Where did you get this book from: e-ARC from Netgalley
Release date: 26th October, 2010.
This reviews contains some minor spoilers
Blurb taken from author’s official website:
Since being named on of London’s “Lords to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, he eagerly jumps—only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he’s ever met!
The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.
But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless…like falling madly, passionately in love.
I absolutely adored The Season by Sarah Maclean, her YA historical romance, and I so enjoyed Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Lord. The books had oodles of charm, and the characters were so engaging. Unfortunately, for this book, the title should have been named Ten Ways to Annoy, When Driving a Lord Away. This book didn’t work for me.
The heroine, Lady Isabel, has had a very shoddy upbringing with her mother’s death and her wastrel of a father leaving the family to go and be a wastrel in London. When he dies, he leaves them with no money or provisions. So it’s up to Isabel to be the master of the house, and to bring up her younger brother, ten year old James who is the heir and Earl of Townsend, and also look out for her cousin, Lara. But Isabel also has other charges to care for. For a long time, without her father’s notice, her house became a hideaway for women in need of help. And since then, Isabel has taken in a number of women who have become servants of Townsend Park, but have also become family. Isabel knows that scandal can come down on her head for taking in these women, and her brother would suffer the consequences. But another charge arrives at Townsend Park, a titled lady who is carrying a secret, and Isabella and the servants know that allowing in this titled lady could bring them all down.
This is where St Nicolas John (the twin of Gabriel, the hero in Nine Rules) comes into the story. Since he has been named as one of the ‘Lords to Land’ in a popular magazine, Nick has been besieged by women every day. To say the least, he now runs away from them at every change he gets. And an opportunity to avoid the constant attention from these ladies comes in the form of the Duke of Leighton, who is desperate to find his missing sister who has runaway. Nick used to be a ‘hunter’ for the Crown, finding and bringing back certain people across the Continent and the Orient. So Nick agrees to the Duke’s request to escape.
Isabel is in dire straights with no money whatsoever, and with a house that is in much needed repair, she decides to sell her much loved Greek marble statues. Isabel comes across the magazine that shows Nick as one of the ‘Lords to Land’ and she finds out that he is an antiquarian. And he’s the perfect person to look at her Greek statues, and hopefully sell them. But Isabel has the hard task of keeping the female servants a secret from prying eyes, and from keeping Georgina, the Duke’s sister, a secret.
Nick arrives in Yorkshire with his friend and companion Rock, after tracking the Duke’s sister movements. And it’s there that he has his first encounter with Isabel. Nick literally saves Isabel’s life, and Isabel realises that she has indeed found the very man she was looking for.
After what Isabel had to endure, her selflessness in taking in those women in need, and bringing up her brother, she sounds like a heroine who is to be admired, and liked. I’ll admit to the first, but with the latter, I had a hard time liking Isabel.
She annoyed me somewhat, and I found her to be irritating. She was so consumed with doing everything herself that I found her to be so stubborn to the point of being unlikeable. Taking in the women in trouble is definitely admirable, but even though she knew the harm it might cause her younger brother, she stills accepts the ladies.
When Nick and Isabel have their first meeting, he saves her from being run over from a carriage and horses because she was silly enough to not look where she was going. Instead of thanking him, she hits him and calls him an attacker, and belatedly thanks him later on. I think her attitude was meant to show how independent she was, and how she didn’t need anybody. And this carried on throughout most of the book. I understood her keeping secrets at first because Nick was a total stranger. And Nick had a secret of his own, not revealing that he was looking for Georgina.
I have no complaints about the writing, but the hero and heroine just didn’t engage me as a reader. Nick seemed to be dimmed in personality compared to Nine rules, and Isabel came across as too independent.
Their love scenes were very engaging, and when Nick and Isabel weren’t fighting, their scenes were great, but I found that the constant fighting overwhelmed the book. And because of this, I didn’t particularly care for both characters. I did want to find out more about the servants, especially Kate and Jane who were the stable master and butler. And Rock, Nick’s companion and friend, has a very brief and not very touched upon secondary love story with Lara. Nothing was shown of the couple, and I don’t know why it was mentioned since the reader sees nothing of their romance.
Isabel constantly rebuffs Nick, and she finally drives him away with hurtful words. And all I thought was, enough already. Yes, I know that you had a rubbish childhood, and you’re independent and scared, but after so many times of her rebuffing Nick, I was at the end of my patience. And Nick was stupid enough to keep a secret from Isabel. It was the case of everything could have been being sorted if they just told each other the truth. But they didn’t, and it got tiring. There were humorous scenes with Nick and young James, but after that, James wasn’t mentioned again in the story at all.
Overall, 10 ways does have some good moments, but there are not enough of them, and I was disappointed reading this book.
I give 10 Ways To be Adored When Landing a Duke C-.