Title: A Lady of Hidden Intent
Author: Traci Peterson
Genre: Historical Romance
I know, I know. I seem to be deviating from my usual brain candy of paranormals and urban fantasies. After the fabulous time I had reading Tessa Dare's book I just couldn't make myself go back into the worlds of monsters (and the women who love them) easily. I picked this lovely novel up because I liked the cover. That's it. Something about her expression and the strange almost contrasting colors of her gown and mask intrigued me.
This novel is not a regency romance. Actually, most of it takes place in America's early 1900's (or very close there abouts) and while I'm usually not one for stories where the rich girl suddenly finds herself a working class girl, I did really enjoy this one. Also, this novel holds a first for me....well a sort of first. This is a Christian romance. I can honestly say I haven't read very many of them. Even being Christian, the few I have read seem overly preachy or judgemental while giving me a story I wasn't really interested in. That is not the case here. The behaviors of the main characters are (for the most part) recognizable as Christian behaviors only if you are looking for it. Though, both main characters do make mention of going to church, praying, and following Biblical rules. It seems completely appropriate for the story, the characters, and the time period. It was a pleasant surprise to discover this was a Christian novel after I had read it.
Things I liked:
1. The heroine never had any oh-look-at-me-poor-little-rich-girl-has-to-work moments. Sure there were a couple times she did feel sorry for herself, but never in that particular way.
2. She seemed to actually enjoy the work she had chosen to take on - clothing designer and seamstress. So much so it is easy to imagine that she would never settle quietly back into the upper-class women don't work paradigm again......no matter how many times the hero hints at it (and by hint I mean blatantly state it).
3. She keeps her true self hidden. I've whined about this becoming a pet peeve with other books I've read, and I still generally believe it. However, it works for this book. I think that is primarily because the female lead character is set up to have to keep her identity secret. Plus, she doesn't push for honesty and just not disclose. No, when confronted by the idea of having to tell her love who she actually is she runs away. Perfect for anyone who has to keep their identity secret!
4. The hero is great! He just loves her. He would do anything for her including completely ignore silly social taboos of upper class / working class. He willingly and often argues with his own brother and father about the philandering, adulterous ways. A perfect gentleman.
5. This one is completely silly, but I love the fact that the image on the cover is directly from a scene in the book. Usually, there is only a vague resemblance between the characters/ action of the novel and its cover. This one is right on. I actually found myself doing one of those silly double takes where you flip from the pages to the cover and back again several times just to be sure.
Things I didn't like:
1. The hero meddles. First to learn her secrets he sneaks around investigating her. Then when he thinks he may be able to help her father, he does that in secret too. That just rubs me the wrong way. Plus, it smacks of societal privilege...he is able to get things he wants because he has power, fame, and money. Yeah, yeah, that's how the world works....blah blah blah.
2. The driving plot behind our girl's secrecy and new life is solved way too easily. If it was this easy to resolve, it probably was that easy or even easier to clear up when it initially happened.
3. Even though the hero fell in love with her while she was a seamstress, by the end of the novel he is set against her ever working again. He had no care for societal boundaries earlier, but by then end he was willing to throw his power around anywhere. He seem to change a bit for the worse.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel and think you would too....if you like historical romances.