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No Proper Lady Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 2012

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2 1/2 stars. Great idea, bad follow-through 7 Mar. 2012
By An avid reader - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Cooper had a great premise for this book -- a woman comes back from the future in order to save that very future from devastation. Of course, now that the heroine's living in the past, she must be trained in all the customs and mores before she can blend enough with Society to complete her mission. Good, right? Then the main character, Joan, says in effect, "You know, I'm in no hurry. I have nearly 40 years to learn how to be a lady." At that point (early in the book), I thought to myself, "uh, oh." And sure enough, the author stripped all of the sense of urgency from the story and it became a downright snooze fest. The other reviewer who called this story "dull" was absolutely correct. This is basically "My Fair Lady" bookended with some action. I gave this book 2 1/2 stars only because Ms. Cooper is a skilled writer (and that is something), and she had a great idea. It's really a shame she couldn't have seen it to fruition. This is DEFINITELY not worthy of a Best Book Of The Year nod. I can only recommended this to people who don't mind vacuous, frivolous romances to read.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Creative mashing of several genres produces entertaining story 4 Sept. 2011
By Kim Adams - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The product description refers to NO PROPER LADY as "It's Terminator meets My Fair Lady in this fascinating debut of black magic and brilliant ball gowns, martial arts, and mysticism." The movie comparison is an oversimplification of this story that does, indeed, blend several genres - time travel, Victorian Romance, Urban Fantasy, and a dab of girl power on top.

NO PROPER LADY sends a modern heroine back to Victorian England to stop a dark magician from destroying the future. The heroine, Joan, has to alter her "take no prisoners" demeanor once she arrives in Victorian England. The hero, Simon, becomes Joan's tutor in her quest to catch the villain off guard in his own century. Meanwhile, Simon has his own reasons for revenge against Alex, his former friend turned dark magician.

The opening chapter was scary - I had to look twice at the cover to make sure I was reading a "Victorian romance." It sets the stage for the evil spirits that are alive and well because of what happened in the past. Once Joan arrives in Victorian England, I found myself back in familiar territory of historical romances. Cooper kept my attention as Joan adapted to the outdated social strictures and how Simone adapted to a future femme fatale!

NO PROPER LADY introduced me to other genres that I would not read especially urban fantasy. Cooper skillfully weaves the genres together to deliver a satisfying paranormal book, with suspense, adventure, and a timeless romance.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
kicking Butt in Victorian England 28 Sept. 2011
By Heather Pearson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Joan's world is very ill and it's going to take more, much more, than a few simple spells and incantations to heal it. It's going to take sending her back two hundred years to 1888 to effect the changes needed.

While wandering in the woods near his estate, Simon Grenville happens upon the long neglected standing stones he vaguely remembers from his youth. As he approaches, he can feel an unearthly power building, radiating from the stones. Moments later, Joan appears in the circle, poised for battle.

As it turns out, these two have a common adversary and they determine that they will work together to vanquish him.

This does pose certain challenges. Joan comes from a broken, live by the skin of your teeth society. She is essentially unaware of Victorian propriety and customs. While she is a most proficient assassin, she hasn't the slightest idea of how to approach her target. It was interesting to see how different present day society and mannerisms are from 1888. Clothing, manners, forms of speech, so much for Joan to learn for that she can fit in. I felt that author Isabel Cooper did a good job at portraying the differences in women's positions in the two time periods. She didn't imply that one was right and the other wrong, just that they were different.

I was surprised to learn that this is a debut novel. There was enough depth to Joan and Simon that I felt comfortable with them and that I could almost anticipate their interaction. I liked Simon's few friends that were introduced and am happy to hear that Isabel is working on a follow-up No Honest Woman. Eleanor makes for an interesting young woman. She develops a substantial backbone through her involvements with Joan. I wonder if it was there before? How much was influenced by her brother's actions. Hope to learn more of her in the next book.

I enjoyed this book. Very entertaining. I had to keep reading to find out how the romance could proceed in light of their serious quest and the societal restrictions.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I wanted to like this book more than I did. 16 April 2012
By rameau - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The plot, the premise, everything about the set up works better in theory than in practice, unfortunately.

No Proper Lady tells the story of Joan, daughter of Arthur and Leia, a warrior from the future travelling two hundred years back in time to save the world and humanity from otherworldly beasts. She meets Simon Grenville and ends up in a slow paced historical romance instead.

So far, I like it. I like the fact that this woman has a real reason to act modern and talk filthy. I like the fact that the romance is slow burn and that we're shown how their feelings grow. And I do like frenzied final confrontation.

What I don't like is the pacing and the overexposed glimpse to the better future. First of all, if going back in time can change the future, how does anyone know for sure that the future will be like the one Joan imagines it'll be without the big bad. And secondly, the dichotomy between Simon's and Joan's worlds wrecks the plot progression.

The author stays true to both the future she imagined and to the slightly altered historical setting she created for the story. What she fails to do is to introduce a secondary plot elements that'll keep the reader distracted and entertained while Joan adjusts to the time period and her new place in it. I've finally figured out why Mr and Mrs Bennet had five daughters instead of three: Jane Austen needed some everyday crazy to keep Lizzy occupied while Darcy was away in Town.

I definitely want to read more from Isabel Cooper and I hope that whatever she comes up next will live up to the promise I saw in this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brave heroine in an interesting new world! 18 Mar. 2015
By One Curvy Blogger - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
No Proper Lady has to be the weirdest historical romance I have ever come across. If you take all perceived notions of historical romance and mix in a weird helping of Victorian occult, tentacle-wielding rulers of the universe, a manuscript that houses the mysteries of the “Dark Ones” bent on destroying life as we know it, and an unusual but awesome heroine whom literally wears weapons as body parts… well, I think you get the idea. No Proper Lady is not your average Victorian era romance novel. I can’t believe how entertained I was by it all – it is not a novel I could take very seriously, but I enjoyed it regardless of the few plot and character driven problems the novel revealed.

Joan was a phenomenal heroine, probably my favorite of every historical romance I’ve ever read. She’s a soldier with a take-no-bull attitude that is pretty impressive considering what she had to give up to travel back in time on a mission to save the her people – and more importantly, the world. I enjoyed that Joan is the obviously dominant personality in the relationship forming with Simon. I also liked how much Ellie (Simon’s broken sister recovering from Alex’s demonic attack) grew into a more confident young woman as she and Joan grew closer. Woman were considered equals from Joan’s time and she doesn’t hesitate to point out the obvious flaws in how much society values a “genteel” and air-headed woman. I had moments I wanted to break out in applause, but I refrained myself.

While Simon and Joan were very sexually compatible (they practically burn up the sheets!), I found Simon to agree with society’s views on women too much for my liking. For one, he is quick to become suspicious of Joan for agreeing with his pretty dangerous plan to try and reform his ex-bestie while also saving the world from said man at the same time. He becomes irrationally jealous when she is given the task to get close to Alex in search for his Manuscript of Doom (not the real name – as we weren’t actually given the name of the book… might have helped in the search,, don’t you think??) when her idea was much easier and FAR LESS DANGEROUS FOR HER IN THE FIRST PLACE. He acts as an idiot for a good while, but he does eventually learn the error of his ways… after Joan has to knock him on the head with them, of course. *rolls eyes*

While Simon’s character flaws did annoy me to some extent, they weren’t nearly so distracting as the obvious plot holes in Cooper’s world building. Don’t get me wrong, she comes up with a crazy entertaining plot, but I was left with quite a few questions yet to be answered. How did Simon and Alex truly discover magic was real? Can all humans practice or are people born with supernatural ability? The author isn’t clear on much of anything and I became frustrated with all the mysterious, evasive answers that left a lot to be desired. I am a curious reader and need to know everything I possibly can about the world the characters reside in, but by the time I finished I I barely had any answers to my initial questions.

At the end of the day, I did enjoy reading this book. This was a new-to-me author and I will probably find myself reading the second book soon enough. I am keeping my fingers crossed that book two has more in-depth world building and less evasive answers. I recommend No Proper Lady to fantasy fans and those who enjoy a unique Victorian-era historical romance.
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