THE AMBITIOUS BARRISTER AND THE MAID
by Marianna Green
Sarah-Ann Jennings is quite happy to satisfy her master’s lust. Forced into domestic service by a penny pinching aunt, she is determined to make enough money to secure her own future and that of her eccentric younger brother. She rather enjoys him, besides.
There is, of course, no question of any emotional entanglement between them. Mr. Alfred Grand is a cold-hearted fortune hunter in search of a wealthy wife, after all.
For all that, when Sarah-Ann comes to suspect that somebody may be trying to poison him for reasons of their own, she is ready to put all her energy and determination into finding out who it is. This steamy romance set in the mid-Victorian UK is definitely for over eighteens.
The man’s eye fell on me. I would have liked to think that he was wholly moved by pity at the sight of the tears welling in the eyes of the scrawny creature that I then was. There was indeed a spark of sympathy in his, but also some calculation.
That might seem to be a long word for a housemaid, but I had been educated to be a young lady.
Mr Grand was a man who thought ahead. He saw something in me that interested him. It wouldn’t do for now, for though sixteen, I had much filling out to do. He was ready to wait, just as he was prepared to wait for the right chance to further his career. He was a man who saw potentials closed to those with a less penetrating gaze. In pursuing his goals, he was patient.
“She will do very well, Mrs Carr,” he gave that cold smile he sometimes used. “That solves your little problem. Now, as to mine –”
The housekeeper was indignant enough to do what servants, even the higher ones, should never do. She cut him off, which was bad enough, and then she contradicted him. “Hardly, Sir. I have no time to train her, and -”
He drew back. She could not have done more to ensure I got the post. He looked down his well shaped nose at her and cut her off in turn. “I just hired the girl, Mrs. Carr. That makes an end to the matter. See about her box and the rest.”
Later on, I was willing to bet, he would see about my box himself.
The description calls this a “steamy” historical romance, and for those interested, it does not lie. If you want a historical feel with a lot of time spent in the bedroom, this book will not disappoint.
For me, I found there to be more time spent in the bedroom than I care for in books. Not that I mind the content, but the first part of the book felt overpowered by bedroom scenes and a bit repetitive. I also found the nickname for Alfred’s package a bit strange. This is a very personal choice, so others may definitely feel differently.
When I got a bit farther into the story, though, my interested picked up. I’ll admit to some initial dislike for our leading lady. Sarah-Ann struck me as one of the “I’m so ugly, even though men are always looking at me” types. As time passed, she did grow on me a bit, especially once she started taking an interest in caring about Alfred’s safety. As a woman in this time period, her options were limited. She needed to earn money in whatever ways she could, especially in light of her family situation. I won’t say I ever felt a real connection with her, but I could understand her choices.
Alfred is roguish, but I never felt like the book’s description did him full justice. He’s described as a fortune-hunter, and I suppose he is, but I didn’t see enough of his hunting to get a sense for it. He also struck me as too sentimental and caring to be so cold-blooded. This is not a bad thing. I liked him more than I expected to.
The physical part of the romance starts early. It’s very improper and will definitely appeal to anyone who likes that kind of thing. Later, when the bedroom stuff settles down and the poisoning plot gets underway, the emotional side of things gets going. This felt a bit rushed, probably because it started so late in the story. Still, I enjoyed watching the relationship form.
Overall, this is a quick and fun (in multiple ways) read. If you like a lot of spice with your historicals, this one’s for you.
Marianna Green is lives in the UK, has a geekish fascination with English Literature and History, and an irrepressible sense of humour.
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Marianna Green will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway