Lord Gideon Haverston wanted to right his family’s wrongs. So when he promises young Winnefred Blythe the money that his stepmother had cheated her out of over the years, he expects to be greeted as a hero. But the situation is much more complicated than Gideon had expected-and the task of taming the untrusting Winnefred much more alluring.
Heat level 2
Reviewer rating 4.5 stars
REVIEW BY JILL
For twelve long years Winnefred (Freddie) Blythe and her friend and governess Lilly Ilestone have languished in poverty at Murdoch House in Scotland. They were sent there when Freddie was thirteen as the unwanted legal ward of the Marquess of Engsly and his unfeeling wife. After his death, his son, Lucien discovering he now has charge of a ward dispatches his brother, Gideon to Scotland to deal with the situation. The Englsy estate under the greedy and dishonest hand of Lady Engsly – Lucien and Gideon’s stepmother – has withheld the allowance due to Freddie. Freddie and Lilly have barely managed to eke out an existence on the paltry five pounds a year that has been allotted to them. But they are both resourceful and hardworking.
Lord Gideon Haverston, home from the war is suffering PTSD (although it’s not named that here). As Captain of thePerseverance he has witnessed the deaths of too many of his crew, especially the young boys known as ‘powder monkeys’. Racked with guilt he hides behind a humorous and calm facade, vowing never to bear responsibility for anyone ever again, including a wife, children or even servants.
Freddie is charming, sincere and delightful. Still innocent, yet worldly and self-assured. Gideon is tortured, yet not embittered and thoughtful and understanding with the untutored Freddie. This character-rich story does not rely on the tediously overdone heroine who is either too snarky or tstl. Nor the boring rake nor the obnoxious alpha.
With gorgeous prose, clever and witty dialogue, realistic characters and in-depth characterisations, this novel does not need the titillation factor of overly-described sex scenes. The sexual tension builds deliciously to a sweet and satisfying conclusion. There is a secondary romance – which stays in the background – between Lucien and Rose, the enigmatic, lost love from his past.
I have read all Alissa Johnson’s novels and this is in my opinion her best. She is an incredibly talented writer and I am surprised that she is not more well-known, her books not more widely-read. Simply put, Alissa Johnson is one of the very best writers of historical romance. And Nearly a Lady is historical romance at its finest.