Monday, August 27, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Loving Lady Marcia by Kieran Kramer

Loving Lady Marcia (House of Brady #1)
Kieran Kramer

Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's (MacMillan)
Page Count: 349
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via Innovative Online Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!!)

In the House of Brady, three very lovely girls have hair of gold—and hearts to match—but finding a match among the gentlemen of London is one comedy of errors that could bring down the house... 


Of the three Brady sisters, Lady Marcia has always seemed the girl most likely to lead a perfectly charmed life. But after a handsome cad breaks her heart, she swears off love and devotes her life to teaching girls at a private school. In spite of her family’s wish for a London debut, Marcia is happy where she is—until terrible news sends her back to the Brady clan…and into the arms of an unexpected suitor. 


A dark and dashing earl who knows Marcia’s past, Duncan Lattimore is surprised by what a fascinating and independent woman she’s become. Marcia, too, is surprised—by the fiery attraction she feels for Duncan. But why—why—must he be the brother of the scoundrel who broke her heart? Why must Marcia’s rival at school forbid her from seeing him? How can this lady possibly resist this fellow—when they know that it’s much more than a hunch...?
What Stephanie Thinks: I've heard so much about Kieran Kramer, and how amazing she is, so when I picked up Loving Lady Marcia, which is in every way a classic regency romance (not my favorite genre usually, but read on), I had pretty high expectations. "This better be good," I thought to myself. I even suspected I might be that one person who didn't like Kramer. But alas, I was, as with the book, delighted with her.

Loving Lady Marcia is the first installment in the House of Brady series, which, if you haven't figured out by now, is a historically romantic parody of The Brady Bunch. I LOVE that show, call me old-fashioned, so when I first connected all the names (we are introduced to Marcia's lovely sisters, Janice and Cynthia Brady—isn't that adorable?) I was absolutely thrilled. While the setting is 1819 England, the situation is very relatable and seems 'contemporary'.

Five years ago, beautiful, innocent, fifteen-year-old Marcia gave everything to Finn, the boy she knew as soon as she met eyes with, would be the love of her life. Everything. She thought they had a love that nothing else could surpass, that is, until one day he abruptly left for America by his aloof brother, Duncan's, orders. Marcia was devastated, so she swore off men and decided to become a headmistress at a girls' school—the only other position in her life she had ever felt so passionate about.

Now, she's a regal age of twenty and a bit of an enigma. She is known for her particular beauty and grace and has hundreds of suitors, but much to her parents' disappointment, she stays true to her own vows. Enter, suddenly, into her life again, Finn... God, he's more handsome than ever, but even worse... enter, Duncan.

Though five years ago she and Duncan had a difficult acquaintance, she can't help but feel attracted to him. He's charming, mysterious, relentless—and he's got an air of composure that his brother, and other men she knows, lack. But why must she? He's the one who ruined her relationship with Finn, after all... or is he?

I love love loved this book. Marcia's heartbreak is so realistic and so distressing, but at the time the story takes place, she's such a strong, dazzling character that I so admire. Her main love interests, Finn and Duncan, come to life within the pages as well. Finn is someone that I, like Marcia, immediately fell for, but grew to distrust and dislike by the book's end, as Kramer would have wanted. Duncan was harder to grow on, but eventually I saw him as the man of substance, the man truly after a woman's heart, so I fell in love with him too. Kramer is excellent at breathing life into each of her characters, even the minor ones, and getting to know them was such a ride.

The chemistry is steamy, the banter, witty and warm and wry. The dialogue is highly realistic and the situations just perfect. I smiled at every one of Marcia and Duncan's interactions—they are just so meant to be! Their taboo relationship composed of nighttime rendezvous, fateful and completely lucky bumping-intos, and very very naughty activities involving Duncan's skilled fingers, set the pages on fire. Above all, the emotional turmoil and suffering portrayed in Loving Lady Marcia is what make it such a special romance novel. Loss of innocence, and even worse, loss of trust, is conveyed thoroughly and painfully, but in the end, its resurgence is what fuels the heart.

I look forward to the next books in the House of Brady series... how could I resist Janice and Cynthia's stories? Definitely definitely recommend this one to all lovers of humorous, but still deeply resonant romance stories (even if, like me, you're not particularly fond of historicals!). Thanks to Kramer's smooth and cheeky style, I not once, felt like I was trudging through this book. I guarantee you won't either.

Stephanie Loves: "'It's never the right time to tell someone you love them,' Lord Brady said, 'whether it's a father, a brother, a daughter, or a woman you cherish. But it must be done. You take the risk of having it flung back in your face sometimes. But you do it anyway.'" 

Radical Rating: 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥