Cover Image: Once a Fallen Lady

Once a Fallen Lady

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Member Reviews

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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The author wrote a great read, as the characters were well developed and the historical setting was accurately portrayed.  I thought that polio being part of the plot was brilliant on the author's part, as it is rare to see it featured in a book, let alone having a female inflicted.  The romance was realistically portrayed, as well.  Overall, this is a great read!
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Sweet and sexy novella about working class people in Victorian England. I’ve made a pledge to read more books about people in the working class because honestly I’m starting to get bored of all the dukes and duchesses etc. 

Alfred is a school teacher and Lydia has a farm and her daughter is illegitimate. She gets sick with polio and Alfred visits every day bringing books and sweets and the two become sweet on each other. 

This is the first Eve Pendle I’ve read but it certainly won’t be the last.
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Once a Fallen Lady is a gripping tale of love and heartbreak that pulls you in and leaves you wanting even more story! Can not wait for the next book to be published!
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Falling and having to pull herself out of the mud made Lydia Taylor’s first introduction to Alfred Lowe humiliating, but it doesn’t matter, Lydia’s experience with men has not been the best and handsome men such as Alfred are bound to give her nothing but heartache. Bad choices and reckless behavior in her youth, left Lydia ruined and forced to live a lie. But enduring all the pain and heartbreak was worth it because it gave her daughter Annie. She will ignore the handsome teacher and just concentrate on making Annie’s life as good as possible, which means keeping her secrets.

Alfred Lowe has admired Lydia for years, but he has kept his distance, Lydia is lovely and Alfred is nervous around her. But when Annie misses school he feels it is his duty to check on her. He goes to their cottage and finds a very upset Lydia. It is clear she needs a doctor for Annie but can’t afford one, so Alfred intervenes with the local Squire and has a doctor sent. The news is not good, Annie has polio and her prognosis is uncertain. Alfred becomes a pillar of strength for Lydia and soon she is wishing that things could be different. 

Alfred has long dreamed of opening a school of his own, but without a rich wife to help him achieve it, a dream is all it will ever be, because he is sure Lydia is the woman he wants to spend his life with and it is painfully clear that she has no money. As he spends more time with Lydia, she slowly begins to trust him and feelings deepen, but she refuses to consider marriage and it isn’t until she shares her darkest secret that he understands why - but there must be a way! 

I loved this story, it was a well written, emotional tale that sucked me in from the first page and kept me flipping pages until the last word was read. I loved Alfred, he might be a beta hero, but OMG he is just perfect. Lydia is also wonderful and with everything she has endured, my heart just broke for her. The story has a lot going on, but the focus stays on the budding relationship between Lydia and Alfred, the story is filled with so much emotion, both happy and sad, chickens, a shady land agent, stolen kisses, secrets and finally a very satisfying HEA. If you read “Falling for a Rake” you already met Lydia, Alfred and Annie and if you didn’t you are going to want to read it after you finish this book  - the two books are connected, but they can definitely be read as stand-alone titles.
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•Virgin Radical Hero
•Fallen woman
•friends to lovers
•Historical romance about the lower classes? I'm in!
•comfort read
•Low angst 
•Lots of books, chocolates and love!

I'm tired of reading the same story over and over again and I thought that I had lost my love for historical romance because all the books that I tried to read last year ended up being a disappointment. I'm tired of Dukes/Rakes and white feminists. 

Although both of the main characters of this novella are white, they are from the lower classes and that was a breath of fresh air. 

This novella is "low angst" but I found something inherently sad about the fact that they can't marry because they're poor. Alfred is a teacher and he would like to open up his own school but he doesn't have the means to so it would be better for him to marry a woman with a good dowry instead of Lydia. 

This novella reminded me why I love historical romance so much and it also reminded me of my favorites Courtney Milan's books, and as far as compliments go, this is the best compliment I can give to someone writing historical romance.

The only thing that I didn't like was the fact that everything ended up happily and it was a bit over the top but I knew this was going to be a low angst novella so it was expected.

A heartwarming novella about two normal people falling in love because the lower classes also deserve their happy ending. I would definitely recomend it to everyone who loves historical romance but want to read something DIFFERENT and REFRESHING.

And last but not least the hero is a virgin and a radical!
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As the crisis of Annie Taylor's illness deepens, Alfred woos Lydia, her mother with chocolate, savory pies, flowers, and novels. But the past creeps into the present, casting a long shadow. They must choose whether they can love, despite the risk to everything they've ever wanted.
I have read two other books by this author and although I found both to be OK reads I was unsure if I would want to read another.
If this had been the first book I read by this author I would have jumped at the chance to read more.
This is the best I have read by her. If all of her books were of this quality she would be a favorite on my list.
I gave this book 4.75 of 5.0 stars.
I received a complimentary ARC of this book to read. This in no way affected my opinion of this title which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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You know when you find a new favourite author and you immediately have to devour everything they’ve ever written? That was me last year, discovering Eve Pendle. As such, I’ve been waiting impatiently for this book ever since.

Once a Fallen Lady is about Lydia Taylor, a “widow”, who lives in a small village with her daughter Annie. When Annie falls ill, her teacher, Alfred Lowe, comes to help out, drawn to Lydia for reasons he doesn’t quite know. Alfred supports Lydia throughout Annie’s illness and they follow that usual romance trope of falling in love (complete with the slowburn).

Hands down the best part of Eve Pendle’s books is always the characters, and that’s no different here. Lydia is a single mother just wanting a good life for her child, after being cast out by her family, and Alfred is the complete opposite of the somewhat prevalent “alpha male dickhead” trope (not that that can’t be done well, it just gets tiring after a bit). All both of them are trying to do is their best, and I love them for it. I also love how, when Lydia rejects Alfred, he doesn’t push her into something she feels uncomfortable with. He’s always happy to let her set the boundaries (more of this in romances please).

And then there’s the slowburn! Granted, it’s sort of less of one here, because it’s a novella after all, but still. In that short time, Pendle succeeds in slowly ratcheting up the tension until you’re begging for them to get together. Which is, let’s be honest, pretty much the perfect sort of romance.

So, really, what I’m driving at here is that I desperately need you all to read this. Like, right now.
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Lots of stuff to like in the latest from Eve Pendle: great consent, recognition that there weren't only white people in Victorian England, and a tightly written story with relatively low angst for the relationship (though high in other respects). What I would have like to have seen more of was Lydia's progression from deep shame to accepting her sexuality again--for someone who had clearly internalized her shame, the walk back needed to be a bit more gradual. Pendle has a fabulous histrom voice, and she writes with empathy--you feel the injustice of Lydia's plight and how desperate her situation is, and I now kinda retroactively hate the hero of her previous book for leaving Lydia and her daughter in poverty, even if he did provide some kind of help and eventually redeem himself. (Read Falling for a Rake before this one!)
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If you are a romantic, you’ll enjoy this novel!   A story of a school teacher who fell for student’s mother, but the mother had a hidden secret.  Illness  brings stress, heartache, and an poverty to this family but that did not stop the love or lust that was building in this couple.  A mother’s love for her daughter as she kept her secret hidden for many years caused so many heartaches and will keep the readers wondering if the day will come when all is revealed.
#Net Galley
#Once a Fallen Lady
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