Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Beyond the Aristocracy
Publication Date: 9/6/22
As always, Linda Rae Sande has provided us with a delightfully entertaining, witty, and romantic book with not one but TWO romances. I loved all of the intertwined characters from both the aristocracy and the working classes – and – I loved that it was sort of taming the shrew in reverse.
Over twenty years before this story takes place, Patience and Maxwell had a history. They were in love and she had accepted his proposal. Unfortunately for them, her father had never told her she was already betrothed – to a much older, wealthier, and higher titled man. When Patience went to break it off with the normally sunny and happy Maxwell, things did not go well. Max took it to mean that Patience was throwing him over. Almost immediately the sunny, happy Max turned into the sullen, grumpy, unhappy Max and he remained that way.
Twenty years later, Patience is a happy widow. She detested her husband and feels a tad (NOT) guilty for not mourning her husband’s passing. To give herself some relief from the ton’s scrutiny during her required mourning period, she decides to travel to the country estate. It is cold and the roads are rutted and icy, so it isn’t a huge surprise when there is a loud crack and the coach comes to a stop with a broken wheel. As fate would have it, the mishap happened right at the entrance to Max’s estate and Patience has no choice but to seek refuge there until the wheel can be repaired/replaced.
Maxwell has been a widower for many, many years and lives practically as a recluse on his country estate. His sour, grumpy demeanor keeps visitors away and has driven most of his staff away as well. Luckily, he pays twice as much as other employers in the area, so he has enough servants to keep the estate running well. None of those servants seem to be about on that cold winter evening to answer the loud, persistent knocking on his door. He’s stunned, and open-mouthed when he wrenches the door open to find Patience on the threshold requesting asylum.
I love Patience and Max’s journey to reconciliation and romance. Neither had ever stopped loving the other and that love quickly came to the fore. Watching grumpy Max become romantic, and loving Max was a wonderful thing!
The second romance involved Patience’s coach driver and a maid at Patience’s country estate. Jeffrey had admired Janet for a number of years and had always planned to ask her to become his wife. He just had to save up enough money for a ring for her. Finally, the ring is safely in his pocket and he can’t wait to get back to the estate to ask her. Only, to his great surprise, she is now working at the estate where their coach just broke down. How could she not have told him? What now? How can they marry and work at two different estates? Their journey is a lovely, romantic read as well.
I love that we always get two romances in each of this writer’s books. The writing is excellent, the characters are always engaging, and the stories suck you right in. I can definitely recommend this read and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.