The Joys of True Gentlemanliness… by Grace Burrowes
About twenty books ago, I lamented (whined) to one of my brothers that coming up with ways to challenge a romance hero into facing his worst fears and risking all to win the heroine’s heart was taxing my imagination. My brother, without a heartbeat’s pause said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.”
THAT was great advice. Make the hero choose between the woman who needs him, and the military unit depending on him. Make him choose between avenging injustices from his past, or respecting the wishes of the pacifist woman he loves. Make him decide whether to be publicly vindicated or privately forgiving… Delightful stuff, for an author!
And yet, to travel along these brilliant character arcs, our hero must have one characteristic: He must have a well-developed sense of honor. To me, that means this fellow must be honest and kind. He can be poor, grouchy, lacking in charm, without prospects, unlucky in love—Daniel Banks is nodding his head—but ideally, he will still be a true gentleman at heart.
The true gentleman, alas for him, can be tormented from page one by the author and by the story, but from the start, the true gentleman will play by the rules of decency.
Rules are tough. The true gentleman will never misrepresent himself, which means Daniel Banks must inform Lady Kirsten that a) he’s married, and b) he won’t disrespect his vows. Too bad for Daniel, this honesty only raises him in the lady’s esteem, when he’s trying to emphasize his unsuitability.
The true gentleman will lend a hand—or an ear—to those in need. When Daniel Banks realizes that Lady Kirsten has been overlooked by her entire family, and is as lonely as an earl’s daughter can be, the least he can do is listen when she explains the misery in her past. Again, his respect for, and understanding of her increases, but what else could a gentleman have done?
The true gentleman is kind. He does not ignore the suffering of others, even if that means, he’s left with a bigger helping of suffering on his own plate. When Lady Kirsten needs a champion to fight her battles with an overbearing brother, Daniel steps up, though it might cost him his position. Once again, Daniel’s decency only gets him in hotter water, because now Kirsten’s brother is also viewing the impecunious, reserved, sometimes grouchy, vicar with renewed respect.
This business of being a true gentleman is darned hard, and darned heroic. What Daniel has to learn, though, is that true gentlemanliness begins at home. When he’s honest with himself, and shows himself the compassion we all deserve, all the inconvenient rules, tough choices, and honorable standards turn out to have been his second-best friends.
Lady Kirsten is, of course, his very best friend, being a true lady. But that’s another story…
>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<
A man of God was supposed to welcome hardships, and Daniel did, mostly because his store of silent, colorful language was becoming impressive.
He raised a gloved fist to knock on the door. “Halloo, the—!”
The door opened, Daniel’s sleeve was snatched into a tight grasp, and he was yanked into the warmth of the cottage so quickly he nearly bumped his head on the lintel.
“I said I’d be home by dark,” his captor muttered, “and full dark is yet another hour away. I was hoping this infernal snow would slow down.” The woman fell silent, for Daniel’s sleeve was in a young lady’s grip. “You’re not George.”
Alas for me. “The Reverend Daniel Banks, at your service, madam. I lost my way and need directions to Belle Maison, the Bellefonte estate. Apologies for intruding upon your afternoon.”
Though, might Daniel please intrude until at least his feet and ears thawed? Beelzebub was a substantial horse who grew a prodigious winter coat. He’d tolerate the elements well enough for a short time.
BOOK BLURB: An honorable life
Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left-and even his churchman’s collar is beginning to feel like a noose. At the urging of family, Daniel attempts to start his life over as vicar in the sleepy Kentish town of Haddondale, family seat to the earls of Bellefonte.
Challenged by passion
Lady Kirsten Haddonfield has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. Then the handsome new village vicar, Reverend Daniel Banks, becomes a guest of the Haddonfield family while the vicarage is being renovated, and Kirsten finds herself rethinking her position. Lady Kirsten does not know that Daniel’s past is about to cast a shadow on love’s future.
REVIEW: Grace Burrowes continues her True Gentleman series with yet another story of love, faith and internal conflict.
I devour every book this author puts forth and as I immersed myself in Daniel’s story, I honestly couldn’t see the “forest” from the trees. The plot was complex and I just couldn’t see it ever resolving in our couple’s favor. Leave it to Madam Author to lead me by the nose to a very satisfactory conclusion and one that I never saw coming my way!
As much as I loved this couple, I found the story just a tad slower than usual, yet it still had a certain flare and many fun moments, especially those with the “scholars”!
For all of you that love complex plots and characters, with plenty of humor, some heartache and sweet and tender romance, you’ll have to read this story. However, to understand this story better, I suggest you read ‘David: Lord of Honor’ [Lonely Lords book 9] first for the simple reason of getting to meet Daniel Banks and his back story. I loved both stories very much and because I read David’s story, I understood Daniel’s story better because of the glimpses into his background and what drives him.
If you’re a fan of this author, you’ll have to read this one, but if you’ve never read Grace’s awesome stories, I’d not start with this one but with ‘The Heir’.
Melanie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
AUTHOR BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.
The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012.
Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews fromPublishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.