Avon, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-088263-1
Historical Romance, 2007
Maybe I’m just old and jaded but I end up closing What a Lady Wants with a heavy sigh. Was I ever that young woman determined to marry some bad boy because I was so sure that I could change him? No, I don’t think I was ever that optimistic – I never had the patience for such an endeavor anyway. This book is the story of a young woman confident that she will make the rake marry her and she will show him that what they have is love. But Victoria Alexander ends up with a story that has me wondering why the hero is supposed to be worth the effort. Why not just marry a nice guy instead?
That’s the plot of this story, by the way. Felicity Melville wants adventure and excitement so she believes Nigel Cavendish is the man for her. I wonder if she ever considers that by changing Nigel, his appeal – the bad boy rake personality that attracts her to him – will be gone and she’ll be stuck with someone else altogether. At any rate, Felicity has plenty of obvious allies and hangers-on trying to get Nigel to realize how wonderful she is for him while Nigel moans repetitively that he wants his freedom and he doesn’t want to be a responsible fellow. Nigel comes off as a one-dimensional immature twit here and for the life of me I have no idea why he’s supposed to be this wonderful catch for Felicity. I mean, she has to train him to be responsible and give up his womanizing ways, which makes him no longer Nigel, right? And even then, in this story, Nigel doesn’t seem like this bad boy extraordinaire like his reputation claims he is, so Felicity is working so hard to charm a shallow twit.
There is an adolescent quality to the psychology of the main characters. What a Lady Wants is a well-written charming tale at times but it also makes me feel really old and jaded because instead of being won over by the story, I find myself thinking that Felicity will grow up one day and realize that she could have done so much better than that silly fellow she married. Then again, she’s not the most mature person in this book either, so in a way she and Nigel are a great match as they are both superficial and self-absorbed. A better match than me and this book, at least.