Title: What a Lady Requires
Series: The Eton Boys Trilogy #3
Author: Ashlyn Macnamara
Format: eBook, 231 pages
Published: March 31, 2015 by Loveswept
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries, Ashlyn Macnamara’s blazing hot novel tells the story of mismatched newlyweds who discover a simmering connection.
Unlike every other proper young lady, Miss Emma Jennings views marrying well as little more than a means to an end. Such a merger would provide her industrious father with social credibility, and Emma with a chunk of her vast inheritance. Emma’s practical views are shattered, however, when her father ties her to the fabulously handsome ne’er-do-well Rowan Battencliffe, a man she loathes on sight—from the smile that promises all manner of wickedness to the way he ogles her with those striking blue eyes.
Deep in debt, especially to his wine merchant, Rowan figures the sooner he gets his finances in order, the sooner he can go back to doing what he does best: burning through ridiculous sums of cash. Which is why Rowan agrees to marry the merchant’s daughter, a prim and proper woman with delightful curves and an ample dowry. But Emma seems to think it’s her business to reform him! Their marriage is a tinderbox—and it’s just too tempting to resist playing with fire.
Emma is a take charge kind of gal and thanks to the way her father raised her, she has the know how to back up her attitude. Rowan is the ne'er do well second son who thanks to a recent swindling has the empty pockets to help solidify his reputation. Emma and Rowan have never met but when Emma's father sees an opportunity for his daughter to marry into a title and Rowan's brother senses a way to get his brother's debts paid and a partner who can teach him a thing or two on how to control the purse strings, they're about to become man and wife.
Our main characters start off backwards as they only know each other for a week before they get married. I appreciated how realistic the distance between our couple was written and felt because of this lack of interaction but as the story went on I found myself missing the fantasy romance aspect; they weren't so much falling in love as working to make their marriage affectionate. Emma was a bit obstinate at times but it played well against Rowan's, seemingly, careless attitude. Their opposites attract personalities brought out the best in their characters and I really enjoyed Rowan ruffling Emma's feathers.
This can be read as a standalone but by not reading the previous books I felt like I missed out on the emotion behind Rowan resolving his friendship with the two heroes from those books, however, Emma and Rowan's relationship starts in this book so nothing to be missed there. There are little side arcs throughout the story that separately belong to our hero and heroine; Rowan's learning disability, estrangement from friends, mystery behind who ran off with his investment money and Emma's secret correspondence that starts to take a turn for the worst and hidden diary from the former Lady of the townhouse. These arcs keep our main characters separated at the beginning but towards the end Rowan's bad investment is revealed to tie in with Emma's secret correspondence and the diary proves to be the holder of the biggest secret of all, the story ended up intertwining everything nicely but since the reader is left in the dark for most of the book, it left the story and our characters feeling too unconnected in the beginning and middle.
Rowan and Emma had their charms as characters but they really worked the best when Rowan challenges Emma out of her comfort zone, which didn't happen as often as I wanted. I liked this story but it was more mellow than exciting, most of the scenes take place in their townhouse. There are also some good sex scenes but I did find them to be missing the emotional passion that can really make couples spark. If you have read the other two books in this series then you'll decidedly want to pick this book up to see Rowan get his absolution but if new, I’m not sure there is enough here to grab your attention.