Douglas: Lord of Heartache (The Lonely Lords) by Grace Burrowes
I commented on Douglas in my review of Andrew (Lord of Despair) and am delighted by his story! If ever a Lord needed understanding, this is that one.
Needing to check out a property of Lord Andrew Greymore's he might buy, Douglas Allen, now Viscount Amery, persuades Guinevere Hollister, cousin to Greymore and Gareth Heathgate, and current steward of another of Greymore's properties to accompany him to Sussex. He needs someone to give him advice as to the suitability of purchasing the place and Greymore recommended Guinevere. Lady Heathgate is supposedly to meet them there to act as chaperone. Unfortunately Lady Heathgate is delayed by illness.
(I am also much struck by the role of women at this time in this society, and the lack of acceptance of their talents. Certainly Gwen is an expert in the field of husbandry and stewardship as is pointed out time and again.)
There is too, Gwen's illegitimate daughter Rose, who is precious. Some of her questions and conversations were just delightful.
I'm loving the determined awkwardness of Gwen and the stilted carefulness of Douglas.
I love the way he sets about to cater for that awkwardness of Gwen's, the way by his unfailing care and gentle manner he actually touches her soul.
The dance between Gwen and Douglas is one of retreat and advance. Slow and unhurried, two damaged people finding each other.
One rather beautiful love scene pushed itself forward into my consciousness, which reflected the biblical sense of 'covering' (mayhap a Ruth and Boab moment) and all that is implicit in that thought.
Douglas is a shy man but so determined, as comes through time and again.
When who Rose's father is, is revealed a whole new possibility of anguish opens up for Douglas and Guinevere.
Certainly, when in another twist the Duke of Windham becomes involved, there is Deception, Control, and Blackmail.
I loved the scene at the church entrance. So gratifying!
In Burrowes' Acknowledgements we are told where this novel is placed in the overall relationships of the Windhams and a little of how the story came about.
This is a truly romantic tale, beautifully told and refreshingly honest.
Douglas makes a true and unsuspecting knight, who thankfully dons his shining armour without hesitation. Guinevere is a very hurting Lady in Distress, never expecting a knight, and I cheered when that worthy captured her heart.
Gwen and Douglas have both experienced darkness, it's time for the dawn to break.
A NetGalley ARC