Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Ballantine Books
My Copy: NetGalley
Lord Rivers Fitzroy is as charming and sought-after as his rakish elder brothers, though he immerses himself more in dusty books and scholarly pursuits than in bawdy houses. Yet, Hell-bent on making the most of his remaining bachelorhood now that his father insists he marry, Rivers becomes the favorite of a troupe of Italian dancers. One night, after a performance, the handsome lord is challenged with a most provocative wager: Turn the players’ meek and mousy cousin into the first lady of the London stage.
But Lucia di Rossi is not what she seems. Scorned by the rest of her family, Lucia longs for the respect and stardom of a great actress. Rivers’s wager could be the answer to all her hopes—so long as he understands that she wants to be an actress, not his mistress. The two commence her metamorphosis in earnest—even as passion begins to take center stage. As Lucia’s dreams come true, she fears that it may be Rivers, not she, who is the master performer. Is he only making her believe he cares? Has she found the spotlight only to lose her heart—or will the final curtain reveal a love strong enough to last?
This is the third in the Breconridge Brothers series and features the youngest brother, Rivers. I adored this one with its nod to My Fair Lady, as Rivers transforms a woman into a great actress that rivals all others of the time.
Lord Rivers Fitzroy is the third son of the Duke of Breconridge. He enjoys his life of less responsibility as most third sons do and loves visiting the theatre and he is a favorite amongst the talented dancers in London. When watching a play, he mentions that the current actress is appalling and he could find and make over anyone to play the part better, his friend Everett jumps at the chance and a bet is made. Everett chooses a young woman who works at the theatre, a relative of the great Di Rossi dancers.
Lucia di Rossi is working with her uncle and cousin, they are the famous Di Rossi dancers and although many in her family inherited the grace and talent for dancing, Lucia did not and they all look down on her for what they feel is a fault and other than to order her around, they usually do not acknowledge her existence. When she hears two men talking about an actress and then mentions her in a bet, she jumps at the chance to leave this life for something new.
Rivers and Lucia embark on a life changing quest to convert her from a course talking theatre worker into London’s greatest new find. A mission that brings more than either realizes, as love enters into the mix.
One of my favorite movies is My Fair Lady; I enjoy how someone changes and grows despite their upbringing and current lifestyle. The author takes us on Lucia’s amazing journey and I enjoyed the ups and downs she goes through.
Rivers is all anyone could ever imagine in a hero, he enjoys his life of no responsibility and the fun he is having before he must choose a wife. He is also very peculiar about certain things in life, he wants to watch an accomplished actress that performs well, he wants people to be on time and he likes when words are perfectly pronounced. This of course leads him to his newest project and the hilarious scenes that follow. He calls her Mrs. Willow, a secret, who will become an amazing actress and debut as a star.
Lucia is not quite a backward as Eliza in My Fair Lady, she speaks several languages and has the manners of most ladies, she just has a few things she needs to correct in order to pass as an accomplished actress with the correct social standing. I love her sassiness and how she speaks freely in front of him and when she renames his dog, I laughed out loud at Rivers’ response. During the course of her changes I felt at times that she loss some of her sass, she becomes more cultured and I missed her spontaneity.
The pace is quiet and works well with the story, we watch as two very different people begin to fall in love before she becomes famous and the world tries to tear them apart. There are problems that rise up to get in their way, his father does not approve of her and she does not want to come between them, she becomes the wonder of London and he is not sure she needs him anymore and then there are people that want to break the trust they have found, they have many struggles before they are happy. This is the third book in the series but it can easily be read as a standalone and I was pleased to see the two Breconridge brothers in several scenes along with their lovely wives. A wonderful book to end the series, I truly enjoyed these three brothers and the women who they find love with.
I give A Reckless Desire by Isabella Bradford 4 stars!