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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: The Soldier by Grace Burrowes

A richly emotional story.
The Soldier by Grace Burrowes
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Original edition (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140224567X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402245671
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0

Product Description
Even in the quiet countryside he can find no peace...

His idyllic estate is falling down from neglect and nightmares of war give him no rest. Then Devlin St. Just meets his new neighbor...

Until his beautiful neighbor ignites his imagination...

With her confident manner hiding a devastating secret, his lovely neighbor commands all of his attention, and protecting Emmaline becomes Deviln's most urgent mission.
Review: This is a delightfully engaging story.
Devlin St. Just, an elder son born out of wedlock to a Duke, returns home from the Peninsular war as a heroic but traumatized soldier. He has been awarded a title along with the estate of Rosecroft. While  inspecting the dilapidated lands he is confronted by a dirty but fearless child who demands that he ‘go away’.  Devlin bribes the child into the house for clean up and feeding only to discover that it is a young girl, Winnie. Next thing he knows, a lovely young lady charges in seeking the wandering waif.

Emmaline says she is the only living relative, a cousin, and unofficial guardian of the child who is the illegitimate daughter of the late earl. Emmie tries to take care of the child while she struggles to support herself by baking for the community. Emmie has a history of bad experience with men and is prepared for Devlin to be a barbarian. 

Devlin decides to provide a home and training for Winnie and offers to have Emmie serve as governess until another can be hired. Emmie moves into the estate bringing her bakery talents to the big kitchen. As everyone tries to settle into the new arrangements a soft dance of awareness  begins between Devlin and Emmie.  Each thinks the other is indifferent to their scents and touches, but steadily the attraction draws them together. Devlin thinks Emmie is keeping her distance because she wouldn’t want him with his war trauma. Emmie is set on leaving Winnie so that the child can have a better life - even if it breaks Emmie’s heart... not to mention the devastation to Winnie. A surprise from Devlin’s past brings understanding to the situation.

The characters struggle to balance independence, reliance and loneliness. The author deals sensitively with the Post Traumatic Stress from  Devlin’s war memories. She also gives surprising insight into the damage that war does to innocent children. The writing is smooth and easy to read.

My favorite lines from this book are the ending paragraph which is quite remarkable. Since I don’t want to list that as a spoiler, I will share this quote:
“You lose the worst memories,” Emmie said slowly, “and you lose memories of survival; forget them, and survival loses some of its meaning.” Page 183.

Three word description: Charming, elegant, tender.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for the book to read and review and for providing TWO copies  for Giveaway!


1. Comment on the Author's Interview for TWO entries.
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(Seven total entries possible.)
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* This contest is open to US and Canada only.
* No P.O. Boxes Please - for shipping reasons.
* This contest will close 10:00 PM (Central) on June 24, 2011.
The winners will be randomly selected from all entries.  TWO WINNERS!

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