STORY: Out of the war and into another, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves finds the politics of romance to be as uninviting a battle as the one that nearly cost him his life in Badajoz, Spain.
Wounded both mentally and physically from the Peninsular War in 1812, Anthony returns home to find that his older brother has died, placing Anthony next in line to inherit the estate. But he’s not ready for such responsibilities. And when Anthony’s dying father pleads with him to marry and produce an heir to preserve the family title, it nearly sends Anthony over the edge; nevertheless he dutifully faces a long line of hopeful young ladies who await him. No one grabs his attention, though, like Amelia Clarke, his mother’s stunning companion, who is off-limits for the earl. But when Anthony unwittingly puts Amelia in a compromising situation, he dedicates himself to protecting her reputation.
But the horrors Anthony faced while away from home have left him feeling broken and tormented. And Anthony finds himself drawn to Miss Clarke, the only one who can chase away his demons, but he must overcome the hostility of a society driven by class, a jealous duke bent on revenge, and himself—for could Amelia ever really love a haunted man?
REVIEW: Amelia Clarke, companion to Lady Ashworth, is suggesting some menu choices that may appeal to her husband, the Marquess of Ashworth, who is quite ill and possibly dying. Amelia nursed her father, a parish vicar, until he passed away two years ago. Her mother passed away when Amelia was 12. At her father’s passing, she was left alone in the world and is thankful for her position as a companion.
Amelia is very sad for Lady Ashworth because she recently lost her oldest son and heir, Alexander, the Earl of Halford, in a horse riding accident. This happened shortly after they had been notified that their other son, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves, was killed in a war in Spain. These losses have left the Marquess with a very weakened heart.
But, Lord Anthony returns and the family is thankful and joyful. He had survived his wounds by being hidden and cared for by his friend, Lucas Jennings. Lucas has vowed to stay with Anthony until he is certain that he is healed both physically and mentally from his wounds.
Because he almost lost both sons, his father demands that Anthony provide an heir within a year. That means he must find a bride very soon.
A huge village celebration is planned for Anthony’s safe return. Amelia is busy helping with the plans and preparations. She and Anthony join in with the games, but the tug of war played in the mud brings back bad war memories to him resulting in his fleeing to the forest. Amelia finds him there and comforts him. Later that evening, they are found kissing on the balcony. When they are discovered, she is deemed compromised so Anthony announces their betrothal. Since she has no family, Anthony has his solicitor undertake an investigation resulting in some shocking revelations.
This story is terrific. The events following this revelation keep the reader turning pages quickly. I enjoyed the fact that the book is clean. Wish more books were like this.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Connie for b2b