Willowkeep by Julie Daines
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source; Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Regency Romance
Book Description: Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Kingston upon Hull. When a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward.
Henry has worked hard his entire life, but all the money he’s saved won’t be enough to get his father out of debtor’s prison. Henry’s fondness for Charlotte and her sister is only another reminder of his low status and lack of money. Though he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlotte happy and looked after, as the county’s wealthiest lady, she can never be his.
Courted by a charming man of the ton, threatened by those desperate to get their hands on her money, and determined to keep her sister safe from the same fate that cost her the rest of her family, Charlotte turns to the ghost of the beheaded queen, Anne Boleyn, for help. But no matter the size of the fortune, life—and love—are never smooth sailing.
My thoughts: This is a book that I have anticipated reading. I have enjoyed Julie Daines writing and knew I would be in for a treat.
Charlotte is left to take care of her disabled sister. The time is regency, so the attitudes of society toward Suzie was to institutionalize her. Charlotte knows that Susie needs love and nurture. Taking care of her sister puts her in a bind. She can't work, so they are out of money and have few options. When it seems as if all is lost, or her "ship is sinking", Charlotte receives word that she has inherited an estate and a large allowance. This saves them.
Her steward, Henry Morland, is young and an exemplary man. He doesn't judge and sees the love and devotion between the sisters. He immediately wants to protect them. He shields and saves them at every opportunity.
There are many unlikely regency scenarios in this book. I loved it. Two ordinary people who do extraordinary things are the main characters. Each sees themselves as less than their worth. Both have troubles that they try to hide from each other and the world. To me this book was about opening doors and windows when it seems that there are many barriers.
I love regency, but I like the realism in the characters. They are not "puffed up" and are not the typical gentry.
About the Author: Julie Daines was born in Concord, Massachusetts, and was raised in Utah. She spent eighteen months living in London, where she studied and fell in love with English literature, sticky toffee pudding, and the mysterious guy who ran the kebab store around the corner.
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