A Manley Maids Novel , Book 1
Berkley Sensation
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-26829-2
March 2014
Contemporary Romance

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Present Day

Livvy Corolla's life is about to take a 180 degree turn with the death of her grandmother, Merriweather Knightsbridge Martinson.  Well, not that grandmother is the correct term, since Merriweather never wanted anything to do with her illegitimate granddaughter.  Only seeing her grandmother once at the age of seven, Livvy begged and pleaded for years to make a connection with her, but in the end she lived her life alone after the early deaths of her mother and father.  Now a lawyer says she might inherit the mansion that has housed the Martinson family for generations since they arrived from England, but only after a treasure hunt where she finds the clues hidden by her grandmother before her death.  Guess her grandmother is still pulling her strings even in death.

Sean Manley and his brothers, Bryan and Liam, are having their weekly poker game when their kid sister Mary-Alice Catherine begs to play.  So far they have avoided playing with her, as she can't afford the stakes, but she has a way of winding them around her little finger.  Sean knows he's winning with a nine high flush, as do each of the brothers believe their hand is a winner.  Perhaps he can slip the thousand dollars Mary-Alice has put in the pot to her after the game.  When Mary-Alice is all in and still wants to bet, she bets each of them a month of her maid service, Manley Maids, or they will each give her a month of service as a Manley Maid.  No way is there a possibility…until she comes up with a Jack high flush.  When Livvy comes into town, Sean is working at the Martinson mansion, a place he had negotiated with Merriweather for over a year into purchasing and turning into a B&B.  Now he's right in the middle of a treasure hunt, and in a position to find the clues first and maybe make the outcome go his way, after all, the future of his brothers investments in this property are in his hands.

Livvy brings to the mansion her dogs, sheep, ducks, goats, pig, alpacas, and parrot, who soon take up the entire first floor, eating the antique furniture, leaving “presents” on the Aubusson carpet, and staying in during the rain storm.  I just could not imagine why someone who wants to sell a mansion would let thousands of dollars of damage happen and not worry about it at all.  Her life revolves around her rescue animals and her organic cooking at the co-op where they all lived before her inheritance.

Judi Fennell starts the story with the poker game among the three brothers, Bryan, Liam and Sean, and their little sister Mac, Mary-Alice Catherine.  Becoming a Manley Maid was an extremely cute idea, and each of the brothers is a hoot.  Sean feels like he has the most to prove, Bryan is a movie heartthrob, and Liam is also financially well off, only Sean has struggled all his life with dyslexia, and developing the Martinson estate is his chance to prove the money his brothers invested with him is safe.  Livvy's story can tug at your heartstrings; she basically had to raise herself at the boarding schools her grandmother paid for, and as an adult she has made her own life.  Two strong characters must struggle for what they want, but only Sean knows that if Livvy loses the treasure hunt, he could be the winner to buy the property.

Secondary characters lightly touch on the brothers Bryan and Liam, sister Mary-Alice Catherine, and especially the barnyard of animals that accompany Livvy.  But still making her presence felt is Merriweather, the grandmother who missed out on the love Livvy longed to give and receive.

WHAT A WOMAN WANTS is a hunt for fortune and true love.  The question is, will Sean find the final clue before Livvy does and let her lose her inheritance, or will he help her and give up the property he has planned for over a year and lose the respect he wanted to earn from his brothers?  This is the first story in the Manley Maids series, and the second will be WHAT A WOMAN NEEDS (June 2014).  Give Livvy and Sean's story a try; it might be what you want, too, this month.

Carolyn Crisher