Gwen Hollister, cousin to the Marquis of Heathgate, has fashioned a life as a poor relation, raising her daughter Rose in rural obscurity and focusing all of her considerable passion and intellect on stewarding the estate they live on. Douglas Allen, Viscount Amery, is sent to Gwen by their mutual relations for lessons in husbandry of the land. Only because Douglas rescues Gwen’s daughter from certain peril, does Gwen accept the task. As Douglas and Gwen find common ground, and then mutual pleasure, Gwen’s past rises up in the person of the powerful Duke of Moreland, who’s bent on wresting control of Rose from her mother, even if it means Gwen must marry the Moreland heir.
Received from Netgalley in exchange for a review. #8 in a series, but the first one in the series I’ve read. This far in, there is naturally a cast of thousands but I’m not sure there’s much of a loss by coming in partway.
Douglas, the Viscount Amery is sent to see Gwen Hollister’s advice about buying a new house and estate – his now dead father and brothers have left him virtually alone (bar a sick mother) and the family finances in a perilous state.
It’s a pretext of course, by Gwen’s cousins, in an attempt to bring her out from her self imposed exile. She’s been shamed by the family of the Duke of Moreland, and few people are aware of Rose, the daughter of the brief, shameful elopement.
The relationship between Douglas and Gwen is threatened by the arrival of the Moreland clan, whose various members become aware of Rose and Gwen. The Duke of Moreland, a bully used to getting his own way, and with 4 sons unmarried, threatens and blackmails Gwen into a marriage no other party wants to take part in, purely to ensure access to his granddaughter.
Big cast of characters, lots of angst (perhaps a bit too much, which resulted in me skim reading sections), some medium spicy scenes (not like she has a reputation to keep, after all). Reading other reviews of this book has led me to realise that this is only one of a massive set of books – approximately 30 – by the same author, focussing on various characters in the same world. So whilst this is #8 in the “Lords” series, it could also be counted as #1 in the Windham series – apparently.
Not sure I’d take this series any further though I believe other people adore this author