- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Zebra - Kensington (Nov. 1 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0821777785
- ISBN-13: 978-0821777787
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.4 x 17.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,192,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Unlaced Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1 2004
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Prior to going to London for her coming out, Lucy Abbington, clad in breeches and riding astride, encounters Harry Ashton, the marquess of Mandeville, leading a limping horse. Quite the amateur veterinarian, Lucy diagnoses the problem, then is called on to help one of Harry's horses foal. Lucy is later surprised to become the talk of the ton because the only reason she acceded to her father's request to have a London season was the hope that she would receive some veterinary tutelage while there. Cook's promising debut features two likable and interesting protagonists. Harry is a classic "wounded hero," while Lucy is independent, daring, and very teary. The tale is slightly marred, however, by one-dimensional secondary characters and a lack of authenticity. That said, it is sexy and entertaining. Diana Tixier Herald
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However, I LOVED a secondary character, the hero’s sister Eleanor. She stole the show when she was on the page. She was strong and multidimensional. In UNLACED she is already married with children. The story of how she came to marry the love of her life is in the novel titled “To Love A Scoundrel”. As she was a great character in UNLACED, her story looks worth reading. I’ll give that a go because the author has a talent for writing and she deserves a second look. While I have not given this book a high rating, I am glad I read this novel as I may have discovered a new (to me) author whose books I can look forward to.
*contains sex scenes.
Cynical Henry Aston, Marquis of Manderville, is pure Alpha male. He was engaged to the ton's "pearl of the first water", Miss Cecilia Layton, but mere weeks before the marriage was to take place, Miss Layton was caught in a compromising position with a Mr. Ridgeley. Since Mr. Ridgeley was far beneath the Marquis, it was quite the on-dit, embarrassing Henry. Henry has vowed never to open himself to this sort of embarrassment again. Thus, he's determined not to marry for love. His mother is pushing him to marry. This makes him dig in his spurs even more. Hating his mother, he tends to look down on her. His father spurned marrying a proper lady to marry a parson's daughter, a woman unworthy of his father's love. She was grasping, unfaithful and hated her son from the moment he was born, so it's small wonder Henry lacks a good understanding of love. He's never known it. Rather coldly, Henry equates her lower birth as the problem rather than just his cold mother. His intentions to marry a woman of superior breeding is a knee jerk reaction, which will make the reader slow in warming to him, and at times you want to smack him - really hard! But hang in there...
After Henry has an argument with his mother, he is riding to his neighbors when his mount begins to step oddly. Lucy rides up in her brother's clothes and says the horse has hurt its tendon, and leads the animal away. A short time later, he is introduced to Lucy, all dressed up, he finds it hard to believe she is the same woman who was running around in pants. She treats his horse (though I did wonder where all the ice came from in the country at that time of the year in 1817? At several points, this plays more like a Victorian rather than a Regency.). She next meets Henry when his prize mare goes into foal and there are complications. He sends for her and she saves the foal. In the excitement of saving the mare and filly, Henry kisses her, and then callously accuses her of trying to trap him into marriage.
Naturally, their paths keep crossing in London. At times, Henry is quite boorish with his arrogant insistence he will only marry a woman "of superior breeding" - while he keeps pawing Lucy really - starts to tax ones patience. When he nearly has his wicked way with Lucy in his carriage, we are "treated" to his thoughts, of how Almack's refused Lucy admittance. He despised them for it, but still knows he is planning to go to Almack's seeking a well pedigreed wife. Henry comes across very unsympathetic. Just as you really want to smack this guy, he redeems himself with worry over a puppy his carriage accidentally hit or when he picks wild flowers for Lucy. Ah, nothing like one of those arrogant rogues to learn the lessons of love!
It's a charming tale, a very strong debut book, promising Kristina Cook will, hopefully, gift us with more wonderful, fun tales in the near future.
I thought the characters were great. I love that Lucy is so independent. Practitioner of Vetinary Arts - now I don't think there has been a heroine in a historical romance attempting this before! I love Henry as the hero. Ms. Cook does a really good job of showing how his back story with his mother and ex-fiancee contributes to his issues with love. And I love how Henry and Lucy are pulled towards each other, but BOTH of them are fighting it.
I think the reviewer commented about the secondary characters being one-dimensional or something to that extent. Sometimes it's nice to have other storylines in a book, but sometimes its nice to just have the main storyline - especially when it is as well written as this one is. Maybe it was Ms. Cook's plan all along to give Jane and Colin their own stories, so for that reason, she doesn't delve too deeply into their characters here. Regardless, I am looking fowarding to reading both Unveiled and Undressed.
As someone else said, if Ms. Cook delivers this well with her fist book, chances are she'll only get better!
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the heroine was unique, quirky, and very likable. The hero wasn't bad either.
Although there were a fair number of plot twists, I thought the whole thing flowed together nicely, and the beginning was as satisfying as the ending.
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