Thursday, September 14, 2017

Susan's Review of The Duke's Bridal Path by Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain

Two Regency novellas of true love deep in the English countryside....Legend says that the first gentleman a lady kisses on the Duke's Bridle' Path will become her true love. Grace Burrowes and Theresa Romain say it's not that easy...

In His Grace for the Win, by Grace Burrowes, Philippe, Duke of Lavelle, has sworn off all things equestrian after his brother's riding accident. Just one tiny problem: The woman who steals Philippe's heart, Harriet Talbot, loves horses, and generally only notices men when they're in the saddle. Will Philippe rise to the challenge, or come a cropper for the sake of true love?

In Desperately Seeking Scandal, by Theresa Romain, ambitious London reporter Colin Goddard follows a trail of scandal to the Lavelle seat in Berkshire, hoping to save his career with articles on how to snare a wealthy spouse. What was intended as a humorous series turns seductive, as Lady Ada Ellis, sister to the duke, uncovers Colin’s true purpose and challenges him to a battle of wits…and wills, and hearts. But if they fall in love, one of them will lose everything. Who will triumph?

I am THRILLED to recommend the Grace Burrowes-Theresa Romain duet The Duke’s Bridle Path! The characters and their unique stories appealed to me and the transition from Ms. Burrowes’ story to Ms. Romain’s piece was seamless. The setting, the family history and the character cross over between stories is perfectly crafted and both authors did a fabulous job exploring how the death of Jonas Ellis changes the fate of both his brother and sister.

His Grace For the Win is a captivating friends -to - lovers romance. Phillipe Ellis transitioned from spare to heir when his brother died in a horse riding accident. I enjoy Grace Burrowes’ writing because her characters are relatable. I emphasized with Phillippe because he had to assume his brother’ title and responsibilities after his death. His ability to choose his future was taken away from him. Harriet Talbot has assumed the majority of the workload on the family’s horse farm. She did not have a choice as her father is elderly. I felt for Harriet when she assumes that Phillippe sees her as nothing more as an old friend.

Ms. Burrowes has a gift for creating wonderful secondary characters and Lord Ramsdale and Jackson Talbot are fabulous! I loved how much they enjoyed matchmaking! Both Ramsdale and the Duke notice the changes at the Talbot Farm. Ramsdale mentions to Phillipe that the Talbots are not doing well financially and asks the Duke how he’s going to fix it.

I enjoyed the back and forth conversations between Ramsdale and the Duke. Ramsdale understands
that Phillipe has feelings for Harriet he challenges Phillipe to be a better neighbor, friend and brother. The banter between the two friends is priceless—Ramsdale mentions giving Harriet a dowry, Phillipe imagines that Ramsdale might be interested in Harriet which leads him straight to the Talbot riding ring where Jackson Talbot arranges to have Harriet supervise the Duke’s riding lessons personally.

Loved the riding lesson scenes and how Harriet approaches her task—the reader sees that Harriet has a great sense of humor and that she cares deeply for the Duke. The couple becomes close as the lessons progress. Harriet helps Phillipe regain his confidence on horseback. This is a turning point in the story as it provides him with the confidence to pick himself up after a bad fall and the courage to deal with his past and embrace his future; not his brothers. There are a few surprises in the last two chapters of the novella—and the ending was perfect!

And I am hoping that Ms. Burrowes has a HEA planned for Ramsdale!

The conversations between Lady Ada Eillis and reporter Colin Goddard in Desperately Seeking Scandal by Theresa Romain are fabulous! The witty banter between Lady Ada and Colin sets the tone for this novella which describes how Jonas Ellis’ death effected his sister’s chance for happiness. Ada makes it clear to Colin that the untruths printed his popular scandal sheet resulted in her broken engagement.

Ada knows that Colin is in town to gather information about her family for his paper and she outmaneuvers him by proposing a bargain. Colin must pretend that he and Ada are in love while her former fiancée and his new bride are in the village. He must play his part to perfection and, in turn,
she will help him write his articles.

Loved the secondary character of Samuel Goddard and the reason why Samuel and Colin worked together as a team. Samuel is Colin’s true north and points out several truths to Colin during the novella. Both Lady Ada and Colin struggle with their pretend relationship – both must make tough personal choices. Will Colin choose love or money? Will Ada rejoin society? 

Ms. Romain does a superb job writing the last chapter of the novella; I felt for Ada and was surprised by Colin’s decision. The big reveal at the end of the novel made me laugh—well done!

If you enjoy reading books by Shana Galen, Caroline Linden and Miranda Neville--you will love The Duke's Bridal Path!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

ARC provided by the authors

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