Newly widowed Mrs. Martha Russell has a problem. The much older husband she didn’t love has died without leaving an heir; without a son, Martha will have to hand over her late husband’s estate to his depraved brother and move in with one of her own siblings. Her husband has only been dead two weeks; although Mrs. Russell knows she is not pregnant, no one else does. When the indolent eldest son of a neighboring landowner is exiled from London to the country to prove himself, Mrs. Russell devises a plan to save not only herself but also the local children and their the new estate school (which will surely be shut down by her brother-in-law). Purely as a business arrangement, she asks Mr. Theo Mirkwood to visit her in secret once a day for a month in the hope that she can become pregnant and hold on to the estate.
This is the premise of Cecilia Grant’s book A Lady Awakened. This is her first book, although I would never have guessed it. It delivers in all the ways one expects an historical romance to deliver, but it also offers up unexpected plot turns and a freshness to the characters. There are a few unnecessary (I thought) uses of the f word, but on the whole it’s an entertaining page-turner for fans of steamy historical romance novels.