Hiding behind her quick wit and biting tongue, the last thing in the world Lady Grace Post wants is a husband. After all, if she can’t have the love of her life, why would she want some other man? Unfortunately, her Machiavellian matchmaking great-uncle, the Duke of Danby, has other plans for Grace and has decided it is past time for her to be wed. To keep the duke from selecting a fellow she doesn’t want, Grace begins her great husband hunt, very aware that her time is ticking away.
Oliver Ashbee, Earl of Prestwood, has never gotten over Grace. Watching her from afar, as she dances and flirts with other men, is enough to drive him to an early grave. Things would be different if he could court her, if he could hold her, if he could kiss her again. If things had been different she’d have been his wife long ago. But things aren’t different…
… Or are they?
Publisher and Release Date: Night Shift Publishing, August 2016
Time and Setting: London, 1817
Genre: Historical Romance novella
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Sara
The description for Lady Grace’s Husband Hunt is what attracted me to the story but I was caught unaware when the conflict between Lady Grace Post and Lord Prestwood was revealed. The premise for the story is usually one I try to avoid and if this were untried author I would have given up. Fortunately I trust Ava Stone to deliver a solid story and have a clear path for her characters to find their happy ever after.
Four years ago, Lady Grace Post was on the cusp of her perfect future. The love of her life, Oliver Ashbee, had declared himself to her and all that was left was for him to approach her elder brother with a request for her hand. Sadly, on the day Oliver was expected to call, he instead had to explain to Grace that he was already betrothed without his knowledge. The agreement signed by his father was completely binding and Oliver had no recourse but to break Grace’s heart.
Flash forward, and Grace is doing her best to attract a suitable husband during the current season. A recent visit to the estate of her great-uncle the Duke of Danby revealed that the wheels were already in motion to select a husband for Grace without her having any say in the matter. Unwilling to let someone else decide her future, Grace is hoping she can flirt, dance and perhaps kiss someone who can fill the void still left in her heart after Oliver. Things become rather difficult when Oliver, now Lord Prestwood, seems to be attending all of the same ton functions and his presence keeps reminding her of what could have been.
Oliver never got over his love for Grace and has been in a sort of limbo waiting for his betrothed to make her début in London. Watching Grace as she shines at all the balls they attend has been a torture since he can do nothing to prevent her from marrying someone else. When he is called away from town to help his pregnant sister, Oliver loses track of Grace’s husband hunt until he returns to his estate in the country to learn that she is now betrothed. Knowing that very soon Grace will be completely unattainable hurts more than losing her the first time around, but what chance can they possibly have when they are each bound to someone else?
Lady Grace’s Husband Hunt is just a small part of a larger Post family saga that has been building through several anthologies. I’ve missed quite a few of the previous stories; however I never felt I was missing anything from Grace’s background. She is an emotional young woman who has had to rebuild her life after suffering such a cruel blow from someone she trusted above all others. When she learns that her future is being managed by the interfering Duke of Danby, it forces Grace to take a more introspective look at herself. She slowly comes to realize that the only person who control her destiny is her and that the choices made by her parents or distant relations shouldn’t influence her decisions.
Oliver was perhaps a little too spineless when faced with the same dilemma – that an outside party has charted the course for his future. I normally love a hero who pines for a heroine, yet I don’t feel that Oliver does enough to fight for his happiness. He just accepts his lot in life and seems confused when Grace’s demeanor towards him changes abruptly. Fortunately for him, higher powers (and peers) were hard at work to put everything right again in his and Grace’s lives.
Ava Stone always packs a whole lot of character and emotion into novella size stories. I enjoyed Grace and Oliver’s romance when all the pieces started falling into place. Now having seen the final Post sibling find love I plan on going back and reading the books where the rest of the family gets their happy ending.