James Azerly, more commonly referred to as Cayton or (formally) Lord Cayton is a complex hero. As a recent widower and father he struggles with guilt over his past sins and his marriage. When he meets Lady Ella he's immediately attracted to her, but he feels unworthy of her and so he's continually struggling against his attraction to her.
The interactions between Cayton and Lady Ella were one of the key reasons that kept me turning pages anticipating their next meeting. Ms. White has a talent for writing witty banter between the main characters.
The principle plot of A Lady Unrivaled was the Fire Eyes Diamonds which are rare red diamonds that are highly prized and sought after. Several sub-plots were scattered throughout this story and it was interesting to see how in the end the author tied in all of the sub-plots with the main storyline.
While I enjoyed this book due to the length and the many major and minor characters it took me a little longer than a month to read. As a reader, the plethora of characters was my one drawback to this novel. Thankfully, Ms. White included a list of characters in the beginning of the book. This proved to be a helpful reference guide so that I could keep all of them straight. Other than that I liked everything else about this book. It had all the elements that make a great story. The multitude of characters didn't dissuade me from wanting to read more books by Ms. White.
I felt that I was transported back to the Edwardian era. The way that Ms. White jumps from scene to scene made me feel as if I was reading a season of the hit British TV show Downton Abbey. Being a die-hard fan of the show (I own all 6 seasons on DVD) I loved the sense of feeling like I'd traveled back in time to pre-WWI period. If you love Downton Abbey like I do, I'd urge you to check out A Lady Unrivaled.
** A Lady Unrivaled was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion.