My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Now, Lady Amberly's Lessons was interesting! In the beginning, I didn’t know if to like it or dislike it because this had one of my biggest pet peeves happening here; cheating. No matter the era, I can’t take cheating. I generally stay away from a book when ‘cheating’ is written in glowing words (by that I mean if it’s mentioned in the reviews etc.). I’d rather not have my hair pulled and then develop a serious headache. But honestly, I am so glad I didn’t put off this book because MMathews had me in total surprise!
Melloney and Edmund have known each-other since childhood. She’s his godfather’s step-daughther. The man took him in when his parents died and Edmund loved him a lot. So when, in his deathbed, he asked Edmund to take care of Melloney by marrying her, he complies with his wishes. The thought of marrying Melloney wasn’t repelling since Edmund wanted her. But now, the trouble is, she’s no good in bed. It’s not just her virgin state but that she’s just stiff as a cardboard throughout the process! Edmund is frustrated with her reaction to his touch. It puts his fragile manly ego in a... erm, fragile state and so it’s hinted that he’s still seeing his mistress to assuage his physical needs. We even find him contemplating why is it that his wife is like that when he made his mistresses happy in bed. Edmund was thinking of his current mistress and the jewelry set he’s going to give her when he’s summoned by Melloney. It even feels like he’s annoyed by her summons, then acts like a callous jerk. When Melloney, who already suspected that he’s seeing his mistress, requests him to stop seeing her, Edmund just starts blustering about it. He seemingly dismisses the idea by insinuating that he’s not happy with her in bed, breaking her heart in the process.
I was mad, really mad at the jerk and feeling sad for Melloney. She has been in love with her handsome husband since her teenage years. She knows she’s no great beauty so she still can’t believe he asked for her hand! It hurts to think this might not be her, but her deceased step-father’s wishes but no matter, Melloney is determined to do something about it. She wants her husband all to herself! Her resolve is strengthened by an incident when she’s out with a few friends and accidentally hears two prostitutes talking about Edmund’s mistresses. She’s now confirmed that he’s seeing at least one of them. Melloney never had anyone to explain to her about the physical side of a marriage, so she decides she would meet the ex-mistress and ask for her help.
I was like WHAAAAAAAAAAT???? WHY??? OMG, NOOOOOOO!! *sigh*
Yah, because I couldn’t see how could she become chummy with a woman who was her husband’s ex-lover! She then does meet this Leeta discreetly and asks for her help to veer Edmund away from his mistress. They even have a talk about... erm, what Edmund does to her in bed, much to Melloney’s embarrassment. On the mention of money, Leeta agrees to help her. Then she tells her there is a man who can help her understand what she’s looking for. Leeta can arrange everything; Melloney only has to make the time to attend those ‘lessons’.
Meanwhile, a mysterious missive comes for Edmund. He leaves suddenly, informing Melloney that something needs his immediate attention, so he won’t be home for a while. Melloney is a bit down because no matter what, she’s a lovelorn fool. Yet she’s also relieved that he won’t be here in the times for her lessons at Leeta’s.
The lessons were... engrossing. Melloney, who was at first apprehensive of what to come, soon begins to respond to this ‘Jack’s’ lessons. Some of their initial discussion about sex and what’s normal and what’s not (from Melloney) was SO hilarious, I laughed at those while literally doing the *facepalm*! But even though I liked the lessons, I wasn’t sure how this is going to work out. At first I thought: is she going to cheat on Edmund? She should, as I could see she’s better off with Jack who appreciates her more. What goes around, comes around and all that. Then I had my suspicions of who this ‘Jack’ might be, even if he was disguising his accent. But I thought Melloney had no idea and was wondering how can she not recognize, even with blindfolds?!
But, I misjudged both Melloney’s intelligence and Edmund’s character which was revealed later. When they have sex without the disguise, Melloney’s inexperienced fumbling towards her seduction of Edmund was also kinda funny, until it became hot. hehe
I still don’t understand why Edmund couldn’t just talk to her, even guessing that she doesn’t have any idea about sex. He should’ve been the person, as her husband, to initiate her education. The story felt unfinished somewhat too. I would rate it higher if there were a few more chapters, explaining the questions I still had in my mind. 3.75 stars for Lady Amberly's Lessons.