A Lady Unrivaled, by Roseanna M. White
Book 3 in the Ladies of the Manor series
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: Five out of five hearts ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Lady Ella is always the optimistic one, whether rain or shine- although her family thinks her a bit naive and disillusioned. Lord James Cayton is determined not to fall in love, sure he'll just break another heart- no matter that now he's changed, not the same man that he was a year ago. They're so different, yet are they perfect for each other?
Through all this comes, yet again, the mystery and danger of the Fire Eyes diamonds, and the ones who will do anything to get them.
This has just become one of my new favorites. I loved it! In this last installment to the Ladies of the Manor series, Mrs. White combines faith and romance with action, suspense, and fun.
The characters were what I remembered from The Reluctant Duchess, (which I also had the pleasure of reviewing several months ago). Stafford easygoing; Brook a spitfire; Brice humorous; Rowena quiet but sweet; Cayton regretful, but not irredeemable; and Ella, our main character, optimistic and witty. I must admit, however, I liked this book much better than book 2. The tone didn't seem as dark as the previous one (probably due to the difference in the main characters of both's situations and personalities). Ella and Cayton were perfect for each other, and I loved the way they bantered. I had to smile -and laugh- several times as I read through.
However, no story is complete without its antagonists and problems, suspense and mystery, and this one is not without its share. While I wanted to read slowly to make the book last as long as possible, to savor and enjoy it, I also wished to speed up, find out how our heroes (and heroines) would save the day in the end. A few surprises were sprinkled throughout, as well, which (as a reader of the 2nd book) were a joy for me to read.
One warning, however- if you're going to read this book, read the first two in the series as well. They're meant to go together. While they can be read separately (as I read only books 2 and 3), it's more confusing that way and would have been, I think, even more enjoyable than it already was to read if I'd started at the beginning instead of reading first book 2 and then 3. As I now read the final installment to the series, I'm determined to read book 1 (The Lost Heiress) someday and complete the story!
I heard once that a good movie or TV show cannot be done well, seem like real life, without humor and seriousness, pain and hope. Because life's not just one big comedy or drama, it's multidimensional, and you've got to have that in a story if you want it to be real. I believe that's the same with books. I'm not going to enjoy a novel as much if there's no joy with the heartache, humor and wittiness with the mystery and danger. I'll still like it, but perhaps not connect with it and it's characters, love it as much as I could. And that's what I think this book does so well- it covers all the bases and creates a beautiful, multi-layered story. Fantastic job, Mrs. White!
Note: I got this book free from Bethany House in exchange for doing a review. All opinions are my own.