Noble Intentions by Katie MacAlister

Noble Intentions by Katie MacAlister
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (391 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Noble Britton suffered greatly at the hands of his first wife, and he refuses to fall into the same trap again. This time he intends to marry a quiet, biddable woman who will not draw attention to herself or cause scandal. Gillian Leigh’s honest manner and spontaneous laughter attract him immediately. It matters little that she is accident-prone; he can provide the structure necessary to guide her.

But unconventional to the tips of her half-American toes, his new bride turns the tables on him, wreaking havoc on his orderly life. Perpetually one step behind his beguiling spouse, Noble suffers a banged-up head, a black eye, and a broken nose before he realizes Gillian has healed his soul and proven that their union is no heedless tumble, but the swoon of true love.

For anyone who isn’t aware of the amazing gift of hilarity that Ms. MacAlister possesses, they are in for an absolute treat when they read this latest madcap adventure in love and romance. The nearest comparison I can come up with is paring Lucille Ball with the 3 Stooges. The predicaments the heroine gets into and the things she says had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. Noble Intentions gets a best book rating simply because I couldn’t wipe off the goofy grin that wielded itself to my face by the time I came to the end of chapter two and stayed there practically until the end.

Noble, the hero, is all sorts of twisted up emotionally. He doesn’t trust women, with good cause, is protective of his young son, with equally just cause, and he doesn’t give a flying flip as to what the ton thinks of him because of what happened to him in his previous marriage. He’s a traumatized hero that just begs to be healed and loved. Not that he wants that. Not at all. He wants a wife that will be the antithesis of his vile first wife. What he gets is Gillian – and his life will never be the same.

Gillian gets into the silliest of pickles. She’s sort of scatterbrained, impulsive and embodies a healthy amount of joie de vivre. She’s enthusiastic and loyal once she decides that someone is family or that she loves them. No scheme, plan or endeavor is left untried, no matter how crazy it might be, if she feels it’s going to save or help someone. She’s part innocent yet saucy at the same time and she has the most amazing background to draw from. She’s a heroine I would love to call friend because I guarantee, life would never be boring or staid with a woman like Gillian around.

The absolute hardest part about writing this review is not giving spoilers. It pains me that I can’t share the scenes that had me doubled over with laughter. If I had to recount them, I’d run out of fingers and toes, there are just that many. Rest assured however, that they aren’t written in to be funny in and of themselves. Each plan that goes astray actually provides clues to a mystery and garners the heroine all the helpers she needs to solve the case. The secondary characters that populate the novel are as unique and fascinating as the heroine. The butler is a pirate, but not. Gillian’s cousin is demure, but not. Noble’s friends are interesting on two different levels – but only after reading the book will that make any sense.

Let me see if I can give any hints. The dogs made me giggle, Gillian’s innocence about broken men made me snort and snicker and out right laugh, the blue hand reminded me of Ms. Ball’s antics on T.V., the ladybugs totally cracked me up, Noble’s adventures with vases and broken noses, although should be serious and cause for concern, actually made me guffaw, chortle and again, laugh out loud, and enterprising literature bought off of a street vender provided many moments of giggles for me and crossed eyes for Noble.

As for dialogue, Ms. MacAlister was truly inspired. Sometimes it was like watching tennis or ping pong. Some scenes had it fast paced with a couple of characters going at it about two different conversations at the same time and somehow, it worked. Then there was Gillian learning some naughty cant from the streets and her applying it in unexpected ways. Cue another grin. Oh my gosh, the testicles! I almost fell to the floor when that conversation occurred. Where does the author come UP with that? It was pure genius.

Another endearing and charming habit of Gillian’s was how she referred to Noble in her internal dialogue. Lord of this or that – the titles themselves were moments of intense levity. Cue more grinning.

This novel wouldn’t have worked so well if there wasn’t the dark side to overcome, the hero and heroine to save and a child healed. No matter how many moments of fun this book has, there was a mystery to solve and it was a rather gruesome one. Little hints were sprinkled throughout and it was the dialogue that clued me in. When the villain was finally revealed, I wasn’t too surprised. What did shock me was the level of nutso this person achieved. I was totally grossed out as to what Nick, Noble’s young son, had to endure but at the same time, there was no better woman on the planet to love him enough to heal than Gillian. She truly was a beam of sunshine that brightened all their lives.

When I labeled this book as historical, I did not add paranormal. It’s not really a part of the book but towards the mid part, Gillian met someone. He gave her cryptic advice and he was sort of nice to her. He ultimately had a reason for being so but I didn’t find out why until the end. It’s only in reference to him that I would mention a paranormal element. It surprised me but after thinking about it, it made sense. This author loves to have fun with her characters. Why not throw in a clever twist?

Noble Intentions is many things: a cure for a bad day, a fun read, a terrific romance. It’s a novel with heart that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Yes, the ton has its rules and strictures, and certain behaviors are frowned upon. But this story refused to be dictated by them. It was about two people, unique and quirky, who find love in their own way and gradually the ton accepted them. Why? Because no one, not even stodgy, snooty peerage can resist the thrill and romance of a passionate true love. This book gets a hearty recommend from me and an assurance that this book is going on my keeper shelf. I simply love it when a madcap plan comes together. Don’t you?


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