Member Reviews

Regency Romance… what do you do when you’re a bluestocking scientist in disguise and someone find out. Wallflower Eleanor has a secret and prize fighter James MacGregor knows it. MacGregor wants to be a gentleman and needs help. Luckily, he knows her secret and blackmails Eleanor to help him achieve it. It is a fun book, and they have chemistry sparks. Several scenes will cause you nonstop laughing in this opposite-attract book. This author is new to me, but I would recommend her and look forward to see what else she has written. She is on my to watch out for list.

**I received this book from NetGalley and publisher for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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4 1/2*STARS*
Eleanor Townsend wants to be a member of the Natural History Society. An article she wrote is published in their journal and she is invited to speak about her favorite subject, beetles. Done under an assumed name, Cecil Townsend and in disguise as a young man, she goes before an audience of society members. She may have them under her spell, but James Macgregor sees through her disguise. Blackmailing Eleanor for help in his pursuit of Lady Sarah, James only sees his goal to be accepted in high society by marrying Sarah. Thoughts of Eleanor keep getting in the way. James can't give up his plan to marry Sarah, until he almost loses everything he's worked for. Passionate and funny, it's nice to read a fairytale happy ending.
Explicit encounters.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

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The book starts with James blackmailing Eleanor into helping him gain some entry into the ton. While I tend to dislike books that begin with the hero or heroine doing something as reprehensible as blackmailing the other, this was a pretty good story.

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Wallflower Eleanor Townsend is not like most women. She has no interest in marriage, the ton, or fashion. Instead, her heart lies with science. And when the opportunity to present a paper arises, she takes it, even though it means dressing as a man. But her disguise doesn't quite work. Someone notices—and the brute intends to blackmail her! Former prizefighter James MacGregor wants to be a gentleman, like the men he trains in his boxing saloon. His first step is gaining a beautiful, wealthy wife. Eleanor Townsend is not that woman, but a chance encounter gives him the leverage he needs. She'll gain him entry to high society and help him with his atrocious manners, and in return, he won't reveal her secret. It's the perfect arrangement. At least until the sparks between them become more than just their personalities clashing. But there's too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction.
This was a sort of reverse My Fair Lady, where Eleanor is tasked with making over James. Eleanor is a very determined character and her interactions with James are very amusing. I really enjoyed watching these two fall in love.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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I loved Eleanor and James's story!!

Eleanor is interested in science and unfortunately none of the society's except men. So when her paper is published under a male name and she is asked to speak, she does the only thing she can do...dress up as a man and give the speech! Unfortunately someone sees through her disguise and blackmails her!

James has been looking for a way to get back at his high born father since he was a young adult. Hoping to marry a diamond of the first water, he needs a way into ton. When he catches Eleanor in her disguise, he makes the decision to use the information for his own benefit.

Forced to spend time with James or be shunned by the ton for what she has done, Eleanor soon comes to know that man and he isn't anything like she first imagined. But as Eleanor starts to fall in love with James, he is more determined than ever to get back at his father. Will Eleanor's love be enough for James to give up his revenge.

I absolutely loved the bantering between these two!! I was laughing out loud throughout the story!! I also loved watching James and Eleanor interact with her siblings and I can't wait to see them get their HEA!!

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Well I am not sure what to think about this books. Some parts seemed realistic, some not. The female lead was nice, the male was ... I dont know, unusual but I did not like him. There was nothing really likeable about him from the first to the last page. Yes, there is character development but it did not change my point of view at all.

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In this opposites-attract/business arrangement story, I found myself feeling so sympathetic towards our heroine. The plot of a regency woman being forced into a marriage even though she doesn't want to isn't new - but I'm here for all the scientist lady stories. This one is fun and flirty and recommended,

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The Rogue's conquest is a very good book. It had me smiling . I enjoyed the characters. Thus is a must buy book.!!

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Interesting characters and a well paced plot. I enjoyed reading this book very much.

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First book by this author. I have to add her to my list of faves. Great story !

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Eleanor and James' story is a refreshing read. This is a cute story and the characters were fun and a little different which is what I enjoyed most about this book. The secondary characters were sweet and added to my enjoyment of the story. The author even threw in a bit of humor too. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light-hearted read on a relaxing afternoon.

I was given a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

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I was really surprised how much I enjoyed this book! Lily Maxton is a new author for me and I usually shy away from starting a series with "book 2". I love the setting and Elinor as lead. I could feel her angst, which is great! For me, the best review I can give is - I ran right out and bought the first one!

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I love strong scientific women!! I loved that she took her research and destiny into her own hands....until James snakes his way in. I have to admit James annoyed me so much but he grew on me. I loved that although Eleanor was forced into this deal she still told James how it was and helped him even if she did not understand why he wanted to change to fit society standards. It was a little frustrating at times when James was a stubborn ass but overall I enjoyed it. I loved Eleanor's family too!!! I hope the rest of them get their story!!

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Stevie‘s review of The Rogue’s Conquest (The Townsends, Book 2) by Lily Maxton
Historical Romance published by Entangled: Scandalous 25 Sep 17

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a great fan of historical romances with crossdressing heroines (or heroes – but those stories seem to crop up more rarely). Indeed, the blurb’s description of this book’s crossdressing female naturalist was so appealing that I completely omitted to check whether the novel was part of a series. It is – or at least the second in a duology – but stands on its own two feet perfectly well, with little knowledge required of the reader as far as past events involving the characters is concerned.

Eleanor Townsend isn’t particularly interested in finding a husband; her family, such as it is, is putting her under no pressure to marry, and she’s quite content to stay by herself in their Edinburgh residence, enjoying the limited delights of local society (compared to London, anyway), while her brother settles into life at their country residence with his new wife.

Eleanor’s real passion is for the insects she studies, although none of her research has been accepted by any of the exclusively male learned societies. On impulse she signs her latest paper on the mating habits of beetles with a male pseudonym – and suddenly finds that the author is being asked to present ‘his’ findings in person. Encouraged by her younger sister, and grudgingly supported by her brother, Eleanor dons a disguise and attends the meeting at which her alter-ego has been asked to speak.

While the majority of the audience are taken in by the somewhat odd young man in front of them, James MacGregor, a former prizefighter turned boxing salon owner, and the unacknowledged illegitimate son of a duke, realises almost straight away that the mannerisms he spots are those of a woman playing a role. James is determined to show his father just how far he has raised himself from humble beginnings and has been living beyond his means in the hope of securing a wealthy wife. Eleanor doesn’t fit his requirements, but he believes that she can secure him an introduction to the woman who currently interests him, due to her family’s status and wealth.

Faced with James’ threat to reveal her deception, Eleanor agrees to help him succeed with his; however, she soon finds herself leading an ever more extensive double life as she further explores, in her male persona, all those places barred to women, while at the same time gaining entry to higher parts of female society than she could previously access through her new friendship with James’ object of desire.

Both parties begin to tire of their secrets, however, especially as they come to realise that they have feelings for each other that far surpass those James thought he would develop for his rich miss. All comes good in the end, of course, but the real fun was to be had in following their various misadventures along the way.

A very enjoyable read, and one that makes me hope to make another trip to Edinburgh very soon, not to mention instigating a very real need to go back and read the previous book in this series.

Grade: B

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Definitely a buy buy buy book. It has been awhile since a book had me smiling and chuckling out loud. This one did . While the writer is more than gifted, this story has some twists and turns. I really enjoyed her characters and the way she portrayed each of them in her story. It ended to soon as far as I am concerned. So for a quick enjoyable read make sure you buy this one! I was given this book in return for an honest review. Anna

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This is Book 2 in the Townsend series I personally have never read Lily Maxton before. So even though it is the second book in the series it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. This is the story of Lady Eleanor Townsend and James McGregor. James is a Prizefighter and a Scott. He wants to become a part of society, to prove himself in that way. He sees Lady Sarah, daughter of an Earl, and feels that she is the way to accomplish this. She is beautiful, wealthy and socially connected. But how does he accomplish an introduction?
Lady Eleanor is entomologist. She wants nothing more but to be published and be able to give her lecture at the "Natural Society." But it is an all-male organization. So to accomplish her dream, she poses as a man, Cecil Townsend.
James recognizes Cecil for what he really is, a woman. He uses this as an opportunity to get his introduction to Lady Sarah and society by blackmailing Lady Eleanor to help him in exchange for his silence. He wants her help to make him into a gentleman and to give him the introduction he needs to Lady Sarah. He can then take it from there in his wooing a Lady Sarah.
But the lessons form a friendship, a bond, a sexual attraction. Their relationship continues to grow.
Will James continue to follow his one track mind and pursue Lady Sarah? Or will he see Lady Eleanor for who she truly is and what she truly means to him? This book is funny, emotional and is just such a feel-good story.
I look forward to reading more of Lilly Maxton.

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Fools rush in, maybe!

Half way through reading Rogue's Conquest I realized I'd been smiling the whole time. How good is that! I was obviously enjoying this light hearted story with an intelligent wallflower heroine, whose interest in beetles surpasses all else and does rather take her into some stuffy, closed-to-women places. Albeit that Eleanor Townsend ends up in that place presenting her paper as a man. Whatever, when means must!
Of course Eleanor's sister Georgina must take some of the blame. After all she's the one who suggested Eleanor only need disguise herself as a man (one Cecil Townsend) to present her paper on the mating habits of stag beetles to the Natural History Society.
When Eleanor asked Georgina why she was helping her, Georgina delightfully threw out the line, 'You know I’m not good with dull. I’m counting on you to liven things up for me.' Upon which Eleanor mused that she was a strange sort of girl. (By the way, I already have the expectation that Georgina's story will be extraordinary to match her rather different view on life for one so young)
All would have been successful if pugilist, turned gentleman, James MacGregor who had attended the meeting for his own reasons, hadn't picked up on a small tell and discovered 'Cecil's' secret.
And he might have left it there if he hadn't wanted an entree into the sphere around the beautiful Lady Sarah, daughter of the Earl of Lark. James wants to woo and win Lady Sarah.
But there's the small matter of his attraction to Eleanor that keeps getting in the way of his objective.
Eleanor and James' story really appealed to my sense of the ridiculous. I loved the strait forward earnestness of Eleanor, the hoyden in Georgina, Robert Townsend as the best of brother's, and the abandoned and rejected child within the gentleman pugilist, James MacGregor. I also realized I'd missed the first in series and must read it now!
A somewhat whimsical romance that I really enjoyed.

A NetGalley ARC
(September 2017)

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One could call Eleanor Townsend odd and eccentric as her main passion is, well, beetles. Her love of science has pretty much sworn her to spinsterhood. Added to that, in order to present her work in her field, she must dress as a man to gain entrance into the private club. All was going plan until...

Self made man and former prizefighter, James MacGregor, comes to her lecture to make inroads with the father of the most desirable woman of the Season. James sees a better way to meet this woman is through her friend Eleanor, who he discovers is posing as a man. He so badly wants to become a gentleman through a Society marriage that he is willing to resort to blackmail.

In Eleanor, James might have met his ultimate opponent. Will only one claim victory in love?

Without a doubt Lily Maxton has mastered the art of writing a vulnerable and insecure hero who at the same time exudes strength and power.

I was hesitant with the heroine being focused on of all things, beetles. It gave me the heebie-jeebies in more ways than one. The way her uniqueness was seen through the eyes of James made it wonderful and her passion allowed her to masterfully study the man James truly was.

Wonderful follow up in this Townsend series!

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I loved this story! It is an absolute pleasure. Eleanor Townsend, sister to an Earl, has a quirky thing for Beetles, that she wants published in The Edinburgh Historical Society. She risk her reputation to make this possible, however, she is caught by one, very large, observant male.
James MacGregor, famous puggilist, has finally found a way into proper Society, he can blackmail Eleanor into teaching him high Society Manners. He must meet Lady Sarah.
he plans to marry her, in order to work his way up into the Ton!
He had not counted on Elenoar, she certainly had not counted on James! I highly recommend! Thanks! Enjoy!
carolintallahassee 👒

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Buy This Book
I loved Enchanting the Earl, the first book in Lily Maxton’s series about the Townsend siblings, which I called a “sweetly sensual character-driven romance” between a reclusive war hero and the free-spirited young woman who shows him that he’s a man worthy of love and acceptance. I was impressed by the way the author balanced the various elements of her story and by the strong characterisation – which extended to the secondary cast as well as the principals – so I eagerly snapped up the next in the series, The Rogue’s Conquest, in the hopes of finding it to be an equally satisfying and enjoyable read.

As is shown by my grade, that wasn’t quite the case. I didn’t dislike the story, but I didn’t really warm to either of the leads and never felt there was a strong romantic connection between them. The pacing is off, too, with most of the emotional weight of the story coming well into the second half, and I suspect that wasn’t helped by the fact that the book is quite short – something between a long novella and a short novel. The protagonists and their relationship are not given time to properly develop, plus, when it’s time for the hero to admit his perspective has been completely wrong, he is able to shed the beliefs and ambitions he’s held for pretty much all his life in less time than it takes to blink the proverbial eye.

With their brother, the Earl of Arden, now happily married and residing with his wife at his remote castle in the highlands, his siblings Robert, Eleanor and Georgina, have removed to Edinburgh. As close relations of an earl, they move in good society but Eleanor isn’t very interested in that; she is more concerned with the societal habits of insects – specifically, beetles – than the societal habits of humans. She has written several papers on entomology which have been published by the Natural History Society and has been invited to give a lecture – but of course, the society does not allow women members and Eleanor had to present her work as that of a man – Cecil Townsend – rather than as herself.

Robert and Georgiana know how important Eleanor’s work is to her, and surprisingly, Georgiana encourages Eleanor to give her lecture in disguise; people see what they expect to see, and with Eleanor being tall for a woman, it should be quite easy for her to pass as Cecil with a few props and if she can alter her voice sufficiently.

Eleanor, who is reserved and somewhat awkward around people can’t believe she’s considering doing such a scandalous thing – if she’s ever discovered, she will be ruined and so, by extension, will Georgina – but with the encouragement of both siblings she gives the lecture with great success.

It’s afterwards that her problems begin, however. One of the attendees, a man named James MacGregor who looks more like a prizefighter than a scientist, somehow sees through Eleanor’s disguise when nobody else has, and offers her a deal. He won’t reveal she’s a woman if she will gain him an entrée to her circle and introduce him to Lady Sarah, the daughter of the Earl of Lark.

While big, brawny, good-looking and the owner of a fairly successful boxing saloon, James has an inferiority complex the size of Scotland. He’s the bastard son of the Duke of Sheffield, who has made it abundantly clear to James that he despises him and wants nothing to do with him, and yet James allows his father’s disdain to rule his life. He wants to meet Lady Sarah because he believes that if he can court her and marry her, then he will have shown the Duke that he isn’t a failure and is worth something after all. As Eleanor realises later in the book, James “was bending over backward to fit into a Society that didn’t want him, to prove himself to a man who’d abandoned him.” And he’s been doing it practically all his life.

Unwilling to risk exposure, Eleanor agrees to do as James asks, and over the ensuing days and weeks, she introduces him around and eventually makes him known to Lady Sarah. While not a gentlemen born and bred, James acquits himself well, and although their relationship might not have begun under the most auspicious of circumstances, Eleanor starts to think of James as a friend… and then as something more than a friend. He’s the one person who really sees beyond the socially awkward wallflower to the stubborn, dedicated woman Eleanor really is, and she comes out of her shell when she’s with him. But although Eleanor suspects that James has become fond of her, too, he’s still set on marrying another woman purely because he wants to gain the approval he can’t accept that his father is never going to give.

The book is well written and I enjoyed the snarky conversations between James and Eleanor, but ultimately, they’re fairly one-note characters, especially James, who is suffering from a severe case of tunnel vision. The premise also requires rather a large suspension of disbelief concerning Eleanor’s masquerade as Cecil – a wig, a pair of glasses, men’s clothing and bound breasts seems to be all it takes to be taken for a chap – and it’s also remarkably easy for James, a man who works for his living, to be accepted into the social circles in which the Townsends move.

Had The Rogue’s Conquest been longer, I am sure that Ms. Maxton could have smoothed out those wrinkles, spent time creating more fully-rounded personalities for her principals and then in developing a stronger, more emotionally satisfying romance between them. As it stands, the book is a bit of a missed opportunity. There’s some great material here when it comes to Eleanor’s desire to be taken seriously as a scientist and in James’ needing to learn what’s really important and what isn’t, but it all needed a longer page-count to be properly wrought together into a stronger, more cohesive whole.

Grade: C+ / 3.5 stars

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