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Once a Mistress [Mass Market Paperback]

Rebecca Hagan Lee

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I George Ramsey, fifteenth Marquess of Templeston, charge my son and heir, Andrew Ramsey, with the support and responsibility for my beloved mistresses, and any children born of their bodies. As discretion is the mark of a true gentleman, I shall not give names to the ladies - instead they will be known by a gold and diamond locket engraved with my seal and containing my likeness...

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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner by Ms. Lee 5 Sep 2001
By suzanne tucker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
He won, he lost, he wondered. Four years later, wonder turned to wonderful. Andrew Ramsey is now the sixteenth Marquess of Templeston after the untimely and unexpected death of his father; a man he loved very dearly. Drew is to follow the directives firmly set in his father's Last Will and Testament and its codacil regarding the care of his many mistresses. One such mistress, Kathryn Stafford, is living at Swanslea Park, the family's private estate. Drew finds this totally unacceptable. He travels to Swanslea for the sole purpose of evicting her.
Drew finds Kathryn dangling from a tree branch, in the throws of rescuing her pet fox from the dreaded hunters. When their eyes meet it is magical. Four years earlier they were deeply in love and betrothed to be married. Kathryn left Drew standing alone a the alter. He was so devastated he joined the war effort never knowing the reason why.
Kathryn now stands in front of him more beautiful than ever. Was his Kathryn really one of his father's mistresses? Did Kathryn and his father really have a son together? What is the feeling he still has in the region of his heart? Drew and Kathryn play no games. They still love each other fiercely. As they face many obstacles and unanswered questions, their love is rekindled and has no limitations. There love is gentle and touching but also sizzles with passion.
This tender and truly wonderful love story is incredibly written with characters you fall in love with. As ONCE A MISTRESS is the first book of Ms. Lee's regency trilogy, it is a triumph! Read it slowly and savor every word. Now we must patiently wait for EVER A PRINCESS, the second Templeston tale coming out in the Spring of 2002. I'm already looking forward to it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly rivting, but flawed with some inaccuracies 24 Feb 2002
By Joyously Retired Teacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
When Andrew Ramsey loses his father in a tragic accident, he discovers that his father has left very specific instructions as to how he is to care for his father's various mistresses and bastard children. One of these mistresses appears to be living on the estate, and intending to bring an end to this scandalous situation, Andrew hastens to the estate. Only to discover that the mistress in question is his former fiancée, who left him standing at the altar four years ago. And that she has a child who looks remarkably like him who is clearly recognized as his father's illegitimite son. Is it possible that his fiancée jilted him to become his father's mistress?
So begins Andrew's journey into a nightmarish past, that causes him to question the character of his father and the woman he himself had planned to marry. As incredible as it seems, Kathryn had borne a son and the father of that son was his own father! Any man would be angry to discover this situation, but how many would be angry that his father had not MARRIED her! After getting over his initial anger at Kathryn's faithlessness, Andrew wonders how his father could be so crude as to make her his mistress instead of his wife.
It is only a small step from there to realize that he still loves Kathryn and wants to be her husband and the father of her son, his half-brother. But there are still many unanswered questions. Why did she jilt him and then refuse to see him or explain why? Why did his father never tell him about her? Why does Kathryn--in spite of being a mother and a scandalous mistress--seem as innocent as ever in the lovemaking department? It is truly amazing that Andrew is willing to marry her without finding out all the answers to these questions first, or that Kathryn waits so long to tell him the truth.
Frankly, I devoured this book. I cried several times while reading this book. It's fantastic! I'd give it five stars, except that there were some flaws. For example, the assumption that the father's bastard child could be Andrew's heir. The father's willingness to subject Kathryn to scandal seems out of character. Kathryn insists that she can't bear any children for fear of an inherited disease and then she expresses the desire to have children with Andrew. But even though not all of the t's were crossed, this book is exceptional and I strongly recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate, inconsistent, and in a few areas, just plain icky--Spoilers 3 Dec 2010
By RegencyReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm not an expert on Regencies, however, I've read enough (and have studied history enough) to know that:
a. A child born out of wedlock can never inherit--even if the current heir marries the mother in order to give him a name--he wasn't born in the marital bed=not the rightful heir.
b. In the will of the Marquess that died, he leaves this Park (assuming that to be the whole spread) to Kit's mother (Kathryn, the woman that was presumably his mistress). Also before that, he'd gifted the dowager cottage to her father, then to her. Neither of these things could happen. Why? Because they're entailed, they actually belong to the title, therefore they cannot be sold or gifted.
c. I was under the impression that a person in mourning was not to marry unless extreme circumstances, Ms. Lee says that it's okay, as long as they don't announce. I really couldn't find a right answer on that, so I accepted what she wrote. However, I've only read two books where it happened when only the man was in mourning and he'd impregnated a woman and had to make things right.

For the inconsistency: (Major Spoiler below)
Kit, the little boy, is nearly four, Andrew and Kathryn's marriage was supposed to take place four years ago...how can that be? I know, I know that Kit was given to Kathryn three months after her other son died. However, that would still make him two instead of three, nearly four. She had nine months to carry her first, then he died at 8 months, that's nearly a year and a half. Then three months later, George brought her Christopher, who had to have been a young baby for people to have actually believed she'd just had him...I don't know how nobody would have questioned it otherwise. It's not like three months after burying her first son who was eight months old, she could show up with a child more than a month or two in age and be able to pass him off as hers as well as she did. Plus with her husband having died only six months earlier, that would have branded her an adulteress as well.

Finally, to my way of thinking it was just plain gross to think of sleeping with father and son or from his point of view sleeping with the woman you've always loved while thinking your father had. The ick factor of that made me cringe. Thank goodness we finally find out she did not sleep with both, however until page 268 (out of 309) we're under the impression that she did. And several times Kathryn even says something about it by asking that Andrew if he doesn't mind his father's leavings or making mention she was his father's mistress.

The only way I actually finished this book was because someone ruined the "surprise" for me. Otherwise I wouldn't have made it past page fifty thinking of a woman sleeping with father and son.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great; too convoluted 3 & 1/2 stars 12 July 2004
By S. Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Some needless repetition and a highly convoluted situation with Kathryn as a mistress (both interesting and irritating) create some problems in this otherwise interesting tale.
Lee makes the 15th Marquess's many mistresses seem like a virtue; in the end, the reader has to like him. Drew is even more complicated in some ways than his father; he is still understandably angry with Kathryn for leaving him at the altar, but he still loves her. She has never stopped loving him, but circumstances do not look good. It takes almost the entire novel to sort out all the various misunderstandings, secrets, adn half-truths. In fact, not all of them are revealed in this book; more are revealed in book 3 (Always a Lady), and I recommend reading it immediately after this one.
Both the hero & the heroine are strong characters, and there's a excellent cast of secondary characters. Drew & Kathryn are faced with an extremely difficult situation and must struggle with numerious complications to resolve things. If it were all a little less confusing, it would be a better book; more needed to be revealed to the reader earlier. I am still not convinced about Kathryn's reasoning for leaving Drew at the altar and never telling him why; I suppose she didn't know him well enough to trust him with it, but she should have tried.
It's a good book, just not Lee's best.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book!! 1 July 2004
By J. Brennan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was my first book by Rebecca Hagan Lee and I absolutely loved this story. I find stories where the couple our kept apart for some reason or another usually an interesting read and this one might be the best ever. I truly was glued to the plot and though I had some thoughts on what truly happened 4 years earlier in Wren's life I was still a bit surprised by the ending. And oh my do I love Andrew's father - he really would have made a great book all on his own. You just have to love his creativity to get his son back to the love of his life. I can absolutley recomend this book - it was just a great romantic story!!
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