In the middle of a duel the Duke of Tresham is distracted by a woman yelling at the participants to stop. In his distraction the Duke ends up being shot in the leg. He blames the woman and summons her to him so he can make sure she knows it. He's surprised when she doesn't give ground and admit she was wrong. Believing it is her fault he ends up detaining her to help him which ends up making her late for work. When Jane tries to explain the circumstances to her boss the woman says she won't believe her unless she has a signed note from the Duke. Jane refuses to let the Duke off the hook for making her lose her job and goes to his house to acquire the note.
The Duke is amazed by her gall and ends up hiring her as his nurse to entertain him after the doctor says he must stay abed for three weeks. Jane agrees because what choice does she have? She doesn't want to starve. They both agree it will be temporary until he's back on his feet. While she plays the nurse the Duke amuses himself by picking at her. He likes that she never backs down. When he demands she show him respect and address him as "your grace" she demands the courtesy right back and will only let him call her Miss Ingleby. Every time he pushes her on something she stands her ground and pushes him right back.
Slowly the two realize their attraction to each other and try to fight the feelings. They both know it can't go anywhere. The Duke, Jocelyn, refuses to seduce a servant under his protection and Jane has secrets that she is reluctant to admit. When Jane tells Jocelyn that it is time for her to go he ends up offering her the position of his mistress. Jane realizes she'll be in a better position to hide her secrets if she accepts, and truthfully she doesn't want to leave him. What follows is a beautiful tale of friendship and love. Even though the road is rocky until the end they both couldn't be happier when they are finally together.
I loved the fact that friendship between Jocelyn and Jane was so important to this story. It was nice to see that they didn't just love each other. They actually liked the person inside too. Often I'll read stories where the hero and heroine love each other but it seems like they can't help it. They never seem to really like each other and want to be friends. It was very refreshing. I also really liked Jocelyn's habit of saying the total opposite of how he felt when he was vulnerable. When he turned haughty and tried to put distance between them she knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it. It was fun to see him scramble to regain his Duke persona when he felt his feelings overtaking him.
The contract was an interesting piece of the story. It was also a very smart move on Jane's part. I liked that she tried to hide their emerging relationship behind the contract. It was nice to see Jocelyn be the one uncertain of Jane's feelings. Did she really want him or was it only because she knew he wanted her? Why was she so ashamed of him? Watching him try to work through insecurities like that without revealing how much it meant to him was sweet.
I really liked the very last chapter. Watching how the status of their relationship was revealed made me smile. One thing I didn't like was the end of the chapter just before that. I was really confused. When Jane admits something really important to Jocelyn and he's says that it changes everything the chapter just ends. What happened there? Did he pressure her? It's very frustrating. If anyone cares to explain it feel free to leave a comment.
Other than that slight confusion I loved the book.
At times overly dramatic, MORE THAN A MISTRESS is nevertheless one of the most impressive historical romances I have ever read. Character development is sensational, the romance is sensual and believable, and overall the whole story is simply unforgettable.
I absolutely adored how there wasnt insta-love/lust/attraction between Jane and Tresham. Instead, both of them dislike each other upon first meeting, though their respective stubbornness keeps them clashingand, thus, crossing pathsagain and again. Tresham acts arrogant, but you still cant help but liking him, understanding his arrogance as a product of his upbringing. Jane feels a little more generic, as the heroine with the modern sensitivities everyone just wished existed back in the days, but she has undeniably chemistry with Tresham, and goes about trying to solve her troubles in a very respectable way.
I typically like my historical romances straight to the romance point, so I was a little less believing of the whole dueling/wanted for murder plotline, but overall, Tresham and Jane were definitely enough for me to keep plowing through this book. This is my first historical romance by Mary Balogh, but if its any indication of her other works, it certainly wont be my last.
This is the first book I have read by Mary Balogh and I will definitely be looking for more from her. Wonderfully written story. If you liked this book be sure to check out "No Man's Mistress" which is Ferdinand's story.
On her way to work, Jane Ingleby stumbles onto a duel. When she screams, Jocelyn Dudley, the Duke of Tresham, is shot in the leg. Now she has moved into his home and is acting as his nurse until his leg heals. Jane is happy to find a job in a home that keeps her out of the public eye. As she and the Duke grow closer, she worries that her secret will be revealed. But when Jocelyn offers her the position of his mistress, she sees it as a business arrangement that will enable her to stay in hiding.
The book started out a little slow for me, but it may have just been my mood that bogged it down. By the middle of the book I was engrossed. Balogh shows a lot of character growth in this story. Her hero and heroine start their relationship as aristocrat and servant. Soon they become a man and his mistress. Then while falling in love, they become friends. It's a nice change since so many romances do not show a lot of friendship. My rating: 4 Stars.
She raced to stop a duel. In the melee, Jocelyn Dudley, Duke of Tresham, was shot. To his astonishment, Tresham found himself hiring the servant as his nurse. Jane tried to pretend it was strictly business, an arrangment she was forced to accept. Yet she knew she was in danger of losing her heart to her employer.