Beauty and the Recluse by Ellie Gray
Publisher & Release Date: Tirgearr Publishing, February 12, 2016
Time and setting: Present Day, York, England
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 152 pages
Heat Level: 1 Sweet Heart
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
Following the recent death of her father, and in need of both a job and somewhere to live, Kiya takes a housekeeping job on the spur of the moment. She soon finds herself living in a beautiful but neglected mansion, working for a strange and reclusive man.
St. John is a man scarred by the past, both physically and emotionally, and is determined to live out his life alone. They are two very different people, drawn to each other almost against their will, but can Kiya convince St. John that he is not the monster he believes himself to be?
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This is the first book I have read by Ms. Gray. When I was offered a chance to read it in exchange for an honest review, the book description intrigued me and the tile was enticing, so I agree. I’m certainly glad I did. Beauty and the Recluse is a sweet romance, and even though it is contemporary, it has the feel of a time long gone.
Still dealing with the grief from losing her father, Kiya finds out she is faced with his debt, and not only needs a job but a home. When she sees an ad for a live-in housekeeper, it sounds like the perfect solution to her dilemma.
St. John O’Neill has closed himself off from the world. His house is devoid of mirrors and he lives in his study and his bedroom. His house is in disorder and needs attention. When a young woman contacts him about the position of housekeeper, he hires her without even meeting him.
When Kiya arrives at the O’Neill estate, she finds a note and a set of keys pinned to the door. She starts work and has yet to meet her new employer. When at last she meets this reclusive man, her heart is touched by the pain she sees in his eyes. Can she find a way to bring him into the light and teach him to trust again?
The romance develops slowly between Kiya and St. John. I always enjoy this type of story. So many times with contemporary romance, the couple meets and immediately fall in love. Kiya and St. John get to know each other over a matter of months. This made their love story much more realistic for me.
However, even though the romance develops slowly, the pacing is great. The story pulled me in from the first page and kept me engaged until the end. St. John’s friend is a very nice addition to the book. I truly liked this light-hearted character.
This is a sweet romance, so there is not very much sexual tension and only a couple of kisses between the hero and the heroine, but in no way takes away from the romance. Beauty and the Recluse is all about the emotions each character feels toward the other. For St. John, it’s about learning to overcome his disfigurement and trust another human being.
If you enjoy a moving romance with great characters, then you will enjoy this sweet, traditional romance as much as I did. It’s refreshing to read a book with such a delightfully lovely story. Happy reading!