Saturday, January 26, 2013

Week-End's Minis XXXVI: Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale

Since it worked so well for me last year, I've decided to continue the Week-End's Minis feature :) This will perhaps allow me to catch up on my back-log of reviews. Of course, looking at today's review, it isn't really short, but who really cares right?

Seducing Mr. Knightly by Maya Rodale
published by Harpercollins Publisher (Avon) in October 2012
He’s the only man she’s ever loved...

For ages it seems advice columnist Annabelle Swift has loved Derek Knightly, editor-owner of The London Weekly from a distance. Determined to finally attract her employer’s attention, she seeks advice from her loyal readers—who offer Annabelle myriad suggestions…from lower-cut bodices (success!) and sultry gazes (disaster!) to a surprise midnight rendezvous (wicked!).

She’s the only woman he never noticed...

Derek never really took note of his shy, wallflower lady writer. But suddenly she’s exquisite... and he can’t get Annabelle out of his mind! She must be pursuing someone, but who? For some inexplicable reason, the thought of her with another man makes Knightly insanely jealous.

Will Dear Annabelle find her happy ending?

But Knightly’s scandalous periodical has been targeted for destruction by a vengeful Lord Marsden, and the beleaguered editor now faces a devastating choice: either marry Marsden’s sister to save his beloved newspaper…or follow his heart and wed his Writing Girl.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Writing Girls, Book #4

What do you need to know? Annabelle Swift is one of the scandalous Writing Girls working for The London Weekly and is in charge of the advice column. One day, while she is sick and is fed up with sister-in-law who's treating her like a poor relation and a servant, Annabelle decides to turn the table on her faithful readers. Instead of giving them advises, she's asking them for help on how to attract the attention of the man she's been in love with for the past few years, but who never has taken notice of her.

Everyone at The London Weekly knows the identity of the man Annabelle's been in love with - their editor/boss Derek Knightly- except the man himself. That is because for almost two decades, all Derek has cared about is his newspapers, The London Weekly. The son of an earl and his mistress, Derek will never forget the day he was kicked out of his father's funerals by his half-brother, the New Earl, and his vow that one day, he would belong in their world. With his fortune and influence, all Derek is missing to belong is an aristocratic wife. Then, when The London Weekly finds itself in jeopardy because of an inquiry on journalistic ethics because of a reporter from a rival newspapers, Derek strikes a deal with Lord Marsden, killing two birds with one stone. Derek will marry Lord Marsden's sister, Lady Lydia, acquiring his aristocratic wife while the marquis will protect The London Weekly from the inquiry.

It thus seems ironic that Mr. Knightly finally takes notice of Annabelle when he has to woo and marry another woman... And what will he choose? The future of his newspapers or his own?

Why this book? I read the first two books of this series and liked them enough to pick up the rest of the series. I haven't read The Tattooed Duke (Book #3) yet, but picked up Seducing Mr. Knightly because I've been curious about Mr. Knightly and wanted to know if Annabelle would finally be able to attract his attention LOL.

What did I like? Overall, I really enjoyed Seducing Mr. Knightly; it was a fun and light book :) I think it always starts well when the heroine becomes more pro-active in her life and decide to reach for her happiness which is what happened here. I liked that Annabelle finally came out of her daze and wanted to make Derek notice her. I think the advices that she got from her audience were what you'd expect... but the funniest part of the book in my opinion is when Derek turned the table on her and tried to seduce her using the same advices, LOL. The male version of lowered bodices? Not wearing a cravat! LOL. It was also interesting to see everyone side with Annabelle and help her out and how outraged they were that the man in question, the "Nodcock" still wouldn't take notice of her! So yes, I really enjoyed the whole situation :)

In Derek's defense though, I thought it made sense that it took him so long to take notice of Annabelle and realize he was her target. In previous books, Derek came off as cold, unfeeling and ambitious. All that mattered to him was his newspapers and I'm glad to find out why in Seducing Mr. Knightly. I don't think it's simply Annabelle that he didn't notice, but everyone.

Another element that I enjoyed in this book was the interactions between all the characters. From Derek and Annabelle to Annabelle and her friends and Derek and his friends. I thought their dynamics added to the banter - the ribbing Derek got from his friends when they found out he was the Nodcock LOL - and contributed to the humor of this book :)

What didn't work for me? I think the biggest flaw of this book was the lack of depth in the characters. It kind of feels like our H/H were a bit one-dimensional. For example, Annabelle has been in love with Derek for several years... Why? What attracted her to him? To her credit, she does ask herself that question, but she doesn't have an answer. Sometimes, it feels like she's so used to being in love with him and therefore, just stays on that track. It'd have been awesome if in the middle of seducing him, she got to know him better... But I don't think it happened and not because she didn't try, but I don't think there was much more to know about Derek. Sure he had a complex, but I don't remember how much he shared with Annabelle and besides that, well there wasn't much more than a businessman who only cared about his business.

The other part that didn't work so well for me was the whole deal Derek made with Lord Marsden. I actually liked the part about the journalistic inquiry. It's kind of a modern element that Ms Rodale fit in a historical context and she did it well. As a result, Derek was worried about The London Weekly and it created conflict... However, the whole part about Derek having to woo and marry Lady Lydia and so on. That felt more forced and it dragged the story down a little bit in my opinion.

My Grade? B. A fun and entertaining book despite the flaws :)