Barbara’s rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Series: The Ashmead Heirs #4
Publication Date: 6/30/22
Period: Regency – 1819
Number of Pages: 283
This was a delightfully delivered, well-paced ending to the Ashmead Heirs series. We got lovely visits with the Caulfield and Benson families who are twined together like pretzels. They are a wonderful lot and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each of them through their books. Now, finally, I have come to know and love David Caulfield, and not only is he a handsome fellow, but he is also a handsome person inside as well. He is everything his reprobate of a father was not and I loved getting to see his HEA. I wouldn’t say you would have to read all the books in the series to enjoy this one, but I think you’d need to read at least the first one to truly understand the family dynamic.
If you want to read this book without reading the others, I’ll tell you just a small bit of the series background. The previous Earl, David’s father, was a worthless excuse for a human being. He mistreated his children, didn’t care for his tenants or his estates, he didn’t care at all for his wife (I don’t blame him for that) and sired illegitimate children all over the place. When David defied him and married the woman he wanted to marry and he also challenged his father about the illegitimate children, the old Earl changed his will. He was a vengeful old reprobate. He left ALL of the unentailed properties and monies to those illegitimate children – and nothing to David or his sister. The previous books dealt with three of those illegitimate children, their inheritances, and their HEAs.
David and his land steward, Eli Benson, are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. All of the demands of his fathers will have been met and they are working to make the estates profitable again. David’s true love is England, his lands, and his tenants and he spends all of his time in London working in the House of Lords to make things better – to right wrongs. Some are wanting him to become Home Secretary – and – he wants that too. At least he does until he learns he’s going to have to do more socializing and host a house party for all those political wags. David is somewhat socially stiff and uncertain and he certainly doesn’t want to be pursued by marriage-minded mamas hoping to corral him into marriage with their insipid daughters.
Lady Delia Fitzwallace is a widow with three children. Her family is the owner of Graham Shipping and she was married off to the fourth son of a Duke. Now her husband is dead, her father-in-law is a nightmare, and she is finally free to live in the country. She’s never lived in the country, but she just knows it is the right place for her and her children. She always wanted a beautiful garden and now she has that in the dower house she’s leased from the estate of the Earl of Clarion. Bliss – sheer bliss!
Neither David nor Delia plan to remarry, but each is attracted to the other. Their first meeting was so entertaining. Delia and her children were at the stream collecting frog eggs – she fell in – and just as she was coming up out of the stream, David rode up on his horse. He thought she was a local farm wife and took exception to her and her children being on his land – only – he found out she was his tenant at the dowager house. Oops! This hoyden was a lady? No way!
This was a very nicely done feel-good story that perfectly wrapped up the series. I am so very glad I got to read it – and could happily read it again. Another good thing I learned is that this author has contracted for another series that will feature characters we met in this series. I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading the Entitled Gentlemen series featuring Madelyn’s (The Defiant Daughter) two step-sons and Jeffrey Graham (Delia’s brother) whom we met in this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.