What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble

"You will never leave and I will never stay."

Title - What a Woman Desires
Author - Rachel Brimble
Publication Date - 5th January 2015
Publisher - Lyrical Press 
Format - Paperback (Provided via author)

The blurb

From country girl to actress of the stage, one woman dares to live her dreams - but is she brave enough to open her heart...? 

Monica Danes is always wanted more than the village of Biddlestone had to offer. After a failed courtship to a man of her parent's choosing, she fled for the city of Bath and never looked back. Today, Monica is the undisputed queen of the theatre - a wealthy, independent woman. But when she is called home in the wake of a tragedy, Monica returns - intending to leave again as soon as possible. 

Thomas Ashby has been a groom at the Dane's estate since he was boy - and has been enamoured with Monica for almost as long. He knows he isn't a suitable match for his master's daughter, despite the special bond he and Monica have always shared - and their undeniable attraction. But now that she's returned, Thomas has one last chance to prove himself worthy - and to show Monica a life, and a love, that she won't want to give up...

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I'd like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful author Rachel Brimble for kindly providing me with a gorgeous signed copy of What a Woman Desires. I absolutely adore historical romance, especially historical romance that has as much fiery chemistry as What a Woman Desires had, and so, I could not wait to begin reading!

Monica Danes escaped to the city of Bath and became the star of the stage. She escaped a life of social climbing and, in the process, escaped the clutches of a violent man who had been matched to her by her parents. Now, Monica is known throughout the city. Her pretty face graces the posters that advertise the theatre's latest shows, and she's more beautiful than ever, now that she's living the life that she loves with a passion. When Rachel introduced me to her character Monica, I was made instantly aware of the woman's fierce determination to be independent. She refused to be forced into a life that would grind her spirit down, and had flourished in Bath, in front of an audience who absolutely adored her. Monica's love for the theatre and the life that she now lived was hugely written upon, and in turn, I felt like that was where Monica was truly meant to be. I highly respected her life choices but knew, without a doubt, that something was going to come along and tear her dreams to pieces. As Rachel began to describe Monica's past to me, it became apparent that not only was going to Bath something that Monica had wanted to do, but also something that she needed to do. Her previous years spent back at home in the village of Biddlestone had been nothing but constrictions, rules to follow and, quite simply, Monica had hated it. The Danes family were and still are well-known and wealthy, yet Monica hadn't wanted to live a life so bound together by rules and expectations. From Rachel's fantastic descriptions, I was able to fully understand and even feel the sheer frustration at being told how to live a life. I did not blame Monica in the slightest for fleeing to Bath, especially after she regales the tale of how badly her arranged courtship turned out to be, and dangerous, for that matter. Quite simply, Monica Danes really struck gold with me as a character within the story. She was such a strong woman, with dreams and ambitions, and who knew exactly what she wanted from life. I loved how happy she was when at the theatre, surrounded by her friends and glowing superbly in the stunning dresses. It truly was a sight to behold in my own imagination, but that pleasure was swiftly shot down when a letter from Monica's younger sister Jane arrived, and urged for Monica to return home, following the death of their father and steady decline in their mother's mental and physical health. At this point, I seriously felt the drop in the previously jubilant atmosphere, yet I just couldn't wait to see what happened next. 

Monica's journey back to Biddlestone and everything that unfolds from there was just brilliant. Not only was she reunited with her mother and sister, but she was also catapulted back towards Thomas, her father's groom, who, quite simply, was delectable. Everything about this man was masculine and Rachel's descriptions of him drove me wild! Broad, rough, jaw usually set in that determined way that passionate men have, he was the perfect hero in this story. Rachel's storytelling of Monica's and Thomas's past was spot-on, and the chemistry that had been between all of those years before was still very much present. It was torturous for me, as the reader, to read about the sexual tension and feelings between these two characters. What made it even more enjoyable was that Rachel switched the narrative between Monica and Thomas the entire way through the book, which gave me a fantastic insight into how each of the characters were feeling, and also into what they were thinking. It was so bloody exciting, and the tension was constantly fizzing in the air and I just couldn't get enough. Thomas was such an incredibly loyal and loving man, which contrasted perfectly against his hardened exterior. His love and care for Monica went so deep that I could barely breathe whenever he spoke or thought about her. It was beautifully romantic and I seriously wanted something to explode between them, just to clear the air! Besides Thomas and Monica, Jane also stood out to me as a brilliant character to add to the plot. Being the younger sister, she seemed more innocent and subdued to Monica, and there was a clear shine of innocence about her which I found endlessly endearing. Their mother, on the other hand, was someone who Monica did not look forward to seeing again. 

Set in the Victorian era, What a Woman Desires was fantastically descriptive, the language and settings highlighting this perfectly. I loved how the characters spoke, how they acted and dressed, and the emphasis on social boundaries was kept at the forefront of my mind right the way through. Rachel did a fabulous job of whisking me back in time, and I really, really enjoyed my reading of this book. 

Becca's Books is rating What a Woman Desires by Rachel Brimble with FOUR GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! Despite it not having a lasting effect of me, I can say that I really enjoyed Monica's story, in it's entirety, and I hope to read more of Rachel's work in the future. Her descriptions of Biddlestone and Marksville house easily transported me back to a time which I've been fascinated with ever since I can remember. Rachel, thank you so much for the chance to read What a Woman Desires, such a talented author with a clear talent for historical romance. 

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