Forever a Lady
Grade : A-

Part of the reason I loved Forever A Lady so much was political. Delilah Marvelle was, as you might say, “preaching to the choir,” with some pointed remarks about poverty and the treatment of prisoners. However, as we saw in her previous novels, she is not an author that hides against the wallpaper of history.

After his father’s newspaper folds due to embezzlement, Matthew Milton and his father are forced from their cushy lives into the slums of New York. Very quickly, Matthew realizes that their new home is a kill-or-be-killed environment. He is not okay with that, and so begins a band of “Forty Thieves” that are basically a militia, protecting the residents of their ghetto.

Lady Bernadette Burton left London after her elderly husband dies and leaves her a wealthy and scandalous widow. When her friend, Mr. Astor, coerces her to go back and help a young woman debut, her past is flung into her face when a former lover hits her in the face with a crop in the middle of the park. She is rescued by Matthew, in London to hide from a group of people that are after him. The two have an immediate connection, and quickly have a passionate affair that ends when Bernadette realizes how the years surrounded by crime and vice have begun to blur Matthew’s morals.

Where do I begin to list the things that worked so well in this book? Deft characterization, well-timed pacing, or a romance that the reader feels in their gut? Bernadette and Matthew were both fascinating characters, who had clear growth and development throughout the novel — Matthew especially. His situation changes several times, and during the course of the novel (which takes place over about a year), he grows up. Indeed, he is six years younger than Bernadette, something that is evident earlier in the novel, but not by the end. His morality features the most interesting development, from a well-bred polite young man to vigilante to respectable businessman with a deeply engrained conscience.

He and Bernadette have such a strong connection, even when they are apart. My one quibble with the novel is that I thought Matthew fell in love a bit too quickly, without really knowing her. But once they fell for each other, boy did they fall. There is such wonderful chemistry between them, which I could feel as the reader– and if that’s not some seriously well done sexual tension, then I don’t know what is.

Delilah Marvelle is a skilled writer, and the novel is unique, romantic, and has a depth to it that many books lack. Forever A Lady was an absolute pleasure to read.

Reviewed by Jane Granville

Grade: A-

Book Type: Historical Romance

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : February 7, 2013

Publication Date: 2012/08

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