Love’s Legacy by Joan Avery

loves legacy

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Grenada, British West Indies, 1875

English plantation owner Geoffrey Worth has misgivings about hiring an American widow as a governess. But while Geoffrey longs to forget the past—and the daughter who reminds him of it daily—there is still duty to consider. And Bellefleur, his plantation. This is his life now. Warmth, family, love; these things only bring pain. And scars he’ll carry forever…

Elizabeth Malfonte is certainly not the aged widow he had anticipated. She’s young and beautiful, with a determination that wakes something deep within Geoffrey. Yet Elizabeth hides her own secret―the babe within her womb. And despite Geoffrey’s handsome―yet scarred face―her new employer has a cold and unforgiving nature that unsettles her, even as Elizabeth’s wariness slowly heats to desire.

But the bright beauty of this land is no match for the dark, ominous clouds of the past…

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Publisher and Release Date: Entangled Scandalous, November 2014

Time and setting: Granada, 1875
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer rating: 4 Stars

Review by Vikki

Although not my typical choice of historical period, the setting of this story in the British West Indies in 1875 intrigued me and the synopsis sounded interesting. The plot is different and pulled me in form the beginning. I have never been a fan of Gothic novels, but I found this one highly pleasurable, to say the least.

Geoffrey Worth is an English planter in need of a governess for his six year old daughter, Angelina. James Douglass, a close friend and employee has located a widow from Virginia he thinks will be suitable. When she arrives, Geoffrey is not impressed, yet is attracted to her nonetheless. His initial behavior toward the young widow is abrupt and crass.

Elizabeth Malfonte is still in deep mourning for her beloved husband when she arrives in Granada, and she has recently discovered she is with child. Of course, she hides her condition from her new employer. Estranged from her southern family for marrying a Yankee, she needs this position. She only prays that when Geoffrey Worth learns of her condition, he will not turn her out.

Their relationship is troubled at best. Geoffrey is a man filled with angst and is brusque to the point of rudeness most of the time; and Elizabeth sees glimmers of intense pain in his eyes. As they forge a friendship, she begins to see that beneath his gruff exterior lays a tortured soul, and against her better judgment she is drawn to him. Can her gentle, loving nature show Geoffrey that he can move beyond his pain, or will his past destroy their fledgling love?

This is not an easy book to read. Geoffrey is the kind of hero I love to hate, full of pain and turmoil, only showing the world his cold demeanor and hiding his true nature. It took me around half the story to really warm to him. Fortunately, I immediately liked Elizabeth. Her loving kindness toward Angelina touched my heart, and her willingness to look below the surface and discover Geoffrey’s pain kept me reading.

Since Elizabeth is pregnant through more than 60% of the story, the author has to build sexual tension while keeping the relationship chaste. She does this extremely well from the beginning of the story and is able to sustain it throughout the book. Of course, once Elizabeth has the child, Ms. Avery writes a deeply moving love scene, although because there is an impediment to their relationship, this didn’t sit particularly well with me.

Love’s Legacy is an extremely emotionally-charged story from the first page to the last. Ms. Avery’s writing is fluid and smooth, and her ability to paint a scene is exquisite. I could easily picture the beautiful surroundings and landscape of Granada. She writes with an astonishing depth of emotion, placing me squarely in the characters’ head. I adore that when it happens.

There is one other detail that didn’t work for me, which is that some of the movement between scenes is abrupt and somewhat disconcerting. For instance, at one point, Elizabeth is along by a stream – and in the next paragraph she is talking to Geoffrey in another location. That drew me out of the story to the point that I had to go back and read it again. I also feel that while the book does have a satisfying ending, it nonetheless feels rushed. Even with these few problems, however, I can easily rate this book a very strong 4 stars. Without a doubt, this is a very well-written story and I enjoyed it immensely.

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