Cover Image: Once a Fallen Lady

Once a Fallen Lady

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Member Reviews

If you are looking for a book that will give you all the warm and fuzzies, LOOK NO MORE! This is the book for you. True love that keeps you yearning for more. **This does involve a child with an Illness **
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I loved this historical romance.  It was quite a short read but the storyline and characters were believable and soon had me gripped with their lives.  I would recommend this book.
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Historical romances centered on working or middle class characters are rare, and it's rarer still to find a story that is attentive to the responsibilities and realities of daily life: cooking, cleaning, looking after animals and caring for family. In this respect Once a Fallen Lady stands out from the crowd.  

Lydia Taylor is living as a respectable widow with her young daughter Annie in an out-of-the-way village, scrimping and saving her small income to keep a roof over their heads.  We first meet her hurrying Annie to school, late and racing through the mud and rain. Within sight of the gates she trips and crashes to the ground, face down in the street, at the feet of Alfred Lowe, the new school teacher.  He offers her his hand to rise but she refuses it, sure that nothing good can come of getting close to handsome young men.  It isn't an auspicious meeting, but it's a memorable one, and sets the tenor of their relationship: Lydia, proud and determined to maintain her independence, Alfred, a proper and sternly solicitous gentleman.  It was a vivid and compelling opening and seemed to bode well for this long novella.

But unfortunately I didn't like what came after half as well.  Two years later, with nothing but polite parent-teacher interactions in the interim, Mr Lowe and Lydia are thrown together when Annie becomes dangerously ill.  The circle of protection that Lydia has built around her little family is breached and she is forced to rely on Alfred's kindness to cope; by doing so she risks revealing the secret she has kept so carefully, and to the very last person she wants to confide in. What follows is a sweet rapid low heat romance, full of period detail and moments of care, which I enjoyed. But. But it's rather awkwardly wrapped in not one but two sensationalist angsty plots, replete with villains to be vanquished, which made it difficult to settle into the relationship at the heart of the story. The mixture of homely domesticity and tentative care, with nefarious secrets straight from Mary Elizabeth Braddon, never quite gelled together. The short length meant that there wasn't space to develop both strands properly, and as a result both suffered.  

While the book has some lovely, beautifully rendered moments - that first kiss! - other elements jarred, in particular the way Annie is used in the story and the ultimate resolution of Lydia's secret.  I understand that to some extent my problem with the latter may be because I haven't read the previous book, but even accounting for this the ending didn't sit well with me.
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This was a book that I enjoyed reading. It had a good storyline about a woman who is caring for her daughter who gets polio. She has hardly any money but her family are rich and had disowned her when she had her daughter. The story keeps you interested and you want to know if they if they all become a family again. There is a happy ending .
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Very well written. The storyline was so enticing that there is no surprise and the author sucks you in. Such sexy and sweet romance of a story.
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This was a historical romance about a women who felt she didn’t deserve anyone of status because of her past. Then along comes Prince Charming who looked like an unlikely suitor. 
There was lots of lust and some romance. It was a quick read, a novella that I felt should have been longer. But of course I always say that. 
This was a Netgalley book and I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Once upon a time, Lydia Taylor was a respectable young woman who aspired to marry an earl. That was a long time ago, though, and the balls, parties and pretty gowns belonged to another life… one where she wasn’t a single mother desperate to conceal the fact that she’s not really a widow, for her daughter’s sake. Living in poverty and gouged by an unscrupulous rent collector, when Annie falls ill she’s at her wits’ end until Annie’s schoolteacher appears on her doorstep with an entirely unlooked-for offer of help.

Eve Pendle writes her characters so well, such that Lydia’s fear makes absolute logical sense. There are no contrived leaps of logic here for the sake of the plot; Lydia’s fears are very real and the risks she must take have to be carefully weighed, every decision taken with the full awareness that she might be jeopardising everything she holds dear. Alfred isn’t operating with all the relevant operation for most of the book, but he immediately grasps the magnitude of the problem once Lydia tells him the truth.

Alfred’s a decent man, but also somewhat of an ambitious one. He had a dream of opening a school, but it’s an entirely unattainable dream unless he can marry a woman with money. A penniless widow with a child of her own definitely doesn’t fit the bill… and yet he can’t walk away, because there’s something about Lydia which calls him. Her pride, her quiet desperation, her determination; she’s very compelling.

I won’t spoil how it all resolves for the pair, but be assured that this is a romance and there is a happy ending. One of the villains of the book turns out not so villainous in the end, though I admit the grovel wasn’t quite as abject as I would have liked. Something I did very much enjoy was that not all the characters were lily-white; Sir Thomas, the major landowner of the area, is a Black man who made a fortune importing guano from the Caribbean, and his daughter makes an appearance late in the book - for just long enough for me to hope she gets her own story soon!

Five stars for an excellent Victorian romance about two ‘average’ people - a pleasant change from infinite dukes and earls.
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I received an advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sexy short romantic fun. Very enjoyable pleasure reading
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Once a Fallen Lady by Eve Pendle is a nice, sweet romance. It is written nicely and i enjoyed the characters. Lydia the MC, is a woman who had a child out of wedlock and went to many lengths to cover it up, even so far as letting her parents think she was dead. She meets a lovely gentleman who falls for her immediately. He is a teacher of her daughter Annie and she falls ill with polio. He makes everyday visits to check on the child and eventually romance ensures with Lydia.

This was a fun PG13 book which I enjoyed. Not a long book though, only 180 pages.

Thank you so much to #NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy to review.
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Once a Fallen Lady is a surprisingly well-developed and well-paced historical romance novella. I really enjoyed this and would seek out more by this author. If you are looking for something short and satisfying, this is a great pick.

Lydia Taylor is raising a 10-year-old daughter and living on the brink of poverty. Her secret is that she is a ruined woman and her daughter is a bastard child. But when the child falls seriously ill, she develops a sweet relationship with the local school teacher.

I thought the romance her was very sweet and enjoyable. The hero is definitely a beta-type and I was all for it. He brings her books and chocolate and is so incredibly sweet with the daughter. Lovely and well-executed. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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A well written historical romance.  Good plot and lovable characters.  Fans of historical romance will enjoy this book.  I received an arc from the publisher and this is my unbiased review.
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I really enjoyed this historical romance novel, i don' t likd the cover as it doesn't match the time period.
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With secrets looming between them, does their growing attraction stand a chance ....

This book is such a lovely tale of acceptance and letting the past go.
Lydia has lived a makeshift life for now ten years, one forged under duress and deceit with no other choice than living a make-believe new life far away from her previous one. Society was so unforgiving for those who have fallen to hold to the appearance of perfection.
She has been a spoiled girl, but she was just that a girl when her life was turned upside down. Since she had to come of age much faster than she should have.
Despite her shame, she is still a prideful woman, she learned from her mistakes, flawed she is but willing to do her best for her daughter.
Alfred is a dream comes alive, a really to good and caring to be true man. Honorable, nonjudgmental, steadfast and loyal. Still he will need all his determination and perseverance to break through Lydia’s walls. 
He has his own dreams but because of his own rightness and honesty, it costed him to have to put them aside.
I rooted for him, hurting with him when he felt rejected, cheering when he sees hope in his wooing, happy when she opens her heart to him.
I loved how despite his shyness, he slowly entering Lydia’s home, to become a pillar on whom she can rely, the one person she can trust with her secrets and who will stand for her.

5 stars for this awesome tale of one’s worth is in the eyes of those who love you.

I received an advance copy and ordered my own. Here is my true and unbiased opinion.
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3.75/5. This is a gentle love story between a village school teacher, Alfred Lowe, and the widowed mother of one his students, Lydia Taylor. Lydia is struggling to provide for herself and her young daughter financially. Their circumstances only worsen when Annie falls seriously ill. Alfred, the diligent teacher that he is, comes a calling to offer his assistance. Of course it would be all too cynical (and accurate) to think that Lydia's beauty might be a motivator for his kind attentions. But Alfred, though not quite borderline indigent like Lydia, is not exactly swimming in money what with his modest income and his ambitions that require every one of his hard-earned pennies to bring to fruition. In addition, Lydia - it turns out - is no widow. This is not a spoiler, given the title, but it adds to her shame and the hopelessness of any romance between them. Still the heart wants what it wants and love conquers all in the end. That and a cart load of money!

I really didn't like the ending. So many inconsistencies started to develop in the story and the ending was unrealistic and unsatisfying. *spoilers* I wanted the solution to their dilemma to be resolved by the protagonists and not by a monetary grant from the villain of the story. It feels like tainted money and all was forgiven too quickly, not to mention that fifty thousand pounds was an insane amount of money in those days. Markshall knew where they were for years and yet allowed them to live in poverty and now decides to step in after Annie has already recovered to hand over a fortune. Furthermore, Markshall showed hunger to see Annie when he entered the house, yet was happy to leave - once he had handed over his guilt money - without organising to see her again. In addition, considering Lydia's concern about keeping her reputation spotless, they were pretty indiscreet with Alfred visiting her daily and running errands for her and them taking walks together surely would have generated gossips in a small village. I also didn't understand why she turned Alfred's proposal down while allowing her daughter to call him papa.  

Still, rounded up because I like the writing style, the authentic feel of the story and the language.
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I enjoyed this book and read it through in one sitting. It was nicely written, but there was an odd typo in the eARC, which I assume will be corrected. Set in 1875 England and for once there wasn't a Duke in sight! (which I liked) Lydia is a very poor unmarried mother, pretending to be a widow and Alfred (swoon-worthy) - also quite poor, is the local schoolteacher. He's been taken with her since they met two years before and when Lydia's daughter Annie becomes sick, he starts calling with pies, sweets, chocolates and books. This is a story about poverty, morals and family and I liked the small town setting.

Their romance is slow burn for most of the story while then it becomes steamier in the latter half. Everything is a bit too conveniently and neatly wrapped up at the end, but this is fiction and a romance, after all. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC. 3.5 stars. I'm intending to read more from this author.
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This book was written beautifully, and the story of gripping. The pages just fly by and you dont want it to end. You want to continue with the characters even after the story is over.
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I loved the balance between the "tragic" parts and the moments where Lydia and Alfred simply enjoyed their company.
Both share lots of similar thoughts and I love how easily they are getting along - despite Lydia's hesitancy regarding Alfred's courting - which is more than understandable based on her hurtful past

This book has many elements that makes it to a solid page turner & puts you on the edge of your seats.
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I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Eve Pendle is a new-to-me author, but we have talked a bit on Twitter, and I was struck by the blurb of this book when I saw it, and how it stood out from a lot of what is being published in historical romance right now. While there are some familiar elements, they happen to be some of my favorite things: the cinnamon roll hero and the heroine “ruined” due to the double standards set by society, as well as its overwhelming class snobbery.

Alfred…what a dreamy hero. He’s a schoolteacher, while things between him and Lydia do start off on an awkward note, things develop in a wonderful way, with his feelings for her growing, while she’s more reluctant to fall in love, due to how she’s been hurt in the past. His tenderness toward her is wonderful, while also not pushing her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

I truly felt for Lydia, and rooted for her, both as the circumstances that led to her present situation were revealed and observing her dedication to her daughter, who has polio. Writing the character of someone with a disability, as well as their caregiver, can be complicated, but I love that Pendle makes this story one of optimism, and a fairly good representation of a family where one of its members has a disability.

This novella is absolutely wonderful. Great characters with absolutely wonderful romantic arc, with depth and complexity in spite of its novella length. I recommend this to all lovers of historical romance.
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for access to this arc. 

Since I hadn’t read the first book, I had no idea who Oscar was, if he would be in this story or how he would be portrayed if he did appear. I actually liked it this way as I could concentrate on our heroine Lydia and bask in my anger at how she’d been treated by this ass in her past.

I really liked how Lydia viewed her past in terms of a set of three pennies prints – I would assume something like the previous century’s Hogarth prints – that would show the seduction and ruin of a young woman of good moral character and the awful fate that would follow this.

At first when Alfred started to visit Lydia’s household, I thought the neighbors would just think it was the teacher checking up on Annie. As it continued though, I couldn’t help but begin to think that they’d start to wonder what was going on. The whole “this is not a courtship” thing was ridiculous for Lydia to insist on as she would probably have been thought worse of if people hadn’t thought Alfred was courting her.

When I finished the story I couldn’t help but feel Alfred was a bit too perfect. He never looked down on Lydia for what she did or on Annie for being illegitimate. He freely spent money on not just survival food but on chocolates and other candies as well as shelling out for several new books for Lydia and Annie despite it being brought up more than once that his salary was low. Then he is thrilled that Lydia lays a kiss on him and goes on to sexually pleasure Lydia. His views on education are enlightened and he feels protective of Lydia and Annie in the face of who comes to see them. Did he have any flaws? At all?

I wondered how Oscar knew about Annie’s illness. Once things were explained, the telegrams sent earlier made me say “Oh, yeah. That’s how he would know.” But this also raised an issue for me in how weird it felt for Lydia that Oscar had apparently known of where she and Annie were for some time. It also made me furious at Oscar that he would have known how much Lydia was struggling to provide for this child and that HE DID NOTHING. I wanted to slap him then. Even if it took him awhile, he still had known where they were and the conditions under which they were living for quite some time and left them to live on egg money and what Lydia was getting from her sister. Deposits in a bank are all fine well and good but those did nothing for Lydia or Annie right then. If he hired a detective to find them then Oscar could have hired a lawyer to approach Lydia and hand over the money so she and his daughter could move and set up a middle-class household elsewhere. I still want to slug him. Hard.

 I’m sorry but the whole family reunion thing was too easy. True Lydia’s parents had thought her dead so naturally they wouldn’t have stepped forward to offer help during the past ten years but her father had cast her out. Now he says “sorry” and gets a hug? I hate to say that the second half of the book felt like a letdown. All these issues and struggles that Lydia has bravely dealt with are seemingly swept away by twue lurve and lots of money. It felt very fairy tale which didn’t match with the opening part of the book. Honestly, I had wanted Alfred and Lydia to achieve their goals and dreams by themselves. On the other hand, once the money was on the table, I didn’t want them to turn it down as boy, did Lydia and Annie deserve it by then. Yes, I’m contrary.
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This was a really sweet read that you can almost feel the cosiness radiating off! Lydia and Alfred were a really sweet couple, and he in particular seemed just genuinely nice and selfless. It was a change for me to read historical romance not focused on the aristocracy, and I really liked that it took a different direction from the usual social whirl of high society. Instead, the characters get plenty of quiet moments to make a friendly connection before they fall in love. I always enjoy Eve Pendle's books, and this is no exception.
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