Captive Hearts (Book 1)
Burrows is another first time read for me. She has won many awards and her books often top the best romances year end lists. Now I understand why.
This is the first book of a trilogy, and was not your typical reformed rake and lots of balls type romance. Instead, we meet Christian, the Duke of Mercia, who has been captured by Napoleon’s army and tortured for close to a year. He is released at the end of the war, and returns home, a broken man, only to find that his wife and son have both died. His daughter Lucy is all he has left, and she has become mute in his absence.
His wife’s cousin Gillian, the Countess of Greendale, has recently become a widow when her elderly husband dies. She was horribly abused, and is in fact rejoicing in her husband’s death. There is an inquest into his death, but she is cleared rather quickly.
Gillian beseeches Christian to return to his country home to care for his daughter Lucy, and he agrees providing she will accompany him and act as his hostess. She agrees, and these two damaged people learn to trust one another. They have much in common, and really seem to understand what the other has been through and help each other to heal. Gillian is determined to help Christian get past weakened condition, and does simple things to help him, like peeling his orange for him so he doesn’t have to ask. In turn, he confides in her, and eventually grows stronger, both physically and mentally.
Christian is hiding a deep seated need for revenge against the half French, half English soldier who was his chief torturer. Upon learning he is in England, he decides to challenge him to a duel, leading to the shocking ending. But no worries, Gillian and Christian realize their love and need for each other and find their happily ever after. Burrowes offers up great characters who are fully realized, and a tragic story with a happy ending – what more could you ask for? I’m looking forward to the next books in the trilogy, The Traitor (Captive Hearts, Book 2) & The Laird (Captive Hearts, Book 3).
10/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE CAPTIVE by Grace Burrowes. Sourcebooks Casablanca (July 1, 2014). ISBN 978-1402278785. 448p.