Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Unsuitable Secretary by Maggie Robinson

The Basics:
The Unsuitable Secretary by Maggie Robinson
Book Four in the Ladies Unlaced series
Historical Romance
Published September 16, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon.ca Kobo.com

Why I picked up this book:

I liked the cover and the secretary-employer trope.


From the author of In the Heart of the Highlander, a romance proving that inappropriate desires can provide the most passionate encounters…

Harriet Benson takes her work at the Evensong Agency seriously, but lately, between convalescing from an illness and tending to her father and two young brothers, she’s had to shorten her hours. So when a promising position opens up for part time work, she immediately accepts, despite the fact that her new boss is scandalously indecent—and dangerously appealing.

Though his reputation paints him as a scoundrel, Sir Thomas Featherstone is more proper than anyone would guess. But Harriet’s wit and luscious curves are driving him to distraction. She’s the perfect woman to fill his office requirements, and other desperate needs he’s been ignoring…

Harriet has always held firm to the rule that a secretary must never fall in love with her employer. Only Thomas is determined to win her affections—and he’s willing to risk any cost to make her his…

My thoughts:

I haven't read much romance during the early 1900s, and so I don't know what's particularly popular or typical in this segment of romance novels. However, I did like this The Unsuitable Secretary. It had a certain almost irreverent tone to it - possibly because Thomas was so...Thomas.

Basically, Thomas is a very wealthy patron of the arts given to indulging his whims because he has more money than... well, not so much sense as just... the ability to spend it. Though he does put in quite the effort to burn through as much as he can (not out of a desire to spend, but through simple generosity of spirit). 

By contrast, his new secretary, Harriet is a lot more practical. She's had to be - her income supplements her father's to take care of their small household which includes Harriet's twin fifteen-year-old brothers. Where Thomas has an eye for fashion, art and beauty, Harriet is focused on saving her pennies to pay for her brothers' schooling.

As emphasized within the novel itself multiple times, Harriet provides a steadying influence on Thomas, while Thomas is able to draw out Harriet's sense of fun and pump up her self-esteem.

I loved that Thomas wasn't a real alpha hero. He's quite adorable, in fact, and I thought the novel really balanced his 'gift of gab' with everyone else against how flustered he becomes around Harriet. 

Another thing I loved about this book is that there's a general lack of sexual experience. The sense of discovery and wonder that *both* Thomas and Harriet experience was pretty endearing.  

I did find that the pacing of the story was a little slow at points. The ending drags on a bit, though we do get a clear picture of 'what happens next' for this couple. 

Bottom line:

The Unsuitable Secretary entertained and amused me. I found it to be rather novel on a few fronts (the art patron focus, the sex) and definitely recommend it to romance readers.

4.5 stars
For fans of early 1900s romance, the arts, secretary-employer romances

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