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Proud Mary: A Georgian Historical Romance

Lu par : Alex Wyndham
Série : Roxton Family Saga, Volume 4
Durée : 13 h et 19 min
Catégories : Anglais - Romance

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Description

The Roxtons are back! Romance. Drama. Intrigue. Family secrets. There's never a dull moment for the 18th century's first family.

Widowed and destitute, Lady Mary Cavendish is left with only her pride. Daughter of an earl and great-granddaughter to a Stuart King, family expectation and obligation demands she remarry. But not just any man will do; her husband must rank among the nobility. Falling in love with her handsome and enigmatic neighbor is out of the question. As always, Mary will do her duty and ignore her heart.

Country squire Christopher Bryce has secretly loved his neighbor Mary for many years. Yet he is resigned to the cruel reality they are not social equals, and thus can never share a future together. Never mind that his scandalous past and a heartbreaking secret make him thoroughly unworthy of such a proud beauty.

Then into their lives steps a ghost from Mary's past, whose outrageous behavior has Mary questioning her worldview and Christopher acting upon his feelings, and for all to see. The mismatched couple begin to wonder if in fact love can prevail - that a happily ever after might just be possible if only they dare to follow their hearts.

Fans of the series will also delight in being reacquainted with the fascinating, always surprising, and never ordinary members of the Roxton family.

Part of the highly acclaimed Roxton Family saga.

Non-explicit, mild sensuality

©2017 Lucinda Brant (P)2017 Lucinda Brant

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Lady Wesley
  • Lady Wesley
  • 09/09/2017

Lucinda Brant & Alex Wyndham never disappoint

The author/narrator team of Lucinda Brant and Alex Wyndham has produced another winner. And the Roxton Family Saga continues, with the Autumn 2017 release of Satyr's Son, the story of Henri-Antoine Hesham, the beloved younger son of Antonia and her Monseigneur. I have it on good authority that he is indeed his father's son!

Lucinda Brant's fifth volume in the Roxton Family Saga is every bit as good as the four novels that preceded it, and they were all solid five-star reads in my opinion. Historical romance series featuring large families and covering a sizable period of time are one of my favorites, and the Roxton books fill that bill. The series begins in Paris in 1745, moves to Georgian England, and covers nearly thirty years, during which the expected births, deaths, love affairs, marriages, and babies occur.

Proud Mary opens in 1777 and features Lady Mary Cavendish, widow of Sir Gerald Cavendish, Bt., who has been dead for two years. Sir Gerald and Lady Mary were minor characters in the earlier books, where we learned that Gerald was a conceited bag of hot air who was shunned by Polite Society, disliked by his neighbors, and cruel to his wife and daughter. Lady Mary was completely under his thumb, which is not surprising since she grew up with a domineering snob of a mother, the Countess of Strathsay.

Sir Gerald was both impressed and envious that Mary was the daughter of an earl, a great-granddaughter of King Charles II, and a cousin to the Duchess of Roxton. Indeed, beginning when she was twelve, Mary had spent the happiest years of her life living at Roxton's estate as a member of the family. When she returned to her mother, Lady Strathsay drilled into Mary's head that women of her station had a higher calling than their inferiors, that she must precisely follow the rigid rules of society, and that she owed a duty to her noble lineage to marry well and produce sons. Mary was so browbeaten and miserable that she accepted an arranged marriage to Sir Gerald.

Now Sir Gerald is dead, leaving Mary with a nice estate (for her lifetime), Abbeywood, and a mountain of debts. In a final act of maliciousness, Gerald named the local squire, Christopher Bryce, as co-guardian, with the Duke of Roxton, of Mary's daughter Theodora. “Teddy,” as she is known to all is a ten-year-old tomboy who likes nothing better than riding and hiking the wilds of Gloucestershire. She has no desire to visit London or her Roxton cousins at their palatial estate, Treat. Indeed, although Teddy is ignorant of it, Squire Bryce has followed Sir Gerald's command to forbid Teddy from leaving Abbeywood, other than her yearly visit to her grandmother in Cheltenham. She adores her “Uncle Christopher,” and he clearly returns the feeling. Seeing the sweet interplay between them is the first hint that Christopher has a heart beneath his overly sober exterior.

Christopher is charged with running Abbeywood and helping retire the debts that Gerald left behind. He is a strict administrator, and Mary chafes under his budgetary restraints, as well as his refusal to allow Teddy to meet the rest of her family. Mary politely loathes him, and while he is punctiliously correct toward Mary, he has quietly been in love with her since he returned to Gloucestershire eight years ago.

Christopher's years away from home are a mystery to Mary and the rest of their neighbors, and Christopher knows that his shameful secrets from that time would horrify a gentle lady such as Mary. For reasons unknown, he left suddenly for the Continent at the age of eighteen and cut himself off entirely from his parents. More than a decade later, he returned home to nurse his dying mother and brought his blind Aunt Kate to live with him. Unbeknownst to everyone, he also has done a bit of spying for England's Spymaster General, Lord Shrewsbury, and to that end he had befriended Sir Gerald, whom Shrewsbury suspected of selling secrets to the French.

Squire Bryce was portrayed as dour and tyrannical in the previous Roxton book Dair Devil, which led me to have some skepticism about his suitability as a hero in this book. Ms. Brant, however, cleverly allows the reader to discover the real Christopher at the same time that Mary does. They begin to have forthright conversations, and along with Mary we learn that Christopher is an honorable man, with strong principles but also strong emotions, which he keeps deeply hidden. Christopher grows more deeply in love with Mary, but knowing that she is an aristocrat and he is the son of nobody, he accepts that there can never be anything between them. He also comes to realize that Gerald had lied and exaggerated about virtually everything – even claiming that Roxton was Teddy's true father. Gerald was no spy, Christopher decides, and so the hunt must continue.

Mary feels an attraction to Christopher, but she does not consider him as a possible mate even though she is desperately lonely. When speaking of her cousin Antonia, recently remarried after the old Duke's death, Mary considered her own situation. She was thirty years old and had never been in love or been loved by a worthy man. She had never shared a passionate kiss with any man, nor had the selfish Sir Gerald ever shown her pleasure in the marriage bed. She loves her daughter with all her heart but hopes she still has the capacity to love a man. Since her mother was insisting that it was Mary's duty to her family to marry again, perhaps she would find love with a new husband.

When Teddy announces one evening that there is a ghost in the house, Christopher and Mary join forces to discover tangible evidence of an intruder and set out to detect his true identity. His unmasking turns their little world upside down and threatens to bring an end to their budding romance, for the ghost is actually the man whom Mary once hoped to marry. I won't disclose more, as I think the clever twists and turns of this story should not be spoiled.

Mary and Christopher make a lovely couple, and all of my misgivings about him melted away. In fact, by the time Mary realizes that she has fallen in love with him, I was a little bit in love too. It was wonderful to watch Mary fall for him, always fighting her mother's little voice in her head pointing out his unsuitability for an earl's daughter. Equally wonderful was watching Mary gain confidence in herself and fighting to overcome the years of being denigrated and bullied by her mother and her husband. Christopher, for his part, gradually and with great reluctance reveals his past to a shocked Mary, expecting at every turn that she will turn away from him in disgust. Of course, she does not.

I always feel a bit like a time traveler when reading one of Ms. Brant's books. Using her impeccable research, she creates such an authentic 18th-century world, and employing her wonderful imagination, she writes multi-layered stories with intricate plots. These talents are put to particularly good use in Proud Mary. I think that we 21st-century readers often have a difficult time appreciating the class-based strictures of the past, and many authors who write cross-class romances downplay the difficulties that would have faced the duke who married his housekeeper, for example. Ms. Brant does not fall into the trap of making things easy for Mary and Christopher, however, and I felt a better understanding of how oppressive, yet widely accepted, the class structure was. It helps here that Mary's Roxton relations were accepting of their relationship, but then we have seen in earlier books that they are somewhat non-conformist and powerful enough to do as they please.

As Christopher and Mary work toward their happily ever after, we get to see all of her extended family – Cousin Antonia, formerly the Dowager Duchess of Roxton and now the Duchess of Kinross; her lusciously sexy husband, Jonathan; her son Julian, now the duke, his wife, Deb, and their growing brood of adorable children; and her schoolboy younger son Henri-Antoine and his pal Jack Cavendish, who will succeed to Sir Gerald's title upon reaching his majority. Besides her Roxton relatives, we also see Mary's brother Dair, now the Earl of Strathsay, and his wife, Rory, and of course, Mary and Dair's mother, Lady Strathsay. They, along with young Teddy, all play a role in bringing Christopher and Mary together – well, except for Mary's mother, who is appalled by the mismatch. One of my favorite scenes was when Mary tells her mother what's what.

Ms. Brant has said that her next book will be Henri-Antoine's story, but dare we hope that someday there is one pairing Teddy and Jack? I suppose that I am looking for ways for the Roxton Family Saga to continue for a long time. I will add that while Proud Mary can be read as a standalone, there is much more pleasure to be had by reading the series in order and learning to know and love this family as much as I and many other readers have. Each book has been a joy to read, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour MITexas
  • MITexas
  • 26/06/2017

Incredible Story, Fantastic Narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would absolutely recommend this audiobook to a friend. Lucinda Brant did it again with Proud Mary- a fantastic continuation of the Roxton series, and Alex Wyndham rounds out the audiobook with incredible narration making the characters come to life.

What did you like best about this story?

It is hard to pinpoint my favorite part of this story, but I think I like the fact that Mary and Christopher were from a less extravagant area of life made them more relatable to me as a reader (listener). I love Christopher's love for Mary's daughter Teddy.

What about Alex Wyndham’s performance did you like?

EVERYTHING. Alex Wyndham is on my immediate-buy list due his fantastic narration. Without noting who is speaking, Alex is able to change his voice for each character that you know immediately who is talking.

Any additional comments?

I cannot wait to continue the Roxton series. I have loved every book Lucinda has written, but the Roxton series is my favorite and Proud Mary held to being one of my favorites.

4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Ginny Aybar-Flores
  • Ginny Aybar-Flores
  • 16/06/2017

Love it!

Would you listen to Proud Mary again? Why?

Of course!

Any additional comments?

Once again Lucinda weaves a love story with a twist in it! Mary Cavendish, having been a widow for several years now, is pressured by her mother to remarry and to remarry well in order to return to polite society. Evelyn has offered to marry her but also noticed the attraction between Mary and Christopher. The twist here is that Evelyn has given Mary a month to think about it before making it official, while he gave Christopher a month to be with Mary to 'get her out of his system'. Thus, the story of true love begins and in the end of the month, Mary and Christopher admits their love for each other.

Thank you, Lucinda, for keeping us entertained with your fabulous stories and Alex Wyndham for your wonderful performance!

3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour XmasMom
  • XmasMom
  • 16/06/2017

Brant & Wyndham did it again!

Love Alex Wyndham voice his characters are on the spot.
A bit slow to start but another great story to this series...
Now we wait for #6.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour cheryl
  • cheryl
  • 11/06/2017

An enthralling experience

Would you listen to Proud Mary again? Why?

Yes. The storyline gripped me from the beginning and it contained a host of fascinating characters.

What did you like best about this story?

There were many facets to the story so that my interest was always maintained. I enjoyed hearing about characters that I had read about in the previous books, although this could be listened to as a standalone. I also enjoyed the growing relationship between Mary and Christopher and how this helped Mary to come into her own.

What does Alex Wyndham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Oh! Alex's narration was excellent. The different voices he used and the timbre of his voice, all added to an amazing experience. He really brought the characters to life.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, I had a chuckle at some of Christopher's observations and I got quite annoyed at Mary's mother and was waiting for someone to put her in her place.

Any additional comments?

I was gifted a copy and I have voluntarily reviewed it. This is my honest review. I have previously purchased a copy for my kindle but this audiobook gave me a totally different but engaging experience. Highly recommended.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Patricia Rodels
  • Patricia Rodels
  • 07/06/2017

Alex Wyndham delivers A Fantastic Narration Once Again

I love Lucinda Brant's Roxton Family Series and she has once again written a wonderful book, "Proud Mary" that has the reader not wanting to put it down. From the very first book of this awesome series, "Noble Satyr," to this latest book, Alex Wyndham brings such life to Lucinda Brant's books that you feel that you are right there experiencing the story first hand. Alex has a way that draws you into each character's personality and the situation that the character is under going. His voice and expressions are superb. Alex is number one on my short list of narrators.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Ann Brown
  • Ann Brown
  • 14/10/2019

Missing the mark

I love Lucinda Brant novels. She is an excellent writer, This was not her best work but still a good read. I thought it was a little too over the edge in making everything work out for the good. Also, I do not believe that it is a stand-alone novel. For the most part, it felt like it was cleaning up the issues of the last book.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Cynthia H.
  • Cynthia H.
  • 04/04/2019

Good Narration

Starts out good but drags after the middle. The narrator was the best part of this production.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Jaci
  • Jaci
  • 16/01/2019

Another Roxton Masterpiece


Roxton Family Saga Book 4. I have fallen in love with The Georgian Era. It is so rich with history, clothing, the manners, and idiosyncrasies of the Aristocrats and Quality who inhabited the time period. Lucinda's books are historically correct and her books are character driven. If you have read the other books in this series you will love this one too and if you haven't this lovely book can be read as a stand-alone story.

Christopher Bryce is a local landowner who has been put in the difficult position of overseeing his late neighbors estate and co-guardian of his daughter. Lady Mary resents the intrusion into her life and her beloved daughter Teddy. Her marriage to Sir Gerald was not a happy one. Now she has another arrogant male to deal with. She is not allowed to leave the estate with her daughter. She can visit her family but cannot take Teddy with her.

Mary is furious with her late husband's will. She is not allowed to make any decisions that affect her household or worse her daughter. She presents a haughty prim, proud mask that hides the vulnerable, lovely woman who deserves to be happy. The only one who sees the real Mary is her daughter Teddy. The only saving grace is the way he and Teddy get along. Teddy calls him Uncle Bryce. Mary knows that Christopher loves Teddy too and she tolerates him because he will protect Teddy with his life.

Christopher is also keeping his true feelings for Mary behind a mask of politeness. He knows how her stupid unfeeling husband treated her. He is secretly in love with Mary and has been for years. He knows that she doesn't feel the same way. What he doesn't realize is that members of Mary's family are on his side. Roxton, Antonia, and Debra just want Mary to be happy and fall in love, and they will do anything to make Mary realize it's ok to let down her guard.

This story has many layers like a sweet and tart dessert that will have you craving more. Lucinda's stories are always centered around her characters and the Roxton family are simply Marvelous. Mary, Christopher, and Teddy are so lifelike they jump right off the pages and into your heart.

I cannot wait to listen to the next book in the Series. The Satyr's Son.
The remarkable writing by Lucinda only adds to the riveting performance of the narrator Alex Wyndham.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
Image de profile pour Kimberly K. Walters
  • Kimberly K. Walters
  • 02/04/2018

Excellent

Absolutely love this series that I am binge listening! Can't wait to listen to Noble Satyr.