Series: The Heirs of the Aristocracy #4
Getting two romances in each story is one of the things I love about this author’s books. Usually, there is a primary romance and a secondary romance, but this time, because we have twins, we have a shared primary role. Normally, I believe that would leave me feeling that one or the other of the romances wasn’t fully formed, but that wasn’t the case. Henry’s romance felt a bit instant to me, but it also felt sincere – probably lust before love. If you have read books from this author’s several other ‘Aristocracy’ series, you’ll recognize friends from those books. I love that people and events are intertwined among the related series and we have followed and loved these families for multiple generations. While this is part of a series and the series is a part of several inter-related series, you can still totally read it as a stand-alone. It just amazes me that the author can keep everyone straight and not marry close relatives to each other. In this book, we enjoy Graham, the son of Emma Fitzsimmons and Thomas Wellingham (The Promise of a Gentleman), Laura, the eldest daughter of William Overby and Lily Harkins (The Desire of a Lady), along with Hannah and Henry, the twin siblings of Sophia Grandby and James Simpson. (The Pride of a Gentleman).
Graham Wellingham left England eighteen years ago to start a new branch of the family business in the United States. He didn’t leave because he wanted to – he left because his heart wouldn’t let him stay. Hannah, the woman he’d loved since they were in leading-strings was marrying another man. He has never gotten over Hannah – and when she is widowed – he heads back to England to hold her to a bargain she’d made with him.
Lady Hannah Simpson Harrington’s marriage wasn’t what she’d expected, but at least she’d produced a son-and-heir for her husband. She has never gotten over Graham, the love of her life and she wonders if he’ll return to England to hold her to their bargain. Her year of mourning is almost over and she hasn’t heard a word from him.
I loved the mix-ups and mishaps of them coming together. He would be at one place to find her – and she’d be at another. I love her son, Edward’s, involvement in the whole thing as well. What I didn’t get, however, is how instantly forgiving Graham was of the people who supposedly loved him, yet manipulated Hannah away from him. They caused Hannah and Graham to miss eighteen years of happiness together and, to me, that warranted a bit more than an instant acceptance of the offered apology.
Henry Simpson is soon to become the Head Clerk at the Bank of England. That is quite a lofty accomplishment for a man of his age. Henry is only six and thirty, but everyone thinks he’s at least fifty because he’s a bit staid and stodgy. He has lived at home with his parents all of his life – mostly because his parents are aging and he wants to assure they are cared for and he’s there if they need him. Henry realizes it is time for him to marry – actually, far past time – but he’s never seen anyone who held his interest. Well, no one has ever caught and held his interest until he notices a beautiful young woman who enters the house across the street every Monday morning, and then she leaves every Saturday afternoon. She is lovely, poised, and … Who is she? Is she a maid? Her timing is odd – and she’s delivered by coach – but, she must be a maid. He is mesmerized and watches for her arrival and departures – and any sightings he can get of her through windows. How can he possibly be smitten by someone to whom he’s never spoken? Yet, he is.
Laura Overby comes from a large, but well-to-do, family. She expects she’ll never marry, but at least she has a way to support herself. Something other than going into service. She is a gifted portraitist and is much sought-after, so she can easily support herself with that income. Then, one day she notices the man across the street is watching her as she arrives at her client’s residence. The young, handsome man seems to always be watching her. Strangely, it isn’t disconcerting for him to be watching. She is very intrigued. She knows who he has to be because his mother comes over to tea quite often.
When Henry and Laura meet, sparks fly. Can they forge a HEA? Can Henry unbend and allow his wife to continue her work? If he can’t – can she still marry him?
I loved watching the staid Henry learn to bend and finally to reach for what he really wants in life.
I hope you will read and enjoy this book – with these two lovely romances – as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.