I need to stop reading romance novels that do not come recommended by people who know what they're talking about, like Sarah. And I really need to stop being tempted by romance novels on Netgalley, because I'm far too picky and far too inexperienced to choose things that fit my very niche romance needs.
The Lady Who Drew Me In is a novel by Thomasine Rappold, third in a series but I didn't realize that till I was almost done and there was nothing lost there at all. It's the story of Daisy, a young widow of an older, not particularly loving husband who can draw images from other people's minds. This has caused trouble in her life before and she's sworn to herself not to do it again. Then handsome rogue lawyer Jackson turns up with a case where her talent might be the only thing that can save a little boy's life. So now they're embroiled in an adventure.
Daisy has a soft spot for kids--she desperately wanted children but her older husband was controlling and frigid (of course); now she wants to start a day home for poor children. She really likes kids. Kids are her thing. Kids. One thing leads to another, and yada yada yada, Daisy and Jackson have to get married. But it's cool--they'll get married, have fun sex, not get emotionally involved, solve the mystery, and then go their separate ways, right?
Nothing unexpected or even really troubling there. The mystery is actually pretty great, with suspicious townsfolk and sabotage and clues. Jackson is trying to be a better person, Daisy Loves Kids. And they fall in love but of course they can't tell each other--actually, this book is a lot better than some in this respect, in that they often tell each other things that they overhear or why they're being reserved or whatever.
I think the biggest weakness is that there is a lot of internal monologing about how much they love and want each other. I mean, you expect a lot of emotional thought processes in a romance, but there's no actual forward motion in the feelings department, but a lot of repeated thoughts about how much the love and want each other in spite of all that stands between them. I'd estimate that it was fully a third of the word count of the book, which was way too much.
That said, those parts were pretty skimmable, and I truly did like the mystery. I had hoped that the spirit writing thing meant that this would be a slightly magical universe, but it wasn't; it was more like the spiritualism fad of the Victorian era was actually real. So it wasn't as special as I'd hoped, but it wasn't bad. Not the highest praise, I'm afraid, but solid. And thanks to Netgalley for the review copy. And advance thanks to Sarah for further romance recommendations.