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Five Reasons Why Cecilia Grant Kicks Regency Butt (Or, Why You Must Read the Blackshear Family Series)

  1. Her characters are unique. In book two of the Blackshear Family series, the heroine Lydia Slaughter is a former courtesan, and during most of the novel, another man’s mistress. She has relations with a man who is not the hero for most of the book, and essentially enjoys it. She’s also a near genius with numbers and can calculate odds and count cards while gambling. Book one has Martha (Blackshear) Russell paying a neighbor to have sex with her daily for the purpose of conception—all to cheat her husband’s heir out of his inheritance. There’re only a few titled personages in the books—Kate Westbrook of book three is the granddaughter of an earl—but for the most part they are out on the edges of the story. No handsome dukes lurk around every corner waiting to sweep away innocent virgin heroines here. (Come to think of it, only one of the three heroines even is a virgin. This is something in itself.)

  2. Their motivations and actions are unlike any I’ve seen before, yet somehow make perfect sense for their characters. Martha is paying to have sex with the neighbor to try and cheat her dead husband’s brother. (Really, what Regency heroine does this?) Will Blackshear and Lydia Slaughter are trying to gain funds by cheating at cards. Lydia likes sex for the sake of sex. Amazing.

  3. Her characters stay in character. Period. Seriously. Not once did I say, but he/she wouldn’t DO that! It makes no sense. Because somehow, no matter how absolutely implausible it seems at first glance, what they do always seems like exactly what they would do. Not necessarily what they should do, mind you, but I absolutely believe that they would do it.

  4. There is an amazing amount of grey area in her books—no clear black and white in sight. Her characters are constantly struggling with the implications of all that shadowy stuff. They are all trying to do what they honestly feel is best—frequently more for the characters around them than for themselves, but definitely not always—but they are absolutely recognizant of the fact that their choices have moral issues attached that don’t always paint them in the best light. Martha is trying to help not only herself, but her female servants—her brother-in-law is truly a lecherous lout. She knows that what she is doing is inherently wrong, though, and she suffers for it.

    Lydia spends much of the book feeling that she must atone for choices she made years before. Will feels massive amounts of guilt for something he did while at war—the money he is trying to earn at the tables isn’t even for him but is intended for others, to help him try to live with his perceived culpability for their situations.

    Kate spends much of her novel trying to marry well to help herself and her family, all of whom have suffered various problems because of her father having been disowned when he—horrors!—married an actress. She goes behind her parents’ backs to try to get an in with the very relations that cut her father off. She knowingly, at least for a time, tramples on the hopes of the only true friend she has in the world of the ton to further her own ambitions.

    Nick Blackshear doesn’t speak to his own brother for over a year because he marries a former courtesan, damaging the family in the eyes of society. The protagonists don’t always act in a particularly “pro” manner…and that’s okay.

  5. She always manages to make me totally despair of her characters reaching their HEA. Then she brings them to it anyway, believably, and without using crazy and implausible coincidences or outrageously unbelievable Deus Ex Machina. Yes, I know I’m reading romance. Yes, I recognize that I do so with the understanding that there will be a happy ending. But Grant seriously had me thinking in each and every book in this series that it just couldn’t happen—no way could she get those two together and sell me on it. But she did. And it happened naturally and in a way that I totally believed 100%. Seriously, how many books do that? Not nearly enough, lately.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next!

(On a side note: Dear Author is having a month of giveaways this August, and the one beginning on 8/8/13 features Cecilia Grant books. It’ll only last a few days, though, so hurry!)

Title: A Lady Awakened
Author: Cecilia Grant
Series: Blackshear Family
Genre: historical romance
Published: 2011
Pages: 346
Format read: ebook
Rating: A

Title: A Gentleman Undone
Author: Cecilia Grant
Series: Blackshear Family
Genre: historical romance
Published: 2012
Pages: 350
Format read: audiobook
Rating: A-

Title: A Woman Entangled
Author: Cecilia Grant
Series: Blackshear Family
Genre: historical romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 324
Format read: audiobook
Rating: A-

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