Saturday, August 6

Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Thank you to the lovely Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit for getting me this book this month as part of the RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) program hosted by BookSoulmates. It is much loved and appreciated.

Book 2 in the Love by Number series

So I was a bit hesitant in picking up this book. I had loved both book one and book three in the series, but had heard some pretty negative things about this one. After the absolute incredible-ness of books one and three, I wasn’t ready for the disappointment of reading a bad book from this author I’d come to revere. However, I shouldn’t have doubted Ms. MacLean’s writing abilities. Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord far surpassed my expectations and was definitely on par with the rest of the series. I absolutely loved it. I think part of the reason I loved this book so much was how well I could identify with the heroine, Lady Isabel Townsend.

Ms. MacLean develops extraordinarily complex characters and while I loved Nicholas St. John, the hero, for being sweet, kind, protective, and just all-around wonderful, the character that really made the book for me was Isabel. Isabel is a loner in her work – she takes pride in the fact that she does her work and is able to accomplish it by herself. She helps others as a hidden way to help herself. She doesn’t know how to accept help because its never been offered to her before, so she’s gotten used to doing the things that need doing alone. She also struggles with her own self-worth having a father who didn’t love her and a mother who blamed her for her bad marriage.

To me, Isabel’s character was very clearly built off her life experiences to turn her into a brave, strong woman on the outside, but a uncertain, unhappy woman on the inside. There have been times in my life where I’ve felt exactly like Isabel, and in many ways we are all like Isabel – two faces, two halves of ourselves that don’t really mesh. The private half is the more vulnerable for all of us, and for Isabel it’s more vulnerable and private, and thus separate from her life, than most. I loved her complexity, her fears, and how Nick overcame them and burrowed past her tough outer shell to her heart of gold. I loved how she could be honest and frank about most things – things that had to do with her being a protector and guardian – but that she would attempt to lie to herself about any sort of weakness. To me, she reminded me of myself – unwilling to let go of the slightest amount of control for fear it will make the entire world crumble.

The secondary characters were humorous, an adorable comedic relief. ‘The girls’ at Isabel’s home are as funny as Isabel is quirky (another thing I love – she’s very ‘lady tom-boy’). The romantic plot is mostly devised of Isabel’s struggle to trust and let go, and Nick’s struggle to help her realize that he can be a valuable partner in life. James, Isabel’s younger brother, is perhaps the cutest ten-year-old boy I’ve ever read about. I loved how he was an integral part of the story without overwhelming the main characters. A little more about Nick – I loved his tender side, his willingness to help Isabel through her struggles. I thought him delightful and supportive throughout the entire book, and with his good humor and sparkling wit (and innate sexiness, let’s not forget that!) he was the consummate gentlemanly romance hero.

There was only one discrepancy that niggled at my mind as I read the story. In the beginning, one of the statues in Isabel’s home (Voluptas) is describe as having a hand over her breast – as if shy or some such thing. Later in the book, her posture has changed (one hand in the air, the other across her stomach), and unless this book is like Night in the Museum where everything comes to life at night, MacLean and her editor failed to notice that small issue.

What was there to dislike about this book? There was more witty banter in this book than in all the historical romance I’ve read in 2010 combined. The seduction is slow, sweet, and sexy, the plot is fast but doesn’t rush, the characters are the perfect balance of bitter coffee and smooth cream with sugar and a little spice. MacLean has indeed discovered the perfect balance in her writing – between dialogue and description, light and dark, comedy and serious emotion. Every time, she delivers extraordinary characters you truly care about, a plot you’ll enjoy, and of course a romance that will make your toes curl. *sigh* MacLean has struck again with perfection. Hearts everywhere will break as Nicholas St. John has been well and truly landed in this stunning, captivating novel.

Favorite quotes (there were so many!!!):

“Lost, along with our horses. Where do you think this place is keeping them? Bath? The only excuse for taking so much time to fetch a horse is death.” (Nick)
“Death of the horse? ” (Rock)
“I was leaning toward death of the groomsman who went looking for it.” (Nick)

“Good. You’re awake.”
Of all the possible intruders, Nick had not expected to find the young Earl of Reddich crouching low beside his bed, unblinking.
“It would seem so.”
“I’ve been waiting for you to wake up,” James announced.
“I am sorry that I have kept you waiting,” Nick said dryly.
“It’s not a problem, really. I don’t have lessons for another hour.”

“I have never had the pleasure of removing breeches from a lover.” (Nick)

 “Sexy”ness rating: Sweet, passionate, tender, and sexy. 

Overall Rating: A

Bottom Line: This book is as good as both the other books in the series – in fact, this entire series is a hit! Nick and Isabel are strong and realistic, the secondary characters are funny and unique, and the story is both fast-paced and deep. A fantastic book, and series, by Sarah MacLean that any historical romance reader must, must, must pick up!

Pages: 358
Published: October 26, 2010
Genre: Historical

Links to reviews of Books 1 + 3:

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