Thursday, January 22, 2015

Love’s Legacy by Joan Avery


Grenada, British West Indies, 1875

English plantation owner Geoffrey Worth has misgivings about hiring an American widow as a governess. But while Geoffrey longs to forget the past—and the daughter who reminds him of it daily—there is still duty to consider. And Bellefleur, his plantation. This is his life now. Warmth, family, love; these things only bring pain. And scars he'll carry forever...

Elizabeth Malfonte is certainly not the aged widow he had anticipated. She's young and beautiful, with a determination that wakes something deep within Geoffrey. Yet Elizabeth hides her own secret―the babe within her womb. And despite Geoffrey's handsome―yet scarred face―her new employer has a cold and unforgiving nature that unsettles her, even as Elizabeth's wariness slowly heats to desire. 

But the bright beauty of this land is no match for the dark, ominous clouds of the past...

Published & Release Date: Entangled, Scandalous, November 10, 2014

Time and setting: Granada, 1875

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s musings

When I received this book from the publisher for an honest review, I was intrigued since it is set in Granada, British West Indies in 1875. This is not my typical read, since I love the Regency era above all else, but the synopsis for the book sounded interesting. I am so glad I accepted this remarkable book for review. The plot is different and pulled me in from the beginning. I have never been a fan of Gothic novels, but I found this one highly pleasurable to say the least.

Geoffrey Worth is an English planter in need of a governess for his six year old daughter. James Douglass, a close friend and employee has located a widow from Virginia. When she arrives, Geoffrey is not impressed, yet attracted to the woman nonetheless. His initial behavior toward the young widow is abrupt and crass.

Elizabeth Malfonte is still in deep mourning for her beloved husband when she arrives in Granada, and she has recently discovered she is with child. Of course, she hides her condition from her new employer. Estranged from her southern family for marrying a Yankee, she needs this position. She only prays that when Geoffrey Worth learns of her condition, he will not turn her out.

Their relationship is troubled at best. Geoffrey is a man filled with angst, brusque to the point of rudeness most of the time, yet Elizabeth sees glimmers of intense pain in his eyes. As they forge a friendship, she begins to see that beneath his gruff exterior lays a tortured soul, and against her better judgment she is drawn to him. Can her gentle, loving nature show Geoffrey that he can move beyond his pain, or will his past destroy their fledging love?

This is not an easy book to read. Geoffrey is the kind of hero I love to hate, full of angst and turmoil, only showing the world his cold demeanor, hiding his true nature. It took me quite a while to warm up to him. In fact, it is not until well over half way into the story. Fortunately, I immediately liked Elizabeth. Her loving kindness toward his daughter, Angelina touched my heart, and her willingness to look below the surface and discover Geoffrey’s pain kept me reading.

Since Elizabeth is pregnant through more than 60% of the story, the author has to build sexual tension, and she does this extremely well from the beginning of the story and is able to sustain it throughout the book. Of course, once Elizabeth has the child, Ms. Avery writes a deeply moving love scene, yet poignant. I will not go into detail because I do not want to include any spoilers. This is one part of the story that did not sit well with me since there is an impediment to their relationship.

This is an extremely emotionally-charged book from the first page to the end. Ms. Avery’s writing is fluid and smooth, and her ability to paint a scene is exquisite. I could easily picture the beautiful surroundings and landscape of Granada. It makes me want to visit this interesting place. She is able to create the imagery needed to fill my senses and touch my heart. The author writes with an astonishing depth of emotion, placing me squarely in the characters’ head. I adore that when it happens.

Now, for one other small detail that did not work for me. At times the change from one scene to the other is a bit jarring. At one point, Elizabeth is along a stream, and in the next paragraph she is talking to Geoffrey in another location. That drew me out of the story to the point that I had to go back and read it again. I also feel that the ending is somewhat abrupt. That is not to say it does not have a satisfying ending, it does, just  rushed. Even with these few problems, I can easily rate this book a very strong 4 Gold Crowns. Without a doubt, the book is well-written and I enjoyed it immensely.

If you enjoy historical romance with a Gothic twist, then this is a book you will not want to miss. I understand there are other books in this series, and I will go back and read them as well. I love it when I discover a new author and there are already other books for my enjoyment. Happy reading!

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