THE HEIR – Grace Burrowes
The Duke's Obsession , Book 1
London – 1800's
While watering the plants, the maid inadvertently gets her buttons hung up in the fireplace screen. Gayle Windham, Earl of Westhaven, tries to help, and as he is bending over her detaching the buttons, he is hit from behind with the poker by his housekeeper. Thinking he is taking liberties with the maid, Anna Seaton is protecting her, but now has to help Westhaven. She cleans his wounds and wonders if she will be dismissed or sent to jail. Instead, she helps Westhaven to bed, writes letters from his dictation, and brings him food. For the first time, he takes notice of his attractive young housekeeper.
Westhaven's father, the Duke of Moreland, is determined that his son marry and have children. He constantly tries to manipulate his son, but Westhaven is not in any hurry. He wants to choose his own bride. Trying to stay away from the debutantes and their mothers, he is residing in London in the off season enjoying his solitude. His brother, Valentine, comes to join him.
The earl relies on Anna more and more. She helps write his letters when his secretary is unavailable, cuts his hair, brings him lemonade, as well as doing her usual duties of keeping his home running smoothly and always having fresh flowers around the house. They converse and become very close. When he kisses her, they are both dizzy with emotion, but she knows that she must refrain from intimacy.
Although Anna calls herself Mrs. Seaton, it is obvious that it really isn't so. What is she hiding? She is well educated, attractive, and takes care of all her duties to perfection. Readers will be curious about her background. She is close to the young maid, Morgan. Although the earl usually takes no notice of his servants, he is attracted to his housekeeper, and he is subtle in his seduction with conversation and sweet kisses. Or is he being seduced more than he realizes by his seduction? They are very likeable characters with realistic dialogue.
It is hard to believe that THE HEIR is a debut novel. The only thing I found a little difficult to accept was the readiness of his family to not only consider a marriage between the earl and the housekeeper, but even to promote it. THE HEIR is a scorching, romantic novel; it is both hot and sweet, and it is sure to touch readers' hearts. The earl is the most romantic hero I have read about for some time.
I am happy to report that there are more books from Ms. Burrowes in the offing. THE HEIR is the first book of The Duke's Obsession trilogy followed by THE SOLDIER, the story of his brother, Devlin, in the summer of 2011, and Valentine's story comes later in 2011. THE HEIR is a keeper, and this reviewer is looking forward to the remaining stories. Highly recommended.