Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
When it comes to a Meredith Duran novel, you know you’re getting near perfection. Every words Meredith writes is golden, and pure poetry. So is the case with Lady Be Good, the third book in her Rules for the Reckless series. The story might feel familiar, but the way it’s presented is new and fresh, and very lyrical. Case in point is one of my favorite segments from this novel:
“Touch her, indeed. One of her cheeks bore a smudge. He very much wished to remove it for her. With his tongue.”
That small excerpt, like many more in this novel, made me swoon on the inside. The way the hero and hero talk and think, including their seductive dance with one another is so deliciously sexy. And sexy is big here, especially when they hero and heroine finally give into the temptation of the flesh for one another, knowing they can only live in the moment because anyone the hero loves or cares for is marked for death by a madmen. The heroine is so far below his station, or believes it, because she’s a former thief and con artist with a mob type underworld ruler for an uncle.
The heroine here is Lilah. We first meet her in the prologue where she’s stuck literately in a hard place- between two walls as she hides from the police. The only way she can escape is to dislodge her shoulder. She must in order to save her very ill sister. Her immoral Uncle Nick pushes her to hurt herself, not necessarily because he cares for her well being, but because he uses her skill for his own greedy ways. Lilah’s sacrifice to save her sister is a lost cause. We move forward a few years where Lilah now works as one of the hostesses for an auction house. She has self taught herself to speak and act like a lady, trying to leave behind her past in Whitechapel where her uncle still rules. Uncle Nick is still trying to pull her strings, blackmail her into doing what he wants. He wants her to steal letters from Peter Everleigh, half owner of the auction house with his sister Catherine, known as the Ice Queen. But Lilah is caught stealing by Christian, a war hero and respected viscount. She thinks the jig is up and she’ll have to return back to her old life with her uncle, the one she despises.
Christian suffers silently. He was once captured by a Russian general during war, who blames Christian for killing his family. Instead of killing Christian, he’ll kill anyone Christian loves. His older brother died in a fire because of the madman, and now his mother and sister might be next. Christian searches for the Russian, finding him through Everleigh’s. When he catches Lilah in Peter’s office, he assumes the worst. But instead of turning her in, he’ll blackmail her, forcing her to be the assistant to Catherine, who will go to one of his estates to catalog any artifacts and the like. Lilah obeys because she doesn’t have any choice.
Lilah hates being controlled by not only Christian, but by Nick. Catherine comes across as a snobbish, shrew of a woman, but a very intelligent and independent one, who is very honest in her opinion of Lilah. Christian decides to court Catherine, perhaps to make her his wife. But he has an ulterior motive why. Lilah is confused by him because he also flirts with her and makes her want him. Christian wants Lilah, but can’t offer her more than an affair. After some push and pull on her part, and Christian’s subtle ways of seduction, she gives in. But then Catherine falls violently ill, which might be the Russian at work, which puts Christian back on the defenses, knowing he might have put both Catherine and Lilah in extreme danger.
Lady Be Good is unbelievably good. Christian is a worthy hero, but he taunts Lilah in a way that will make readers grit their teeth in frustration. Lilah is the true star of this story, as well as Catherine. My favorite scenes are the interactions between both women. The way Catherine thaws slowly with Lilah is lovely. These two end up as a great team in more ways than one. These two end up saving themselves without the help of their male counterparts that will make you applaud. The girl power here is very high.
When Christian and Lilah share barbs with one another, as their form of foreplay, you can’t help but sigh. They take their time poking and prodding one another as their sexual frustrations reach a fevered pitch. The love scenes are a very nice climax indeed.
I was also intrigued by the secondary characters. Catherine’s brother Peter might seem to be a future villain, but there’s something about him that makes me think he’s not all that bad. Catherine is at odds with him, making the reader believe that Peter might want to get rid of her but we only see that through Catherine’s eyes. She ends up the heroine in the next book, Luck Be a Lady, with Nick as her hero. Nick is shown as this sly, witty, somewhat slimy criminal. But he’s very engaging and you do get the sense he cares for Lilah, but he always needs a reward for his trouble. His reward will be Catherine. Their interactions and romance should have some major fireworks as he unleashes the passions Catherine hides within.
Lady be Good is an excellent Victorian historical romance because it’s the writing is so flavorful and creative. This is another tasty treat from Meredith that shouldn’t be missed.