no emotional interactions.

STORY BRIEF:
Martha did not marry for love. She married to avoid being dependent on her brother. Her husband died ten months later from a horse accident. She learns that her brother-in-law James will inherit the estate and that he molested female servants when he lived there 16 years ago. She believes it is her duty to keep James away from the estate in order to protect the female...more
♡Karlyn P♡
4.5! I've been hearing this author mentioned a lot lately, and now I know why. This historical romance is easily on par with some of the best authors of this genre - Balogh, Quinn, Kleypas...etc.

I think the one thing I enjoyed most about this story is how I got to see the romance evolve from a cold and simple business association to a deeply warm and passionate friendship all the way to a heart stopping love. Both characters evolve emotionally as well, when they realize the circumstances of whic...more
Kathleen

★ Thanks to Jill for recommending this début novel. I closed the book with a deeply satisfied sigh, but at first I totally disliked the heroine. It's not to everyone's taste.

A Lady Awakened is book 1 of the Blackshear Family series. The writing style is witty and light (I chuckled several times), balanced by sad, painful, or poignant sections. The plot includes several heartwarming story lines. The romance includes a LOT of sex, progressing from cold, quick sex to blast-furnace love scenes. ツ
N
...more
Willow
This book has the novelty of having two likable people, full of goodwill, who both act in a mature way, and fall in love with each other. I actually have a lot of good thoughts for it because of that. It’s also well written.

On the other hand though, I thought it was kind of dull.

The basic story is about a young widow, Martha, who will be left with little money if she does not have a son. Her late husband has left the house and estate to his lecherous brother-in-law who is known for pouncing on...more
new_user
Oct 15, 2012 new_user rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: HR fans!
Shelves: historical
Historical romance A Lady Awakened breaks ground in a genre infamously frivolous and milkshake frothy (thank you, Georgette Heyer). Cecilia Grant injects maturity into Heyer's legacy- that sounds envelope-stuffing boring. Don't picture a sober, didactic tale. Grant writes subtle humor and surprising heat, often together at once, but she doesn't idolize the idle aristocrat, the party-hopping, tea-sipping, walking in-your-face to anyone who's had to work for a living.

You wouldn't know that straig...more
Kinga
Here is the wonderful premise of this: A recently widowed Martha Russell will lose her estate and her much valued independence unless she proves she is carrying an heir to her late husband. Only she isn’t. Therefore she needs to get pregnant fast.
Enter Theo Mirkwood, an exiled good-for-nothing playboy. Martha decides to strike a deal with him - he is going to fornicate with her every day for a month and she is going to pay him a certain amount of money. It seems like the book will just be a lon...more
Caz
I don't think I've ever read a romance novel like this, which should be a recommendation in itself, seeing as so many of them follow one of the "standard" plots. You know the sort of thing - hero and heroine hate each other on sight but gradually fall in love; hero/heroine has to marry money to restore the family fortunes and gradually fall in love, etc.

The gradual falling in love bit DOES happen, but it's done in such an original manner. The heroine is a widow who wants desperately to remain in...more
Mary B.
I enjoyed parts of this, but disliked others.

Theo is a man who has been sent to his family's country estate in Sussex to 'reform' in a sense. For the most part, he is unremarkable. I read him as a character who has a serious lack of self-esteem, although he generally puts up a good front of confidence.

Martha is a recent widow who cares very deeply about the humanity of all people, which the author portrays in her selfless care and concern for the education and well-being of her servants, tenan...more
Miranda Davis
May 02, 2013 Miranda Davis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Miranda by: Jill, Mary
Masterful. Lapidary precision in creating the two main characters. Spare, evocative language, though one must become accustomed to it. Each is profoundly affected by the other in a situation utterly antithetical to anything either would've ever sought under normal circumstances. She's a strictly proper widow who needs a pregnancy pronto to forestall a predatory brother-in-law from inheriting the estate. He's a baronet's heir who is exiled to the country to mend his ways and who considers sex his...more
Steelwhisper
Short review:

I don't like heroines who're man-haters. Such an obnoxious, skeevy woman!



Long review:

Someone appears to have watched too much "Whitechapel" and "Downton Abbey" without truly understanding it.



The author's voice was so dry and laboriously stuffy I had trouble reading it at all. If that was an attempt at making the heroine unlikeable it was a full success. In addition the staccato, curt sentences mixed with quite peculiar similes and metaphors made for something which came over as pr...more
Lisa
Well, I have been wanting to read this book for a long time it seems. First I was drawn to the gorgeous cover (although the modes hair color is wrong and I do believe Ms Grant acknowledged that but its still pretty) then I was drawn to the interesting sounding plot. So when I saw this up on Netgalley I grabbed it and happily dove in. It started off great but then the middle dragged a bit too much for me. Thankfully the ending picked back up and it finished out strong. Here are some of my thought...more
Wendy
Jun 15, 2013 Wendy added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wendy by: Anna and Jill
23% - DNF.

I tried repeatedly to enjoy this, but unfortunately it didn't work for me. The author's prose, the story dragged and I really did not like the heroine at all.

To my friends Anna and Jilly, sorry girls I gave this my best shot, but alas this author's just not for me. Thanks for the rec anyway, I know you guys had the best intentions, that it would work out. :)
Brittany B.
Five stars and much more

A Stellar Debut novel!! This might be my favorite historical romance of the year. (audiobook)

Celia Grant should be very proud of her debut novel. I listened to A Lady Awakened in audio format with the amazing Susan Erickson narrating. It exceeded my expectations, and was impossible to put down. I finished it in one sitting, staying up well into the wee hours of the morning.
(I place such emphasis on the fact that this was an audiobook, because it had objectively one of t...more
Mandi Schreiner
A Lady Awakened is the debut book by Cecilia Grant, and I’m in love with this author’s voice. It is hard to explain why I love her style of writing so much, but as I read I didn’t want to miss a single word. It is a similar reading experience as to when I read Joanna Bourne books. The way she creates her sentences and the way she creates such small moments that end up so powerful really captivate me.

This story is different in terms of the plot and how things unfold. Martha Russell is a recent wi...more
Carrie
3.5*
Grade B

Sometimes I "wax poetical" about what I want in a romance book. I puff up all my self-righteous feathers and say I want books that are deep, and have complex and believable characters. Then I read such a book and find I'm more shallow than I thought. I want the thrill of the romantic comedy or the emotional pull of melodrama instead of the pleasure of a well-written, slowly unfolding tale about real, complex people.

Grant is a very capable wordsmith. I find nothing to fault in her writ...more
cEe beE
The first FIVE star book of the year for me. A Lady Awakened is an exquisitely beautiful story and masterfully written filled with a cast of unforgettable characters.

I especially loved the deliberate slow progession of the relationship between young widow Martha Russell and banished London lothario, Theo Mirkwood from business arrangement, to partnership, then friendship and finally love. The dialogue was deliciously funny and witty! I LOVE everything about this book!

Cecilia Grant, I am your ne...more
Tina
I would characterize this book as one where the parts are better than the whole.

This is the author's debut novel and I must give my biggest praise for the writing. There are moments of absolute brilliance in the writing here. Places where Theo's thoughts are almost poetic or where one of Martha's observations (usually about male sexuality) is so dry and dead-on that I was startled into laughter.

She also created a very strong sense of place. I felt very much the poverty of the tenant farmers on T...more
Jan
This was a glorious book. I won the ARC after a contest on the podcast hosted by Jane of Dear Author and Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. They both were gushing about it like crazy, and thus I was very excited when I won.

Excitement like that is always a smidge dangerous, because it can raise expectations too high. So when it arrived in my mailbox I was a little anxious - what if I wouldn't like it? But I shouldn't have feared, because this turned out to be the perfect book for me. Like it w...more
Carolyn Crane
The careful slow dance of these two characters as they get to know each other and slowly discover themselves was so wonderful. Not a big rollicking book, but one I cherished and learned a great deal from. Fabulous.
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceahlic

Expected Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing
Imprint: Bantam
Author’s Website: http://ceciliagrant.com/
My Source for This Book: Won in a contest
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Martha Russell has a problem. Her husband has died in a riding accident, and as she never managed to conceive, she will soon be turned out of her home with nothing more than...more
Ruth
I have to admit that I enjoyed this one so much I raced on with the next in the series A Gentleman Undone without even pausing for breath, let alone writing a review, so I'm kinda squooshing both reviews together a bit.

I picked this up from my library when I saw it appear in some "best of 2012" list or other. This one and A Gentleman Undone were both available so I grabbed them, opened this one, and got totally sucked in.

I love this author's style - it flows beautifully, it's written sooo much...more
Melanie♥
Goodreads Giveaway win. Looking forward to receiving this book in the mail. I always enjoy the opportunity of discovering a new author.
+++++++++++++++
3.5 stars. I must say I found the first half of this book slow going. It was hard to connect with the lead characters, especially the heroine. As I neared the mid-way point, the writing flowed and I found myself enjoying the story.
I certainly look forward to more from this promising author.
Jen
This was a beautifully written book. Lyrical. Poetic. But after a while I began to notice how many times the word surely was used (spoiler: a lot). And the phrase to be sure. And Good God. I began to care less about the story and more about the necessity of a particular word or phrase.
Who knew I would ever fault someone for writing too well? But there it is.
Amy

DNF

Made it to pg.118. My biggest issue is absolutely NO chemistry with hero/heroine. The author's writing style is very formal and while I can overlook that, I cannot over look my dislike of the heroine or the fact that after 100+ pages there is no romantic tone to be found. Disappointing as the blurb sounded very promising and the storyline had such potential.
Susan (susayq ~)
I won an ARC of this on Goodreads - thank you so much! I enjoyed it so much!

My favorite romances are of the Regency period and this is that time period. But that is where all similarities to others end. Mrs. Russell (I just can't bring myself to call her Martha LOL) is a new widow who comes to realize she will loose her home and her dowry if she doesn't produce a male heir. The kicker to this is that the late Mr. Russell's brother is a total jerk-face who has taken advantage of women in their ho...more
Julie
Martha, Mrs.Russell, has become a widow after only eight, childless years of marriage and although she would never think to celebrate the loss of her husband, she cannot summon the proper feelings of despair a newly widowed wife should feel. The fact that her late husband spent most of her dowry and left her with little to survive upon, not even an heir in which to retain her current home at Seton Park (albeit, she cannot complain about his vigorous efforts to procure this heir)cannot help matt...more
Lady Wesley
I just happened to notice that I never got around to writing a review of this remarkable debut novel. I have since read the two sequesl, A Gentleman Undone and A Woman Entangled, and am blown away by what a talented author Cecilia Grant is. If you want to read serious, deeply moving stories with complex characters -- and no outings to Vauxhall Gardens or balls or house parties -- then I highly recommend all three books.
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4996526
I write Regency-set historical romance with a high angst-to-plot ratio. I specialize in hard-headed heroines and good-hearted heroes. So far.

A word about the "reviews" I post here: Please think of them as recommendations rather than reviews. If I like a book, I'll list it here and scrawl a few sentences about why I liked it. I've gone back and forth about whether to use stars (it feels like a sled...more
More about Cecilia Grant...
A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2) A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3) A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (Blackshear Family, #0.5)

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