When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.
Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems farther and farther away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.
I came looking for a good novel in late 19th century and found an amazing cast of characters who drew me in completely. If I had to choose one strength within Mason's writing it would be her ability to capture the emotional drama and growth within her characters that help a character leap off the page.
Nolan Price is a strong lead to carry this novel. His relational triangle between the Earl and Hannah is what will keep the pages turning. Honestly, he feels like just the type who would be a lot of fun to watch on the big screen. Nolan serves as the readers eyes and ears within the novel providing natural and intriguing unveil the setting.
I also enjoyed Hannah in the opposite lead. I like it when both characters have flaws to work through and Hannah's emotional struggles hit the right balance for me. I also appreciated that her struggles helped remove the damsel in distress element that many period novels can fall back on.
The story itself is well paced; Mason pays close attention to the hows and whens of revealing information through some wonderful secondary characters. Iris and Bert were absolutely delightful in the life/faith mentor role and Iris' disregard for social convention brings some much needed smiles throughout the narrative.
My only complaint about this book is the climax. With all the emotional build up between Nolan and the Earl as well as Nolan and Hannah, when the villain is finally revealed with their true intentions I just didn't care as much. I didn't have any emotional investment in that plot line to be concerned aside from its interrupting of the points I was invested in. Considering the care Mason gave throughout the rest of the novel with her characters interaction the villain just feels like an afterthought.
That said, I enjoyed the novel itself thanks to Mason's work on bringing out the emotional drama between her true main characters I could not bring myself to put this one down until I was sure it was safe for the characters if i did (just ask my husband, hairdresser, etc.)I definitely recommend this one for any fans of the upstairs/downstairs dynamics in old estates or those seeking an against the odds romance.
4.5 out of 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."