My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For the Love of Lila by Jennifer Malin was originally a Leisure publication. This book was published in 2002. I received a digital copy of this book from the author for an honest review. Lila was raised a bit unconventionally. She doesn't not wish to marry due to the strict laws about women's rights. She therefore skirts marriage to a cousin that her uncle was trying to force her into. At the age of 25, Lila is now able to receive her trust. Her uncle however is trying to make that impossible. This leads Lila to Tristan,a barrister that her father once mentored. Tristan is reluctant to help Lila cash in her trust. He is old fashioned and thinks she should save the trust for a dowry and marry, have children and all the traditional things women normally did. But, Lila is adamant. She has a cousin in France, her only living relative, and she wished to travel there to stay with her. Tristan is also heading to Paris, and Lila talks him into allowing her to travel with him. An unmarried and unrelated man and woman traveling together is scandalous, so Tristan is nervous the entire way to Paris as he and Lila pretend to be married. Any hint of scandal would of course ruin Lila's reputation, but it would also ruin any chances that Tristan may have of entering politics. Tristan agrees with Lila about the marriage laws and hopes to one day see these laws relaxed. In the meantime, he wished to get Lila safely to her cousin's and remove himself from the temptation Lila represents. Naturally, once they arrive in Paris, Tristan is appalled at the unconventional life that Lila's cousin has led and continues to lead without apology. This life is appealing to Lila, an aspiring author. She is introduced to some very influential authors and finds she doesn't fault her cousin's lifestyle at all. Her opinions and attitudes are a constant shock to Tristan. He desires her and wishes she would follow convention for the sake of her reputation. But, the temptation may be too much for the even the disciplined, staid, Tristan. This novel begins like many other historical romances, and initially I thought it might follow the more traditional regency type novel. However, this is NOT that sort of novel. An alternative lifestyle is explored as Lila and Tristan learn there are those who live happy lives defying convention. Lila's intense fear of marriage put her in direct conflict with Tristan. She refuses to cave when Tristan wishes them to proceed with their relationship in the more traditional way. It looks as though the two of them will not be able to come to an agreement despite the love they have for each other.<br />If they are to have a happy life together, Tristan will have to learn to bend a little toward free thinking and Lila will have to learn to compromise a little as well. Both Tristan and Lila learn that true love requires a little sacrifice. This was a really good historical romance. I loved the characters in Paris and the way Tristan managed to use is knowledge to help Lila with her trust and evil uncle as well as device a way to win her over completely. Overall I give this one an A.
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