Emily Payne intends to snag a husband this Season, but when her father departs England on short notice, leaving a lawman to protect her in his place, she'll have to outwit the pest to keep him from ruining her plans and prospects.
Historical Romance is a genre I will pick over others, especially when adventure and intrigue spice up the storyline. Michelle Griep has become a favorite author for that very reason--I know I can count on her for an imaginative plot I can't predict early on, a compelling romance, and an exciting trip back in time to Regency England. Having read the author's three other fiction novels, I expected plenty of action, surprising twists, and life-like characters at the "reins" of the story...not to mention Griep's wonderful Voice. I didn't lose any sleep over Brentwood's Ward, but the story did satisfy my expectations and entertain me from start to finish. The mystery wasn't easy to guess, and I was surprised by a twist near the middle-mark.
The scenes flow smoothly between the hero and heroine's point-of-views, with a smattering of the villain's POV later in the story. Vivid descriptions are skillfully woven throughout every scene--the author's masterful setting descriptions are a favorite aspect of her novels--and the story world is unique to Regency England. I never lost my sense of "place". The dialogue fits the time period for the most part--I did spot a one or two words that those of the early nineteenth century wouldn't use (such as "doggy")--but being so deep into the story, any other modern words/phrases were invisible. The characters' personalities consistently colored their speech and responses, and made for some fun banter--another favorite aspect.
Both Nicholas and Emily are well-developed characters, flawed, but likable. Their romance develops realistically, over time and circumstances, and as Regency propriety is observed overall, I was impressed with how the author turns heated looks and body language into very romantic scenes. (I say "overall" because the characters do share a few scandalous kisses. Not that I objected... :-)
If you don't like "preachy" stories, you may enjoy this one. The message of "look before you leap", and "trust God with what you can't control" is subtle and deeply planted in the characters' arcs and story concept.
Most CBA Historical Romantic Suspense novels can't hold a candle to the character/plot development, and fantastic writing presented by Brentwood's Ward. I wish there were more authors out there like Michelle Griep, because she can't write books fast enough for me! Truly, her storytelling ability is one-of-a-kind, and memorable in all the right ways. I would specifically recommend to fans of out-of-the-Austen-box Regencies, and Charles Dickens.
*I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for my honest review.*