I enjoyed What an Earl Wants, the first book in The Redgraves series by Kasey Michaels, so when I saw the second book, What a Lady Needs, come up on NetGalley, I requested it right away. I was excited to read the second book, which features the inimitable Lady Katherine Redgrave, because she seemed, in book 1, to be an interesting character. She was so comfortable with herself, wearing what she liked, sitting how she liked, conversing how she liked, etc., and I was interested to see how Michaels would take all that self-sufficiency and incorporate it in a love story. The result, to my mind, is a bit mixed, with some aspects working very well and others not so much.
The publisher’s blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:
Lady Katherine Redgrave has one mission—to find her deceased father’s journals, which may hold the key to a traitorous conspiracy that puts Kate’s family in danger. Kate vows to let no obstacle stand in her way . . . but when she meets Simon Ravenbill, Marquis of Singleton, her attention is diverted as the sinfully handsome nobleman tempts her beyond reason.
Simon has a mission of his own: to uncover the truth about the secret society he believes murdered his brother. All he needs is to get to the Redgrave journals before Kate does. The solution is simple—he’ll romance the fiery beauty in hopes of distracting her from her quest, all while covertly searching for the diaries himself. Yet what begins as a charade soon becomes an all-consuming desire . . . one that could lead them down the most dangerous path of all.
What a Lady Needs continues the intrigue story arc from the first book of the series, though I do think it could easily be read as a stand-alone story, but the focus of this story is on the romance developing between Simon and Katherine. I thought Michaels did a fine job tying in the continuing story elements with the romance, and I enjoyed the carryover of some of the first book’s charming elements into this story. Adam is still delightfully stupid, and Trixie is still wonderfully disturbing in her dual roles of oversexed political and social mastermind and awkward grandmother.
In fact, there was really only one thing that I didn’t like about the book, but it’s a biggie. The writer’s voice of What an Earl Wants was rather serious, and it suited the subject matter of the book. This series is about uncovering the members and the plots of a hell-fire club bent on treason and predicated on rape… it isn’t lighthearted stuff. The author’s voice in What a Lady Needs is much lighter, and it made the book seem like a romp. It bothered me throughout. I had a difficult time connecting to both Simon and Katherine because neither of them seemed to be taking anything as seriously as they should. I kept putting the book down in favor of other books until I finally forced myself to read the second half in one sitting. When I was done, I felt more relieved to be done than happy I’d read the book. To be fair, my experience of the book does not seem to be typical (it’s getting loads of very positive reviews on Goodreads), but other readers whose tastes run similar to mine may experience a similar difficulty enjoying the book.
Now I have a quandary… I didn’t truly enjoy reading What a Lady Needs, but does that mean that I should stop looking forward to the next book in the series? I’m leaning towards continuing to look forward to book 3, because I loved book 1 so very much. I hope I am not leading myself astray.
Bottom line: those who enjoy romantic romps will, I think, absolutely love What a Lady Needs. Readers who want a little more depth with their romance should stick with What an Earl Wants.
What a Lady Needs was released on April 30, 2013 as an e-book and mass market paperback by Harlequin HQN. To find out more about the book, click on the cover image above to visit the book’s page on Goodreads. To learn more about Kasey Michaels, please visit her website.
*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from HQN via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*