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A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  2,685 ratings  ·  505 reviews
In the emotionally rich and deeply passionate first book in a new series by Cecilia Grant, a deal with a rumored rogue turns a proper young woman into . . . A Lady Awakened.
Published 2012 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2011)
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4.5 stars


"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
Good grief. This was just...I don't even know. Excuse me while I lick my wounds.


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
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
♡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
Jane Stewart
My mind kept wandering. It did not hold my interest. I did not enjoy the rigid heroine with no emotional interactions.

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

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
Duchess Nicole

I wanted to love it but didn't :( I felt a disconnect with the heroine for most of the book, and I'm not sure what it was that held me back from her. She's a bit introverted, socially awkward, straight-laced and frumpy, and I tend to like that type of heroine, especially when she's paired with the quintessential rake. And I did like watching her sort of come out of her shell, I just think it took her too long to do so. By the time she's personable, the book is ending, and I felt like I didn't ge
Oct 15, 2012 new_user rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
Alexis Hall
I read Cecilia Grant's A Lady Awakened not so much over Christmas as on Christmas, ignoring my partner’s family, the Queen’s speech, and even Toy Story 3 to finish reading it. Because it’s honestly that good. I think it’s unavoidable to make more of the things you read at the end of the year compared to the beginning, but A Lady Awakened simply has to stand has one of the most original, intriguing and tiny-mind-blowing books I read in 2013.

The book opens with the heroine, Martha Russell, childle
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
A Lady Awakened was my first Cecilia Grant book and most probably my last. To put it bluntly, this was just mediocre at best, and painfully boring at worst.

I have three main issues with it:

First, the writing style was verbose and confusing. I was surprised to find it reminiscent of the stream of consciousness style of narration, which, for me, would be a very odd style to employ in writing a romance novel. I think this was the first time I encountered this in Romancelandia. I don't know what eff
Miranda Davis
May 02, 2013 Miranda Davis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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. :)
It took me a bit to get used to CG's style of writing, but eventually the story caught me. It took me most of the book to warm up to Martha, but loved Theo from the start.
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
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
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
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
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
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.
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


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.
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
An enjoyable first novel from new historical romance author Cecilia Grant. Set in rural Sussex in Regency times, newly widowed Martha Russell needs to get pregnant to protect her late husband's estate from the clutches of his dissolute and lecherous brother. How fortuitous that her neighbour Theophilus Mirkwood is a heir to a baronet whose father has sent him to the country seat in disgrace and without funds. A mutually acceptable bargain is struck but somehow in the month allocated these two di ...more
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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 about Cecilia Grant...

Other Books in the Series

Blackshear Family (4 books)
  • A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (Blackshear Family, #0.5)
  • A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2)
  • A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3)

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“Good.” He drank in her nakedness, fervent as a man downing ale after three days in the desert. His eyes, gleaming with unholy intention, came to rest on hers. “Now fuck me.”

The command knocked her back like a handful of dust in the face. But only for a moment. He was the one tied up. She folded her arms again. “If you want my cooperation you had better address me more politely than that.”

“Fuck me.” Like the world’s wickedest elocution pupil he articulated the words, lips and tongue and teeth put to such nefarious use. “Fuck me until I thrash and shout beneath you.”
“Seven and a half.” He breathed the words next to her ear.

Her eyes snapped open, all coffee-colored impatience. “You’re supposed to go lower, to meet me. Six and a half, you should say.”

“Eight,” he murmured into her shoulder. “And I’ll go lower, to meet you, any time you like.” He flicked his tongue across her spine and caught the little shock that went charging up from her tailbone to the base of her skull. When he lifted his head to look in the mirror, her cheeks were red and her chin was down, all fierce attention leveled on his watch.

Eight minutes it was, then. He kissed her, and kissed and kissed and kissed her until he knew that narrow path of skin, and the knobbly scaffolding underneath, the way he knew the lines on his own palm. He knew her scent, and he knew her taste, and he knew which vertebra put a catch in her breath when he brushed it with his lips. He could learn her whole body by mouth, if she would but let him, and distract her all out of her mind.”
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