My Dearest Friend (The Dukes of Lear - Book 3) by Hazel Statham
Publication Date: November 2011
Genre: Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Pump Up Your Book Promotions)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Mobipocket eBooks, Write Words Inc.
Hazel Statham on the WEB: website, blog, twitter
Excerpt from My Dearest Friend
Devastated by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is wracked with guilt and grief, believing himself responsible for his death as he had purchased his commission. He is approached by Jane Chandler, the sister of a fellow officer of Stefan’s, to help hire a craft to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal. Without Jane’s knowledge, he decides to take a hand in the young soldier’s deliverance and together they embark on the hazardous journey.
However, the journey holds more revelations than they anticipate, not least of all, the growing love between the two travelers. When they return to England however, the perfect life they had envisioned is rudely interrupted when events take an unexpected turn and their love is put severely to the test when the tenant of Jane’s former home invades their life. It is a story of deliverance, retribution, misunderstandings and love.
Author Hazel Statham brings readers the third book in The Dukes of Lear series, My Dearest Friend. This is an unconventional love story that is tested by time and jealousy, which readers will find refreshing and original. Statham's commitment to remaining true to the classic Regency period romance is nothing short of remarkable, considering today's "racy" romance trends. Readers will find Statham's novel is in the vein of those authors who have influenced her career, namely, Georgette Heyer and Jane Austin. A great conclusion to a well written Regency trilogy!
Robert Blake, Duke of Lear is in turmoil. After losing his brother Stefan in the Peninsular War, he is beside himself with guilt and grief. Having purchased Stefan's commission, he blames himself for his death. But when the opportunity arises to make atonement for his actions, he jumps at the chance to help Jane Chandler save her brother. Jane is the sister of one of Stefan's friends who served with him and she is in dire need of the duke's help to get her wounded brother home from Portugal. Though it would have been easy to delegate the responsibility, the duke travels with Jane to rescue her brother. Throughout the journey they become good friends and find that their attraction for each other is growing. But when they return home jealousy and the nefarious schemes of another man threatens to tear them apart.
Hazel Statham writes like the authors of old, from her elegant language and descriptions down to her characterizations and rich period details. She has a flair for remaining true to the original concept of what a Regency romance was all about. Her heroes are bold and loyal and her heroines are demure and innocent. She is able to convey to the reader the overall atmosphere of the time period and the lavish world of the dukes and duchesses. I find her writing refreshing and original because of her adherence to making each novel decadent and entertaining.
In My Dearest Friend, Statham works with the concept of enduring love. What does it take to make a relationship stand the test of time and adversity? Robert and Jane's relationship starts out as basically a means to an end. Jane needs help in retrieving her wounded brother and the duke is able to make that possible. For Robert it is more a chance at redemption that motivates him. But throughout the book, their relationship starts to grow. Statham uses a deep friendship as the basis for their story and if I were being honest I would say those lovers who start out as friends certainly have a greater chance at lasting through the years. I think Statham is able to show this to readers even though many would expect to fall quickly, their more sedate pace helped them later on when their relationship is tested my a man who has his own agenda and wants to keep them apart. I thought this aspect of the book was well written and showed a lot of versatility in writing style.
Statham's characters are engaging and full of emotion. Robert is one of those heroes that woman love. He is the duke, he has money and position and he could be arrogant and heavy handed but he isn't. Statham portrays him as very caring man who wants to be of more benefit to society than just someone who carries a title. He obviously loved his brother dearly to be in such anguish over his death and I think readers will find that commendable. Also the fact that he goes out of his way to help Jane says a lot for his character. Statham gives readers a classic hero who isn't judgmental, but is aware of everything and everyone around him.
Jane is wonderful heroine. She is respectful to the duke, but does not allow him to get the better of her. She needs his help and is somewhat surprised at his willingness to come to her aid. Because of her innocence she isn't sure about traveling with him, but as she gets to know him she realizes what a remarkable man he is. I thought Statham did a great job of conveying to the reader the depth of what Jane was feeling for Robert. She doesn't hide the fact that Jane has doubts, but is willing to take him at his word. When their relationship is nearly torn asunder by lies and treachery, she stands strong in her love for Robert and her loyalty is commendable. I think readers will fall in love with Jane and root for her relationship with Robert.
My Dearest Friend is the final book in The Dukes of Lear trilogy, but each book can be read as a stand alone. It is fast paced and full of rich period detail. Statham's research into the Regency period is evident in her descriptions of the people, places and customs of the era. I recommend this one to both Historical romance and historical fiction fans. This book isn't your typical Regency written today. It doesn't have a lot of sexy, racy scenes and it is written in a very lyrical style that isn't used as mush today, but that doesn't take away from the wonderful story of friendship and love. I think it adds to it!
My Dearest Friend will be released in e-book format in November.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Hazel lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history and writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although she has been known to occasionally stray into Medieval times.
When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. However, there have been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment intervened, but now that she no long works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.
She has been married to her husband Terry since 1969 and they have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organisation that raised money for animal charities.
She currently shares her home with a lovely yellow Labrador named Lucy, who is her constant companion. Lucy is a real sweetie, but it’s not always easy working at the computer with a large Labrador trying to get on your knee!
Hazel hopes you enjoy reading her novels as much as she enjoys writing them and is always delighted to hear from her readers.