White Is Quickly Becoming the Top Name in Edwardian Romance Lady Ella Myerston can always find a reason to smileeven if it's just in hope that tomorrow will be better than today. All her life everyone has tried to protect her from the realities of the world, but Ella knows very well the danger that has haunted her brother and their friend, and she won't wait for it to strike again. She intends to take action . . . and if that happens to involve an adventurous trip to the Cotswolds, then so much the better. Lord Cayton has already broken two hearts, including that of his first wife, who died before he could convince himself to love her. Now he's determined to live a better life. But that proves complicated when old friends arrive on the scene and try to threaten him into a life of crime. He does his best to remove the intriguing Lady Ella from danger, but the stubborn girl won't budge. How else can he redeem himself, though, but by saving herand his daughterfrom those dangerous people who seem ready to destroy them all?
About the Author
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she's homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.
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A Lady Unrivaled
By Roseanna M. White
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2016 Roseanna M. White
All rights reserved.
The Cotswolds, Ralin Castle March 1913
Lady Ella Myerston knew more than everyone thought she did — and more than they thought she should. She pressed her back to the warm stones, sliding silently behind an evergreen hedge to avoid a servant. Breath held, she waited for him to pass before daring to take another step.
Silence. Silence was absolutely essential if she intended to go unnoticed. One foot carefully down, and then another. Barely breathing. Reaching out inch by inch until her hand closed around the warm metal latch of the door. Victory!
She pulled open the heavy wooden slab and stole inside. "Drat." Not the room she'd expected — this door brought her nowhere near the library that had been her aim.
Well, she was accustomed to such things. Creeping forward along the hall on silent feet, she reviewed her plan of attack. Get into the library. Find the book she needed. Escape back to her chamber before her friends and hosts, the Duke and Duchess of Stafford, were any the wiser. They didn't need to know that she knew about the diamonds — much less that she intended to intervene before the things could bring more harm to her brother and his expectant wife. If the duke and duchess realized her intent, they'd probably ship her straight back to Midwynd Hall.
Not acceptable. The rest of them had already paid a steep enough price. They needed a reprieve, and if Ella couldn't give it to them openly, she would resort to the underhanded.
A hushed giggle reached her ears, propelling her into the shadowed space behind a suit of armor that looked properly medieval. Not the best hiding place, but the two housemaids who scurried along the corridor didn't notice her. Their heads were bent together, their giggles pulling a grin onto Ella's lips too. Probably whispering about some handsome footman or groom. Were she at Midwynd, where she knew all the maids and footmen, she might have joined them.
Were she not about covert business.
Once their footsteps had faded, she disentangled herself from the knight's shadow and resumed her creeping, making it to the library unhindered. A bit anticlimactic, but she would chalk it up as a job well done and get on with it.
The Stafford library was vast and thorough. Intimidatingly so. She'd known it was big, of course. She'd just forgotten how big.
Well, there was nothing for it but to dive in and pray no one interrupted her — or noticed her absence from her borrowed bedchamber upstairs. Nothing for it, that is, except for the catalog cabinet nestled in the corner, praise be to the Lord. Ella scurried over to it and flipped through the neatly typed cards in the D drawer.
Diamonds. Diamonds. Surely they had books on diamonds. Surely if anyone in this world had books on diamonds, it would be ... "Aha!" Ella did a little jig ... and clamped a hand over her mouth when her outburst echoed back to her.
But no one came bursting through the carved doors, so she took the direction from the card, shut the drawer, and headed to the appropriate section of shelves. One twelve-foot climb up a ladder later and she had it in her hands. The book she hoped would fill in a few of the blanks that remained after her previous attempts. It would certainly tell her about the rarity and worth of red diamonds. It would tell her where they originated. It would tell her all the scientific, factual data she could ever want.
What it wouldn't tell her, she knew, was about the Fire Eyes specifically, and how they had ended up first with Brook and then with Ella's brother, Brice. It wouldn't tell her why Brice and Rowena had fought over them so bitterly in the first months of their marriage. It wouldn't tell her about the curse her sister-in-law had feared would rip apart their world.
And their world had been ripped.
Maybe it was the curse, or maybe it was just the people who so greedily searched for the gems her brother had stashed somewhere or another. Ella didn't much care which was at fault. She just wanted to keep the diamonds from doing any more damage to the people she loved best in the world.
"Ella? I thought you were resting before our ride."
Ella shrieked, spun, barely thinking to clutch the book and its incriminating title to her chest.
Some spy indeed.
Brook, Duchess of Stafford, stood just inside the door. Blond hair coiffed, riding habit impeccable, amusement in her gaze. "Désolée. I didn't mean to startle you."
At least Ella had the wherewithal to laugh at herself. It would have looked beyond strange to her friend if she hadn't. "I was going to rest. But a book makes for the better resting, you know."
Brook flashed a grin right back. "That it does. What have you selected? Did you find the latest Sherlock Holmes novel I told you about?"
"Oh." Ella waved a hand and slid the book around to her back, praying it looked merely dismissive. She headed for the doorway, ready to edge her way around the duchess standing sentinel in it. "No, not yet. You've so many books in here, I thought I'd be adventurous."
"You always find a way to be." Brook's brows lifted. "Though I can't think what might be in these esteemed shelves that would require hiding it behind your back. What have you? Some cautionary tale your mother had forbidden you to read?"
"No, nothing like that." Ella's laugh wasn't forced, exactly — though it may have been a bit more nervous than she wanted it to be.
"Then what?" Brook reached out, fingers wiggling in an unspoken demand. As if Ella were the duchess's small son, to just hand over whatever forbidden object she had discovered. Not that little Lord Abingdon ever did either, come to think of it.
Ella lifted her chin. "You can have it when I'm through, but you'll not be stealing my reading material from me again, thank you very much. Don't think I've forgotten how my copy of The Lost World mysteriously disappeared at Midwynd while you were visiting."
Brook laughed — and lunged for her. "Desperate times. Your library is not so well stocked. Come, Ella. Show me!"
"Never!" Knowing Brook would just think it a game — praying so — Ella squealed a laugh of her own and made a break for it, meaning to sidestep her nosy hostess and make for the door.
She should have known Brook would be too quick. She spent her days chasing an errant toddler, after all, despite having a team of servants to do it for her. And despite one last shriek of protest on Ella's part, the duchess pried the book from her hands.
Ella sighed and turned to face her friend, knowing well what was coming.
Brook was never one to disappoint. The good humor on her face changed in a flash to temper. "Diamonds." She lifted narrowed eyes to Ella. "Do tell me you're just plotting what kind of engagement ring you'd like when you finally decide on a suitor."
As if any of those stuffy men in London — who saw her only as a connection to her brother, the Duke of Nottingham — would ever get so far with her as to present a ring. But Ella smiled. "You're always so astute."
Brook blustered out a growl and raised the book in the air as if in testimony to Ella's insanity. "You know. You know about the Fire Eyes, and your brother is going to kill me for getting you involved in all this, and I'm going to kill him for taking them to begin with after I begged him to leave the trouble to me and Justin, and ..."
From there, the rant moved into Monegasque. Had it been French, Ella would have had at least a hope of following, but not Monegasque. She listened for a moment ... and then tried to snatch at the book Brook wielded like a sword. That just propelled her friend back into English. "You don't understand, Ella! This is not some ... some adventure story. It is real, and it is deadly, and I won't have you involved!"
Ella stiffened, her chin coming up. "I know perfectly well how real it is, and how deadly. You almost died over those gems. My brother almost died over them, and his wife."
Brook visibly drew her emotions back in and took a deep breath. "It was not the diamonds that nearly killed Brice and Rowena."
"No." Ella's nostrils flared as that ache, still fresh, consumed her. "It was my oldest friend who did it. My oldest friend, with whom I'd spent every day last autumn — and I didn't see it. I didn't see what Stella had become."
What else hadn't she seen — didn't she see?
"Ella." Brook slid closer and rested her long, tapered fingers on Ella's wrist. "You can't blame yourself for that. No one saw it."
No excuse — but there was nothing she could do about the past. Nothing except determine to make the future something different. To pay attention. To do whatever she must to protect her family. "It may have been Stella Abbott who pulled that trigger six months ago — but it was the Rushworths who used her because they wanted the diamonds. The Rushworths who used Rowena. The Rushworths who sent that monstrous Highland laird after her."
"And the Rushworths who have retreated altogether now." The fingers squeezed on her wrist. "They are not even in the country. You needn't worry."
Worry was a waste of time, true. But consideration ... Consideration wasn't to be neglected. "They will be back — you know it as well as I. And when they come ..."
Ella shook her head and pulled away. "Brice took the diamonds from you because you were just married, starting a family. Now he is the one who will be a father within a few weeks. I'll not let him pay the price the Fire Eyes seem to demand. I won't let him or Rowena or their child suffer, not when there just may be something I can do to stop it all."
Brook turned back toward the shelf and the ladder Ella had just climbed a few minutes prior. No need for her to check her catalog to know where it belonged. "There is nothing you can do. There is nothing anyone can do — not now."
"But there is! We can learn, Brook. You, of all people, should know that. We can learn more about the Fire Eyes, about this curse, about why the Rushworths want them and —"
"Is that why you invited yourself to Ralin?" Temper sparked again as Brook shoved the book back into place with a thud. "Not to visit me, not to give your brother and his wife some time alone before the baby comes — but to snoop around my library?"
Ella tried on a cheeky grin. "Well, if there's any library in the world that could help me, it's yours. You know it's true."
There — a breath of laughter as Brook gained the ground again. "Let it drop, Ella. I beg of you. Let's just enjoy your time here and forget all about the Fire Eyes. Find your adventure somewhere else, go and get lost in the wood. Imagine a few good stories about the faeries in the hills. Just not the Fire Eyes. S'il te plait."
Everyone in her world thought they had to protect her — that she had to be coddled, that she hadn't the stuff it required to stand up and fight for what she loved. No one ever listened to her when she tried to speak hope into life — they just assumed her naive.
Well, she wasn't. Perhaps her judgment had proven faulty in the past, but not anymore. And she would prove it. With or without their help.
"Now." Brook drew near and wove her arm around Ella's. "If you're not going to rest, how about that ride?"
Her hostess certainly wasn't going to leave her alone in the library just now, so why not? Ella produced a mischievous smile and let Brook turn her toward the door. "Can I ride Oscuro?"
Her friend glared, but with a hint of amusement back in the corners of her mouth. "It isn't my decision, mon amie. It is he who will not allow it. But you can take his sister. Tempesta is nearly as quick."
"Ha!" The stallion was indeed finicky about who he would let near. So far as she knew only Brook, Stafford, Brook's father, and one jockey had ever managed to keep their seat in his saddle. She would, frankly, prefer Tempesta, but appearances must be upheld — so she put a bounce in her step as she headed for the library's door. She would come back tonight, when everyone else was asleep.
"There is a reason she isn't the one you take to the races, Brook, and don't think for a moment I'm fooled by your blaming it all on the horse. I am a natural, you know. Utterly irresistible to any living creature. Animals and children all flock to me." She charged through the doorway, Brook's chuckle already following her. "And the gentlemen! We cannot overlook how they all fall —"
"Whoa!" The warning, deep and urgent, came too late.
Ella squealed like a ninny as she plowed directly into a solid, nicely clad chest and nearly tumbled backward from the impact — likely would have fallen had strong hands not caught her about the waist. She looked up, expecting to find Brook's husband, Stafford, or perhaps Brook's father, Lord Whitby, who was also visiting. Embarrassing, but they would have laughed it off — and teased her about the claim she'd been in the midst of making regarding how all the gentlemen fell at her feet.
But she looked up into deep green eyes, not blue or brown. A face somewhat familiar, given its resemblance to Stafford's, but capped with warm brown hair instead of blond or silver-streaked raven.
Lord Cayton, it must be. Stafford's cousin. And his scowl was exactly like the duke's.
Funny though ... Stafford had never made her stomach knot up like it did just now, nor made heat surge when he happened to touch her. Not like it did when Lord Cayton's hands slid from her back to the sides of her waist, testing her balance before releasing her.
Would she be too much a ninny if she swooned a bit, just to force him to hold on a few seconds longer?
Probably. So she forced herself to straighten her spine and say, "Pardon me." At least she tried to say it, though her voice sounded odd — all fluttering and uncertain — to her own ears.
Lord Cayton just stared at her, the scowl deepening, and let her go.
"Hello, Cayton." Brook — probably in the doorway, given the nearness of her voice — sounded only slightly amused. "Looking for Justin, or are you here only to bowl over my friend?"
"Your friend." His voice was exactly what a man's voice should be. Rich and deep, but not too deep. A lovely, honeyed baritone — if tinged with a rather baffling accusation. "I thought I knew all your friends. I don't believe I've met this one."
Ella may have been irritated at being spoken of as if she weren't present, had his gaze not remained latched so unwaveringly upon her face. She could only hope the thundering of her heart wasn't audible. Or visible. Were this one of the romantic tales she so loved, birds would start singing in chorus, Brook would vanish, and Lord Cayton would declare his instant, undying love.
After, of course, he stopped frowning at her.
Brook edged into Ella's periphery. She, too, was frowning.
"Of course you have. Haven't you? This is Nottingham's sister. Lady Ella Myerston."
"Lady Ella." This was usually where the fawning began, where eyes lit with longing — not for her, but for her associations and dowry.
Not Cayton. His eyes flashed some message she couldn't decipher as he took a giant step back. He sketched a quick, abbreviated bow and focused his gaze on the space over her shoulder. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, my lady. Forgive me for bowling you over."
"I think we all know it was my fault. But I shall graciously forgive you, if you're so determined to accept the blame." Her smile felt a little off, a little shaky. He certainly wasn't behaving like most men. But then, why should he? Lord Cayton was no stranger to dukes — he was grandson to the late Duke of Stafford, after all. She searched her mind for what else she knew about him.
Those knots in her stomach turned heavy. He was the one who had been courting Brook's cousin, Lady Melissa, only to toss her over for a rich, sickly heiress two years ago. His wife had died the very weekend Brice and Rowena wed, if she recalled aright, after giving birth prematurely to a daughter.
Not her type of gentleman. Not at all her type of gentleman, if he cared more for shoring up his bank accounts than for true love.
Excerpted from A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White. Copyright © 2016 Roseanna M. White. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wonderful ending to a fascinating and compelling series!
Ella is in town, at Brook’s and Stafford’s house. Her plan is to save everyone from the Fire Eyes, though they don’t think she knows anything about them. Cayton has many regrets about his past he’s still trying to forgive himself for, but then has unexpected visitors he has to entertain. I love Ella’s spunk and hopeless sense of direction as well as seeing Brook as well as Stafford, Whit, Brice and Rowena again. A surprising addition in the madness to the Fire Eyes theme and many things come to light in the conclusion of this series. Wonderful characters and enough suspense to keep the pages turning til the end.
I am in love with this story and I cried at the end. Plus I love the way the author lovingly describe little Addy. Would definitely revommend
Each book in the “Ladies of the Manor” series builds so well on the last, creating an engaging overarching tale. Yet, a reader can pick up any of the titles to start with and completely understand and enjoy the story within. I appreciate writing, and series, that allow for this. Hope. The core of this work is how to hold to hope. Ella embodies this fully, and I love how the author completely captures how hope is not simply naivete, but indeed, requires deep strength and understanding. It is masterfully written. The reader also gets to walk with the characters through my personal favorite, their stories of redemption. Catherine and Cayton are not yet the reformed paragons with troubled pasts that many stories contain, but are actively struggling and learning how to choose better paths. We get to see the gritty and rough edges, and it makes these characters real. On top of all of that, we have a quick and twisting plot, full of back and forth subterfuge, counter-moves, and misdirects, until the final showdown. A fun read that will keep you turning the pages – this work is one I highly recommend! I received a review copy of this work from the publisher
I was sent this book in return for an honest review from Bethany House publishing. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this wonderful book in the Ladies of the Manor series. I had no idea that it was the last book in the series, when I first requested a copy to review. However, I was able to keep up nicely with the story line and the happenings of the past books. Considering how much I loved this book, I am tempted to go back and read the first two, The Lost Heiress and The Reluctant Duchess. The character list in the front of the book also helped with figuring out the storyline. I am always amazed at the lengths that people will go over jewels, gold, or money. The drama between the families and characters was very entertaining to say the least. The way she describes each characters inner struggles had me feeling deeply for them as if they were real. The chemistry between the two main characters Ella and Cayton left me practically begging for a happy ending for them. As an artist, I could relate to Cayton the most and adored his character from the start. While I did not always agree with them, I had to tell myself that this was a completely different time in the world. Speaking of which, her book made me fall in love with the early 1900s all over again. From the beautiful castles to the early electric fixtures like the chandeliers and lamps, I found myself picturing their home perfectly as if it were right in front of me. While they solve the mystery of the Fire Eyes diamonds, they also have to uphold the traditions and morals of their society. The book began to pick up pace a few chapters in and remained that way until the very last chapter. I really enjoyed seeing the story from different characters points of view. I found myself wanting to warn the other characters after seeing important scenes. It is always fun and frustrating, when reading a book, to find yourself wishing you could help people who are not even real. I would highly recommend this book to any Christian Fiction or Christian Historical fan. It holds a wonderful lesson about how a life of luxury does not always mean happiness or a life free of troubles.
Lady Ella Myerston knows how dangerous the Fire Eyes diamonds are, and is determined to take action to protect her family from them. Lord James Cayton is determined to save Ella from any harm while on her mission, at the same time taking acre of his daughter. Can Ella solve the mystery of the diamonds and bring rest to her family? Will James get a second chance at a happy life? I have not read the first book in this series, The Lost Heiress, but I read the second one, The Reluctant Duchess. I liked The Reluctant Duchess and was looking forward to reading A Lady Unrivaled. However, as much as I tried getting into it I could not. The story was not grabbing my attention. I could not connect with the characters. The story was lacking interest to me. I did not finish it. *I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. What I have expressed are entirely my own thoughts.*
Favorite book in the series.... A Lady Unrivaled Ladies of the Manor #3 By Roseanna M. White Lady Ella Myerston is not to be denied and unfortunately for her family she's determined to protect them from the cursed Fire Eyes that have been sought for years. But unraveling the rumors and whispers she's heard from the truth about the cursed Fire Eyes is more difficult than she realized it would be. First up in her plan a visit to Brook and Justin and their library at the Cotwolds to gain as much information as she possibly can. Unfortunately Ella has placed herself in the greatest danger possible by unknowingly bringing the highly sought after gems with her. But when Lord Crispin Rushworth returns from France with his sister Lady Catherine Pratt the web of intrigue and danger draws tighter. And Lord Cayton is approached by Rushworth to aid him in his quest to claim the Fire Eyes. But Cayton is not the man he was before, the loss of his wife changed him. His young daughter is now his life and he'll do anything to keep her safe and to be the father she deserves. And he is determined to keep Lady Ella safe in spite of her efforts to put herself in the direct path of danger. When Cayton and Ella determine to work together to stop Rushworth they come up with a plan to hide the truth about their time spent together. Unfortunately their plan could bring Brook's wrath down on them and get Ella sent home to her brother. Could the deception of courtship become truth? The mystery surrounding the Fire Eyes comes to a climax with A Lady Unrivaled the third and final novel in the Ladies of the Manor series. Mystery and romance are to be expected but there is an added dose of foreign intrigue with a Russian interest in the gems, Everything is coming to an exciting conclusion with the lives of all those involved in danger. Greed is an imposing master and those who fall to its power must decide to leave it behind or risk losing everything. This book is perhaps the best in the series in my opinion but that could be because I so enjoyed Ella and her independence and kindness. If you've read the previous books you'll understand when I say Kitty is a pitiable character who plays a role throughout and is still in mourning over her husband and son. Kitty is a character one is never exactly sure of and this book finally answers some questions about her. I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a review positive or otherwise - all opinions expressed are my own.
Guys, I can’t believe this series has come to an end. I LOVE this series and I absolutely LOVED Ella’s story. When we first meet Lord Cayton in the previous books, he is not a very likeable character. He played a role in Brook’s kidnapping. However, the Lord has a way of changing people for the better. The death of his wife and the birth of his daughter open his eyes to becoming a completely different man than he once was. Repentance, redemption, grace, and a new opportunity to become a Godly man and protect his family play a huge part in this story. Then there is beautiful Lady Ella Myerston. Cayton is immediately attracted her but can he be the man she deserves or will he end up hurting her just like every other woman who has crossed his path? Can he trust himself to be around her? Lady Ella is one of the most refreshing characters I have read. She is witty, smart, cheerful with the right amount of mischievousness. She is also flawed. She knows when to be serious when she needs to be and has her moments of when things don’t seem to look good. However, she is the kind of person who chooses to be content with where she’s at. She knows far more about the danger of the Fire Eyes that have been following her friends and family than they realize. She is determined to do her part in ending this once she realizes that she is possession of the gems. Meanwhile she is hopelessly falling in love with the man that no one believes deserves her and becoming the woman who sees through Him. She encourages Cayton to fully accept the love and grace of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The romance between Cayton and Ella is beautiful and swoon-worthy as the sparks fly. It was so fun to read. I may have even developed a crush on Cayton! *sigh* They have the best first kiss I have ever read! Their romance is super sweet, yet humorous at the same time. I loved it! We also get to learn more about Lady Catherine Pratt. My heart went out to her throughout the book and she became a new favorite. Just like Cayton, she isn’t the woman she once was. She is broken, grieving, and suffering the consequences of her mistakes that you’ll find yourself feeling sorry for her. Will she see the error of her ways and have a shot at redemption as well? We are also introduced to a brand new character, Kira Belova, who is posing as Sophie Lauraeu as Lady Pratt’s lady’s maid. She also happens to be a good friend of Brook’s, but you’ll have to read the book to find out her story. I hope we get to see Kira get her own story one day. Then there’s Lord Rushworth. He is despicable. He unleashes the monster within and it isn’t pretty. It gets downright ugly that it makes your skin crawl. This is a highly recommended read for anyone who loves an epic Edwardian series. For fans of Downton Abbey, you’ll get to experience scenes divided by the upper class and the downstairs staff and the interplay between these two worlds. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is a stunning conclusion to an excellent series! Rosanna White's Ladies of the Manor series has been an incredible adventure from the start, and this final book does not disappoint. The stakes are raised, dark pasts revealed, and those surrounding the Fire Eyes must band together or risk falling to the curse of the gems. This time, Ella is the one in the middle of the intrigue, even though everyone has tried hard to push her out. She's bright and bubbly, but hates that most confuse her optimism with naivete. She's in the middle of the gem's mess, and she's determined to be part of helping to end their hold on her family. Then there's Cayton, who's working on changing his life around, to no longer be the fun-loving bachelor who broke more than one heart. He knows he's bad, and he never wants to break another woman's heart, especially the one he refuses to acknowled that he's falling for. The interactions between these two are priceless, both hilarious and sweet, even as they but heads. But when the danger gets closer, entraping more in its web, Ella and Cayton must push through the haze to discern the truth. Who is a friend, and who is a foe? And will they be able to escape the curse alive, or will it claim another victim? This book had me at the edge of my seat until the very end, and what a brilliant ending to such a wonderful series.
Lady Ella Myerston was in a quandary. Not only had she discovered the secret to the fire eyes diamonds right in her possession, but she found herself believing the ruse she tried hard to sell to others. Was she falling for the handsome Lord Cayton even after everyone’s warnings to stay away? It could prove dangerous to her well-being. Lord James Cayton was determined to change his ways and show everyone he was a different man. He wouldn’t let anything happen to his friends and especially the love of his life—his daughter. So, when past rivalries threaten him and his family if he doesn’t partake in a deceitful scheme to outwit Lady Ella of the most sought after jewels, he decides to do the only thing he could think of. Take her into his confidence and double cross his nemesis. However, he soon finds out that wouldn’t be as easy as he expected. Can Lady Ella and Lord Cayton stick to the plan even when they realize their feelings for each other have outgrown this so-called scheme? Or will they be found out and lives be lost because of it? A Lady Unrivaled is book three and the conclusion of the Ladies of the Manor trilogy by Roseanna M. White. This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. White and I must say I’m impressed. I have to admit, I found myself a bit lost by not having read the first two books in the series, but I soon caught up and found myself immersed in the storyline. Loved it! The author is a master storyteller and has interwoven a great tale full of plots and twists that kept me turning the pages. Each character had an important role to fill and they came alive. I loved the banter between Ella and James, especially when little Addie was with them. So sweet. The antagonist characters were well rounded. Some had a soft side to them while others clearly only had greed in mind. The castle settings were well described, putting the reader right in the scene. You could picture the grand ball room to the gardens. I will definitely go back and read the first two books in this series as I loved this book. It kept my attention. It has everything. Romance. Intrigue. Suspense. Humor. Perfection. I give A Lady Unrivaled 4.5 red diamonds. This is one jewel heist you’ll want to be a part of! **Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. in exchange for my honest review.
That first scene! Lady Ella is spunky, mischievous and downright a woman of her own mind. Did I also mention that she's quite "bookish" with her love of reading and of books? She's always been a scene-stealer in the Ladies of the Manor series by Roseanna M. White. Imagine having her own book here in A Lady Unrivaled! That girl, ahem, excuse me. That lady is spectacular in her address, her actions and in her heart. She is bold and fearless when it comes to those she love. As she find an unlikely friendship in Lord James Cayton, she doesn't step back when one of his often grumpy and confusing actions presents itself. She draws them closer and help him see who he is, and not who he was. Lord Cayton and Lady Ella are such a great pair. One would not think two of such personalities will come together, but like magnets, these two attracts to one another. I adore the scenes of these two. Their humor or rather the humor that emits from their lovely banters is just perfect. "I thought bothering me was your life's work." "Work? Hardly." She gave him her brightest grin. "It's far too easy to call it that." He chuckled. And even his eyes were smiling. "I really don't like you, Lady Ella." But he did, or he wouldn't be trying so hard not to. "I feel exactly the same way, Lord Cayton." (271) Ahhh, and that first kiss. How often do I read a perfect kissing scene, and besides the usual melting you feel in your heart or the quick desire to grab a little handy fan, do you actually laugh? In A Lady Unrivaled, you will. You will laugh, and smile, and chuckle and melt. Mind as well add in swoon for the perfectly imperfect Lord Cayton, and cheer on the lovely Lady Ella, whom I can't help but feel like a kindred spirit. And you will too. Then the scene right after, how can it be so right? Themes of greed, betrayal, forgiveness, redemption and trust are threaded thoughout. A Lady Unrivaled is truly unrivaled in terms of characters and in plot. What I love about this book is beyond the characters or even the author (love you lots, Roseanna White!), but the story as a whole. This is truly my favorite of Ladies of the Manor series, and I thought its impossible to top The Lost Heiress. Don't miss this feisty conclusion to a wonderful series about a lady that will do anything to protect her family. This review first appeared on Just Commonly blog. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
Do you love a good Regency Romance? Do you like a thrilling suspense? Then A Lady Unrivaled is the book for you! The third, and final installment of, The Ladies of the Manor series, Roseanna White wraps up the mystery surrounding the Fire Eyes. Lady Ella Myerston, unknowingly has the Fire Eyes jewels in her possession. While visiting Brooke and Stafford, she meets up with Lord James Cayton. And later, Lord and Lady Rushworth! From page one your hooked on this thrilling tale, and won't be able to put it down!
I love when I read a book and find myself totally transported to another time and place. When the book is so good that I can't put it down and stay up later that I should simply so I can read a little more and try to 'help' the characters uncover the truth before they find themselves or their loved ones in danger. A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna White was just that type of book. Her story was so engaging that I simply wanted to keep reading. As with the The Lost Heiress, this third book in the Ladies of the Manor series had the perfect balance of romance, adventure, mystery, intrigue, deception and faith. Even though this was the third book in the series, it very much so can be read on it's own. I have read the first book in the series and somehow missed reading the second, but would like to go back and read it (even out of sequence). Her character development and scene setting was terrific, so much so, that I was pulled into the story, I felt almost like I was living the story along with the characters. I loved seeing glimpses into the ongoing stories of the characters that we met in the earlier books and of course, further development of some of the characters that we simply met in the earlier stories. I loved Ella's determination and Cayton's softer, creative side. Seeing them each interact with Cayton's daughter was endearing. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I would recommend checking out this book (and the rest of the series, for that matter). I received a complimentary review copy, but all opinions are my own.
Some believe the Fire Eyes are cursed, while others think it nothing more than a fable, but they’re still causing a world of trouble. Lady Ella Myerston is used to everyone talking over and around her, as if she cannot comprehend when a dangerous situation arises. But she’s vowed to take action and plants herself at Ralin Castle, home to her friend, Brook, who is the Duchess of Stafford. Lord James Cayton, widower cousin of the Duke of Stafford, hasn’t led a life he’s proud of, though he is proud of his infant daughter, Addie. And while the Fire Eyes remain hidden, their absence agonizes one of James’ old acquaintances. When Rush arrives at his home unannounced, James is awash with worry about keeping safe Addie and Ella. Yes, he is intrigued by the stubborn Ella with the fiery hair. However, it does not stop a bad feeling. Trouble is brewing, for sure and for certain. In this ultimate novel in the Ladies of the Manor trilogy, I was not disappointed. I was again swept back to an upper-class past where the characters are well-rounded and down-to-earth despite their caste. It remains evident that the author did her research and, in turn, has created a literary landscape that is rich, detailed and interestingly historical. All the various titles and nicknames continue to throw me off at times, but I very much enjoyed this book and the entire series. I think fans of Downton Abbey would enjoy this series, if they’re looking for an intriguing set of books. I can’t wait to see what Roseanna M. White writes next! -- Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions are expressly my own.
A Fantastic Conclusion! I have long enjoyed Roseanna M. White’s books, mostly because of their complex plots and fantastic romantic aspects. A Lady Unrivaled does not disappoint in any way, featuring a redeemed hero and fun romance, a beautiful setting filled with characters we’ve known from the previous books, and a satisfying wrap up to the mystery thread woven through the entire Ladies of the Manor series. Lady Ella is a wonderful heroine and the perfect counterpart to Cayton’s brooding and reformed bad boy character. The romance between them sizzles, even though both try to convince themselves that getting involved with the other is a bad idea. There are several stand out scenes that I won’t spoil, but romance fans will not want to miss the humor infused relationship this book contains. For fans of mystery or suspense, there are enough potential villains and motivations to keep readers guessing a bit, even though we already know from previous novels who the main baddie is. Several of the characters have nuanced shadings from reform minded to completely creepy (not revealed until the climax), giving even secondary players a well-rounded, developed persona rather than a caricature of a thug. As always in White's books, the spiritual thread is very strong and well integrated into the storyline. Themes of hope, trust, and forgiveness dominate, but there are also many examples of drawing closer to God through His Word and in fellowship with other believers. The many characters are in various places on their faith journeys and I enjoyed watching their struggles as well as their victories. While this book could be read as a standalone with minimal confusion, I would suggest reading the series in order for maximum understanding and enjoyment. This novel is quite complex, both within its own cover and the continuing threads from the other books. It is expertly plotted and written with something to satisfy most every reader: suspense, mystery, atmosphere, and an enjoyable romance are all found within these pages, making for a riveting read. I highly recommend this novel to fans of the Edwardian Era and Downton Abbey, but any historical romance or mystery reader will enjoy it. I received a free copy of this book from the author and publisher but no compensation for this review. I was not required to write a favorable one and the opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
In "A Lady Unrivaled," Roseanna White deftly weaves together the conclusion of all the intrigue, drama, and romance we’ve followed through "The Lost Heiress" and "The Reluctant Duchess." Adorable and optimistic Lady Ella Myerston and the infamous former rogue, Lord James Cayton, find themselves in a rather unique situation: Trying really hard NOT to fall for each other as they PRETEND TO BE falling for each other as part of a ruse to help them solve the mystery of the Fire Eyes diamonds and rid their families of the threat those supposedly-cursed jewels have brought to everyone around them. I’ve been waiting for Lady Ella’s story since the very first book in the series, and it does not disappoint. I love how her sunshiny personality and her determination to find the happiness in life aren’t just fluff and silliness, but are based in her belief that there is always hope, especially when you are trusting God. She’s an intelligent girl, who listens to God’s leading, and is not as naïve as some may think, despite her optimistic views on life. She definitely sees hope for cranky Lord Cayton, and her mischievous flirting and teasing to both annoy him and make him smile (when he’s stubbornly refusing to) are quite fun to read. Cayton himself struggles with the reputation of who he once was, even as he’s trying to live in the reality of who he is now, thanks to God’s transforming power in his life. He’s constantly being reminded of his past, most often by those wanting to use his former ways to get to the diamonds or those who don’t quite trust the “new” him. Teaming up with Ella means having a constant cheerleader by his side and makes hiding behind his gruff and super-serious manner a little harder than before. Following his character’s journey has been one of my favorite parts of the whole series. We also get to discover a little of the backstory of creepy Lord Rushworth and his never-very-nice sister, Lady Catherine Pratt, thanks to the addition of a new lady’s maid, Kira, whose own story is tangled up with the Fire Eyes as well. Expect a few surprising twists from these three – that’s all I’ll say. :) With "A Lady Unrivaled," Roseanna has once again brings together a story with humor, heart, mystery, and a strong spiritual theme that will encourage you in your own walk with God. It’s a series that I’m sad to see end, but one that I know I’ll be rereading often. Thank you so much, Roseanna White and Bethany House Publishing, for allowing me the chance to be an advance reader yet again. :) Note: While I did receive this book in exchange for my honest opinion, my endorsement of it is based solely on how much I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love this author, and I say that without liking all of her books. She has two modes: really nice clean love story (like her Culper ring series) and somewhat explicit love story (like "Stray Drop of Blood"). I don't like the more explicit ones...I'm a clean, simple girl who likes the words and the kisses, not the bedroom scenes (which to be fair, her bedroom scenes are cleaner than most too). This series has a little of both. Book one "The Lost Heiress" was my kind of story and the first book I read of hers, which I absolutely loved. Book two "The Reluctant Duchess" was a little spicier because of what Rowena had to deal with in the aftermath of her assault. Book three "A Lady Unrivaled" was back to my favorite type of story. A Lady Unrivaled is definitely worth the read! How could you not love Ella and Cayton? In fact, Cayton is one of my favorite characters, which is amazing since he was somewhat unlikable in book one. My favorite part was how he treated the people around him; he was swoon-worthy at times! All in all, this was a great read and I recommend for everyone who likes Downton Abbey or clean romances with a bit of mystery and suspense thrown in. Rating: PG. Kissing, some violence, no explicit sex scenes, no obscene language. Enjoyable and likeable. Authors with similar writing styles and ratings: Kristi Ann Hunter (Regency), Karen Witemeyer (American late 1800's), Sarah Eden (Regency)
One of my favorite books of all time, A Lady Unrivaled surpasses just about every level of skill an author can weave into a novel. A compelling story blended with strong writing, complex plotlines, and characters deeply challenged by their place in this world, A Lady Unrivaled brings White's Edwardian trilogy to satisfying completion.
Every time I read one of Roseanna White's books, I have such mixed emotions at the end: (1) No! I don't want it to end. Keep writing (doubly wanting this when it's the last in a series)! and (2) Wow! Another great one! Lady Ella Myerston has been the unaware keeper of the Fire Eyes: rare and beautiful red diamonds. She thought they were merely a lovely pair of ruby earrings, and she "borrowed" and wore them in front of the dangerous Lord Rushworth, a man who would do anything legal, illegal, or matrimonial to get them. Anything. Rushworth's sister Lady Pratt doesn't want anything to do with the Fire Eyes or the curse that goes with them. She blames them for the deaths of her husband and her baby. She knows Rushworth's unholy desire to possess them, and nothing she can say will deter him. Lord Cayton is a recent widower with a less-than-spotless past, but his recent conversion to Christianity has him trying to overcome that ladies' man past. Lady Ella isn't helping any. He's attracted to her despite his best intentions, and it's not making him popular with his associates. A Russian ballerina is masquerading as a lady's maid at the demand of her benefactor, and if she doesn't come up with information on the jewels, he's threatening to take everything she cherishes away from her, including her life. Oh, such a tangled web of deceit, danger, and dreams! You will be so engrossed with this book you might not sleep until it's finished, so take a good long nap before you start reading.
Roseanna M. White has written a compelling Edwardian romance in her new book A Lady Unrivaled. As the third novel in the Ladies of Manor series, A Lady Unrivaled follows the trail of the fire eyes. Rich in details and full of strong, fascinating characters, White’s novels introduces us to unconventional Lady Ella, the younger sister of the Duke of Nottingham. Readers will enjoy an entertaining story full of intrigue, love, insecurity, and danger. I really enjoyed the story and I have read the first novel in the Ladies of Manor series. I did find the occasional references to details introduced in the first two novels of the series sometimes too detailed and confusing. I like that even though A Lady Unrivaled is part of a series it has the feel of a stand-alone novel. The pace of the plot was slower than I anticipated but I still enjoyed reading it. With the unexpected plot twists and the variety of well-developed characters, White has written an intriguing story of obsession and betrayal. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White for my candid review.
The problem with the Fire Eyes (red diamonds) has not gone away, and Lady Ella is determined to work with Duke Justin, Duchess Brook, and their cousin Lord Cayton to thwart Lady Pratt and her brother Lord Rushworth once and for all. But what happens when Ella discovers that she has unknowingly had the diamonds all along, creepy Lord Rushworth decides to court her, and Lord Cayton is working as a double agent and fake-courting her also? A Lady Unrivaled was a beautiful end to the Ladies of the Manor trilogy by Roseanna M. White. Both of the main characters had made appearances in the previous novels, and it was sweet to watch them fall in love, if rather unwillingly at first. Lady Ella had already been one of my favorites and, perhaps, the character most like me in the series. Lord Cayton was not a character I particularly cared for in the previous books, since he broke the heart of one of Brook’s cousins and married for money, but the growth that began in him in The Reluctant Duchess continued, making him a wonderful main character. Both he and Ella struggled with some insecurity issues due to some of their previous mistakes, and it was wonderful to see them change and mature in the light of God’s and each other’s love. The situation with the Fire Eyes was the other major conflict A Lady Unrivaled. Lord Rushworth was as determined as ever to get the diamonds, though he claimed the only reason was to save his sister from the “Russian mobster” who already gave them a down payment. He was dark and creepy as usual, but seeing him with a shard of humanity through his attraction to Ella somehow made him even worse. He is not an enemy I would want—much less a suitor! The conclusion of this tale was immensely satisfying and tied up a few loose ends with the other characters, including Lady Pratt’s grief over her lost son and what to do with the Fire Eyes for good. I enjoyed this novel and this trilogy very much and would recommend it to those who like sweet historical romances. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have read the first book in this series and I definitely want to read the second but I have skipped it and read this one. The good news it you can read this book without reading any of the other ones and still not feel lost. But I can tell you after reading this you will quickly be adding the rest of the books to your list. Roseanna is such a wonderful author. She has created an amazing novel full of complex characters that you will adore. Lord Cayton is a hard one but you know deep down he is an honorable man and God is working his life. Ella is simply enchanting with her sweet spirit. She is someone I would want to be friends with. Then we have the mystery in this book, surrounding the Fire Eyes, that will make you keep reading as well and the people that are after them. I kept wondering, and worrying about when everything would collide and create this storm that I could sense coming. Historical romance lovers will adore this book. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review, all thoughts are my own.
First off, I adore this cover. Even prettier when it is in my hands! Ms. White knows how to weave a fantastic tale of danger, suspense, humor and best of all swoon-worthy romance. I adored the way Lady Ella teased Lord Cayton. Their witty banter was one of the best reasons in reading this book! I also adored the way Lord Cayton tried not to let her bother him and pretend to not notice her. It was all so romantic. (insert dreamy sigh) Yup, Ms. White knows how to write romance books! She is one of my automatic buys and life long shelf keepers. The detail and depth of the story of the fire-eyes made it a page turner and held the suspense! Wonderful secondary characters who make the story sing and feel like a movie. Many lessons to be learned and such depth in the characters and their flaws. A grand ending to the fire-eyes saga and some meaningful resolutions to relationships. I highly recommend this and the first two in the series!
Last book in the series... Sigh... I really loved this series and am sad to see it end, but on the up side, this book was an incredible ending! Roseanna remains one of my favorite authors. If you haven't read this series, my recommendation would be start with book one and read them all the way through. But each book can be - in and of itself - a stand alone. The whole series revolves around the red diamonds called the "Fire Eyes" and the curse they seem to carry with them. It begins with Brook who, unknown to her, actually owns them. The mystery escalates in each book as those seeking the diamonds get more desperate, daring and dangerous with the passing of time. As the diamonds exchange hands so does the curse that follows them and the tragic impact on those who hold them. I enjoyed this book from page one to the very last. It kept me captivated and eager to keep reading. I love what Roseanna did with the characters and how she wrapped up the tale. The villains were a bit unnerving at times, and give you that "chill-bump" feeling. She loads the books with unexpected twists and turns that will keep you guessing just a bit, while some of the story is of course predictable. I think my favorite part of the Roseanna's writings is the way she incorporates the spiritual into her books. She does it subtly and it fits right into the story, not as an added preachy style. The characters, their faith, how they live that out in their daily lives all encourages and uplifts my heart. I loved Ella's character. She was always optimistic and cheerful, bringing out the best in the people around her. I also liked the character of Felicity the maid. She was content with her status in life and willing to be an encouragement and bring a little happiness to the lives of the people she served, even to the point of self-sacrifice. I was blessed with a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany Blogging Program in exchange for my honest opinion.