Cover Image: Her First Desire

Her First Desire

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Member Reviews

About the Book:
In Her First Desire, the widowed Gemma is relying on the cheap charity of her husband's relatives after the man himself and her entire family dies. When she discovers a stolen letter in her brother-in-law's desk dated back several months announcing the death of her last blood relative—an uncle—she decides to pursue her own freedom and claiming his small-town tavern. 

Gemma's efforts, encouraged by the women of the town tired of being excluded from "men's" spaces, are threatened by the town doctor and leader of the Logical Men's Society, a once revered bachelor's group turned into a drinking club headquartered at the tavern.

The Good:
Maxwell's second novel in the series is quite enjoyable, even for someone who has not read the first. I enjoyed seeing women banding together to fight patriarchal social orders, not overly encumbered by a not-like-other-girls attitude. While Gemma is clearly the main character, well-respected, ambitious, and "ethereal" in her beauty, she is not any better than the other village women. In fact, she relies on them as her allies and confidants, wholly aware she would have failed miserably without them.

The Bad:
Then men in this book are awful. Their sexist views are proudly shared unchallenged by most everyone, clearly stating over and over again that a woman should never have any right to property, even when she is heir-apparent to the deceased. In their drunken, lackadaisical, offensive manner, the Logical Men's Society resorts to disturbingly childish, and even violent, attempts to get their petty way.

The romantic hero is of course the ringleader of the group, though he claims he abhors his friends' actions, he does little to stop them except saying, "Hey! That's not very gentlemanly."

Finally, the ending was rushed, with a sudden and vague wedding which somehow is now accepted by the townsfolk, against all reason presented earlier in the book.

Who Will Like This Book:
This book is an enjoyable if not overly-exciting read for historical romance readers. It is not going to be your favorite mass-market of all time, but it is certainly enjoyable and worth finishing once begun.

Other notes: The e-book I received is an unfinished proof and may not be identical to the published product. One error I would like the publisher to fix is Thurlowe's early acknowledgement that Gemma held a letter of proof, when later on he is shocked by this revelation.
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Ned had a lot to makeup for in my eyes in order to redeem himself. She was horrible to Gemma in the beginning and not very nice to the other ladies either. I am happy to say that he did redeem himself greatly.
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This is an awesome book from the beginning. It's a funny story in the beginning and a poignant one towards the end.
Ned and Gamma make incredible adversaries and e an better lovers.
Cathy Maxwell crafts an incredible story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Her First Desire is the second in the Logical Man's Guide to Dangerous Women series and I have been anxiously awaiting it's arrival since reading the first book in the series. Cathy Maxwell's characters loop you in from the beginning and you are sad to see the characters go at the close of the book. Wonderfully complex and compelling characters and storyline. You'll fall in love with the whole town too. Can't wait for book three.
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Give this one a pass. This novel was out of place and time with most of the character attitudes and thoughts. I really struggled with such modern day rhetoric in a novel set in early 1800s. I struggled so much that I skimmed the entire thing and I don’t feel like I missed a thing. 

I was provided with an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Such a different story. Cathy makes such endearing characters that make you laugh and want to cry. I loved these two characters and their quarrels.
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This book is very much a battle of the sexes.  Pretty literally.  All of the men and women in the book  - except for maybe Brandon and Kate (from the prior book in the series) are very much at odds with each other.  Both sides believe they know better and both sides have decidedly flawed views as well.  

Ned is a physician who is the illegitimate son of an earl and a very famous courtesan.  He is pretty rigid in his beliefs and thought processes.  He doesn't trust anyone - particularly women.  Very few women in his life have given him a reason to trust - and he hasn't felt an emotional connection to any of them.  He is engaged to a truly sweet woman who has had a hard life - not because he loves her or even wants to marry her but because she needs someone to help her.  When Gemma comes to town and threatens his stable orderly life - he is immediately threatened by her in almost every possible way - from her talent for making herbal remedies to her immediate acceptance by the town to her claimed ownership of the building where his society meets.  His fiery reaction to her equates to a passionate emotional response.

Gemma responds in kind - she is in a desperate situation and the Garland and the small town is her only chance towards building a life.  She has been badly treated by all the men in her life except for her now deceased uncle.  She is predisposed to think badly of Ned and his behavior doesn't exactly help things.  

In reading this book you have to be prepared for a long, antagonistic battle between Gemma and Ned.  I think the author did a really good job of letting each of them learn and grow - finding that men and women aren't all one way or the other and not all bad or good.  I also appreciated the friendships that Ned had - and how they didn't just tell each other what they wanted to hear or blindly support each other.  I'd be very interested in reading Marsden's book in particular!

Overall - I recommend - but you have to be in the right frame of mind to read an enemies to lovers book!

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.
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3.5 stars rounded up to 4. I was very excited to get this ARC as I have read almost all of Cathy Maxwell’s books. I did struggle initially to get into the book because the first chapter or so setting up Gemma’s backstory was so harsh that I was worried that this wasn’t going to be the fun romp I was expecting. Once Gemma got to Maidenshop (which honestly didn’t take that long) the story turned into more of what I was expecting.

I liked Gemma a lot. I found her smart, capable, charming, and quite the feminist. I struggled with Ned. I get that he was meant to be an alpha-type hero, but I grew soooo tired of his blatant sexism. I appreciate that when he was called out for it he acknowledged his biases and tried to change his ways, but to me by that point he had crossed over into the land of incels of which there is no escape. (I do admit that my opinion of Ned was probably a bit tainted by the fact I read most if it immediately after reading The Rommate which has a cinnamon roll super feminist hero.)

I also struggled with the fact that there was almost no relationship development. They had an instant attraction while hating each other and continued to hate each other for 75% of the book. Then out of nowhere (again like 75% of the way through) he kissed her was saying he loved her, when they literally had not had a single civil conversation at that point.

Maidenshop is filled with a wonderful array of secondary characters. Everyone was so distinctive and it really felt like I was immersed into a real world filled with real people. The book would not have been the same without these characters. They kept me engaged, brought humor, and quite amazingly for a historical romance only a couple of them were titled. Honestly I think they probably saved the book for me. I will be very happy to see almost any of them again in future books in this series.

I really really liked the first in the series and overall enjoyed this one as well. Kate and Bran from the first book are present for part of this book and play a big role in helping Gemma and Ned get together. I am very much looking to the third book (which I really really hope is about Clarissa and Mars).

Trigger Warnings (sorry some of these contain spoilers): Cheating (Ned is engaged to someone else for 97% of the book, if that is not your thing, you’ve been forewarned). Child loss (discussed but happens before the story starts). Drug use (a side character frequenting opium dens is discussed but happens off page, and he will likely be the hero of another book in the series).

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Ned is the local doctor and the chair of the Logical Men’s Society, open to bachelors and widowers only- no trace of women at all, not even as wives. A bit misogynistic! Gemma is a widow with no money, forced to live life as an unpaid maid and companion to relatives in exchange for a home. She comes to town after learning that her uncle has died and he left her a tavern in the little town of Maidenshop. Ned and Gemma are immediately at odds over the ownership off the tavern as the Logical Men’s Society meets there and has taken over the tavern since her uncles death. Gemma wishes to turn it in to a tea shop of all things. They are further at odds because Gemma is a natural healer while he, a man of science and learning, is a physician. But they have an instant attraction and as they come to work together, especially on women’s health issues, they come to admire one another. However Ned is betrothed to the village orphan, Clarissa a wonderful woman and a friend to Gemma.  
Ending was a bit abrupt: At a Logical Men’s Society event Clarissa makes the announcement that she will not to marry Ned, Ned and Gemma are at their wedding, and it is revealed that Clarissa already has a position as a companion. It isn’t clear how that could all happen in a day or two. Still the characters were engaging and well written. I would recommend this book as a 3.5- 4.
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Cathy Maxwell is an author you can always depend on the deliver a wonderful, feel-good-to-your-toes, heart warming tale. This story is no exception.
The heroine is one who has had great suffering and loneliness. She had a horrible husband, detestable in-laws, and still has hope and perseverance. She travels to inherit her uncle's tavern in a small town. The hero is the local doctor of that town, who has taken over the tavern because that is where his gentleman's club has been meeting for decades. He is engaged, by default, to a local.orphan, but he has been putting off the wedding for two years. The heroine arrives in town and the first meeting is chilling. It becomes a war of the tavern and a war of the sexes over who will run the village. 
The characters that are depicted all blend seamlessly into a lively village. The description of the village and people make the reader feel as if they took a big step into the authors mind. The book reads like a movie. I enjoyed reading the details of village life and how everyone twists and turns with each other. It is as if they are a big family and will support each other even when there are disagreements. The heroine is also a healer who learned from her grandmother and the doctor also feels that this is magic and not science.  He has a lot to learn.
I recommend this story with 5 stars. All of Ms. Maxwell's stories are timeless. I have 3 of her books on my keeper shelf and will probably add this one.
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I had to request this book because I love Cathy Maxwell and this one did not disappoint in the least. Thankful to NetGalley for allowing me to read this novel.
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Thanks to Netgalley.  This book was given to me as a arc in return for a honest review. These are my thoughts and honest opinion.

Trope: enemies to lover/second chance at love. This is Installment #2 in the series: A logical Man's Guide to Dangerous Woman. But can also be read as a standalone. 

I loved the idea that the main characters and the most of the surrounding characters were normal everyday people with no titles. This is the first time reading something like this and I thought it was unique and quite refreshing. 

Her First Desire is about Gemma and Ned. Gemma is widowed, and when her late husband passed on, her greedy brother in law claims all of the properties, money, including her widows portion. Her late husband was a drunken-scoundrel, irresponsible man. When he died he left no will and she lost everything.  Ned was born on the wrong side. His mother was a famous courtesan, and his father a earl. His poor background doesn't define who he is. He's very educated, smart, a handsome man, and is the towns doctor. 

Gemma brother in law treats her pretty bad Shes treated more like a servant than a family member.  One day she finds a opened letter from a Reverend informing her of her uncle's death. The letter was 3 months old, intentionally hidden from her, & that was the last straw. She's finally had enough and decides to leave. She travels to lay claim to her uncles tavern. The problem is Ned has already claimed it for himself. They both challenge eachother in front of the law and she wins. 

Anyways When they first meet, there's instant attraction between the two. Though they both dislike eachother and bicker back and forth and because of that they both unknowingly form a strong bond.  You can definitely feel an aurora of heat that they both try to fight off but can't let go. They both try to go their separate ways but the heart want what the heart wants. The problem is he's already engaged to another but he's only marrying her out of pity.  Gemma also feels horrible for coming in between them. One reason is because her dead husband treated her horriblely, and she doesn't want the other woman to feel the pain she's dealt with. Ned also decides to honor his words and go through with the unwanted marriage but the other woman catches Ned and Gemma kissing. She forgives him at first but later calls off the wedding. Finally Gemma and Ned are free to be with eachother. 

This book takes place in England but felt more  like a western to me. The dialect and the atmosphere didn't help either. Instead of london 1815...it was more like California 1815.  I also felt that there was no relationship build up between Ned/Gemma. Their relationship felt too rushed and after one kiss there was already a claim of love. The steam was on the lower side, and the sex happened  unexpectedly and too fast. No romantic background, tension, or exciting setting.  It just happened with very limited details. 

Again these are my own thoughts, and mine alone. I want to encourage everyone to give this book a chance. You might feel differently from what I did.
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