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Follow My Lead

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Book reviewed by Valarie Pelissero

If I had based reading this book on the blurb, I would not have read Follow My Lead and I would have missed out on a wonderfully romantic story. This blurb makes Winn sound like a brash, headstrong, focused-only-on-her-own-desires, thoroughly unlikeable character, and she wasn't. Oh, she was a bit headstrong which made the book fun but, she was a very likeable character, and her motives for being that way were plausible and fit within the story. Namely, her thoroughly unlikeable cousin George: you see, George is not nearly the scholar that Winn is. The only way he can be that scholar is to marry Winn, bury her in Oxford, and take credit for her research while he is promoted to his uncle's former position: head of the Art department at Oxford.

My brow was furrowed for the first 100 pages of Follow My Lead because Jason and Winn spend a very short time together before she is dragged off by George. During the intervening weeks after their first meeting at the Society, Jason - after deciding that marriage was the next step - meets a young lady and begins courting her, never thinking about Winn again. In fact, Jason is on the verge of requesting permission from the girl's father when he is asked to escort Winn, her companion, and George to Dover so she can begin her search.

In the course of doing this favor Jason follows Winn onto the wrong ship (as she gives George the slip), gets knocked out and that is when all the good bits happened. The smiling (mine); the sighing (mine); the travel, the excitement, the adventure, and…the heartache (all theirs).

This is not your typical road-trip romance because neither of them have any money, Jason's money was stolen on the docks and George took charge of Winn's money leaving her with very little. These two have to survive by their wits, and while Winn may be very intellectual, she is very naïve when it comes to travelling, having never left Oxford. Jason took his grand tour so he at least speaks German, and he manages to keep Winn out of all kinds of trouble. They don't travel in high style, in fact, for a good portion of the book, they walk, and while they are walking they talk. They talk to one another about everything and the reader gets to listen in on some very revealing conversations and watch the two of them slowly fall in love.

But, all is not perfect between Winn and Jason. There were some cruel words spoken, on both sides, and a long separation once their adventure was over. Honestly, up until the very last sentence I doubted they would be together and that not knowing had me on the edge of my seat.

I savored Follow My Lead even though I knew I had to finish it to get my review done, I just couldn't force myself to rush through this book. There isn't any one thing I can point to that was my favorite part of the book. It was the sum of all of its parts. Kate Noble knows how to write a powerfully romantic story that sucks you in and keeps you enthralled until the last page. Put Follow My Lead at the top of your reading list this month.

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“A lovely road-trip romance through Germany and Austria.”

May 2011, 358 pages
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425241513

Back Cover Blurb:

Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne, is feeling the weight of his responsibilities - one of which is to get married. Being the most sought after bachelor in London can be trying, so who can blame him if he seeks refuge from the voracious hordes of young debutantes as the decidedly female-free Historical Society? Female-free, that is, until Winnifred Crane marches up to the door, demanding entrance.

Despite her prowess as a historian, Winn is denied membership in the Society. So she daringly offers an unusual bargain: If she can prove the authenticity of a certain painting, she'll be granted recognition, fame, and respect. But to do that, she must go abroad. And to go abroad, she must have an escort - even a stubbornly unwilling one…

Jason has no desire to accompany Winn on her adventure across Europe, but even he is not immune to Winn's passion for her profession. As the journey proves more difficult than planned, they must work together to stay one step ahead of their rivals, and the closer they get to the proof Winn seeks, the closer she and Jason become. But as their adventure turns dangerous, can Jason keep this headstrong bluestocking safe? And what will become of their growing bond when the adventure ends?

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