Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Widow’s Brew, #2
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Caroline “Caro” Anderson is the brewer of the Widow’s Ale at the Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows and Abandoned Women and their Unfortunate Children. She is returning from a disappointing trip to London when the mail coach she is riding in becomes disabled, stranding her and several other passengers, including a small boy and his infant sister in the snow. Knowing the children will not survive the cold, she takes the baby and goes for help at a nearby estate. The estate is owned by a man she knows well, or at least knew well, Nicholas St. John, Viscount Oakland. Nick was friends with her older brother and was a frequent visitor to her home. She has not seen him in 17 years, but hopes he will offer shelter to them.
Nick is at the estate and is hosting an orgy, he however can’t seem to find the enthusiasm to join in, he blames it on being back at the estate. Nick was born in Italy, his father was the younger son of the Viscount and a painter, he fell in love with an Italian woman while on his grand tour and never returned to England. But when they died, his uncle, the new Viscount demanded that Nick come to live with him in England – his uncle was a dour, bitter man who Nick blames for all his unhappiness. Being at the estate, especially at Christmas, brings back all his memories and has him feeling out of sorts. When Caro comes banging on the door, Nick has no idea how much his life is about to change.
This was a sweet story with characters who have some very potent emotional issues. I loved seeing Nick grow as a person and begin to start taking responsibility for his own life and to stop blaming his uncle. I also enjoyed seeing Caro begin to let go of the pain in her past, she was hurt badly by a man and then to add insult to injury, disowned by her family. Watching them help each other to see the truth of their pasts and move on was very well done. I like the story, but there were just some things that didn’t really work for me, I never understood why Caro went into “service”, her family wasn’t poor and she was 17 and the only daughter, why didn’t her father try to find her a husband? It just didn’t make sense. I also felt like the book ended too abruptly, it really needed another chapter or at least an epilogue to show the reader their HEA as well as letting us know what happened with the secondary characters that were also stranded at the estate. This is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read as a standalone title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*