Sunday, November 13, 2011

Historical ARC Review: A Love By Any Measure by Killian McRae

GENRE: Historical Romance
NUMBER OF PAGES: 346 pages
PUBLISHER: Tulipe Noire Press (November 8,2011)
ISBN: 9780983979707
An Irish lass. An English lord. A love that overcomes all boundaries.
August Grayson has secretly dreamt of the girl living on his family's Irish estate since childhoods spent together in Killarney. Now a proper Lord of the British Empire, he knows that Maeve could never be more than just a distant fantasy. Still, if only...
Maeve O'Connor owns nothing in this world but her good name, which proves just enough to win a proposal for a marriage of convenience to a good, Irish lad. Until the wedding, however, she's in dire straits. Rent on the cottage she and her father share is due, but there simply isn't the money to pay. Driven to desperation, Maeve hopes Lord Grayson, childhood chum turned dashing English rogue, will prove lenient when she comes seeking clemency.
The temptation presented proves too much, and August offers Maeve a compromise: should she permit him twice as long on each succeeding visit to do whatever he wishes in pursuit of his pleasure, he will consider her rent paid. Starting with a mere five seconds, pulses soon out race the ticking clock, as August's desires become Maeve's own. Passion blinds them to the challenges closing in on both the Irish and English fronts, threatening to destroy the love they've only just rediscovered.
Working to bridge that which divides them, tempting fate with each stolen kiss, and torn between desire and obligation, Maeve and August must strive to overcome all and find a love by any measure...
Where To Find Killian: Author Site | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog
Where To Buy: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Powell's | Indiebound
It was okay.

To be honest, I had a hard time getting into this book. Maeve agreeing to exchange "favors" to Grayson in order to keep her family in their home so easily sort of turned me off. It's understandable that she is trying to protect her father but there has to be some other way to pay the debt. She willing agrees to it within the first couple of pages. Not exactly the way I want a heroine in a book to start off, helpless.

Between flashbacks and present day, the reader gets a glimpse of August Grayson's life when he and Maeve O'Connor were children and ran around without a care in the world to a time where Maeve is trying to survive and August has taken residence in the home that is now his.

August comes back years later, as proper English lord. He makes an arrangement with Maeve in order for her and her father to stay in their home. In turn, he must allow her to bake bread to bring home. This is her alibi since she doesn't want her father to know she's whored herself out to the lord of the manor.

August and Maeve spent a whole summer traipsing through fields, getting muddy, reading in the hayloft and experiencing their first kiss. Maeve was a sort of distraction for August since his mother had come to Ireland to die. After his mother's death, he runs away into the mountains. Only Maeve knows where he's gone and brings him back. His father is worried about him and thinks Maeve was going to extort money from him for the whereabouts of August. With the choice of defending Maeve after she blurts out that they kissed and having his father show him love, August betrays Maeve and gives her the cut direct.

This arrangement they have turns into a game of cat and mouse. The time starts off with five seconds and increases by double the time. It begins to frustrate them both as they keep adding double the time to the previous time but only to stop when the touches keep getting hotter and kisses more demanding. And to top this off, she's been promised to another man.

August can't forget that kiss they shared all those years ago and has lusted after Maeve, wondering what if. If they weren't from different social classes, he would pick her to be his in every sense. Due to her having a fiance, he still wants to keep their arrangement but keep her intact for her wedding.

Maeve's father going missing and found shot starts to change everything. August invites them to stay in his home while Maeve's father recovers. August's sister, Caroline, befriends Maeve during their stay. As the days go by, Maeve has mixed feelings regarding her arrangement with August, in the room next door. While her father is recovering, their arrangement is off.

Maeve is determined to marry Owen come hell or high water. After all, the arrangement if for August's pleasure. Deep down inside, she is conflicted. The feelings he invokes in her sends her senses reeling. After she explains everything to August, he makes her manager of the baker she started working at, much to the disgust of the other workers, and breaks off their arrangement. August also helps Owen in reaching his goal on marrying Maeve by purchasing a part of the place Owen works at. Now that they are able to wed, Owen proposes to Maeve.

After celebrating their official engagement, August shows up at the tavern. Volunteering to see her home, Maeve and he, in a bout of drunkenness end up in bed together. In a moment of ecstasy, August proclaims his love for her. Owen finds out and makes her promise to cut off communication with August but in the end she comes clean with Owen about her feelings. Following August, she soon discovers a huge secret. One that she nor the reader could see coming.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Such a swirl of emotions-- he loved her; he hated her; he hated her for letting him love her; he hated himself that he could hate her and love her still." (***quote subject to change in finished copy***)

OVERALL: It took me a while to get into this story but surprisingly, I liked it. I think I could've done without the chapter titles which are reminiscent of some young adult books. In the beginning I thought that August was a bit of a jerk for playing with Maeve's mind, telling her that the only payment he would take was her time even after she told him about a paying job. McRae keeps the reader guessing on what happens next thanks to flashbacks, flash forwards and even in the present. When the ultimate secret is revealed, I was shocked! Totally blindsided. Nicely done Ms. McRae. A heart tugging story of love, loss, forgiveness, betrayal and acceptance.

***review copy provided by author***

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