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Follow My Lead (Berkley Sensation) [Kindle Edition]

Kate Noble

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Being the most sought-after bachelor in London can be trying. Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne, should know. But when he winds up an unwilling escort to the headstrong Winnifred Crane on a trip across Europe, he realizes he'll do anything to keep this independent beauty safe-even if it means marrying her.

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 924 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 370 Seiten
  • Verlag: Berkley (3. Mai 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B004Q7DJTC
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #61.448 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Found a new favorite author! I would be giving this book 5+ stars if not for two things (4.5 stars) 5. Mai 2011
Von J. P. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This is my first Kate Noble book and there were so many utterly fabulous things about it: historically rich in detail; features a compelling, unique heroine and utterly sweet hero who really comes into his own; is well-written and fast-paced; has both funny scenes and great chemistry. However all this only made the two flaws that much more annoying to me - and one is practically a literary crime (in the romance genre)! Either way, she is a great writer, FOLLOW MY LEAD is a lovely must-read, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book.
(Apologies in advance for the obscene length of this review!)

Miss Winnifred Crane (30), known to her friends as Winn, is a brilliant woman and an expert on art history. Her father was a revered professor of that discipline at Oxford, so she's been studying art and history from a young age. Following his recent death, she decides that after spending her life in the library and recent years caring for her increasingly sick father, it is finally time for her to be independent, have an adventure, and be in control of her own life. The first thing she wants is recognition for her talent and expertise, which will come by finally unmasking herself as C. W. Marks, the pseudonym she used to publish several esteemed and greatly-admired papers.

When her claim comes into question, she is forced to strike a bargain: if she can prove that a painting widely accepted to be by Durer was in fact painted by someone else, the Society of Historical Art and Architecture of the Known World will be forced to acknowledge that she was in fact capable of having written the Marks papers herself. Along for the ride with her is George Bambridge, her cousin who is also an "expert" in the family field. He has been set on marrying Winn for many years, calculating that through her, he will be able to rise to great heights by capitalizing on - and basically plagiarizing - her own brilliance. When he forbids her from going to Europe to find the proof of her claims, they strike their own bargain: should she succeed, he will back off and will also give her inheritance, which he has been backhandedly withholding since her father's death; if she doesn't, they will marry.

Lord Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne (30) becomes involved completely by chance. Jason has finally decided to marry, figuring that this is the next step: after his father's death, he took over the responsibilities of his dukedom as he should and now that that is under control, it's time for him to marry. Though the entire reasoning is pretty dispassionate, he is actually quite committed to this path, though finds it an increasing trial given all the debutantes he has met bore him to tears. Becoming accidentally entangled in Winn's quest, he finds himself assigned to be the escort for the first leg of her and George's journey, which is to travel to Dover to board a ship to Calais.

Nothing is ever that simple of course, and through twists and turns, Winn and Jason find themselves stuck together as they travel through Germany and Austria trying to find the much-sought after evidence to back Winn's claims. Having to battle both their growing attraction to one another and the pursuit by George whom they are only able to stay one step ahead of, they find themselves on the most unlikely - and exciting and thrilling and lovely! - adventure of their lives.

There were a lot; one of the things I loved is that to find all of these in one romance is very rare, so I admire Noble and her books all the more for this:
+ Romantic relationship is so believable; no instant lust, are really nothing to one another at the beginning, but develops and builds in an absolutely lovely manner
+ Both the hero and heroine have their own vulnerabilities, as well as their own strengths, and together they provide the other what he or she is missing; are wonderfully 3-dimensional characters and the hero is to die for
+ Historically rich - doesn't at all overwhelm the story, is integral to the plot, it's clear Noble did her research, and is actually very interesting
+ The subplot of the painting quest is well-crafted, necessary to the story, and not contrived (historically rich and etc. as previously mentioned)
+ The book is humorous/witty and a lot of the scenes/dialogue are cute, but the story maintains a great amount of depth; is not light and fluffy, but is still a truly plain-fun read
+ Chemistry was wonderful - not a super steamy read, but there is great tension and what is there is very well done; has a lot of physical affection, couple of kissing scenes, and two love scenes

***MAIN CHARACTERS, Winn and Jason***
Winn was terrific! She's 30, which is significantly older than most romance heroines, however she has no experience with society or the outside world and before traveling to London to assert her claim of being C. W. Marks had never even traveled outside of Oxford. She is determined, intelligent, resourceful, naive, funny, perceptive, self-deprecating, charming, and just all-around great. What she seeks to avoid at all costs is the need for anyone else - she doesn't want to have to depend on anyone but herself. Because of this, her attraction and developing relationship with Jason causes her endless internal turmoil.

Jason was so, so, so wonderful. I know from other readers and from mentions in this book that he was not as much of a charmer when in The Summer of You, however not having read the book myself I cannot really speak to the change except for what I know from this book. He apparently used to always run from his responsibilities and could never finish a thing he started, but he has undergone a change in the last 5 years and really tried to reform his ways. This transformation is also one of the reasons - though not the main one ;-) - he decides to stick it out with Winn and accompany her to the end of her adventure: he wants to see this completed start to finish, and doesn't want to abdicate his responsibilities.

With Winn, Jason is just dreamy and delicious. He's sweet, tender, protective, teasing, insightful, caring, selfless, *thoughtful,* and is so adorable blushing at some of the things he says or some of Winn's comments!! Love how he has a pet name for her and that he's a redhead ... though it's a book, so really what difference, lol :-). I honestly can't do anything but add him to my favorite heroes list! In many ways, his change is the more remarkable of the two, since Winn's is more halting and doesn't fully show through until the end (practically not even then! See flaw #2b). Jason, who at the beginning is more of a passive actor in his life, really takes charge of his own destiny, makes decisive choices, and jumps headlong into the unknown void (several times) earlier and more often than Winn.

***THE TWO FLAWS*** (could be considered slight spoilers)
I'm annoyed just thinking about them, because this would be nothing but a rave review if it weren't for them and would qualified as one of my top 10 HRs, if not #1. And had the rest of the book not been as fabulous as it was, the rating would have suffered far more than half a star.

(1) There is another love interest: Miss Sarah Forrester for Jason. Their relationship develops throughout the book much, much further than I would have liked. I am not alluding to anything naughty, I just mean the stages that their relationship reaches. At the end, I was practically having heart palpitations, while also trying to tell myself this was a romance = has a HEA = stop being such a complete and utter dimwit. IMO though, Jason wouldn't have reverted back so much to how he was before the trip; even had his actions been the same, I would have wanted more inner turmoil on his part.

(2a) If you counted up the times that either Winn or Jason went out on a limb for the other / hinted at their feelings / reached out to the other, Jason would definitely come out on top. So much so that I began to get very annoyed with Winn. She was such a strong woman, that I wish she had grown a backbone in this area a little earlier. Jason proves himself in so many ways and it left me feeling that Winn hadn't done enough to deserve him yet. Now I could have let all this slide if not for 2b ...

(2b) I'm sorry, but what was up with that last chapter and ending? Before you freak out, yes it's a HEA, but I really felt cheated. I actually thought for a second that maybe there was a page at the end missing or they had forgotten to include the Epilogue, because without one or the other how that ending is told is practically a crime! Jason gives the most amazing declaration and deserves an equivalent one in return. It's the ending for pity sake; how can you leave us with that?

I read Compromised right after this and what that clearly showed me is that Noble loves to twist her readers inside out and put them through the ringer! I hate Big Misunderstandings for that very reason, and while she doesn't have those, it's a *huge* case of Things Left Unsaid (in both books).

Read it, definitely! I cannot recommend any other action. But can someone maybe just rewrite the ending for me and I'll paste it over the last page of my book? ... Or maybe I will just do it myself, because this a sure reread, but honestly I cannot emotionally survive going through this again! Yes, yes, overly dramatic. All I can say is: the book was so fabulous and strong that the ending's weakness stuck out (and slapped me upside the head and tortured me) that much more.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Book That Shines! Also Has A Redheaded Beta Hero! (A- Grade) 3. Mai 2011
Von Katie Babs - Veröffentlicht auf
There's a famous song from the 1934 Cole Porter Broadway show, Anything Goes called "It's De-Lovely." The chorus goes as follows- "It's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely". I can't help but hum this song when I read a Kate Noble book. Her books are all of these things- delightful, delicious and lovely.

Follow My Lead is a light hearted, on the road romance between the hero and heroine who match wits while falling in love with one another. The hero, Jason Cumming, Duke of Rayne made quite a splash in The Summer of You. I love Jason, and not only because he's a redhead. In that book he was too young and immature, but so very lovable and endearing. Now in Follow My Lead, Jason has come into his own. As a duke, he feels the next logical step is to get married because Jason is about to turn thirty. His sister Jane still likes to coddle him and wants him to find the best possible woman to be his wife. She prefers he fall in love with his wife, just like she has fallen in love with her husband. But Jason is more practical. When his brother-in-law, Bryne asks him why he wants to get married, Jason replies that marriage is the next logical stage in his life. How romantic of Jason to think this way.

While Jason maneuvers through the parties, searching for his future bride, a Miss Winnifred Crane has come to London. Winn is on a mission to be accepted as a member of the Historical Society that only allows men. Winn thinks she has an "in" because she writes under a pseudonym, as the well-respected C.W. Marks. When she meets with Lord Forrester, the head of the Historical Society, she explains how he gave a letter of introduction to her father, inviting Marks to join the society. Forrester assumes Winnie's father was Marks and doesn't believe her. Winnie's cousin George then says he's Marks, which causes Winnie to take action. She'll prove that the painting hanging up in Forrester's office isn't by the artist he believes it to be.

Winnie has a lot going against her. First of all she's a woman alone and her cousin George, who expects to marry her, wants to stop Winnie on her hunt. George has waited far too long to claim Winnie as his own and will do whatever he can to sabotage her. But he doesn't expect Jason to accompany them. The moment Winnie smacks Jason in the face by accident, he finds Winnie equally strange but fascinating. He'll escort her to the Port of Dover where she, George and their companion, Totty will board a ship that will take them across the channel to Calais. But Winn has something else up her sleeve. She has tricked everyone and plans to take a ship to Hamburg, Germany. Winn has lied to get out from under the thumb of George. Jason follows Winn, thinking she got on the wrong ship. But when he realizes what she's done, he's forced to go along with her.

Winn rather go on the journey alone, but Jason being such a gentleman, won't allow Winn to go off unprotected. Unfortunately, Jason doesn't have any of his funds readily available and he and Winn must find ways to make money to keep from starving. They meet a few choice characters among their travels, and Winn is always looking over her shoulder because she knows George will figure out what she's done and come for her. As Jason and Winn rely solely on each other, they soon follow each other's lead into their arms and in their hearts.

Plucky comes to mind, especially with Winn, who may have lived in a small town and preferred books over people, but when her father dies, and she ventures off to London, she's finally free for the first time in her life. Winn is honest and forthright, especially around Jason. I love a heroine who befuddles the hero, and Winn definitely does that where Jason is concerned. But Jason takes everything all in stride. He doesn't act lofty with his nose up in the air like most his lordish counterparts and his adventure with Winn is a breath of fresh air for him.

One of my favorite passages in this book is where it finally hits Jason that Winn is the woman for him. When he first meets Winn, he doesn't find her attractive, but respects her intelligence and stoic manner. While Jason is doing some manual labor for money, he comes to the conclusion that Winn's hair isn't just plain brown, her face no longer small and her eyes sparkle. He loves how he finds out that Winn has breasts and she's full of energy and light. This is where his regard changes for her and he wants her as a man wants a woman he desires. Jason is smitten and nothing Winn can do or say will change his mind.

I loved Jason and Winn's banter. Kate Noble had a way with words and dialogue. These two complete each other perfectly. The love scenes are not overly passionate, but have just the right amount to keep the reader happy. Also, Jason is more a beta than an alpha with an instinctual need to protect Winn, but never forces her to do what he wants. He treats her like an equal in every way.

Follow My Lead is the best in what historical romance has to offer. If there's an author you should be reading, it's Kate Noble. This is one book that shines in every possible way.

2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Just not for me 13. April 2013
Von Melody May - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
For sometime I've had this on my kindle sitting unfinished for almost two years. I know, but I finally finished Follow My Lead by Kate Noble. First off, I really wanted to love this book.

By the back of the cover, Follow My Lead sounded like a lot fun. I was really hoping for that, but as I started the story, I felt that it dragged most of the book. I got to a point that I just didn't want to continue reading. I figure I could put the book down for a while come back to it. Well, it has been two years, but I finished the story. I only had about 50 pages left of the book, silly me. However, it was like pulling teeth two years ago.

I did like Winnifred Crane. I tend to like intelligent heroines that are willing to go against convention. Then you have Jason, whose not my favorite hero. Even being a Duke didn't help his cause. I really don't mind arrogant Dukes, but he was just really rude and condescending. When it boil down he wasn't willing to fight for what he wanted. ACK! Really, your not going to get the girl, because she told you no. Now you can understand the teeth pulling.

Overall, it was an ok read. Now that I have finished it and realize I stopped when it got to the exciting part. I just couldn't do it, but I had to finished the book. Honestly, I was seduced by the cover. I loved the cover, but not the story. I was kind of disappointed in the ending and felt the story could have really used an epilogue. I think I would have felt better with more closure. So, Follow My Lead didn't work for me, but it might work you. I do plan to read another Kate Noble book to see if another book will work for me. We will see.
6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen well developed romance; but no attraction; and if only there was a different Winn 18. Mai 2011
Von romancecritic - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I just finished this book, and will agree with all the other reviewers who said that the romance of the story is well developed. It took time, which made it believable.

The aspects of this book that I enjoyed are many. The author's research was well done. The scenic descriptions were accurate and could have been felt. The dialogue was well written. Our h and h are both intelligent people. Our hero is not a rake, but a rather nice man, who, believe it or not, has feelings other than lust. Winn is a 30-year-old woman (an aspect I REALLY like, esp. since Jason is the same age as well), and she is very intelligent, concerned about her studies rather than the balls and such that other female protagonists in other novels obsess about. I also enjoyed the lighthearted introspections of Jason; I believe he was better developed than Winn. His struggle to follow something through and not delegate was lightly, yet thoroughly explained (from his point of view). However, Winn's desire, or better yet single-minded, dogged obsession for her independence was too drawn out; it is the sole reason for her existence, her decisions, her indecisiveness when it comes to Jason, and her rejections, which brings me to the aspect of the novel I did not enjoy - Winn!

Winn, who has spent her entire life helping her father with his studies, enjoyed an intellectual freedom that many women of that time probably could not. Her father indulged her desire for knowledge, in fact he sparked it. So, one point that I would wish to argue is Winn's desire to see the world, which is one of her reasons for wanting a life of her own. Had she voiced this desire to travel to her father, given the description of the man, to me, as a reader, it is quite plausible, if not believable, that he, her father, would have allowed her to travel, especially in his healthy years (he did take the time to include her in dinners with his students, trying to offer her a man other than her cousin, so it begs the question, wouldn't he have allowed her an "adventure" where she might find something better as well?). The other aspect of Winn's fierce desire for independence is rooted in only a year's time span. Her cousin, George, her secret fiancé, of the past 15 years has put a halt on her inheritance, arguing that it belongs to Oxford - of course George is only trying to further his career, but that is neither here nor there. The point I am trying to make is that just one year of financial confinement should not be enough to stem Winn's irritating desire for independence, especially when she meets a man like Jason, so completely different from George. So, it is therefore, my opinion that Winn's frustrating need for a life alone is based on a rather superficial, if not unfounded premise.

Another aspect of Winn's personality that left me shaking my head was her cold-hearted dismissal of Jason after their initial night together. And, again, the reasoning for her not allowing her feelings to show was her desire for independence. I swear this whole "independence" feature of the novel just grew tiresome, to say the least. Winn, in Jason's words is "an idiot." I cannot agree more with that description.

Then there is Jason, who actually courts another woman, Sarah, both before and after he and Winn are together. He even likes her. He proposed marriage to her. REALLY ! This is something I find disturbing. If Jason so likes Winn, what is he doing courting someone else, esp. AFTER being with Winn, regardless of her cold hearted rejection. This would happen in real life to be sure. However, this is a fictitious romance novel, and I for one read such novels for escapism, not for reality.

And finally, although the romance aspect of the novel was well developed, the actual attraction was not palpable, to me at least. Even the two sex scenes were not all that sensual. I suppose I like a little more sizzle between my h and h.

However, all of this criticism aside, it is not a novel I would not recommend. I believe it is a novel that people who like a romance in the more PG style, or PG 13 style would enjoy (if they can get past Winn).
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen When one adventure-seeking academic miss meets one determined duke, sparks fly! 4.5 Stars. 22. April 2014
Von Ruth Anderson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne and eligible bachelor, is searching for what comes next. Having accepted his role as duke and mastered its attendant responsibilities, he knows the next step is to acquire a wife and in due course produce an heir...and if in the process, the aforementioned wife manages to assuage the vague loneliness that dances at the periphery of his conscience, growing ever more insistent as he settles into his ducal responsibilities, so much the better. For family is what comes next...and after spending the better part of his youth shirking his responsibilities in favor of his recreational academic pursuits, Jason knows and accepts his new responsibilities with equanimity. And he's become rather good at it...even more so at ignoring the little voice whispering at the back of his consciousness, craving something more -- a spark to captivate his very soul. But duty trumps desire, and so Jason plots the course of his life -- and while most of the debutantes are, frankly, terrifying, he's pleased to find a potential match with the daughter of the Historical Society president, membership in that hallowed institution being one of Jason's most prized indulgences. But it's when visiting that institution that Jason finds his carefully-planned life knocked off-course by a well-placed (albeit accidental) punch at the hands of one Miss Winnifred Crane, a bluestocking with the goal of accomplishing the impossible -- becoming the Society's first female member. Jason cannot help but admire her temerity, and when asked to serve as the Society's witness to the audacious wager Miss Crane proposes in order to gain admittance, Jason agrees, little realizing that she is about to launch him on the scandalous adventure of a lifetime.

Winnifred Crane was her father's best pupil, forsaking society for the rigors of an academic lifestyle, serving first as the renowned Oxford professor's assistant and then nursing him through his final illness. But while Winnifred put her academic passion foremost in service to her father's career, she also launched her own covert career as an academic by publishing several well-received papers under the pseudonym C.W. Marks. Winn finally has the chance -- as a firmly on-the-shelf spinster of thirty -- to pursue a life of her own making, determined to join the Historical Society and at last gain academic acclaim under her own name. But when the only proof she possesses that she and Marks are one and the same is destroyed, she stands in danger of losing her shot at independence and being forced to marry her overbearing cousin George, she proposes a daring gamble: prove that the Adam and Eve painting donated by her father to the Society is not an Albrecht Durer as long supposed, and should she fail, return to Oxford and marry. Set on achieving her hard-fought dream, Winn never imagined having to cope with a determinedly helpful duke, or even more, welcoming his companionship and coming to rely on his assistance. As the unlikely pair journey across Europe in search of letters that will prove the painting's provenance, confidences are shared and trust is earned, and Jason, determined to follow-through and be the respectable, reliable duke, finds himself losing his heart to the unconventional academic. But the thought of love and losing her shot at independence terrifies Winn -- can she learn that love, the right love, though she may lose her heart might just empower her and give her the wings to fly higher than she'd ever dreamed?

What a difference a few years can make in a hero's development! With Follow My Lead, I'd imagined that Kate Noble had set herself a formidable task -- transformed Jane's petulant, immature brother Jason, first introduced in The Summer of You, into a hero I'd love -- but more than that, a hero worthy of a bookish, academic heroine, a Georgian-era Belle if you will, and as such a heroine near and dear to my sympathies. This being my third Noble novel, I never should have doubted -- for with each successive installment she's proven increasingly incapable of disappointing this reader, never failing to beguile my heart and imagination with her sparkling characters and romances that captivate you, heart and soul.

With Jason and Winn, Noble proves once again that she is an undisputed master at developing a romance that goes far beyond physical attraction. Her romances explore the emotional and intellectual compatibility of her leads, and never more than here as the nineteenth-century world of art academia is central to Jason and Winn's relational development. I love that at thirty, Winn is considered a spinster, but caring about that label doesn't even cross her mind, as the freedom to pursue intellectual and academic pursuits of her own choosing is her foremost goal. While at times I found myself agreeing with Jason, frustrated by her naivete, it's in keeping with her sheltered upbringing, and learning curve aside one cannot help but admire Winn's passion for her quest and endless reservoir of gumption. That passion is what first draws Jason to Winn as a moth to a flame, for while he was a good student he nevertheless pursued academia as first and foremost a hobby, never connecting with his studies with the depth and passion evidenced by Winn. And so a tentative friendship develops as the duo races across Europe, striving to stay one step ahead of Winn's odious cousin, and from that comes the promise of something more, a something more that threatens both of their firmly-laid plans regarding what comes next in each of their lives.

However, as the saying goes, the "best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry," and it is in this respect that Noble's characterization and plotting shine most brilliantly, transforming what would be in lesser hands a straightforward romance into a heartfelt examination of the sacrifice and risks of love, and what one does with the fear that acceding to such is the death knell of one's dreams, and the irretrievable loss of an essential aspect of one's self, particularly as it comes to the heroine. Noble's female characters never fail to be gloriously realized examples of independent, individual, and bold women, but I suspect that none will be more relatable to modern audiences than Winn. With Winn, Noble manages to argue (quite successfully, I might add), that a woman's hard-won independence need not be a solitary achievement when the right partner is found. As Totty powerfully reminds Winn, being alone is not a requirement for achieving successful independence, rather it "means you have the right to make your own choices." Watching her awaken to the frightening, exhilarating realization that she wants Jason to be a part of her story results in a romance beautifully told, for he is the rare man capable of supporting her dreams, and not merely celebrating her achievements...but positively exulting in them.

I adored Jason and Winn's travelogue-romance, though the calculated risk Noble took in introducing Sarah, a wholly likable -- and perfectly good -- alternate love interest for Jason could have easily derailed the plot. Sarah's storyline broke my heart, but I must acknowledge that in the telling of it, Noble reveals the proclivity of romance readers to all too often want the happy ending without any heartache. And that quite simply isn't life. The painful realization Jason comes to as regards Sarah is wrenching, but better before the marriage than after -- and this is just one example of the raw emotional honesty that is a hallmark of Noble's writing and makes her romances so breathtakingly unforgettable. Peppered with unforgettable, colorful supporting characters (I adore Totty, and loved the updated peek into Phillippa's and Jane's lives), Follow My Lead is a smartly realized romance, where intellect collides with passion and duty with desire, and along the way both Jason and Winn learn the joy of following each other's lead into a life both greater and more fulfilling than their best-laid plans...all that was required was that first, tentative step into the unknown.
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