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The Unsuitable Secretary (Ladies Unlaced #4)

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  114 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
From the author of In the Heart of the Highlander, a romance proving that inappropriate desires can provide the most passionate encounters…

Harriet Benson takes her work at the Evensong Agency seriously, but lately, between convalescing from an illness and tending to her father and two young brothers, she’s had to shorten her hours. So when a promising position opens up for
Kindle Edition, 285 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by InterMix
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Community Reviews

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3.5 stars

This month’s prompt for the TBR Challenge is a “recommended read”, so I headed for my Goodreads recommendations page to see what my friends there had sent me. Sometimes when fulfilling this prompt, I’ve already had a book in mind, but I didn’t this time, so it was a case of scrolling through the pages to find something that matched up with a book I already owned.

The Unsuitable Secretary, the fourth book in Maggie Robinson’s Ladies Unlaced series set in Edwardian England fit the bill;
The Unsuitable Secretary is Robinson's fourth Edwardian historical romance. While I had mixed feelings towards the previous book, book four reminded me why I like this author. This romance was light and full of wit; quite frankly it put a smile on my face, so I am inclined to like it. Our hero and heroine are an unlikely duo. Thomas is a man about town, known for pointing out the Next Thing and possessed with a gift for gab. Harriet is a spinster determined to work despite her traditional father ...more
Rashika (is tired)
Actual Rating 2.5

As I try to think of something clever to open this review with, I come up with a blank. To be honest, this book isn’t all that memorable. It’s a fast paced romance that isn’t much else aside from that. Everything happens over the span of a couple of weeks and so the story itself isn’t as well developed as it could be.

It opens with Sir Thomas looking for a secretary that will help rein him in a little but also help him develop his ideas. He doesn’t expect the secretary to be a
Oct 30, 2015 Kusanagi rated it it was amazing
Ah Sir Thomas..... il vient de rentrer dans mon top 3 des héros adorables

Sinon, j'aime vraiment beaucoup la romance Edwardienne, parce que souvent les héroïnes travaillent (logique dans les Evensong) et qu'on a un questionnement sur le rôle de la femme qui rejoint notre époque. Et quand on voit que dans cette série qui se passe il y a 110 ans, une des grosses questions des héroïnes c'est pourquoi même quand une femme bosse c'est encore elle qui doit tout faire à la maison.... on se dit que sur
Oct 06, 2014 Dottie rated it it was amazing
A captivating, sensual historical romance! Taken from my review at

Harriet Benson enjoys her work with the Evensong Agency, but she is still recovering from her recent surgery and is feeling tired. Between struggling to get her strength back and taking care of her father and brothers, she is unable to return to the agency full time. Additionally, she has to contend with her father’s anger at her for working, even though they need the money. So she agrees to a promising part-ti
Nov 05, 2014 Lyuda rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-20-century
Very unusual character driven romance with two virgin characters. There is not much going in the story besides two people from vastly different backgrounds slowly recognizing each other as sole mates but the writing, the wonderful characters, the unexpected humor that what win this story. I loved both characters with all of their insecurities, quirkiness, self-depreciation, and honesty.
Patty McKenna Van Hulle
Eversong Agency's motto: "Performing the Impossible Before Breakfast. Since 1888." And if Mrs. Eversong could be the Fairy Godboss along the way, England always needs peers with strong wives.

Sir Thomas Featherstone is a man with a million ideas going thru his mind, a great patron of the arts & artists, always in the papers as a scandalous scoundrel, has tons of female "friends" & has a man of affairs, Thurton, who is like Scrooge & takes all the funny out of all his ideas. That is w
Sep 17, 2014 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical, 2014
I haven't read much romance during the early 1900s, and so I don't know what's particularly popular or typical in this segment of romance novels. However, I did like this The Unsuitable Secretary. It had a certain almost irreverent tone to it - possibly because Thomas was so...Thomas.

Basically, Thomas is a very wealthy patron of the arts given to indulging his whims because he has more money than... well, not so much sense as just... the ability to spend it. Though he does put in quite the effor
Feb 24, 2015 Tracy rated it it was amazing
Loved it!

Harriet and Thomas were really great leads that will stay with me for quite awhile.

Thomas was such a sweet hero. He is a very nice man and has a heart of gold. Harriet was smart, sensible and loyal. She was also under appreciated by her family - I loved the way Thomas was blown away by her from the beginning and did everything he could to make her feel cherished and to improve her self image.

I loved watching these two interact. They were perfect for each other. Did things move fast? Y
Oct 21, 2014 Janga rated it it was amazing
Maggie Robinson’s Ladies Unlaced has become one of my favorite historical series. While the first one, In the Arms of the Heiress remains my favorite, I have read each of them with joyous appreciation. The Unsuitable Secretary gives romance readers two tropes we see too seldom: the Virgin Hero and the Over-Size 10 Heroine. But both characters are greater than their tropes; they are not types but individuals, the kind who capture the reader’s interest and affection and make it easy to root for th ...more
DNF at 16%

A few reasons I stopped

1) I don't care for reads where there is little dialogue and mostly stream of consciousness

2) I don't care for unattractive heroines

3) I was put off by the fact that the hero is a vigin but has done other things. I mean, then why stay a virgin? Makes no sense. At least in this case.

4) The dialogue of the hero was too...cliched. "I say!" "Certainly not!" "By Jove!"

I just couldn't get into it. Therefore no rating this time.
Sir Thomas *soupirs* il est chou, il fait gaffe sur gaffe mais il se rattrape toujours... et puis il adore Harriet, même si elle est bornée parfois, il viendra toujours la calmer à coup de bisous xD
Jessica Cale
Nov 21, 2016 Jessica Cale rated it it was amazing

I always love Maggie's books and this one was no different. Thomas is a delightful hero - a somewhat silly but kind-hearted art collector and trend setter with a reputation rather bigger than his experience. Harriet is practical, frighteningly competent, and built like an Amazon -- both, along with the Edwardian setting and their unusual love story, are a refreshing antidote to the paint-by-numbers historicals you see so often. This was funny, sexy, and very sweet. Another lovely story fr
Oct 13, 2015 SidneyKay rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2014 Kiltsandswords rated it liked it
Harriet and Thomas are complete opposites. So when they say, opposites attract, this would be a very good example. Harriet is studious, serious, responsible and poor. Thomas is witty, gregarious, grandiose and wealthy. At the end of the novel, Harriet thinks Thomas reminds her of a Labrador dog. This is probably the most app description of him. He runs circles around people, yapping about all sorts of things (some of it nonsense) and wanting to be loved.
When I first started reading this book it
Dec 29, 2014 Ana rated it liked it
It is 1905 and Sir Thomas Featherstone is a wealthy baronet and art patron in London. He is come to the Evensong Agency is search of secretary that will help him organize his business affairs, and help him launch an artist colony and art foundation. Ms. Evensong the wily proprietor of the agency, manages him deftly and before he quite realizes he has hired or more accurately Harriet Benson has agreed to work for him at an exorbitant salary.

Harriet is an experience and hardworking secretary, who
Sep 27, 2014 Goddess rated it liked it
London, 1904 and Sir Thomas Benedict Featherstone (a.k.a Tubby), an intelligent philanthropic supporter of the arts, is determined to establish an ‘art colony’ so artist can concentrate on their craft and not have to concern themselves on mundane things…like working. Sir Thomas arrives at the Evensong Secretary Agency searching for the perfect secretary to assist him as his other associates passive aggressively discourage this expensive ideas. Enter Harriet (a.k.a Harry) Benson, a tender ...more
Oct 07, 2014 Smitten rated it liked it
Shelves: historicals, 3-stars
I didn’t think I would, but I liked this book.

Robinson is one of those romance authors I can always trust to provide a good read, but initially the hero in this book, Thomas Featherstone, gave me pause. I didn’t think he’d measure up or prove very interesting. He’s a bit of an eccentric, and a little flighty. Yet, he ended up being quite the hero. Also, Thomas has a big secret and I won’t tell you what it is.

What else did I like about the hero? He reminds me of my husband, in all the good ways.
Amy Alvis
Oct 04, 2014 Amy Alvis rated it it was amazing
This is book 4 in the Ladies Unlaced series.

Harriet Benson loves working at the Evensong Agency, but after a recent illness she needs to shorten her hours. Her employer finds her a job, requires less hours, working for Sir Thomas Featherstone. It seems the perfect solution until she finds herself attracted to her employer.

Sir Thomas Featherstone was attracted to his new employee the moment he laid eyes on her. He does his best to hide his attraction, going so far as to avoid eye contact. Unable
Oct 14, 2014 JG rated it liked it
This was a fun, exasperating yet oddly unique historical romance set in the early 1900's. The Unsuitable Secretary puts a new twist in the old trope of getting involved with the boss. Thomas, a blue blooded young man, fancies himself a patron of the arts and wants to take it further. But in order for his plans to proceed he needs a good secretary to keep everything organized. He expected all his requirements to be filled by the well respected agency of Mrs. Evensong. What he didn't expect was to ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
After reading the initial blurb, I was certainly intrigued. A scandalous hero and a virtuous heroine sounded like the perfect combination for a great story. In the beginning, I was captivated with the plot and turned each page eagerly. Unfortunately, that eagerness did wane slightly in the middle as the story slowed down and my attention started to drift. The pace in the latter part of the story did start to pick up again which helped me to finish the book.

I absolutely adored Thomas' character.
Aug 27, 2014 Bea rated it it was ok
ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Unsuitable Secretary is a turn of the century romance between an employer (who happens to be a Baron) and his secretary (average commoner). The plot peeked my interest and I loved the book cover so I decided to give it a go. I liked the H a lot. He was funny and had a quirky way about him. I was not fond of the h. She was just too conservative, with a low opinion of her physical attributes and stubborn. I get that she was trying to
3.5. Harriet is a secretery, living with an oppresive father and taking care of her two brothers. Thomas is super rich and wants to build an artist commune. He needs a secretery to help keep him organized and on track with his project. It's love at first sight for Thomas when he meets Harriet, he is tongue tied and mesmerized by her beauty. Thomas was an interesting hero, an origami master, daydreamer, disorganized but lucky for him, really rich. He would think in circles and arrive at ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Arshia rated it really liked it
Review copy by NetGalley.

This was a wonderfully straightforward story. I had so much fun reading it because I really liked the characters. Harriet is a simple woman who has been living her life to please her father and brothers. She is working to provide a secondary income, even though her father doesn't want her to work. The father was over zealous in protecting her. Anyhow, she starts working for Thomas Featherstone, an eclectic millionaire who is a true patron of the arts. Harriet brings much
Heather andrews
Aug 25, 2014 Heather andrews rated it it was amazing
Thomas that boy has to remind his girl about some things from time to time, "that's the governess's daughter speaking. Remember, you are my mistress now, and mistresses are indecent by definition." He's also a bossy one, "and I'll buy you whatever I feel like, whenever I like. I'll have you know all my friends think I have impeccable taste." He tries to fix what he can for his girl, "Thomas ducked the flying fountain pen, though a few drops of ink splashed on his sleeve. "Now, Harry, you're ...more
Sep 20, 2014 Amaranthine rated it really liked it
A cute period piece, if just a smidge far fetched. The juxtaposition of the ditzy, flighty hero with the sensible, clear headed heroine was an enjoyable twist. The idea of a virgin hero that everyone assumes is a rake is a bit of an unexpected take on the genre. Although I must say, his reasoning for his “untouched” state are somewhat preposterous.

There is an odd mixture of modern and historic feel here, which is a little perplexing at times. Even so, there is quite a lot of detail accurate to t
Sep 17, 2014 Tammy rated it it was amazing
Sir Thomas is an art lover and rumored to be a rake, he needs a good secretary to help get his world organized. That is where Harriett comes in, she is highly organized and very proper, until now. Desperate to get away from her father she makes and agreement with Sir Thomas to be his mistress for one week. The attraction is there but will they find true love. Funny, sweet and sexy story. Highly entertaining, I was laughing out loud. Very Enjoyable Read!
Nov 05, 2014 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
Tubby and Harriet: Tubby is a man of ideas, a promoter of artists with a lot of money. Harriet is a secretary in need of a job which allows her to only need to work a few hours each day. One look at Harriet and Tubby is smitten while Harriet is just grateful for the job. Her home life is awful and her job allows her time away. As it becomes worse at home, Harriet entertains a proposition that will allow her freedom, but will she be able to separate herself once the job is done.
Karma♥Bites ^.~
* Review based on ARC provided by author/publisher via NetGalley.

Fabulous intro to a NTM(?) author. Easy, engaging, near one-sitting read. Well-written, character-driven story with MCs slightly 'off the beaten path', both of whom I adored. Initially unsure about the time period, was pleasantly surprised by Edwardian setting. :)

Full review closer to release date. Meanwhile, I'll be checking out Ms. Robinson's backlist.
Oct 02, 2014 Jay rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks
For some reason I didn't like this as much as I've liked other books in this series. I can't pinpoint exactly what I didn't like though. I think it was the way Tubby was convinced that any problem could be solved simply by throwing enough money at it. He finally figured out that Harry can't be bought but I don't think he's yet learned that money doesn't solve all problems.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 26, 2015 07:13PM  
  • The Whisky Laird's Bed (The Rake Patrol, #2)
  • A Duchess in the Dark (By Invitation Only, #1)
  • The Temptations of Anna Jacobs (Dangerous Liaisons, #2)
  • Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4)
  • The Forbidden Duke (The Untouchables, #1)
  • The Scandal Before Christmas (The Reckless Brides, #3.5)
  • The Shadow Princess
  • Once Upon a Masquerade
  • The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster (Iron Seas, #4.1; Kraken King, #1)
  • The Duke's Obsession
  • Once Upon a Christmas Kiss
  • Pet to the Tentacle Monsters!
  • There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere!: A Rhyming Romp Through Dinosaur History
  • The Devil You Know (McKenna Brothers, #2)
  • A Certain Latitude
  • Love and Let Spy (Lord and Lady Spy, #3)
  • The Sinners Club (The Sinners Club, #1)
  • The Man Behind the Mask
Maggie Robinson is a former teacher, library clerk and mother of four who woke up in the middle of the night, absolutely compelled to create the perfect man and use as many adverbs as possible doing so. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives with her not-quite perfect husband in Maine, where the cold winters are ideal for staying inside and writing hot historical romances.

She also writes erotic his
More about Maggie Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Ladies Unlaced (4 books)
  • In the Arms of the Heiress (Ladies Unlaced, #1)
  • In the Heart of the Highlander (Ladies Unlaced, #2)
  • The Reluctant Governess (Ladies Unlaced, #3)

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