Release Day blog on ARRA, 7 August 2015. https://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/release-day-wanton-widows/
4 Star Review by the Midwest Book Lovers Blog
The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody by Isabella Hargreaves - 4 star review
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, for which I received no compensation.
Jane Brody is the daughter of a clergyman who has the task of raising her younger siblings after the death of her mother. Being one of few highly educated women in her time she has taken it upon herself to become a voice for women's liberation in society advocating for women's equality and right to choose for themselves rather than be the property of their fathers, presiding male family members, or husbands. Through her charity and advocacy work she meets Jonathan Everslie, Marquis of Dalton who is being pressured to marry and produce an heir by his overbearing aunt. Being the only male heir presiding over many female dependents he struggles with the responsibilities before him, until he meets Jane. As wrong as she is for him and his political career with her unconventional ideas that are greatly frowned upon in their time, he can't imagine not having her. Jane has sworn off marriage and children focusing on her work with oppressed woman, until she meets Jonathan and she must struggle to retain her principles while she finds herself falling in love with a man whose beliefs are the polar opposite of her own.
Jane's character was wonderful, though stubborn and quite irritating at time because of it. She is strong-willed, argumentative, and passionate in her beliefs almost to the point that she sacrifices her own happiness because of her unwillingness to accept that which is different from what she has made herself believe. Though her cause is admirable it is almost her personal undoing.
Jonathan's character is honorable, intelligent, and just as stubborn. He is traditional in his beliefs almost to the point of tunnel vision, until Jane comes into his life. I enjoyed watching his character transform throughout the story and become more accepting and willing to change because of his feelings.
Aside from the main characters there were a slew of secondary characters that were engaging and entertaining, though I do wish there had been more background on some.
Being an avid reader of historical novels, thanks to my grandmother, I love the details of the time. Things we, in modern times, take advantage of as well as behavior and actions that are sorely lacking in this day and age if you ask me. This was a very well-written an intriguing story. Unlike a lot of historical romance novels I have read this was not filled with sex scenes, though there was definite sexual tension and passion that existed between the Jane and Jonathan. The story focused on the peril of women in the time, the abuse of power by men in society and how one woman fought against it with honor, respect, and class. I completely admired Jane's struggle to define her role in society that would benefit the less fortunate while falling in love with an aristocrat, who stood for traditional social values, and trying to get him to understand that change was needed.
That being said, though it started out a little on the slow side for me I was essentially captivated by the internal and external struggles of the characters. I do, personally, wish there had been more detail into the pasts of certain characters it did not take away from the story at all for it not to be there…that's just my opinion. However, I would definitely recommend this to any reader who enjoys a clean and engrossing historical romance that actually focuses on the emotional aspect of an unconventional relationship rather than the physical one.
4 Star Review by B's Beauty Books Blog
My Review: This is a charming story with a lot of social and political views mixed in it. The character of Jane Brody is fascinating, in that she is not afraid to believe in women's rights and supports that cause in everything she does, including how she deals with falling in love.
Jonathan Everslie is charming and a bit of a rake, but is a typical man of the time. At least at first. To watch how these two people fall in love with each other and yet keep themselves at a distance was a bit hard for me. Jane is clearly drawn to Jonathan, but her fear of being trapped in a marriage and forced to have children is almost stifling. She is unable to see that sometimes love is a real thing and some marriages aren't just for convenience. Of course watching her sister go through a abusive situation with her husband doesn't help matters. Jonathan on the other hand is certain that marriage and kids are what every woman wants. He sees no reason for Jane to deny him in his marriage proposal. After all, he is a wealthy and titled man. But it takes him some time to see what Jane fears and why she fears it. And when he realizes what makes her believe the way she does, he changes and supports her. Of course these two come together & realize they love each other more than they love their beliefs, leading them to their own HEA. I had some issues with the writing a bit, it felt rushed in places. The story is crazy interesting, in that I haven't read a story with this social commentary in a historical romance before. It kept me engaged and interested. But I felt like sometimes the story wasn't fleshed completely out. I wanted to know more. All in all though, I really liked this book! I give it 4 lipsticks!