Beckman Haddonfield, Earl of Bellefonte, is to put an estate of his grandmother's to rights. His farewell to his dying father is a poignant moment that brought forth if not a tear, a deep heartfelt sigh.
He is a man with a past, and a future to be determined.
A curious menagerie of persons inhabit his grandmother's property, Three Springs. There's Sara, Polly and Allie. All artistic, with Allie seemingly a child prodigy. (Burrowes makes some interesting comments on child prodigies in these times in her notes.)
Then there's the mysterious Gabriel North who reads French and dresses in the best labels, even if they are all well worn.
As Beck labours alongside this complex group of people he's found, all with dark secrets, but somehow becoming almost a family, he reflects on his companions, 'Here...he was not amongst strangers. He was with the same people day and night, he was becoming familiar with them...He was, in short, growing attached.'
Beck's soliloquies are rather wonderful, thoughtful, and show a character of depth and feeling. I am falling in love with his gentleness of spirit. He wanted what tormented North solved 'because it plagued North's soul.' Just a wonderful reading moment that stopped me in my tracks as I contemplated this increasingly sensitive character that Burrowes has created.
It does seem to me that as Burrowes writes this series, each story is amplified by and draws strength from the previous book. Her main characters portray more fully developed personas, from Darius whom I didn't much like, to now Beckman, who is far more thoughtfully rounded. Scarred from his past he is a quietly compelling character. He is very much a considerate listening soul. He is the Prodigal returned, and renewed.
Ah Yes! the story is at once complicated, simple and I loved it!
A NetGalley ARC