A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes - Book Review + Giveaway

Book Information
Title: The Duke’s Disaster
Author: Grace Burrowes
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he's infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea's mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?
As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn't expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…
“Your tea, Duchess.”
Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.
Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.
“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.
“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”
“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”
“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”
“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”
Drat. He’d given another order.
“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”
“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?” 
Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”
“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”
“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We’d trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”
“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”
“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”
“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”
“A little of both, please.”
“Feeling carnivorous?”
“I’m a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”
Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.
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The Duke's Disaster (True Gentlemen, #0.5)The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes is a 2015 Sourcebooks Casablanca publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

How nice, as always, to pick up a novel by Grace Burrowes. This is a such a wonderful story, with snappy dialogue, wit, mystery, and a clever reminder about double standards and drawing conclusions without all the facts, and learning to trust. but of course it was the slow, sensual, sweet, sexy love story between Thea and Noah that will absolutely melt your heart.

Thea is the daughter of an aristocrat, but after her parent's death, her lazy, drunken brother horribly neglects his sisters, forcing Thea to take a position as a lady's companion.

Noah Winters has decided to marry in order to preserve the family line. After finally choosing a prospective bride, the lady up and accepts another man's proposal instead. But, the lady's companion, Thea, just might be the perfect wife. So, Noah makes Thea an offer she can't refuse.

Noah is not a charming man, by any means. In fact, by his own admission, he isn't very nice. But, his actions belie his words, especially when he discovers his new bride has been less than honest with him and it immediately puts the tenuous marriage in trouble.

Not only that, it would appear Noah has been harboring a couple of secrets of his own, causing the chasm between them to widen.

But, through it all, Noah is the nicest person he can be, when he could have been perfectly horrible to Thea. Instead he is determined to see the marriage work, even though they got off to a pretty rocky start. But, the issue of trust sits heavily on Noah and he can't seem to let go of his insecurities and move forward in the marriage until he learns all the sordid details of Thea's past. By the same token, Thea can't seem to trust Noah with her story which would surely put things in an entirely different light.

While double standards still rule the day in many situations today, back in this era of time it was much, much worse. What is good for goose and all that. It's infuriating, but that was the way of things. It is also true we might find ourselves judging someone by the reputation of their family members, believing them to be of the same ilk, when in fact they are not.

So, Noah and Thea make mistakes by not being honest with one another from the beginning. But, their journey was an absolute delight as they soldier through some pretty rough times and come out on the other side of it totally in love with one another and with a rock solid marriage.

If two people were ever meant to be married it was these two. Right from the start the two had spectacular marital tug of wars, especially while eating breakfast. Noah is so tender and sweet, such a gentleman, and an honorable man, bearing the weight of his family's rather tarnished reputation. Thea is a strong woman who has endured so much and paid such a high price for something that was not her fault. As a woman she bore an internal shame she should never have had to feel, but didn't let it keep her from trying to make the best of things. The secondary characters were also delightful and I rather enjoyed James' marital advice to Noah on the few occasions Noah sought his advice.

The author keeps the pace steady, but had me itching to read ahead in hopes of discovering the secrets of Thea's past. While, I had some inkling of what may have transpired, I could never have guessed the way it would all be explained. The truth was stunning and left me feeling shocked and outraged. But, like Thea, there was also a sense of relief as the pent up pressure is finally released and the door was opened to start over with a fresh start. I giggled a few times , felt sad and angry, sat on the edge of my seat a time or two, but by the end of the story I was so proud of these characters and the progress they made and the lessons they learned. After turning the final page I felt warmed from head to toe and had a big smile on my face. This is a charming, delightful, and heartwarming tale I highly recommend. 4.5 rounded to 5

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Author Biography
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
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