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Unveiled

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Unveiled (2011) Courtney Milan

Set in England in 1837

Ash Turner has succeeded beyond what anyone might have imagined, and his final goal is taking the Dukedom from the family of his distance relative–turning the man’s children into bastards in the process.

But Ash doesn’t care, because everything he does is for his family.

(D)espite his best efforts, his sister had died. A few months after that, Ash had left for India, determined to make his fortune and thus undo everything their mother had done.

But he’d left his brothers behind. He would never be able to forget the sick sensation he’d felt when he found Mark and Smite on his return, pale and thin, alone on the streets of Bristol. It had made so much sense to leave them. But nothing he did could repair what had happened to them in his absence. They wouldn’t even talk of those years, not to him.

That right there is reason number one why I adore Ash. He will do absolutely anything for his brothers.

Margaret is one of those who Ash has declared a bastard. So she has presented herself as her father’s nurse, in an attempt to find something terrible about Ash that would help her family’s case in court.

She too has suffered loss–the death of her mother after her marriage was voided.

Her mother had not been given to elaborate ceremony. But every birthday that Margaret could remember, the duchess had spent a few hours with her daughter. When she was four, they had planted a rosebush together. Her mother had given her thick gloves just for the occasion and let her pat the dirt in place under the careful auspices of the gardener. Every year thereafter, they’d added to the gardens—a slim beech tree one year, a profusion of tulip bulbs the next. But usually it was roses. They’d planted a different variety each year.

But this story is way more than that.

As always, there are vibrant secondary characters, and not just Ash’s brothers.

“There’s one last thing,” Mrs. Benedict said, coming to a halt. “I have standards for the conditions under which my girls must work.”

“In my London townhouse, I grant my servants a half day every week and a pair of full days each month.”

She let out a puff of air. “That’s not what I meant.” She squared her shoulders fiercely and then looked up. “I insist on this, Mr. Turner, as a condition of my employment. You and your brother are young, healthy males. I’ll not have you imposing on my girls. They’re from decent families. It’s not right to put them in a position where they can’t truly say no.”

Ah. Those sorts of working conditions. Ash had a feeling he was going to like Mrs. Benedict. “You won’t have to worry about my brother,” Ash said. Unfortunately. “As for myself, I didn’t get where I was by indulging my wants indiscriminately. Besides, I had a sister, too. I couldn’t use any woman so cavalierly without her memory intruding.”

Though of course Mark is a marvelous character.

“I’ve been wondering. You aren’t exactly teaching me to fight by gentleman’s rules, are you?”

He shrugged. “What use would that be? You’ll never need to use what I’m teaching you against a gentleman who follows the rules.”

But the best part of the story is of Ash’s struggle.

He unfolded her note gingerly. Only two short words on that paper, and a signature. Ash took a deep breath—it would have been idiotic to be nervous, and he tried to avoid idiocy—and read. Two short little words. He read them, one by one. I’m. Sorry. He read it again to be sure, and the second time it said the same thing: I’m sorry, plainly spelled out for anyone to see.

SPOILER

Ash has dyslexia. Everything he has done, he has done while barely being able to read. This struggle is heartbreaking–especially when it intrudes in Ash’s relationship with Mark.

Mark was different from agriculture. His book would naturally prove different. And Ash had made a promise. If he wanted it, he told himself, he would simply make it happen. There was no other choice.

Thus far, the force of his will had only managed to give him a raging headache. It shifted behind his eyes, the letters sliding off the page before he could pin them down, until all he wanted was to sleep—and he’d only managed to comprehend the first three syllables.

And this is what makes Ash such an incredible hero.

END SPOILER

Not that Margaret is a wilting flower, she’s also marvelous, but it’s Ash’s story that brings you to tears.
Rating: 9/10

Published by Entangled

Categories: 9/10, British, Historical, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    



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