A Very Modern Marriage

An absolutely gripping and unputdownable Victorian saga

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Pub Date 3 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022

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He needs a wife...
Manchester industrialist William Rose was a poor lad from the slums who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, but in order to achieve his greatest ambitions he must become the epitome of Victorian respectability: a family man.

She has a plan...
But the only woman who's caught his eye is sophisticated beauty Octavia Marshall, one of the notorious ladies of Carson Street. Though she was once born to great wealth and privilege, she's hardly respectable, but she's determined to invest her hard-earned fortune in Mr Rose's mills and forge a new life as an entirely proper businesswoman.

They strike a deal that promises them both what they desire the most, but William's a fool if he thinks Octavia will be a conventional married woman, and she's very much mistaken if she thinks the lives they once led won't follow them wherever they go.

In the third instalment of Rachel Brimble's exciting Victorian saga series, The Ladies of Carson Street will open the doors on a thoroughly modern marriage – and William is about to get a lot more than he bargained for...

He needs a wife...
Manchester industrialist William Rose was a poor lad from the slums who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, but in order to achieve his greatest ambitions he must become the...

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Featured Reviews

A Very Modern Marriage by Rachel Brimble is a compelling historical novel set in 1852. It is the third book in the Ladies Of Carson Street series but can be read as a stand-alone. This was my first visit to Carson Street.
The reader witnesses the powerful bond between the three women living in a house on Carson Street. The house is a safe place as the women look out for each other’s welfare. Each woman has been rescued from a life on the streets.
We see a character unable to forgive herself and her father. She escaped domestic abuse but blames herself. No one needs to berate her as she does it herself. She needs to learn to forgive the face in the mirror.
In complete contrast we see that she is also a strong woman wanting to lift herself out of poverty and learn business.
The reader travels from the wealthy streets of Bath to the textile mills in the poor areas of Manchester. There are some philanthropic hearts wanting to improve working hours and conditions for the mill workers.
We see that the richest people are not those with the most money but those with love in their hearts. Shared goals and much love bring true riches to a family. A family may be blood related or joined together by circumstance and love.
I really enjoyed A Very Modern Marriage. This was my first book by Rachel Brimble. I look forward to much more by her.
I received a free copy from Rachel’s Random Resources via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

William is a mill owner whose in Bath to find more investors. But, it’s not easy to find them or if he does, they don’t want to do business with him, as he is a in married man. Then he meets Octavia at The Carson Street House and he finds himself attracted to her, as she’s got both intelligence and strength,. Octavia cones to a decision that she wants to learn about how to run a business and thinks she can learn a lot from William through the way he runs his mills as well as finding a way to make her future secure, away from what she’s doing now.

But it seems her past still has a hold over her, as she keeps thinking about her motivations and whether she’s being selfish. Her relationships with Nancy and Louisa I really liked and they face a few unexpected problems. It felt a bit sad how both Nancy and Louisa made Octavia feel she was turning her back in them just because she wanted to find a better future for herself and making out that William was the one behind her doing this.

This wasn’t a historical romance, but it was still a well-researched and written story. The relationships were interesting of all the characters.

Highly Recommend This Series.

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I received a free copy from NetGalley and this is my freely given review.

Well I went about this one backwards. I have not read the two novels in this series prior, so this was not what I expected. I will definitely have to read the first two, and maybe get back to this one to look at with different eyes. I was not expecting a novel about a prostitute in Victorian Bath. The Carson St. House is a discreet brothel, run by a widow. Octavia is one of the prostitutes and friend of the widow. Two of the ladies of the house, including the aforementioned widow (heroine of book 1), have managed to find love, and the book opens at the wedding of one of them (Nancy, lead in book 2). These changes in life seem to propel the heroine in book 3, Octavia, to re-evaluate her life at this point. She ended up prostituting because of an untenable home life that appears to have left some lasting psychological scars, and she seems to want to make a change to gain some stability and perhaps some level of respect too, especially if the brothel is no more.

The hero of the book, William Rose, is a modern-thinking mill owner, who is in Bath to drum up investors. He has pulled himself and his family out of poverty to become a wealthy Manchester cotton mill owner, and prides himself on being more forward thinking than his peers by giving fair wages, safer work places, longer breaks, etc for his workers. But he is frustrated as some of his potential investors choose not to do business with him because of his unmarried state. He and Octavia meet, and he is attracted to her and her intelligence and strength, and he intrigues her. She decides she wants to learn from his business acumen, as a route out of whoring and towards a more secure future, and he agrees, so long as she pretends to be his fiancee, to help him secure some of his business dealings.

Her past seems to colour her behaviour quite a bit. I find that Octavia castigates her behaviour and motivations to be selfish, and it seems that perhaps this stems from her family history, since I would not deign to label a desire for a more stable, secure future as selfish necessarily, even if it means leaving Carson St. I liked the dynamic of her friendship with the other Carson St. ladies, Nancy and Louisa. They obviously love each other, but there are definite bumps in the road, as in real life. I did not like how they seemed to be trying to make her feel disloyal or guilty for wanting to try something new and secure her future, though I could understand their distrust of William, as he seems to have become a strong influence for life change in such a very short time and acquaintance.

Also, there was the interesting backstory of running a brothel and being a prostitute in Victorian England, and how little women had when it came to finances and security, and the social prejudices at the time.

Octavia and William's relationship was not a light-hearted journey of attraction, romance, love, but it was an interesting push and pull dynamic of attraction, self doubt, and learning about each other and their own selves. I found myself intrigued, and frustrated by the hipocrisy, and it gave me some food for thought too. It was not historical romance I expected, but that is a good thing. There was some sex, after all, this was a series where the central characters were prostitutes at a whorehouse, but it was definitely a sideline, not a central focus. But it definitely had some interesting relationships, and dynamics. Not just between the two main characters, but also the contrasting familial relationships demonstrated, the business relationships, societal relations, and the friendship amongst the Carson St. ladies. I definitely have to put the other two books on my to-read list, if I have not already.

A 3.75 stars out of 5 stars.

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I was hoping this would be something like north and south by Elizabeth Gaskell, and although there are some similarities in our hero’s business, and how our heroine feels about conditions in mills in Manchester, that is where the similarities end. This is basically a story about how a prostitute and her John fall in love, with it doesn’t tell you in the blurb. Had I known what the story was about I quite honestly wouldn’t have bothered reading it, but it was an ok read, though highly unbelievable with the attitudes of our heroine, as other readers have pointed out

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Manchester industrialist William Rose was a poor lad from the slums who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, but in order to achieve his greatest ambitions he must become the epitome of Victorian respectability: a family man so he needs a wife. But the only woman who's caught his eye is sophisticated beauty Octavia Marshall, one of the notorious ladies of Carson Street. Though she was once born to great wealth and privilege, she's hardly respectable, but she's determined to forge a new life as an entirely proper businesswoman. The pair forge a deal William will be her tutor & teach her about business & she will act as his fake fiancée.
This is the third & final part of the trilogy it could easily be read on its own. I loved both William & Octavia, he’s caring & totally invested in making his employees lives better, she’s running from her past. Their attraction sizzles from their first meeting however it’s their verbal bantering that’s a highlight of the book. The road to their HEA isn’t straightforward & troubles at Carson Street don’t help. A well written captivating & interesting read
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read

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This is the third book in the series , it does work as a stand alone without feeling like you have missed out on anything. It is set in 1852 England and is a brilliantly written romance fiction book.

In the book we have Octavia Marshall , she is a wonderful , strong , powerful character who even though life hasn't always been kind still finds the strength in each day. She works at Carson Street, when events take a turn and Mr William Rose becomes her client their lives entwine in ways she didn't think could happen to her.

The book is brilliantly written , it is from both points of view , of Octavia and Williams , the characters featuring in the book all add so much too it . It isn't just the main characters that you find endearing as we follow their lives and see what is in store for them!

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Cover: Not really a fan.

I liked this book a lot, for various reasons.

A Very Modern Marriage is the third installment of The Ladies of Carson Street series, but it reads as a standalone–with a plus! Brimble is skilled enough to avoid infodumps at the beginning, giving us selected info if and when we need them. A breath of fresh air, that is.

The plot itself is quite simple, featuring well-known tropes. What makes A Very Modern Marriage shine is the complexity of the characters, especially the two MCs. Both Octavia and William are crafted in an excellent way, with virtues and flaws that balance each other out. The double, omniscient POV is not my favorite, but I must admit it’s done well. Also, the prostitution theme is handled matter-of-factly: no sugarcoating, no disparaging tones. It is what it is, and that’s a huge selling point.

Good cast of characters, unsympathetic for the most part, and therefore interesting. I’m a bit tired of likable characters; I want realism, something Brimble has been able to deliver. Thank you.

The last thumb up goes to Brimble’s editors—plural, yes. I could cry tears of joy. They did a marvelous job with this book.

Complaints? A wee one: William Rose? I mean, all I saw while reading was Axl Rose waiting at the altar.

4,5 stars on GR, rounded up to 5.

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Once again, I loved being back with the three female characters who are at the centre of this series. Nancy, Octavia and Louisa are a fantastic, formidable trio. Their story highlights so much about the importance of loyalty and friendship. However, there are times when the challenges they face in this installment mean that their friendship is tested in terms of trust and being able to let go.

Rachel writes historical fiction in the I way feel it should be written. The characters are at the forefront of the story, yet the historical commentary and the “vibe” of 19th century Britain is very well crafted too. Once again, I felt like I was there in Bath, but I also liked the contrast between Bath & Manchester that we see in this story, highlighting to some extent the expectations and struggles of the North/South divide in England.

Once again, this story is full of romance and drama but the author does not lose sight of what we have come to know and love about these female characters: namely their individual and collective strength, and their loyalty to each other.

The book provides an interesting insight into the issue of marriage and the way it can benefit both men and women, in a way I’ve never really thought of before. Described as a “very modern marriage”, I feel the marriage at the centre of this story is in fact highly unusual and the circumstances which lead up to it very unique, but it all adds to the dramatic and original plot.

Overall, a dramatic, accessible, escapist and interesting book that has transported me to a time in history and made me grateful for strong women everywhere!

I find Rachel’s books difficult to compare without just copying names off a review site (which I don’t like to do if I’ve not read them) as it’s so different to anything I’ve read and completely enchanting and original, but I’d definitely recommend this entire series to lovers of historical fiction.

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A Very Modern Marriage is an absorbing historical romance filled with dark secrets and redemption. It's a story about the meaning of love, about losing and finding oneself, overcoming past trauma and having second chances. It is lavishly descriptive, and utterly compelling, with an acute sense of the period authenticity.

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Octavia's story is the third book in The Ladies of Carson Street series. Set in Victorian England, Octavia has escaped a life of abuse and privilege. She has a safer life in Carson Street with Louisa and Nancy. William is a mill owner with liberal ideals. Searching for investors, he finds his single state a setback. William needs marriage Octavia wants to be a legitimate business owner. She agrees to a fake romance in return for tutorage in business from William.

Octavia and William are believably flawed, likeable characters. Both have struggled to survive and value the people they consider family. Their physical attraction develops into an emotional commitment, but they have internal conflicts and interference from those close to them to overcome.

Cleverly crafted supporting characters and a detailed historical setting makes this an engaging read.

I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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I would recommend reading the first book in The Ladies of Carson Street series, A Widow's Vow to understand some of the characters and setting, even though it can be read as a stand-alone. The previous book is Trouble for the Leading Lady...

A Very Modern Marriage is a detailed well thought out story that captavates the reader from the first page till the last...

I like how Brimble has created a interesting plot and transports the reader into story with the use of vivid imagary as well as a great amount of research into the lifes and social aspects of the less fortunate in the victorian era. The writing style is easy to follow and has a good mixure between dialogue and description.

The character development of A Very Modern Marriage is good. The characters are realistic and relateable. The reader is able to catch up with old charaters and form a deep connection with both Octavia and William...Octavia is a strong willed woman, who seems to blame herself for the domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of the father (most of the time I wanted to go and give her a big hug and to tell her that it will be ok).... and I loved how William had used his determination to achieve his ambitions and that he wants to make the lives of his workers and those around him better in everyway!

The chemistry between Octavia and William was slowly built with plenty of passion, attraction and warmth that was a refreshing take on the asspect on historical romances....

I recommend reading A Very Modern Marriage to lovers of historical romance, as it is a character driven emotive story of a shared love, goals and dreams as the reader joins Octavia and William and they seek out their HEA!

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Since I had not read the two earlier novels in this series, I really didn’t know what to expect.

Octavia has so far been alright with her life as a prostitute, Carson St House, a discreet brothel run by Louisa, a widow. She shares a deep bond of friendship with Louisa and Nancy, another prostitute. But when Louisa and Nancy, find love and seem to be moving on, Octavia is perturbed by the changes and wants to make a new life for herself.

When she meets William, a successful industrialist from Manchester, she is drawn to ask him to mentor her in learning about industry and how to run a business. He agrees and is drawn to her and offers to marry her. But given her terrible past with her controlling and cruel father, Octavia wishes to be independent. This does not keep her from being attracted to William though.

Moving to Manchester, as William’s fiancée, she leaves behind her friends who are very fearful that she may be making a bad decision. Octavia is determined to carve out a new future for herself.

Will she be accepted by William’s family and will she find that he is worthy of trust? Her past colours her behaviour. For his part, William is falling in love with Octavia and wonders if he can win her over and continue to be the hardworking industrialist he is.

This is not a light-hearted love story. Octavia and William must search within and do what’s best for themselves and the future.

There were many interesting themes in this story. The whole moral issue of brothels and the hypocrisy of those who considered themselves a superior class partronising these houses and yet treating the women with so much contempt. There was also the story of deep friendship and how difficult it is to let a friend go to follow their dreams.

Overall, it was an engrossing read and I hope that I can catch up with the backstory in the previous two novels soon.

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5☆ Heart-warming & Enchanting Historical Romance.

This is the third instalment in the Ladies of Carson Street series and I have loved every second of getting to know Nancy, Louisa and Octavia over the three books.
This time round the story is about Octavia.

Octavia is worried, things are changing.
With Nancy now married and moving on with a baby on the way, and Louisa and Jacob potentially getting married, but where does this leave her?
All these fears and concerns for her future might be about to change when William Rose walks into their brothel on Carson Street.

William isn't like anyone Octavia has met before and vice versa. Octavia is Endearing to William, but is she the one to tie him down to marriage and is Octavia ready to marry.

Once again Brimble has written a superb story. Each of the ladies of Carson Street have had such Endearing and Compelling storylines, and Octavia's story was no different. I was so excited to finally discover her story and I wasn't disappointed.

Brimble is one of my favourite Authors, her books are always Authentic and her passion for the era really shines through. Her storylines are always Richly Atmospheric and I find myself being swept up into the heart of her stories.

Overall A Very Modern Marriage is a Captivating Historical Romance, that can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend you read all three.
I know this is set to be the last of The Carson Series but I really do hope we get more!

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Anybody who knows me well knows that not only am I a book geek but I am a historical fiction nerd too. I have to say that one of my favourite historical fiction authors has to be Rachel Brimble. I have been a fan of hers for a while now. I haven’t caught up with everything that she has released to date but I am getting there. I read the synopsis for ‘A Very Modern Marriage’, which is the third book in ‘The Ladies Of Carson Street’ series, and it certainly sounded like the sort of book I would enjoy. I was spot on too because I loved reading ‘A Very Modern Marriage’ but more about that in a bit.
As with all of Rachel’s books, I was drawn into this book from the synopsis alone and the story between the book’s covers sealed the deal as it were. Once I started reading, I Just couldn’t stop. I would pick the book up only intending to read a chapter or two but I would become so wrapped up in the lives and loves of the different characters that I would still be sat there reading over an hour and several chapters later. I couldn’t turn the pages of the book quickly enough as I raced my way through the story. I had a strong feeling as to what was going to happen so I had to keep reading to see if I was anywhere near the truth or not. All too quickly I reached the end of ‘ A Very Modern Marriage’. I found ‘A Very Modern Marriage’ to be a gripping read, which kept me guessing and which kept me on the edge of my seat.
‘A Very Modern Marriage’ is extremely well written but that’s true of Rachel’s books in general. Rachel has a writing style that is easy to get used to and her work reads more like a chat between friends rather than reading a book. I hope that makes sense. Rachel clearly does an awful lot of research into the time period she is writing about and this shines through in the quality of her work. In fact if I closed my eyes, it would be easy enough to imagine that I had travelled back in time and I was in 1852, which is when the story is set. I always find reading Rachel’s books to be quite an emotional experience as I end up sharing the feelings that the different characters are going through. I love the way in which Rachel makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story themselves and at the heart of the action.
In short, I really enjoyed reading ‘A Very Modern Marriage’ and I would recommend it to other readers. I will certainly be reading more of Rachel’s work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek’s board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.

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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book got off to a slow start and it took me awhile to really get into it. But, I ended up liking it.

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