A Lady Never Lies (Berkley Sensation Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 7 Aug 2012
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"Charming, passionate, and thrilling...sets a new mark for historical romance."--"New York Times" bestselling author Elizabeth Holt
"A dazzling debut...the best new book of the year!"--National bestselling author Lauren Willig
"A delightful confection of prose and desire that leaps off the page."--"New York Times" bestselling author Julia London
"Fresh, delicious, witty, and devastatingly romantic."--"New York Times" bestselling author Meredith Duran
"Clever and supremely witty. A true delight."--"New York Times" bestselling author Suzanne Enoch
The dazzlingly passionate first novel in the Affairs By Moonlight trilogy. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Secondly, the novel's tone bounced back and forth between the humor and absurdity of a romantic romp (I like to read this kind of novel) and the drama of a mystery/romance, complete with villain (I like these too). What bothered me was the inconsistency in tone and mood, as if the author couldn't quite decide what kind of book this should be.
Finally, about two-thirds of the way through the novel, I started to see strange coincidences between this story and the plot of the classic Blake Edwards' film "The Great Race" (the automobile race, the sabotaged cars, and one car taking a detour down a famous set of steps in a European city). Unfortunately, this novel doesn't have nearly the sparkle, humor, sweetness, or character development of the Tony Curtis/Natalie Wood romantic comedy.
I'll respectfully disagree with the other reviewers and say this is a book I wished I'd skipped when there are so many books to read.
The 3 women have traveled to Italy, Lady Morley to avoid creditors and Lady Somerton to avoid an abusive husband. The 3 men are also in Italy, mainly because Burke wants an isolated place to perfect the design of his electric motorcar but also for the 2 noble brothers to take a break from their rather rakish, dissolute ways.
Coincidentally, all six know or know of each other and, in addition, have accidentally leased the same castle in Italy for their rustication. They make the best of a bad situation and split the use of the castle, one wing for the women and another for the men, while sharing the dining hall.
Naturally, because this is romance, we have the makings for 3 romantic pairs to be formed while conveniently living together. This first book has Lady Morley and Phineas Burke antagonistic to each other at first and then, of course, you know what that will lead to. The major roadblocks to their love are 1)that Burke is not a peer and is illegitimate to boot and 2)there may be a conflict of interest with regard to motorcars since scientist Burke is perfecting his battery-powered car and Lady Morley is a major stockholder in a steam-powered motorcar company. Can they give in to their attraction and can they trust each other?
The plot with the motorcars and the 1890 time period make this a relatively unique romance. What makes it a very special romance is the writing ability of Juliana Gray. IMO, she's equal to Meredith Duran or Cecilia Grant. This particular book is not angsty and is more light-hearted than the latest Grant and Duran HRs, but Gray's writing skill is at the same level. You'll find some fun moments as the characters adjust to their stay in Tuscany and the castle, and you'll find some lovely romantic scenes between the H and h.
The next two books in this series should be entertaining and all 3 have a slight twist in that they take place simultaneously, each one from the viewpoint of a different pair of lovers and revolving around that pair's interactions at the castle. In this first book we concentrate on Burke and Alexandra and only rarely have much to do with the other 4 characters, and this only to pique our curiosity about them and whet our appetites for the next books.
So be on the lookout for Book 2, A Gentleman Never Tells in November 2012, the love story of Lord Roland and Lady Somerton and Book 3, A Duke Never Yields in February 2013, the story of the Duke of Wallingford and Abigail. These will fill in the gaps in information of Book 1 about these 4 characters.
The characters are all well defined and none of them fall into any overdone stereotype. If you are looking for a 19 year-old, virgin heroine, don't buy. I find myself appreciative of slightly older lead women who have confidence and quirkiness. While the lady in question is not a bluestocking - she is smart, witty, proper and not wide-eyed-innocent at all. I like that a lot. If you are looking for a dark Duke who is afraid to love, don't buy. The lead man is strong, intelligent and self-aware (but a mere Mr.). I like that a lot too.
Her writing is good and tight- you don't have to worry about bad writing or cringe-worthy anachronistic lingo.
The plot is sort of unconventional but falls overall in the bucket of 'unlikely bed mates'. It is a really nice change from the usual rake-bluestocking choke. There are no balls, country parties or huge mansions. Well, wait, there is a huge mansion. And a car.
As for sex ... thankfully it's not "sweet" with chaste kisses. Not erotica level intense either. The sex is hot and at the right places. To those of you who care about this: the sex scenes are not silly and written with a good shade of maturity.
I am looking forward to the next in this series; but I do think Juilana Grey is capable of a better creation than this one. I'll keep an eye out for her.
Firstly, it is hard to believe that three gentlemen would leave England to live in an old castle in Italy to ruminate on philosophy and other intellectual pursuits for a year. However, Finn Burke is quite persuasive and he has managed to convince two peers of the realm, (a Duke no less) to accompany him. Finn actually is there to present his motor car in a race in Italy but he would like his two friends to accompany him to Italy.
Alexandra Morley is escaping creditors and she is with her younger sister and cousin, who is escaping a bad marriage. Both parties are promised the castle and they are unhappy to discover the mix up. They agree to live together in the castle in separate wings only coming together for dinner. In fact, they are to be separate at all other times because the Duke has wagered the women will seek out the men for companionship and Alex has wagered that it will be the men who cannot leave the women alone.
Alex is at first a bossy boss, a woman who has a tendency to manipulate using feminine wiles and even a little bit of helplessness to her advantage. In these early scenes I did not like her because she seemed insincere. She admits she is vain and self centered, caring greatly about her social position in London. She has fallen from grace because when her husband died she invested heavily in a factory which is interested in motors and it has not been making money.
Finn likes Alex and he even allows her to enter his very private domain, his auto shop, which is a building on the castle grounds. It is in this setting that the two become friends. Alex, at first is interested in the auto for her own financial gain, after all her factory is in the same business but quickly she abandons her goal of snooping and becomes genuinely fascinated in Finn and his machine. These two have deep conversations and reveal their broken pasts.
Finn feels he is not good enough for Alex, he is illegitimate, the son of a notorious courtesan. Finn is rich, due to his inventions and investments but does not hold the social position of his fellow house guests.
These two are quite taken with each other and their romance goes well until the end of the novel when Alex gets a little too bossy again. (She is a bit of a daredevil too.) She can be stubborn and secretive. Also Finn really has to reassure her about his feelings and their future before she truly understands the depth of his devotion. Overall this is a nice romance and I am anxious to see how the Duke's romance progresses with Alex's sister in a later novel.