The notorious Viscount And the most gossiped-about lady…
After years as a diplomat in the Napoleonic wars, Lord Eastwood is reluctant to return to London society. His scandalous divorce has made him infamous, not to mention cantankerous! To halt the rumour mill, he should marry a quiet noblewoman – instead it’s bold, vibrant artist, Faith Brookes, who’s caught his attention. They are the least suitable match, so why is he like a moth to a flame…?
Virginia Heath perfectly sets the feeling of time and place with her vivid descriptions of the scenery and political situations of the times. When you take that and add in the wit, humor, and deeply felt emotions within her writing, you can’t help but have a wonderful story. The writing is excellently done, the story is perfectly paced, the characters are exceptional and the romance is definitely sigh-worthy.
Our two lead characters have both been badly hurt by romance in the past. They are still bruised, battered, and scarred from those experiences. Neither trusts themselves to make decisions about future relationships – and therefore they mistrust everyone. They’ll each have to grow and forgive themselves before they can ever trust another with their hearts. The prose was so well done that I could actually feel every emotion as it passed through these wonderful characters.
Piers, Viscount Eastwood, son of the Earl of Writtle, is the scandal of the ton. He’s divorced of all things – and he divorced his wife just prior to her delivering a child. Rumors are running rampant, but it is generally accepted that he is a beast and that he divorced his wife because she was beneath his station. Piers’ divorce has been exceedingly hard on him. He avoids society and has lost all self-esteem. The only life he participates in is his work life because with the war going on, he has to do that. He’s never publicly spoken about his wife or his divorce, nor has he defended himself even from the most egregious of the rumors. His loving family wants him to move on with his life – but how can he? He can’t trust his judgment – he can’t trust himself to choose someone who will love him for him. He’s dull, staid, and ordinary – who would want someone like him?
Faith Brooke has a boisterous, loving, unconventional family consisting of two sisters (Hope and Charity) along with her parents, the famed portraitist Augustus Brooke and the famous soprano Roberta Brooke. Although they are volatile artistic types, her parents are very straightlaced. Each sister has her own goals and careers they wish to pursue – one is a writer and one is following in their mother’s footsteps – Faith is following in their father’s footsteps as a gifted artist.
Piers and Faith cross paths when Piers’ mother commissions a family portrait from Augustus Brooke. As her father’s assistant, Faith accompanies him to the sittings to begin preparing the large canvas. Faith has heard all of the rumors and has read all of the scandal sheets and is filled with condemnation for Piers. Since she can’t keep her thoughts to herself, they have a bit of a tense exchange at the beginning. Piers reminds Faith of someone who took gross advantage of her and her naïveté when she was younger. Piers has to be the same – after all – he did divorce his pregnant wife.
I love how they both felt the attraction, yet both were very reluctant to trust the other. They wouldn’t believe their hearts could now choose the right person when it had chosen so wrongly before. I also loved how honest they were with each other – they didn’t lie – they didn’t pretend – they made it very plain they didn’t trust. All of that makes their HEA that much more lovely.
I truly hope you will read this book and love it as much as I did. I can hardly wait to see what Hope and Charity’s stories will be. I think we’re in for a real treat. I did notice the word SMOG in the book and hope the author will have replaced that prior to the publication of the book. I’m sure there were other anachronisms in there, but that is the one that caught my attention and made me smile.
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
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