A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Lord Somerton’s Heir

by Alison Stuart



Can the love of an honourable man save her from the memory of a desolate marriage?

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?


Brantstone Hall

December 11, 1814

The tea, in its delicate porcelain cup, sat undrunk and cold, the bread curled and dried as the little clock on the mantelpiece ticked away the minutes. Isabel sat unmoving, staring out at the winter landscape of the Brantstone Park as if she expected Anthony to come galloping down the carriage way. She knew even before Thompson knocked on the door and stood shifting from one foot to the other, his shapeless felt hat clutched in his hand, that Anthony was dead.

She followed the head groom out into the stable yard again, where a farmer’s cart now stood. She looked at the cart and with her head held high; she walked across it. Thompson interposed himself between her and the inanimate object that lay in the filthy dray.

‘Are you sure, my lady?’ he asked.

She nodded and Thompson flicked back the sacking that covered the shapeless lump in the back of the cart. Isabel stared down into her husband’s face, into his open, staring eyes, already opaque in death. Anthony lay, stiff with rigor mortis, in the filth of a cart that had last been used to shift manure, from the smell. An ignominious end to his life, she thought.

‘We found him over by Lovett’s Bridge. He’d taken the hedge intending the shortcut across the Home Farm fields,’ Thompson was saying. He jerked his head at the saddle, the beautiful, hand tooled saddle that had been tossed into the cart with its owner. ‘Looks like the girth strap broke and he came off. Broke his neck in the fall. He’d not have known anything about it, my lady.’

Aware of the anxious faces that surrounded her, Isabel swallowed. They expected her to break down. They wanted her tears but she had none to give. She had expended too many tears over Anthony, Lord Somerton, while he lived to spare any for him now that he was dead.

Her gaze rested on the saddle. It had been her gift to Anthony on his birthday only a few months earlier. Now it was the cause of his death. It stood as a symbol of everything that had gone wrong between herself and her husband.

She turned on her heel and walked back to the house with her head held high. With every step, the enormity of Anthony’s death sank in.

She was free, but at what price came that freedom?

Her back straightened and her lips tightened.

To attain freedom, first she had to find Lord Somerton’s heir.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Alison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of cross genre historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or wayward ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, facebook, twitter and Goodreads.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.alisonstuart.com

Blogs: www.alisonstuart.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlisonStuartWriter

Twitter: @AlisonStuart14 https://twitter.com/AlisonStuart14

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4636079.Alison_Stuart

Buy Links:

Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857991560

Author Website: http://www.alisonstuart.com/lord-somertons-heir.html

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Somertons-Heir-Alison-Stuart-ebook/dp/B00JD7EYW6

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/lord-somertons-heir/id852042879?mt=11

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-somertons-heir-alison-stuart/1119118530?ean=9780857991560&isbn=9780857991560&itm=1&usri=9780857991560


         Lord Somerton's HeirLord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart is a 2014 Escape Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sebastian goes through some pretty heavy duty life changes and events in a short period of time. First of all he is wounded in the war at Waterloo. He will most likely always walk with a limp. While burning with a fever, he is discovered by the Dowager Lady Somerton and from that moment on his life will never be the same.

Shocking revelations about his heritage will thrust Sebastian into the role of being the new Lord Somerton. He believes his fortune has changed but soon discovers things are not as they appear.

Isabel is still in mourning for her child who apparently passed away from SIDS. The death of her husband Anthony has given her the hope of freeing herself from the Somerton duties so she can open her own school for girls. So, finding Anthony's heir is a must. As soon as she finds Sebastian she takes him to his new home and begins to nurse him back to health. The sooner he heals and adjust to his new title and responsibilities, the sooner she can escape and begin her independent life.

Alas, things don't work out quite as planned for Sebastian or Isabel. It appears that Anthony squandered all of Isabel's money which ruins her plans for the school. To put the cherry on the cake it becomes evident that Anthony did not die from an accident after all. It seems he was murdered and Isabel is the only likely suspect.

This story got off to a really slow start for me. The first half of the book dragged along as Sebastian recovers from his wound, meets relatives he didn't know he had, and begins to realize the estate is in debt and he learns of Isabel's cold and loveless upbringing and he discerns her marriage to Anthony was one of duty and love was not a part of the partnership. It wasn't until nearly half way into the book the plot picked up steam. This is where the murder mystery really starts to become intriguing. Many stunning revelations will come to light as Isabel will learn things about Anthony she didn't know. While there is romance, I think the book was more along the lines of historical fiction/mystery. If you go into it knowing that upfront you will like this story a lot. If you are expecting a lot romantic angst and steamy sheet twisting, that doesn't happen in this one. In fact the romance was really low key. However, the mystery part of the story makes up for that and I was really into the second half of the book. There were lots of twist and turns in the murder plot and I also liked the super sweet and sentimental ending of the book. Overall this is good effort and the author shows a lot of promise. I 'm giving this on a 3.5 and rounding it up to four mainly because I love a good historical mystery.



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  1. Good review - I enjoyed it quite a bit when I read it - the romance really is very low key but the mystery and Sebastian coming into his won as the new Lord Somerton was very well done.

  2. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.
    psiu@ live.com

  3. Thank you for hosting me. I am glad you like historical mysteries... so do I :-)

  4. This book sounds great! I haven't read any of Alison Stuart's book, but this will be my first!

  5. Enjoyed reading your review of this book.

  6. Love the excerpt and beautiful cover! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Nice review of this book! Sounds intriguing!

  8. i like the excerpt

  9. I like the BLURB.

    rounder9834 @yahoo.com


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