The Wayward Son by Caroline Warfield
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Ashmead Heirs #1
Publication Date: 7/22/21
Number of Pages: 355
This author has created the most delightful village populated with some of the most delightful people you’ll ever meet. Some are related – some are not. Some used to have secrets – some didn’t. When the old earl died, his will turned the world of a number of villagers upside down. This first book in the series introduces us to the village of Ashmead, its inhabitants and then nicely introduces us to protagonists in future books. As always, the writing is outstanding, it is perfectly plotted and perfectly paced, and you will absolutely adore all of the characters you meet. Well … all of the characters except the villains maybe.
Major Sir Robert Benson was once simply known as Robbie Benson, son of the publican in Ashmead. That changed suddenly when he was fourteen and overheard the girl he loved being berated by her mother because of her association with him. Because, well, it turns out he was her by-blow brother. Robbie left Ashmead after that, has never returned, and had intentions of never returning for any reason. Why would he go back? The man he loved and admired above all others, his Da, had lied to him for his entire life. His Da really wasn’t his Da. No, the man who sired him was the old Earl of Clarion.
Lucy Whitaker has learned that you cannot depend on men to take care of you. You must be totally independent and she has been making herself that way for several years. Sadly, that independence is still dependent on a man. When her father died leaving her without providing for her, she went to live with her sister and brother-in-law, the new Earl of Clarion. After the old earl died, and her sister as well, she was adrift. She couldn’t continue to live with her brother-in-law, but she had no other place to go. The solution was for her to live at Willowbrook until its heir showed up. Still, three years and many imposters later, the real heir has not appeared. Until he did.
Sir Robert only returned to Ashmead because his sister Emma wrote that he must come, she needed him. He never read any correspondence from Ashmead, the Earl’s home, or anyone else even remotely related to that Earldom or that village, so he was shocked to learn he had inherited Willowbrook from the old Earl’s estate. Well! He certainly didn’t want anything to do with that so he’d refuse it if he could or sell it if he couldn’t refuse it.
With strange things happening at Willowbrook and Sir Robert’s protective instincts for Lucy kicking in, the story really flies. Villains are afoot and have been for three years. What is it they want? The estate supports itself, but it doesn’t make huge sums of money. As the plot thickens, people are hurt, murder happens, betrayals happen, and Lucy and Sir Robert’s attraction to each other grows exponentially.
Will they find their HEA or will Sir Robert sell Willowbrook and head back to London? You’ll never know if you don’t read this wonderfully crafted romance. Some of the characters I LOVED in this book will be featured in the future books of the series. Madelyn (Maddy) Tavernash, Dowager Duchess of Glenmoor will be featured in the next book along with Brynn Morgan, who is Sir Robert’s best friend. You’ll love them in this book and I’m sure you’ll love them in their own book later this year! I believe the series will wrap up next year with the new Earl of Clarion’s book. You’ll also meet him and come to like him in this book.
Happy reading! I hope you’ll love this book as much as I did.
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