Anyway. Once again, my entry doesn't correspond to this month's theme "friends to lovers" or "unrequited love"... but then, you all know that I'm pretty bad under pressure ^_^; In addition, I'm kind of an impulse reader, so...
He Said Yes by Patricia Waddell
published by Zebra/Kensington in September 2003
ALWAYS A GENTLEMAN...Genre: historical romance
Evelyn Dennsworth may not be entitled to use the word "Lady" in front of her name, but that doesn't stop her from behaving like one. Even a vicar's daughter turned Bond Street shop girl can rise above her meager beginnings if she tries hard enough--unless her temperamental employer decides that she has stolen a noblewoman's brooch...
Marshall Bedford, Marquis of Waltham, is a man surrounded by women. Namely, his stepmother and his two sisters, one of whom is about to be launched into society. Yet adding another female to his life is appealing--especially if she is lovely, charming, and kissable. A shop girl may not be quite what he had in mind, but he can't allow the prison wagon to haul away the frightened young woman he saw in the couturier's boutique. Especially when he suspects that her only act of thievery will be stealing his heart...
Series: Gentlemen Club/He Said, Full-length book #1 (there is an anthology somewhere)
The Story: Marshall Bedford, Marquis of Waltham, has just decided that he needed a mistress when he comes across of Evelyn Dennsworth, a Bond Street shop girl. He is immediately taken with her and is trying to find a way to ask her to become his mistress when she is accused of theft. Marshall takes her under his wing, offering protection and taking care of legalities.
After getting to know Marshall, Evelyn agrees to become his lover, but not his mistress. As his lover, she will be able to impose her conditions - that their liaison will only last the summer. Marshall agrees and brings her back to his country estate where Evelyn becomes his lover and his stepmother's companion.
My Opinion: I bought this book after reading Lori's review for the Re-Read Challenge. Lori seemed to enjoy it a lot and I was intrigued by the storyline :) I'm glad that I picked it up because it was a very enjoyable read :)
In a way, the story is quite simple and that's the joy of it. No murder, no mystery, He Said Yes focuses on relationships and mainly on Evelyn and Marshall. There are some secondary characters and storylines and they get their own development, but they never overshadow the Evelyn and Marshall and I'm glad for it. For once, it didn't scream "sequel!" :)
I really liked Evelyn's character. I thought she was very strong, yet showed some vulnerability. It made her real. I liked the fact that she didn't jump at the opportunity to become a Marquis' mistress, even though she was attracted to Marshall. I liked that Marshall wasn't able to convince her right away, that he needed to persuade her and in a way, woo her :P Even better, when she finally accepted, she put her foot down and imposed conditions :) Go Evelyn! At the same time, I'm glad that Marshall didn't take advantage of Evelyn. Yes, he saved her... but it wasn't conditional on the fact that she becomes his mistress (I know some characters that would have seized the opportunity...). I think he was looking for someone who would care for him, even though he would not marry her.
I thought that Evelyn and Marshall's relationship progressed well and the story was well developed around it. I'm so happy that it wasn't rushed, that they had time to know each other. I liked the fact that Marshall and his stepmother got along well... I think that the dislike between stepmothers and stepchildren has often become a cliche. So for once that everyone in a family got along well, yay! I liked how both characters fell in love with each other and the conflict at the end was appropriate :) The resolution as well ;)
This was my first book by Ms Waddell and it won't be my last. Right now, I'm waiting for the second book of the series to be shipped. I hope it'll be as good.
My Grade: B+.