The Great Estate by Sherri Browning

August 7, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★

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.

The Great Estate by Sherri BrowningThe Great Estate by Sherri Browning
Series: Thornbrook Park #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 4, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Pulled apart by past mistakes. Driven by a passion neither could deny.

Sophia Thorne was young and inexperienced when she married the dashing Earl of Averford...and through dark and troubled times, their relationship nearly came to an end. Now she's determined to transform herself into the fiery, ardent lover she always wanted to be, giving them a second chance at love... before they're lost to each other forever.

It took nearly losing Sophia for Gabriel to realize he had allowed his love for his great estate to distract him from his beautiful wife. But that time is over. Despite all the obstacles standing in their way, Gabriel vows to teach Sophia what it is to truly love...and to be loved by a husband devoted heart and soul to her every desire.

Sophia and Gabriel Thorne have been married for eight years.  At first, everything was wonderful.  Sophia was a fresh-face young debutante swept into marriage practically in her first season and married to the new Earl, Gabriel.  Gabriel was likewise smitten by the enchanting Sophia.  But neither seemed to remember the first and most important lesson in marriage – communicate with your partner!!  Instead of telling his wife how alluring she is and how much he wants to be around her all the time, Gabriel attempts to hide his ardor behind seeming indifference and distraction.  Sophia listens to some truly terribly marriage advice imparted by her mother and also hides her desire and attraction from her husband.  So it is no surprise to the other when Gabriel find Sophia is a seemingly compromising position with another man.  Instead of sticking around for an explanation, Gabriel takes off. For the last year, Gabriel has been gone from Thornbrook Park, leaving Sophia to pick up the running of the estate.  But now he is back and expects everything to be just the way it was before.

This is a tale that is all about what can happen when spouses fail to communicate and instead come up with crazy, hare-brained assumptions about what the other is thinking and feeling.  In many respects, this was absurd and frustrating.  I don’t like plots that are created simply around a failure to communicate.  You’d think after eight years of marriage, Sophia and Gabriel wouldn’t have this issue – at least not to this extent.  It seemed more like a newlywed problem.  However, this same problem did lead to some very entertaining scenes with a great cast of quirky characters and their one-liners full of double-entendre and hidden meaning.

Which is, in fact, the saving grace of this novel.  While Sophia and Gabriel were just “ok” characters, it was their interactions with the other characters – particularly Aunt Agatha and Gabriel’s mother – that really made the novel come to life.  Without them, Sophia and Gabriel were a little flat.  Sophia was a fantastic estate manager with some fabulous ideas to keep Thornbrook Park running with the modern times, but these skills didn’t seem to have any use outside the reader being told she was good at it.  And Gabriel…well, he kinda seemed to just be there.  We didn’t really learn anything about who is he, what he likes, his hobbies, his beliefs…nothing.  Not that we learned any of these things about Sophia either.  Which is why there was no connection to these two; they were just words on a page instead of the dynamic and enchanting characters they could have been.

Overall, an okay read.  Nothing I would run to tell friends about since the novel could benefit from some serious work on characterization.  However, the action-based parts of the plot were good and I enjoyed reading those parts.

As a final note, this novel is the third in a series.  While you do not need to read the others to understand this installment, I do get the feeling that it would help immensely.  There are a number of references to prior events that made it clear this was part of a series.

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