RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries


Title: A Lady Never Surrenders
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Publication Info: Pocket 2012
ISBN: 9781451642490
Genre: Historical: European

Book A Lady Never Surrenders This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Holly. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Historical Romance category.

The summary:     

When the youngest Sharpe sister hatches a plan to gain marriage offers, the straight-laced Bow Street Runner Jackson Pinter knows he'll do whatever it takes to ruin her scheme…

Lady Celia Sharpe hopes that if she can garner offers of marriage from several eligible gentlemen and show her grandmother she is capable of gaining a husband, she can convince Gran to rescind the marriage ultimatum for her. And if that plan doesn’t work, at least she’ll have a husband lined up.

But Bow Street Runner Jackson Pinter seems determined to ruin her plans by disapproving of every suitor she asks him to investigate. It’s only when she and Jackson work together to solve her parents’ murders, plunging them both into danger, that she realizes why–because the only man he wants her to marry is himself!

And here is Holly's review:

When I started this book, I must admit I was not impressed. The introduction of the hero, Jackson, left a lot to be desired. He seemed way too uptight, to say the least. Not only that he seemed very bitter…about his station, his bastardy (not sure if that is even a word), his lack of money. All within the first few pages. The first mention of Celia is when Jackson watches her walking through a window. He muses about how spoiled and over indulged she is. Next thing you know he is talking about how much he wants her and he’s imagined her naked in his bed (????). A quick turnaround that made no sense to me. When she comes into the house, her perspective on him becomes immediately clear; he is way too uptight and proper.

This first scene with the two of them is when we learn that there is a mystery surrounding the deaths of Celia’s parents, who were shot and killed during the prologue. Jackson is at the family home because he is investigating the murders. Celia wants to hire Jackson to investigate her potential suitors. Her Grandmother has laid down an ultimatum: either Celia gets married within a year or she gets disinherited. Celia wants him to investigate the men who want to marry her. After some really dry banter between the two he finally agrees.

The entire middle of the book is spent reading about this dichotomy: he is uptight and she is spoiled. It would have been more tolerable to me if there wasn’t a sense that he was mad about his lot in life. I know it was part of the overall story, but did we have to be constantly reminded about his resentment of the rich (which is how it comes across)?

Oh, and I forgot the thing that annoyed me the most. Celia carried a pistol and liked to shoot. I understand the need to have unconventional women in a romance novel. I also get the reason why she started carrying a pistol (we find out later that her cousin tried to rape her when she was a child). But c’mon, the violent undertones in the book totally ruined it for me as far as a romance novel. It didn’t help that there wasn’t any real chemistry between the two; just a whole lot of dry boring exchanges that left me wondering how these two were ever going to get together.

When we finally get to a love scene it was OK. They end up spending the night together after they had to run from being shot at (!!!) during the murder investigation. I liked the way you finally saw Jackson demonstrate a little genuine feeling toward Celia when she tells him about the attempted rape from years before. I also like the way both of them were so very angst ridden and insecure about loving each other the morning after. Jackson held back his feelings because Celia’s grandmother threatened to cut off Celia’s inheritance if she married Jackson. Celia didn’t understand why he was so cold after they slept together. The scene where he takes her home after they’ve spent the night together and she’s been compromised is hands down the best writing in the entire book. His proposal to save her reputation was terrible(in a good reading way), which lent to the greatness of the entire scene. The resolution, when he finally proposes to her romantically (after talking to his aunt and her brother) came way too quickly for my taste. It was almost as if the author rushed the two of them back together to get back to the convoluted murder mystery storyline.

Ugh. The end of the book made me cringe. Except for the scene where they all found out that Celia was missing and Jackson yells at her grandmother. You finally find out who is responsible for the murders. Jackson finds Celia, there is a shootout and they end up falling in each other’s arms. I was so turned off by the shootout scene I found it nearly impossible to keep reading. I like romance novels because they take me away from the reality of the outside world. I don’t need to read about guns and shootouts when I can put on the nightly news and get my fill. Don’t get me wrong, violence in a romance (see Kresley Cole) is not a dealbreaker for me. It just didn’t work in this book.  They got their happily ever after but ultimately I didn’t really care much.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Jillian says:

    Holly, thank you for taking the hit and reading this book. I did wonder if I was missing out after I got indignant and angry at the hero for his snide comments about Minerva’s appearance. I’d read (and enjyoed) How to Woo a Reluctant Lady before I realized that the books were a series. I did wonder if by giving up I was missing out regarding the mystery and reveal regarding the apparent murder suicide of the parents. Thanks.

    Would it be possible that you could tell me what exactly happened regarding the murder? I kind of really want to know…

  2. 2
    Holly says:


    As it turns out one of Celia’s suitors was the man who was having an affair with her mother way back in the day. His jealous wife is the person who killed Celia’s parents, and the final shootout scene involves the suitor, the jealous wife, Jackson and Celia.

  3. 3
    Jillian says:

    My message of ever-living thanks below. Some of Holly’s spoilers mentioned.
    Thank you bunches Holly.

    What a disappointing answer given the believed nature of their parents’ marriage in

    How to Woo a Reluctant Lady

    . I’ll definitely give this one a miss with that ending. Also, as far as the suitor of Celia’s: Ew. That’s icky to court the daughter after you had an affair with her mother. Let me guess: she looks like her Mother?

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