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The Arrival of Lily Curtis by Rachel Brimble

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  • At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty…so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily - on the understanding if her attempt at independence fails, she will return home and marry a man of her parents' choosing.

    Viscount Westrop will ensure his legacy is passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny and feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth - Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew's lineage will undoubtedly be in peril.

    (Pages 270) Spicy

    Excerpt:

    Belatedly coming to her senses, Lily dropped her gaze and curtsied. “My lord.”

    Lord Westrop coughed and cleared his throat. She watched him place his drink on a small side-table from beneath lowered lashes.

    “You must be the new housemaid.” He turned and came towards her. “Lily, isn’t it?”

    “Yes, sir.” Lifting her head, she met eyes as blue as a crisp winter sky.

    He continued to study her. His eyes brushed over her hair, her neck, her breasts. Lily flicked a glance left and right as her body traitorously heated beneath his gaze. The other gentlemen watched, amusement twitching their lips.

    “Are you ready to be seated in the dining room, my lord?” Lily said, standing a little straighter.

    “I’m sorry?”

    “Your meal, sir?”

    Lord Westrop blinked and the tension broke. Lily held his gaze. She noticed the curiosity when he looked at her not a moment before had vanished, only to be replaced with mischief—or was it guilt?

    His smile turned wolverine. “Oh, I’m more than ready to eat, Lily. I’m positively salivating.”

    Lily smarted as his friends burst into a flurry of mocking laughter, but kept her eyes locked on his. The tone of Lord Westrop’s voice disguised neither the implication nor his obvious enjoyment at her expense. A flame of indignation ignited inside of her.

    Her smile was slow and intentionally provocative. “I am so pleased, sir. For I would hate for you to have to endure cold soup.” Her gaze lingered down to his crotch. “After all, you are quite obviously still chilled from an afternoon of riding.”

Reviews

Grade 
01/27/2013

Review

Danielle's review was first published at romancing-the-book.com.

The Arrival of Lily Curtis is a reasonably enjoyable historical romance despite it being not overly memorable.

The plot was interesting, though not complex, and mostly well executed; it was quite a pleasant surprise that the novel still managed to hold its readers’ attentions despite the fact that it lacked any form of plot twists or surprise revelations. However, it was perhaps a tad unbelievable that Lily would manage to complete all tasks of a servant to such perfection as they were completed, with the exception of the first night’s incident, considering her entire life had previously been spent as a well born lady. It would have been more plausible if she had difficulties or at least occasionally complained internally about completing some of the more menial chores she was set. The other issue with the plot was that there was no real resolution to some issues that had previously been deemed important and were then neglected to reach the intended conclusion. A prime example of this occurring would be the situation with Lady Tasmin as Lily fretted constantly over the impossibility of a desirable solution and then proceeded to forget about Lady Tasmin in the final chapter.

The main characters were likable and enjoyable to read about; in fact the best component of this novel would doubtlessly be the witty interplays between Andrew and Lily. There was also a nice cast of secondary characters that could have contributed a lot more to the story had they been fleshed out further; instead they seemed a bit one-dimensional at times.

A major flaw of the novel was that there were, unfortunately, too many discussions where the same points and virtually the same words were repeated; this made what was otherwise a well paced novel feel dragged out for the last one-thirds of the chapters.

Overall, despite its flaws The Arrival of Lily Curtis was a nice foray into historical England that lacked the generic feeling that numerous novels set in the era have.

    Grade 
    08/18/2011

    Review

    Set in the late Victorian age, Brimble pens a delightful romance about a woman looking for more and a man who will accept nothing less. Lady Elizabeth Caughley wants her independence in a society dictated by strict rules. Lord Andrew Baxter wants freedom from a promise he believes restricts him. When they meet the sparks fly. Does love fit into what they want out of life?

    The novel opens with Elizabeth refusing her parents' choice for a husband. Seeking her independence, she agrees to work as a maid for six months with their approval. They make arrangements for her employment with Viscount Westrop, Lord Andrew Baxter.
    Andrew is under pressure by his ailing father to get married and produce an heir, but Andrew is not in a rush. There's an undercurrent of anxiety thrumming through his veins. He wants to be in love with the woman he marries. Still, he entertains Lady Tasmin, who is a cousin to his best friend, Charles Winchester.

    As soon as Elizabeth, now Lily Curtis, arrives at her place of employment, Nicholas, the butler, puts her right to work. Her uniform is too tight and shows off ample amounts of her cleavage. Lily serves dinner. Andrew can't take his eyes off her. Neither can his friend, Charles. Despite all his instincts, Andrew is drawn to Lily. Lily doesn't want to fall in love, but she can't deny the attraction she feels toward Andrews. Lily must make a choice, as must Andrew. Will Lily choose independence over love and will Andrew follow society's rules or his heart?

    Brimble's story shines with delightful characters against a Victorian backdrop. The plot moves effortlessly. Brimble uses a delicious economy of words to paint Lily's world, which doesn't slow down the reader's enjoyment. The dialogue captures the rich authenticity of the times.

    The most appealing aspect of the story is the wonderful characterization. Lily seeks to make her own way in a society that discourages it for women. Andrew wants an independence of sorts as well from society's rules. Both wear their thoughts and feelings on their sleeve. Can they overcome what they believe is expected of them and follow their hearts?

    The supporting cast entertains with smiles, exasperation, and concern.

    The novel is sophisticated for romance readers with love scenes that are sensual, tasteful, and full of emotion. Lily and Andrew's story will resonate in the reader's heart long after they've closed the book.

      Grade 
      06/22/2011

      Review

      The book The Arrival of Lily Curtis was very, very good. It would be nigh impossible to compete with detail-oriented and interestingly plotted (not to mention amazingly sensual) books like those by Stephanie Laurens, but this book comes somewhat close. The plot was interesting, the humorous parts hilarious, the heart-wrenching scenes almost tear-enducing, and the characters alive and real. The ending was not as up to par as the rest of the story, but it was not horrible by any means. All in all, this was a fantastic read that this reviewer could not put down.

      Rating: 5 out of 5
      Reviewed by Shannon
      For RomanceWritersReviews

        Grade 
        03/23/2011

        Review

        The Arrival of Lily Curtis takes classic historical romance and adds humor with a feisty, modern thinking (for the times) woman to make a great read. This is Rachel Brimble first historical and she does a great job. The Arrival of Lily Curtis has the perfect balance of historical setting and background without going overboard, the characters have a modern enough feel for us to relate well with them, and the story is different enough to stand out from others while still fitting in the genre for those of us who love it. I will be looking forward to her next foray into this venue.

          Grade 
          09/04/2010

          Review

          The Arrival of Lily Curtis is a fun and entertaining read filled with characters that come alive. Their dialogue was clever and spirited, or in the case of the villain, very diabolical and twisted. It’s a true romance between two people who think they have to settle for less and end up getting more love and happiness they ever dreamed of. It’s a happy story with an adorably romantic and cute wrap up after a very intense and dramatic climax. This book is well worth taking the time to read and I’m glad I did.

          4 out of 5 books - reviewed by Xeranthemum Long & Short Reviews

            Grade 
            09/04/2010

            Review

            Ahh. Now THIS is what I love to read in a well put together regency. Good story, characters, plot...everything worked. It all fit into place, clicked and made me smile, quiver and in the end I was left with a good feeling.

            Ms Brimble has crafted a tale about a woman who wants independence and is willing to live a sham life to get it. I laughed, I had tummy tugs and flutters, I gasped and almost cried. Together this work was wrapped into a very pleasant package that I will be reading many times over the next several years :)

            I just love a story that makes me want to come back to it over and over again. *SNAPS* Ms Brimble, wonderful job :)

            Total score: 18 out of 20 - reviewed by Seriously Reviewed

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              The Arrival of Lily Curtis

              The Arrival of Lily Curtis

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