The Solider (Duke's Obsession - Book 2) by Grace Burrowes
Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: Paperback, 416pp
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Grace Burrowes on the WEB: website, blog, facebook
Excerpt from The Solider
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
HE IS WEARY IN BODY AND SPIRIT...
Devlin St. Just has tried everything to escape his demons. But his responsibilities are multiplying and his despair deepening, until beautiful, enigmatic neighbor Emmaline Farnum steps in...
SHE'S GOT EVERYTHING TO HIDE...
Devlin's torn spirit calls to Emmaline, but even as she gives in to his irresistible caresses and her own growing desires, she's keeping a devastating secret...
Protecting Emmaline becomes Devlin's urgent mission, if only he can overcome the forces that are driving them irretrievably apart...
Once again Grace Burrowes brings historical romance readers a story of timeless love. The Soldier is the second book in the Duke's Obsession series and readers will fall in love with Burrowes' compelling plot and multi-layered characters. This is the sequel to Burrowes' highly acclaimed debut, The Heir and readers will be introduced to a new character, Devlin St. Just. Readers will enjoy the authors affinity for the Regency period and her ability to bring her story to life.
Devlin St. Just is a soldier, a man who has seen far too much and lived to tell the tale, but it doesn't come without it's own scars. Devlin is wounded in spirit and is falling into a deepening depression. When he is given an earldom for his service, he quickly finds out that it is almost as dilapidated as he is. Devlin goes to take possession, and is greeted by former heir's illegitimate daughter, Winnie, who is now his responsibility. Winnie's cousin Emmaline Farnum is engaged as her governess and Devlin and Emmie quickly become friends and take solace in each other. Both have pasts they would like to forget and but there are some secrets that could drive them apart forever.
Grace Burrowes received widespread praise for her debut novel The Heir and many fans were eagerly awaiting her sophomore effort. The Soldier is a novel that readers won't soon forget. From the heart-warming romance between the two main characters to the difficult themes tackled by the author, this isn't one historical romance fans will want to miss.
Burrowes does a wonderful job of giving the reader a hero who is not perfect. Devlin St. Just is portrayed as a man who has done his duty for his country, but not without price. He is practically haunted by what happened to him during the war. What he saw and what he had to do to survive. In today's society we would say that they had a case of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which generally occurs when a person has gone through something traumatic and may cause serious depression. It's almost as if Devlin doesn't understand why he survived and others didn't. I thought Burrowes did a wonderful job of bringing this theme into clear focus in a historical romance, not something that is tackled often.
Devlin is however still the quintessential Regency hero that readers have come to love. He is handsome and honorable even though he is troubled and when he meets Emmie and starts to come out of his shell and starts living again, he comes even more alluring. The relationship between Emmie and Devlin is written with a poignancy that readers will love. Burrowes was able to give readers characters who needed something more from each other. They still have the passion and sensuality that is needed for a romance, but they also seem to draw strength from each other. Devlin has his tortured past dealing with the war and Emmaline has secrets of her own that have made her an outcast among the neighbors.Together they make a great couple and Burrowes does a remarkable job of bringing them together and letting their romance develop. I thought their love was very believable and in a sense very innocent. They took what each had to give and didn't ask for more. It was enough just to be together. I really enjoyed the simplicity of it and I think readers will as well.
Emmie has some deep rooted fears and secrets. Usually this type of thing would keep hero and heroine apart and to some extent it has the potential to do that with Emmie and Devlin. The secrets of Emmaline's family and past has made her an outcast among the people of the area. She has been resigned to becoming the baker for the community, but people treat her as though she is tainted. The secret isn't hard to figure out, but it's difficult to figure out what to do about it. Sometimes the longer a secret goes without being told the harder it is to finally let it out and I think that's what happened here. She should have told Devlin in the beginning but it may have changed the entire outcome of the story if she had. I didn't believe the secret was a deal breaker so to speak, but it was something that needed to be aired and dealt with. I though the author did an excellent job with this aspect of the book, and it gave the story more depth.
I recommend this one to fans of historical fiction and historical romance. The Soldier takes place during the Regency period and the author does a great job of incorporating Regency dress and decorum into this novel. Readers who love a very tender and romantic tale, will find this one right up their alley. There is still the passion needed to make it perfect for readers who need that extra steam to make them love a story and there are some difficult themes broached like, PTSD and secrecy.
It's a wonderful book and I hope you will check out my interview Grace Burrowes and take your chances at winning a copy of The Soldier, you'll love it.
The Soldier is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Grace Burrowes started writing as an antidote to empty nest and soon found it an antidote to life in general. She is the sixth out of seven children, raised in the rural surrounds of central Pennsylvania. Early in life she spent a lot of time reading romance novels and practicing the piano. Her first career was as a technical writer and editor in the Washington, DC, area, a busy job that nonetheless left enough time to read a lot of romance novels.
It also left enough time to grab a law degree through an evening program, produce Beloved Offspring (only one, but she is a lion), and eventually move to the lovely Maryland countryside.
While reading yet still more romance novels, Grace opened her own law practice, acquired a master's degree in Conflict Transformation (she had a teenage daughter by then) and started thinking about writing.... romance novels. This aim was realized when Beloved Offspring struck out into the Big World a few years ago. ("Mom, why doesn't anybody tell you being a grown-up is hard?")
Grace eventually got up the courage to start pitching her manuscripts to agents and editors. The query letter that resulted in "the call" started out: "I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing--and if that doesn't narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought." (The dear lady bought the book anyway.)