This book by Roseanna M. White is the second in the Ladies of the Manor series. Lady Rowena Kinnaird is the heiress to a Highland earldom, but due to her father’s harshness and abuse she has never felt worthy of her future role. After the man she was intended to marry attacks her in the most vicious way, she finally has the courage to stand against her father’s wishes. In an effort to rescue a broken woman, Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, offers to marry her on impulse. Rowena accepts but after they are married she is reluctant to become intimate because of her fear of men. Faced with the possibility of carrying her attacker’s child, she is forced to rely on the good graces of her husband. When she finds that her husband has secrets involving precious jewelry and sketchy people, she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery… even if it means betraying her husband’s trust.
Until now, I have not read anything from this author. This book was able to be read as a stand alone even though there is a previous book in the series. Many of the characters obviously have connections from the first book but it was easy to understand the limited explanations in this book. Rowena faces several dark plots including: childhood abuse from her father, rape from her suitor, threats and rage from her attacker, nightmares and fear following the trauma of her attack, etc. She is portrayed as a weak and fearful woman. The rape is explained but not too much detail (I have read much worse rape scenes in other books not from this author). I can understand why some people may be unable to handle this type of scene though. The patience and understanding that Brice has with Rowena is refreshing but I’m not sure is completely believable. He honestly seems way too good to be true. Since it is a fiction book, I can look past that. Brice also has a strong relationship with God. He seems to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and recognizes when he fails. He is a man who prays a lot. Rowena slowly comes out of her shell and recovers emotionally due to her husband’s love and security. One thing that I did not really like was the strong Gaelic accent and wording that Rowena and the other Highlanders have. It took me awhile to get used to it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, romance, suspense, and intense plots.
In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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#2: The Reluctant Duchess
By Roseanna M. White / Bethany House