Monday, August 3, 2015

The Great Estate by Sherri Browning

Publisher & Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 4, 2015

Time and setting: June 1909, England

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 352 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, don't miss the fascinating Edwardian world of Thornbrook Park.
Pulled apart by past mistakes. Driven by a passion neither could deny.

Sophia Thorne was young and inexperienced when she married the dashing Earl of Averford...and through dark and troubled times, their relationship nearly came to an end. Now she's determined to transform herself into the fiery, ardent lover she always wanted to be, giving them a second chance at love... before they're lost to each other forever.
It took nearly losing Sophia for Gabriel to realize he had allowed his love for his great estate to distract him from his beautiful wife. But that time is over. Despite all the obstacles standing in their way, Gabriel vows to teach Sophia what it is to truly love...and to be loved by a husband devoted heart and soul to her every desire.
Thornbrook Park series:
Thornbrook Park 
An Affair Downstairs
The Great Estate
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Vikki’s Musings

When I read the book description for The Great Estate, I found it intriguing. I am a huge Downton Abbey fan and have recently read some books written in this era and enjoyed them a great deal. Sherri Browning has written a fine addition to her Thornbrook Park series. This is the first book by Ms. Browning I have read, but it will not be the last.

Sophia, Countess of Averford made a grave mistake when she allows another man to kiss her. Even though her husband had become distracted, she should have never given in the kiss. When her husband finally returns from his year abroard, she is determined to show him the passion she held back.

Gabriel, Earl of Averford, is determined to earn back his wife’s affection. After spending a year on the continent learning ways to show his love for Sophia, he returns and sets out to seduce his wife and win back her love. Even though he witnessed a kiss between his wife and another man, he knows Sophia would never have given into the kiss if he had not neglected her.

Will Sophia and Gabriel be able to mend their differences and find true passion in their marriage, or will the past separate them forever?

The Great Estate is a continuation of the family saga of a dynastic family. Even though this is the third book in the series, I did not feel as if I had missed anything by not reading the other books first. However, after reading this entertaining book, I do plan to read the other two books.

This is a lovely love story between a couple who married without truly knowing one another. Sophia’s character had been incredibly young and na├»ve and had listened to the strict advice of her mother regarding relations with her husband, much to her detriment. It is only after she spends a year looking back that she is able to move past that and embrace the passion she feels for Gabriel. Sophia is now an independent woman who has managed her husband’s estate during his absence and has even made it more profitable. She has at last matured into the woman she wants to be. I felt her remorse over her actions and her determination to prove herself to her husband. I liked her character quite a lot.

I fell in love with Gabriel’s character right away, although, I am not so sure a man of this age would have been as forgiving and accepting of his wife’s indiscretion. However his wiilingness to see his culpability is refreshing and made for an interesting read. I loved his determination to become a better man. I could feel the love he has for Sophia on every page. He had me completely vested in his quest from the very beginning.

While I enjoyed the various sub-plots, I’m not sure they truly moved the story forward. They at times took away from the central focus of the book. Nonetheless, The Great Estate is a beautifully written story, and I enjoyed it. I recommend this book for it has a real sense of the time period, a time that will face revolutionary changes during the Great War. It is a time that will change forever the way the aristocracy will live their lives. Happy reading!      


A short time later, Sophia glided down the stairs refreshed and feeling pretty. Jenks had worked her usual magic in pinning her hair at her nape, with soft strands falling to frame her face in perfectly planned “escape” from her diamond comb. The beading of her gown picked up the low light, shimmering as she crossed the drawing room.
“Champagne?” Her breath caught at sight of her handsome husband awaiting her, two glasses in hand. She hadn’t exactly forgotten how well he filled out a tuxedo, but she couldn’t help but feel the fresh tingles running through her blood like bubbles in the champagne when she looked him over. Golden blond hair just brushing the top of his dark collar, tanned skin. He’d spent a lot of time outdoors in Italy, apparently. His shoulders were broad enough to carry the weight of the world or at least, all of Thornbrook Park.
“It’s appropriate for tonight.” He handed her a glass and held her gaze, his coffee eyes aglow. “A celebration. I’m so happy to be home. Happiest to be with you, my exquisite wife.”  
She clinked her glass to his. “To your return. I’d almost forgotten how suited you are to dressing up, for a man who prefers the out of doors.”
His full lips parted in a smile, bringing out the single dimple in his left cheek. “I’ve a new interest in interiors.”
“Oh? So you won’t be getting up at the break of dawn to go out and kill some poor unsuspecting animal?”
“Some poor unsuspecting animal will be gracing our table tonight, and thank goodness for it. The Italians offer some interesting cuisine, but there’s nothing like a good English roasted haunch.”
“A haunch? You make it sound so appetizing. Not exactly what you learned to cook in Italy, then, I presume.”
“I learned to make gnocchi, little Italian potato dumplings, served with sage in a butter sauce. And risotto. I’ve perfected my risotto, or so our cook, Signora Gugino, told me. She was my instructor. Some mornings, I would help her go out and look for mushrooms. She taught me which ones were good for eating, and which to avoid.”
“My husband, the mushroom hunter? Astounding.”
“I can show you. We have a few of the same kind growing in the woods here.”
“I would like that.” She took a long sip of champagne.

Author Bio:

Sherri Browning writes historical and contemporary romance fiction, sometimes with a paranormal twist. She is the author of critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in western Massachusetts and Greater Detroit Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Find her online at

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