I’m always on the prowl for a new to me historical romance book to grab me and this one did. Not because it was sensational or melodramatic, but because it had an authentic and understated quality to it that paired well with the smoldering attraction of the romantic pair in this story of class issues, post-war stress and guilt, grief, and a little mystery.
The story opens with the arrival home and ‘back from the dead’ of war torn Anthony Hargreaves, the new heir to his father after the tragic death of his older brother, Alexander, Earl of Halford. Anthony wants a quiet time of peace after the horrors he saw and experiences at Badajoz, but his father has different intentions. The Marquess has had a scare when he thought his family line was ended with the deaths of two sons. One is back and that one will get busy and make a match and give the Marquess an heir. The pressure is hard on Anthony, but he will do his duty even if his eye keeps straying to the serene and lovely Miss Amelia Clarke, his mother’s paid companion.
Amelia lost her beloved parents and home all at once. She was desperate and still grieving when an old family friend gets her a position as companion to dear Lady Ashworth. She is there through Lord and Lady Ashworth’s deep grief at losing their sons, one in a riding accident and one at war and then when Lord Ashworth’s health deteriorates. They are like family to her now even if her status is now woefully below theirs. She wants to rejoice when the rumors of one son’s death are false, but Anthony unsettles her. She is attracted and he is never to be hers. Amelia watches as Anthony has all the eligible ladies paraded before him, but it is the desolate sadness in his eyes that makes her reach out to offer comfort. Amelia knows about grief and loss though his nightmares, terrible memories, and struggles can be a little frightening.
An accidental compromise changes everything for both of them. They might muddle through to something good if the situation hadn’t created a strong and powerful enemy.
As I said earlier, I loved the feel of this story. The author blends a feel for the style of classic authors in this Regency era historical with some slightly spicy romance. I might be stretching it, but I could sense a blend a few authors and famous classics of the past namely Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
The class differences and the mystery of Amelia’s past are the source of most of the conflict for the pair. They are surrounded by an array of social climbers, well-meaning family, and a couple of greedy enemies.
I was taken with this story and it was definitely a case of right time and right book. I will be watching out for more from this author. I would recommend this one to those who enjoy slightly spicy Regency Romance.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #290 HR
New to Me #116 author
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