Friday, November 16, 2012

There's Something About Lady Mary (Summersby #2) by Sophie Barnes

  • Title: There's Something About Lady Mary: A Summersby Tale
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Format: Paperback, 400 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Impulse (December 4, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062225383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062225382
  • Author's Website:

"A number of years ago," Percy began, "I made a promise to an old fiend that if anything were to happen to him, I'd keep a watchful eye on his daughter. Apparently, this fiend of mine was under the impression that his daughter would be in some sort of terrible danger if anything did happen..."

Ryan Summersby was once an agent for the Foreign Office. When Sir Percy, a family friend, asks him to watch over his friend's daughter, Mary, as a personal favor, he does so begrudgingly. On his first night of watching over her residence he is approached by a man dressed entirely in black with his face concealed behind a hood and a scarf who warns him,"If she starts looking for answers to questions that do not concern her or investigating matters that ought to be left untouched, then there are those who will seek to silence her."

Mary Croyden thought she knew everything there was to know about her father. Upon his death, however, she got some shocking news. Her father was not a commoner as she'd been led to believe. He was a Marquess and she, as his only heir, had just become a Marchioness. Now usually a title would be handed down to the next male member in the family, her father however, had gotten special permission to let the tittle be inherited by Mary. But that was not the only surprise. It turns out she and her father were quite wealthy, and she not only inherited his title but his lands as well. She now was in possession of two estates she'd never set foot upon. But with the remarkable good news came also some bad. Unfortunately that was not the only secret her father had kept from her. Something her father had been working on or researching had caused her life to be put in jeopardy and in this case, what she doesn't know could potentially get her killed.

This was such a fun read. One of the things I love about Ms. Barnes' Summersby series is that she has these incredible women living at a time when woman were not allowed as much freedom as their male counterparts and had very few rights. Can you imagine how frustrating that would be? You know there had to be some strong and intelligent women at the time this book is set or women's rights never would have come to pass. I loved the fact that Mary was a surgeon who had been trained by her father. In an era when female surgeons were unheard, it would be frightening to consider marrying because who is to say your husband would approve? That is something she has to consider when she starts to realize she is feeling something for Ryan. 

Ryan is an interesting character and I loved the way Ms. Barnes portrayed him. He has a sister, Alexandra, who is by no means conventional and he admires her for it. In Lady Alexandra' Excellent Adventures he even states, "To put it plainly," Ryan continued. "They (the ladies of the ton) are all exceedingly dull. Not a single adventurous spirit like Alex, not one dares to speak her mind; and whenever one of them laughs, her heart is not in it--it's rather a trained sort of sound that they must have practiced at for hours in order to perfect. I for one have scoured the ballrooms of Mayfair in search of a lady who does not fit the description I have just given you. After all, where is the fun in having the same wife as everyone else? Is it not better to find a woman who is unique? Who stands out?" Ryan asked. "I do believe that I would find myself lucky to meet a woman with as much spirit as my sister. After all, life might become a touch unbearable with a dull wife to see to every day for the remainder of my days." Yet in, There's Something About Lady Mary, he finds himself telling Mary she needs to stop what she's doing. She needs to assume a more traditional role and doesn't realize that if she were to do as he wished, he'd be squashing the very traits he admires in her. So it was fun watching him come to the realization that being a surgeon was part of who Mary was, and what she needed to be.

I loved Mary. She knows what she wants and isn't going to accept 'No' from any man. She knows she's a good surgeon and loves what she does. She's smart, she's strong, and she's got the statistics to back her claims. While Ryan does have a valid point when he says she shouldn't do surgeries without being licensed. I can see how someone with her skills would have a hard time saying no to a person in need. I liked how, in the end, the two came to a mutual agreement on how to solve such a dilemma

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. i truly enjoyed reading this book. I like it when I read a historical romance and come away learning a bit about history I didn't previously know. It's like an added bonus. I liked the mystery of what Mary's father had been working on that put her own life in jeopardy. I liked how Ryan and Mary's relationship grows from a strong physical attraction into a deeper relationship which includes a mutual respect for one another. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Notes to keep you in the know:
According to "Many women attempted to become doctors in the 1800s - Margaret Bulkley even masqueraded as a male doctor for 46 years. At the end of the century women gained the right to study for the same qualifications as men. These first female doctors, such as Elizabeth Blackwell (in the USA) or Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (in the UK), had to battle considerable resistance. The two women were instrumental in establishing specialist clinics for women and children, and women’s training hospitals."

You can also learn more about Margaret Buckley, aka James Miranda Stuart Barry, at wikipedia via this link:

Order of the Series:

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