Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Review: My Unfair Lady

Title: My Unfair Lady
Author: Kathryne Kennedy
Genre: Historical Romance/London/1885
Published: Sourcebooks/December 2009
Source: ARC from Publisher

From the author's website ~

He created the perfect woman…

The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man

Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…

From acclaimed author Kathryne Kennedy comes a delightful new take on the romantic classic My Fair Lady. As a Wild West beauty takes Victorian London by storm, the devilishly handsome duke she’s hired to instruct her in proper deportment begins to wonder if his unconventional pupil might be perfect just the way she is...

While it took a bit longer to read My Unfair Lady than I would have liked, once I got into it, I did enjoy the story of Summer and her duke. I do think I would have enjoyed it more had the pace been quicker, with more details of the duke's attempts at transforming Summer into a lady. Even without that, I found the developing relationship between the two quite interesting.

From the beginning, Summer Wine Lee is an enigma to the Duke of Monchester. He really doesn't know what to make of her and what he considers her very unlady like manner. She is like nothing he has ever encountered. He also resents the fact that he needs her, or rather her money. He may be a duke but his father sold off everything he could before he died and left Byron with only what was entailed which was little more than a run down castle and the title.

I liked Byron the duke, but he wasn't easy to get to know at first. When we first meet him he comes across as an arrogant aristocrat who would prefer to have nothing to do with the uncivilized Summer. What Byron lets the public see isn't what Summer sees in private. Byron has far more layers to him than meets the eye. I knew he couldn't be as cold hearted as he portrayed himself, Summer would never have fallen so hard for him. The way Kennedy developed his character, showing the reader why Byron did what he did, his relationship with his family, made me like him so much. He does what he can to survive in the world of the ton. I do think he genuine liked Prince Albert but would have preferred living in the country as opposed to London and all it's intrigue.

Summer is a breath of fresh air to the stuffy London ton. She is accustomed to saying what she thinks and not being under the rule of any man. Her father adores her but is consumed with making money so Summer has been more or less raising herself. She has a small menagerie of "critters" who she rescues and adopts into her odd little family. Her best friend Maria decides that Summer needs someone to teach her how to be a proper lady if she's to be presented to the Queen. And Summer is determined to become a lady and be presented to the Queen, then she'll be able to wed her fiancé Monte. So the Duke of Monchester is hired for the undertaking of turning an American heiress into a lady.

This is an odd love triangle, for sure! There's Summer's secret fiancé Monte in New York and on the other side of the Atlantic are Summer and Byron thrown together at dinners and balls acting as a couple but both determined to resist any attraction. The whole thing about marrying Monte bugged me. I never understood why she continued to want him once she developed such strong feelings for Byron. And then once they got physical she still insisted she wanted Monte. It just seemed to go against her practical, frontier upbringing. From everything Summer said about Monte and the New York society it didn't sound like it would make her happy. I think she was doing it, trying to fit in with the Astors and New York because that's what she thought her father wanted. While she may have had feeling for Monte, those feelings were nothing compared to what Byron made her feel.

Overall, I liked Summer and Byron and their round about way of falling in love and finding their HEA. I much preferred their relationship when they were away from proper society and were able to be themselves. There is a mystery subplot that adds a bit of danger and intrigue to the story and shows the reader that both Summer and Byron are capable of taking care of themselves and each other. I enjoyed the way Summer kept surprising Byron, showing him the different sides of her and fascinating him as well as shocking him at times. And Byron had some surprises in store for Summer too.

Information on Kathryne Kennedy and her novels can be found on her website.

Rating: B

4 comments:

  1. Great review,Leslie. I experienced some of the same frustrations with Summer when she kept 'saying' she wanted to be with Monte. I think she needed to go back though, & I really liked the way Summer & Byron got together, finally.

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  2. Thanks Hils. :) While I liked Summer she was way too stubborn when it came to Monte.

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  3. Nice review, Leslie. I was thinking of buying it and then, the last bit about Summer still wanting to marry Monte - that bugs me a little. So I guess I'll do according to plans - read another book by Ms Kennedy and decide whether I like the style or not before jumping on this one :D

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  4. nath ~ I’ve heard Kennedy’s Relic of Merlin series is very good. Victorian fantasy. I want to give it a try when I get time. :)

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