I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Windam Series #0.6
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 1, 2015
Source: the Publisher
The first novella to be published by New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes features the foundation story for her bestselling Windham series. This is the tender story of love tested and won, and how Percy Windham, the dashing and brilliant man who was never supposed to become the Duke of Moreland, wooed Esther Himmelfarb, the amazing lady who became his beloved Duchess.
THE DUKE AND HIS DUCHESS
In this second prequel novella to the popular Windham series, Grace Burrowes continues the story of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland through the tumultuous and bittersweet first years of marriage and parenthood. Percival Windham is a second son and cavalry officer when he weds the beautiful Esther Himmelfarb. Percy and Esther must grow into the nobility they've been resisting and stand together, or face the threat of destroying their young family and the beautiful love that started out with such promise...
Esther Himmelfarb, a woman without a fancy title or substantial dowry but with suitable connections, is invited to a three-week house party as a last minute substitute to keep numbers even. She is used to feeling second-class at these functions and has long since stopped worrying about every little word or action. She isn’t there to land a rich husband like the other ladies, so Esther is quit content to assist the servants and escape to a quick nook to read and relax. She certainly doesn’t expect to gain the interest and attentions of Percival Windham, a rich and titled gentleman recently returned from Canada who is the “one to catch” at this particular party. Percival is intrigued by Esther’s open, honest, and humble nature. It’s quickly obvious to him that she isn’t like the other scheming, conniving ladies in the house and when he makes an effort to get to know her, he finds his initial interest turning into something much more serious.
Esther is quite practical and enjoys learning about the world and people around her. She knows she is not destined for some great society marriage and this attitude makes it easy to talk to Percy when he approaches her for conversation. The two hit it off right away and Esther is quickly pulled into a friendship with Percy and his brother Anthony, two rakes desperate to escape the clawing clutches of the other marriage-minded females desperate to land a titled husband.
THE DUKE AND HIS DUCHESS
Ever wonder what happens after “happily ever after?” When kids show up? When couples get older and begin losing friends and family? Courtship is always exciting, but how do couples keep the foundation – that love and trust – strong during the hard times? These are just some of the themes explored in THE COURTSHIP. In this novella, readers are taken five years into Esther and Percy’s future. They are raising several children, are learning to live without Percy’s mother, and Esther may even been battling postpartum depression. This is definitely not your typical romance novel fare, but on the other hand I thought that’s part of what made this novella special. We get to see Esther and Percy working at their actual marriage. Because as any married person can tell you, that’s the hard part of any relationship! So when an ex-mistress (or two!) shows up with a child in tow, even more troubles are added to Esther and Percy’s life.
Neither of these novellas were what I would call “typical regency fare.” Yes, both are historical romances set in the regency period, but Ms. Burrowes tackles some very serious topics in these novellas – especially in THE DUKE AND HIS DUCHESS. But frankly, the serious subject matter just made these novellas stand out from the crowd and I enjoyed reading something different for a change. That said, while these novellas could be read as stand-alones, I think it would be best if new readers read the other novels in the Windham series before picking these up. Characters and their stories make much more sense if you read the other novels first since this fills in a lot of backstory. But these two novellas were quite enjoyable too.