Title: What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 225 pages/Word Count: 90,000
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams—but is she brave enough to open her heart…?
Monica Danes always wanted more than the village of Biddlestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parents’ choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theater—a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of tragedy, Monica returns—intending to leave again as soon as possible.
Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Danes estate since he was a boy—and has been enamored with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn’t a suitable match for his master’s daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared—and their undeniable attraction. But now that she’s returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy—and to show Monica a life, and a love, she won’t want to give up…
What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble is a charming second chance at love romance. This well-written historical love story is full of angst but the sweet ending makes all the drama worthwhile.
Monica Danes left home five years earlier to pursue her dream of becoming an actress despite her parents’ disapproval. She has had no contact with her parents or her sister Jane in the intervening years, but when she learns of her father’s death, Monica returns home for his funeral. Intending to leave as soon as possible, Monica is torn between duty and desire but it is her love for Thomas Ashby that causes her the most turmoil.
Monica is a strong, independent woman and while she is likable, she comes across as a little thoughtless and selfish. She is definitely conflicted about leaving her family behind again, but she still feels confined and stifled by family expectations and country life. Despite their time apart, Monica is still in love with Thomas but overcoming their differences seems insurmountable.
Thomas is very loyal and dedicated to his family, Monica’s family and the Danes’ tenants. He loves his life on the estate and while he might visit the city occasionally, he has absolutely no desire to live there. Thomas wants nothing more than for Monica to stay but he will not stand in the way of her leaving.
Thomas and Monica are both passionate about what they want in life and there does not seem to be a compromise for their very different desires. The near constant conflict between them is wearisome and they spend most of the story going in circles. Both of them are incredibly stubborn and for much of the novel, a happily ever after seems impossible.
Despite a few frustrations with both characters, What A Woman Desires is an entertaining and engaging romance. The characters are well-developed and the overall plot is interesting. A lovely epilogue wraps up all of the loose ends for Thomas and Monica, but Rachel Brimble does leave few intriguing questions unanswered. All in all, a fabulous love story that fans of historical romances are sure to enjoy.