‘The Soldier’ by Grace Burrowes

ts gbSTORY: This Regency era battle of wits, wills, and the sexes features a wily duke determined to see the succession of his line secured. The duke can’t force his sons to marry, but he can make their lives miserable until they do. Resisting his pressure, each gentleman holds out for true love.

The second book in the series features Devlin St. Just, the duke’s oldest, but illegitimate, son. He arrives at his new estate weary in body and spirit only to find the previous owner’s bastard daughter and her beautiful cousin are his responsibility and making his life almost unbearably complicated.

REVIEW: The Duke’s Obsession trilogy continues with the oldest of brothers, Devlin St. Just, who’s a half-brother to Val and Westhaven, and a bastard son of the wily, old Duke of Moreland.

In THE SOLDIER, we reacquaint ourselves with the man whom the Duchess took in at the age of five to be raised along her own brood.  He’s a long-time soldier, a kind and devoted brother. He’s a man whose body had suffered no mortal wounds, yet his soul has been scarred so deeply, that he can’t find peace, even in his sleep. His passion is horses, and Emmie is the first woman in two years to stir his other passions, the ones that he thought never to feel again.

As THE SOLDIER opens, he arrives at Rosecroft, an estate he was ‘gifted’ by the King, and is confronted with a lot of challenges; the biggest one of all is Helmsley’s six-year-old bastard daughter Winnie and her cousin Emmie, who he feels are now his responsibility.

Emmaline Farnum is the town’s most incomparable baker. She’s been taking care of herself since the age of eighteen, as well as trying to keep an eye on her little cousin Winnie, who’s been living at Rosecroft with her degenerate father from the age of six months.
I understood this woman from the moment she barged in on Dev and Winnie. She is someone that all women should relate to. She is strong, has been supporting herself for years, yet weak in her emotions towards all that she regards dear to her.

She strives to be better, to always do her best, be that baking or taking care of an orphan. When she confronts a man who was unlike any she’s ever met—honorable, kind and devoted, yet broken from the inside—her feelings toward him confound and confuse her. She can’t help but offer him the only thing she has: herself.

If I loved THE HEIR, I adore THE SOLDIER. Grace Burrowes has gone and done it again. This story is about pure, unadulterated love. Love of a man for a woman; love of a man for his brother; love of a man for his friend, and love of a child for something to call her own.

One of the most heartwarming scenes in this book is the one right after Dev remembers his birth mother, Kathleen, taking him to the mews, letting him pet the horses. That memory brings both men to tears, and they take themselves outside for an impromptu picnic to enjoy a beautiful day, relaxing with wine and finally reading Kathleen’s letters to the Duchess of Moreland. This scene will forever be etched in my memory. I have never read anything like it in a romance novel. It didn’t undermine his sexuality or his masculinity. If anything, it made him more human, more real.

All the main characters have their own cross to bear, yet all are willing to help and support one another in their moments of crises. And that is the heart of this story. It shows us the quality of being human. The raw emotions that I felt while reading this story, left me crying in the wee hours of the morning. This is a romance to be cherished, and reread over and over again.

I was so happy to catch up with Douglas, and I am counting the days to his story, which will be a prequel to THE HEIR. As for Valentine, I’m enchanted beyond belief! For that matter, all of the Morlands, even the crusty and wily Duke have impressed me with their loyalty and love of each other. This is one family where men are not afraid to show their love toward one another. I can’t wait to meet the sisters!

Oh, and let’s not forget the Vicar, Hadrien Bothwell. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again…I think one of those sisters needs a man like him.

THE SOLDIER is character-driven and heartwarming, with dialogue full of wit and charm. This is not your usual ‘damsel in distress’ or a ‘reformed rake’ story. This is a romance that is bursting at the seams with emotion and humanity, pulling at all your heartstrings, and I highly recommend it.

Melanie for RRAH

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