Monday, June 18, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Heart of Thornewell by Anita Stansfield


What should have been a grand adventure in Africa ends in heartbreak for Enid Hawthorne, following her husband's untimely death. Bereft, the young widow bravely boards a ship for home with precious cargo—her unborn child. She hopes to find refuge in England in the only place she can—Thornewell Hall, the estate of her late husband's family. But upon her arrival, she finds a bleak home in the depths of mourning. It is clear that hers is not the only tragedy, but Enid is unprepared for the hostility that meets her arrival.

Sebastian, Earl of Thornewell, is grief-stricken following the loss of his wife and child. The news that his brother is dead is simply more than he can take—and he knows who is to blame: his sister-in-law, Enid. So when she arrives on his doorstep, seeking asylum, he does his duty in allowing her to stay—and nothing more. Yet fate has other plans, and as they face joys and trials alongside each other, their broken hearts begin to heal. But there is a cloud over their future, for Enid harbors a secret that may drive them apart forever.


Anita Stansfield has a gift for writing stories full of emotion.  The characters in this book certainly experience a wide range of emotions.  Enid Hawthorne is a young, pregnant missionary's wife who has just lost her husband to disease.  But she has no time to grieve as she must make her way back to England from Africa.  She's not sure her husband's brother, the Earl of Thornewell will welcome her, he didn't like her before, but she has no where else to go as her own family disowned her years before.  But she isn't prepared for what she finds.  Thornewell is full of grief as well as the mistress died after childbirth just a few months earlier.

But grief is just the beginning of the roller coaster of emotions that both Enid and Sebastian, the Earl of Thornewell experience as they both struggle to cope with the loss of their spouses.  There is blame and anger and confusion.  Neither intended to fall in love with the other but they can't help themselves, but Sebastian's stubborn determination to blame Enid for his brother's death (without hearing about what happened) puts a wall between them that may not be climbable.

I enjoyed reading this, but frankly there were a number of occasions when I seriously wanted to let Sebastian have it because he was being so unfair and unkind to Enid.  I cheered Enid on when she stood up for herself and refused to let Sebastian get away with his behavior.  Stansfield has written another tender love story that takes both the characters and the reader on a journey through the challenges of life.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Loving Lieutenant Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden


Orphaned as a child, Arabella Hampton was the unwanted and unloved charge of a cruel aunt and neglectful uncle. The only light in her young life was the kindness of the Jonquil family, and she clung to the childish dream of someday living with them at Lampton Park. Now, years later, that opportunity is presented to Arabella in a most unexpected way: she is to be the lady’s companion to the dowager countess. As she takes up residence at the estate, the young woman soon finds that life at the Park is far more complicated than she imagined. The lines of her position are blurred, and she is neither family nor servant. So when the countess plans a grand house party, Arabella is content to hide in the shadows. But one gentleman sees her there.

Lieutenant Linus Lancaster has retired from the navy and is not looking for love, especially when he finds himself entangled in his sisters’ scheme to trap him into finding a wife at a house party at Lampton Park. Yet amid the festivities, he’s impossibly drawn to the dowager’s quiet companion, Arabella. Their regard for each other is undeniable, but they are haunted by their pasts. Can the two find a way to bridge their worlds?


As always, I was thrilled to read this new Sarah Eden book.  I've really developed an attachment to the Lancaster and Jonquil families and for the two to come together in this book made me really want to read the book.  And I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  This story revolves around the romance between Linus Lancaster (the brother of Persephone, Athena, and Daphne), recently retired naval officer, and Arabella Hampton, the Dowager Lady Lampton's new companion.  Arabella grew up next door to the Jonquils and thought of the Jonquil brothers' father as her own after she was orphaned.  The poor treatment she received from her own relatives lead her to want to be part of the Jonquil family.  After her father figure died, Arabella's hope for a better life faded a bit, until she's asked to be the companion to the Dowager Lady Lampton.  But she's not sure what her position in the family is and so does her best to stay quietly out of the way.

But when Linus arrives with his sister, the Duchess of Kielder and the rest of his relatives for a house party hosted by the current Lord Lampton (Philip Jonquil), he notices Arabella despite her efforts to remain in the background.  Linus is struggling himself to discover where he belongs in relation to his family and his newfound role as the male head of the family and the family's Shropshire holdings.  He's still grieving the loss of his older brother, Evander and is reluctant to become a landowner. 

As Linus and Arabella get to know each other, they find comfort in the other's kindness and understanding.  And a growing affection between the two interferes with Linus's sister's matchmaking plans.  Additionally, Linus has been asked to help keep the Dangerous Duke of Kielder from injuring their host, Lord Lampton, so Linus has plenty to keep him busy.  Especially when sickness invades the household, and Arabella's relatives arrive to torment her.

I enjoyed all the different aspects of the story.  Not least of which was getting to know Linus and Arabella.  But I was also thrilled to meet up with characters from the past that I love.  I found the interactions between Lord Lampton and the Duke of Kielder particularly entertaining (especially since Philip is deliberately going out of his way to annoy the Duke).  There are also hints about future stories that I found intriguing.  I can't wait to read future stories about both these families.


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