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Gabriel: Lord of Regrets

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A man with a dangerous future After two years in hiding to protect his family, Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh, leaves behind the woman he loves and returns home to untangle the plots against him. When the lady turns up on his doorstep to paint portraits of Gabriel's brother and sister-in-law, he's not sure whether it's by accident or design. And now she could be in A man with a dangerous future After two years in hiding to protect his family, Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh, leaves behind the woman he loves and returns home to untangle the plots against him. When the lady turns up on his doorstep to paint portraits of Gabriel's brother and sister-in-law, he's not sure whether it's by accident or design. And now she could be in harm's way too... A lady with a dangerous past Polonaise Hunt is an accomplished artist who is determined to paint the prestigious Wendover family portraits, but coming upon Gabriel in his new situation changes everything. Despite their mutual passion, trusting Gabriel could cost Polly everything she holds dear...


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A man with a dangerous future After two years in hiding to protect his family, Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh, leaves behind the woman he loves and returns home to untangle the plots against him. When the lady turns up on his doorstep to paint portraits of Gabriel's brother and sister-in-law, he's not sure whether it's by accident or design. And now she could be in A man with a dangerous future After two years in hiding to protect his family, Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh, leaves behind the woman he loves and returns home to untangle the plots against him. When the lady turns up on his doorstep to paint portraits of Gabriel's brother and sister-in-law, he's not sure whether it's by accident or design. And now she could be in harm's way too... A lady with a dangerous past Polonaise Hunt is an accomplished artist who is determined to paint the prestigious Wendover family portraits, but coming upon Gabriel in his new situation changes everything. Despite their mutual passion, trusting Gabriel could cost Polly everything she holds dear...

30 review for Gabriel: Lord of Regrets

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    I've read every book that Grace Burrowes has published, and I thought her most recent (before this one) was her best yet. (That would be Once Upon a Tartan.) So I'm truly disappointed to say that Gabriel: Lord of Regrets is just an unmitigated mess. There is a convoluted backstory, a supposed murder plot, lots of sex, secrets. Oh, my God, secrets! Everybody is keeping secrets from everybody else. I note that several other reviewers have loved the book and given it a five-star rating, but I canno I've read every book that Grace Burrowes has published, and I thought her most recent (before this one) was her best yet. (That would be Once Upon a Tartan.) So I'm truly disappointed to say that Gabriel: Lord of Regrets is just an unmitigated mess. There is a convoluted backstory, a supposed murder plot, lots of sex, secrets. Oh, my God, secrets! Everybody is keeping secrets from everybody else. I note that several other reviewers have loved the book and given it a five-star rating, but I cannot. Much of the backstory is found in Beckman: Lord of Sins. Gabriel North is the brooding, mysterious steward for the absent owner of Three Springs estate, where Sara Hunt is the housekeeper and Polly Hunt is the cook. Sara's young daughter Allie also lives there. Although Sara is the heroine of that book, there is a budding secondary romance between Polly and North. At the end of the book, North leaves his post, and Polly goes off to London to begin what promises to be a rewarding career as a portrait artist. It turns out that Gabriel North is actually Gabriel Felicitos Baptiste Wendover, the presumed-dead Marquess of Hesketh. Two years earlier he had traveled to Spain to retrieve his brother Aaron, who had been wounded in the Peninsular War. While there, Gabriel was attacked by brigands and seriously wounded. Then, the convent hospital where he was recuperating was torched, and Gabriel allowed his family to believe that he had died in the fire. After their father died, Aaron took over the title, married Gabriel’s fiancée, Lady Marjorie, and set about running the estate, clashing frequently with his steward, distant cousin George Wendover. Three Springs is just twenty or so miles from Hesketh, so Gabriel was able to keep tabs on his brother, whom he suspected of trying to have him murdered. It suited Gabriel’s purposes to live incognito, but eventually he became alarmed when he heard of Aaron’s frequent duels, Lady Marjorie’s extravagant spending, and mismanagement of the estate. At the opening of this book, Gabriel appears at Hesketh, but Aaron does not seem as shocked as the others. Is that perhaps because Aaron knew that the attempts on Gabriel’s life had failed? Will those attempts continue now that Gabriel has surfaced? (view spoiler)[In a coincidence that happens only in fiction, Polly Hunt also is at Hesketh, having been hired to do portraits of Aaron and Lady Marjorie. Thus, Gabriel has the perfect opportunity to continue wooing Polly right under his own roof, but he worries that she could be harmed by whomever is trying to kill him. Polly loves Gabriel, but she resists his wooing, knowing she could never marry him because she has a Deep, Dark Secret from her past. Actually, Polly doesn’t wholly resist, as she and Gabriel take to spending their nights in the same bed. I actually found the sex scenes here kind of squicky. As with most of Burrowes’ books, the couple does not actually engage in intercourse at first; rather they go in for what used to be called “heavy petting.” During these sessions, we learn that Polly is blessed with the ability to have orgasms at the slightest touch. Lots of them. Well, lucky Polly, but I would have been happy with much less detail about their couplings and near-couplings. While Polly goes about her painting, she learns that Aaron and Lady Marjorie, who have been married for two years, have never consummated their marriage. In fact, they barely even speak. That’s because theirs was a forced marriage. After Gabriel was declared dead, Lady Marjorie’s mother, Lady Hartle, was determined that her daughter would be the marchioness and demanded that Aaron fulfill the marriage contract that existed between the parents. So Aaron grudgingly married Lady Marjorie. Now that Gabriel is alive and ready to claim the title back, Lady Hartle threatens to bring legal action to force an annulment so that Lady Marjorie can marry Gabriel. Neither Gabriel nor Lady Marjorie wants to do this, but as far as Lady Hartle is concerned her daughter will be the marchioness or she’ll know the reason why. At this point, I was ready to throw the book out the window (figuratively, as I’m reading on a Kindle), for all this nonsense is addressed as A Serious Problem. Solicitors are consulted, which gives the author a chance to bring in the estimable Worth Ketterington, who has appeared in earlier books and who will apparently get his own story some day. There is more – oh so much more – to come as this ridiculous tale winds on. Aaron and Lady Marjorie secretly desire one another, so Gabriel and Polly encourage them to act upon their passions. Polly is seriously considering a proposal from her sister’s late husband’s brother, Tremaine St. Michael. She’s also suffering from missing her young niece Allie, who is really her daughter, fathered by sister Sara’s no-good late husband Reynard. (That’s the Deep Dark Secret, although we knew that from the previous book.) She also misses her sister, now happily married to Beckman Haddonfield and expecting an interesting event. Ultimately, every single character in the book winds up drinking tea at Hesketh in the middle of a snowstorm and all is revealed. Oh, and the murder plot? Fuggitaboutit. Burrowes should avoid even attempting to write a mystery. With any other author, I would have quit half way through. But because the Lonely Lords series has been so good thus far, I kept reading. (hide spoiler)] My advice: skip this Lonely Lord and read Darius: Lord of Pleasures, the best of the series so far.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    slooooooow burn on this one. I can see why some didn't like it. A LOT of talking and not a lot of action. Well, sexy action there is, but not a huge mystery to solve. And what mystery there is isn't much. But I'm liking Grace Burrowes' writing the more this series goes on. One word of warning, I would NOT read this series out of order. Too much is explained in the early books. slooooooow burn on this one. I can see why some didn't like it. A LOT of talking and not a lot of action. Well, sexy action there is, but not a huge mystery to solve. And what mystery there is isn't much. But I'm liking Grace Burrowes' writing the more this series goes on. One word of warning, I would NOT read this series out of order. Too much is explained in the early books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathie (katmom)

    Free today (always check)! Gabriel North intrigued me when he was introduced in Beckman. He and Polly were supporting characters in that book. This is their story, and what an adventure it is. Someone has tried to kill Gabriel several times. He's been hiding at Three Springs, working the land, trying to make it prosper, while he figures out just who might want him dead. He suspects his brother, even though that hurts him. When he comes out of hiding and announces to the world, and his brother, tha Free today (always check)! Gabriel North intrigued me when he was introduced in Beckman. He and Polly were supporting characters in that book. This is their story, and what an adventure it is. Someone has tried to kill Gabriel several times. He's been hiding at Three Springs, working the land, trying to make it prosper, while he figures out just who might want him dead. He suspects his brother, even though that hurts him. When he comes out of hiding and announces to the world, and his brother, that he is not dead, as they all assumed, he thinks he'll draw the killer out. Although it tore him apart to walk away from Polly, he felt it was safer for her for him to be out of her life. Also, she doesn't feel like marriage is something she can aspire to because of her own issues. He is shocked, and pleased, to discover that Polly is at the family seat, preparing to paint the portraits of his brother and wife. The wife that he was contracted to marry before he was attacked and pretended to be dead. Polly made me want to smack her a few times. But remorse and feelings of guilt can be understood, especially during this time frame. I loved reading about the art, and the process of the paintings. Adds a depth that I particularly enjoy. Yes, lots of threads here. And Ms. Burrowes deals with them well. I always love how she brings characters from previous books in for a visit. And how she ties the threads up for us. There are some steamy scenes. I like how they are truly love scenes. This author is good at that! Once again, FIVE BOOKMARKS *Thank you, NetGalley and Sourcebooks ~ Casablanca, for the opportunity to read Gabriel This review, and others, can be seen at my blog: www.firstpagetothelast.com Publishes 9/3/2013 and Available for preorder now at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    3.5 stars Much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think this is one of Ms Burrowes’ best efforts. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t hate it; I didn’t even not enjoy it, but I did find many of the plot points were just too contrived and nonsensical and really, the reason for the “I love you but we can’t be together” in this book bordered on the seriously annoying. Although all the books in the Lonely Lords series are designed to be read as standalones, some of them work best when read in tandem, and 3.5 stars Much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think this is one of Ms Burrowes’ best efforts. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t hate it; I didn’t even not enjoy it, but I did find many of the plot points were just too contrived and nonsensical and really, the reason for the “I love you but we can’t be together” in this book bordered on the seriously annoying. Although all the books in the Lonely Lords series are designed to be read as standalones, some of them work best when read in tandem, and this is one of them. If you pick this novel up without having read the previous one (Beckman: Lord of Sins), you could find yourself at a bit of a disadvantage because Gabriel and Beckman feel as though they’re actually one book that has been split into two parts. When we first met Gabriel, he was Mr North, the grouchy, taciturn land-steward at Three Springs, a rather run-down estate in Sussex. Also living there were Sara and Polly Hunt (housekeeper and cook respectively) and Sara’s daughter, Allie. And if you’ve read Beckman, you’ll already know that (view spoiler)[ Allie is acutally Polly’s daughter, by Sara’s no good late husband (hide spoiler)] . As the story progressed, it was clear that there was more to the mysterious Mr North than met the eye, and that the sisters were also keeping a number of secrets between them. There was also a secondary romance simmering along between Gabriel and Polly, but at the end of the book, having fessed up to Beck, Gabriel decided to leave Three Springs because he was concerned for the safety of its inhabitants if he stayed. For Gabriel North is actually Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh, whose estates lie within a day’s ride of Three Springs – and who is believed to have been killed in Spain. It suited Gabriel to be thought dead while he tried to work out who was responsible for the attempt on his life, but hearing that his brother, Aaron, is badly mismanaging his estates, Gabriel decides it’s time to effect a resurrection. There is so much going on in the story, that it’s difficult to write very much about it without spoilers. Also, my good friend Lady Wesley, has written a very effective recap here . When Gabriel arrives at his home, it’s to discover that the services of a portrait artist have been engaged in order to immortalise his brother and sister-in-law in oils. Of course, the artist in question is none other than Miss Polonaise Hunt, a coincidence which produced a reaction like this: – although to be fair, at the end of the book there’s a hint that Polly’s presence at Hesketh was actually the result of Beckman’s machinations. I thought that the plot was overly complex and, when I stepped back to think about it, much of it didn’t make sense. The romance between Gabriel and Polly is rather charming (if a little heavy on the sugar!) but Polly’s reason for refusing to marry Gabriel is unbelievable at best and dumb at worst. And given that we know they’re in love by the end of the previous book, their relationship does not develop very much and consists basically of Polly being grumpy and out of sorts and Gabriel being her ministering angel (see what I did there? *g*), anticipating her every need and helping to pull her out of her funk. Oh, and they indulge in plenty of “anything-but” sex, discovering that Polly can achieve orgasm if Gabriel so much as looks at her a certain way. Okay, so I made that last bit up, but it doesn’t take her much more than that! And I couldn’t help thinking – I know it’s his house and it’s probably a huge mansion ... but doesn’t anyone notice that the master of the house and the female portraitist in his employ are spending many of their nights together? Then there’s the problem of Gabriel’s brother and sister-in-law, who are miserable together. Lady Marjorie had been engaged to Gabriel, but when he disappeared and his brother acceded to the title, Lady Marjorie’s mother, Lady Hartle pushed her daughter at Aaron, insisting he honour the betrothal agreements. They married and have lived unhappily ever after, Aaron believing Marjorie may have anticipated her vows with Gabriel and Marjorie believing Aaron married her only out of duty. But Gabriel’s reappearance rekindles Lady Hartle’s ambition and she is more determined than ever that her daughter become the Marchioness of Hesketh. To achieve this end, she starts legal proceedings which, if successful would see Marjorie’s marriage set aside so she can marry Gabriel. Needless to say, neither Gabriel nor Marjorie is enthusiastic about the idea, but Lady Hartle will not be gainsaid and when it emerges that Aaron and Marjorie have not consummated their marriage – even though it’s obvious to everyone else that they’re dying to hit the sheets together – it means an annulment is not completely outside the realms of possibility. Yet it takes the best legal mind in London to come up with the idea that they do the horizontal mambo and put a bun in Marjorie’s oven, because surely, her mother wouldn’t want to brand her own grandchild a bastard. By the time all these issues are resolved (which was around the 90% mark – I was reading on a Kindle) I found myself wondering how on earth there was going to be enough time to resolve the mystery of Gabriel’s would-be murderer. I won’t say how it turned out, just to say that this was me after I read the dénouement: Despite the way it seems, the book does have things to recommend it, not least of which is the lyrical style of the writing. Gabriel is an absolute sweetheart, and, as with all of Ms Burrowes’ heroes, is very “in touch with his feminine side”, but that’s a plus as far as I’m concerned. I thought the most interesting relationship in the book was the one between the two Wendover brothers; as is the case with Nicholas and Ethan Haddonfield, and Beckman and Gabriel in the previous books, Ms Burrowes has written a very strong male friendship and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. The other successful element was her characterisation of Allie – Ms Burrowes excels at writing children who speak and behave like real children – whose misery, anger and bewilderment over the situation in which she’d been placed were palpable and truly heartrending. So I’m chalking this one up as a bit of a misfire. Given the frequency with which Ms Burrowes is producing both this series and other novels, I suppose it’s not surprising there’s going to be the odd dud in there somewhere. Everything of hers I’ve read so far I’ve rated 4 stars and above at Goodreads, and there may well be an element of my having higher expectations of her books and therefore being a harsher critic. In any case, Gabriel wasn’t all bad – just not as good as I’ve come to expect, and it certainly hasn’t put me off reading more in this series or of Ms Burrowes’ work in general.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ilze

    Grace Burrowes' "Gabriel, Lord of Regrets" - #5 in the Lonely Lords series   This one is a bit strange. First of all, don't even think about reading it before you've read Beckman, the previous book in the series. The 2 main characters, Gabriel and Polly, and Polly's true situation in life, are introduced there. This book is written as if it is a continuation of Beckman.    Polly the heroine is a portrait painter who is at the hero's house, unbeknownst to him (like I said, you have to read Beckman f Grace Burrowes' "Gabriel, Lord of Regrets" - #5 in the Lonely Lords series   This one is a bit strange. First of all, don't even think about reading it before you've read Beckman, the previous book in the series. The 2 main characters, Gabriel and Polly, and Polly's true situation in life, are introduced there. This book is written as if it is a continuation of Beckman.    Polly the heroine is a portrait painter who is at the hero's house, unbeknownst to him (like I said, you have to read Beckman first to understand why this would be so), painting the portraits of Gabriel's brother and his wife. Gabriel arrives at the house after several years away, and being declared dead, and discovers Polly there. If you read Beckman, you'll know that Polly and Gabriel had lived on the same estate for a few years prior to this and had fallen deeply in love with each other, although they did not have an actual love affair.     There is supposedly a murder mystery (or attempted murder mystery) in the book, which ends up being pretty silly. There is also a very strange and silly subplot about the brother's mother-in-law insisting that her daughter is supposed to be married to Gabriel instead of his brother because her daughter's engagement contract said she was to marry the Marquess of Hesketh. When Gabriel was declared dead, his brother Aaron took over the title and the mother insisted her daughter marry Aaron, but now that Gabriel is back she is supposed to unmarry Aaron and marry Gabriel. WTF? I guess this is all supposed to manufacture some angst and legal suspense for the brothers and the women they love, but it didn't really work for me.   On top of that, Polly is the most annoying and least sympathetic heroine ever, with her indecision and just plain wrong-headed thinking about what she wants from life (and not once does she realize that having choices in life is a huge gift for someone in her position). Gabriel isn't very consistent either - at the beginning of the book he just wants Polly away from his place because he thinks that puts her in danger, and out of his life because he's not worthy or something, but at some point this completely reverses and he becomes determined to keep her there and marry her, a long while before the mystery is solved and he realizes there is no danger. On the other hand, Gabriel *is* a great character, a marvellous hero and the high point of the story. Another fine character is that of Allie, Polly's young daughter who doesn't want to pretend anymore that Polly is just her aunt, and who eventually forces Polly to accept this. I had difficulty sympathizing with Polly's reasoning and actions regarding her daughter, although everything works out in the end.   All in all, a rather convoluted and confusing plot, but interesting nevertheless. 

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I loved this book---a DIK for me----so much that my husband knows all about it, plus my daughter. I just couldn't say enough about it. For full justice though one should really read "Beckman" first to see where Gabriel and Polonaise begin. Gabriel has been hiding for 2 years, ever since his attack which left him severly injured in Spain. His brother, Aaron, has stepped up, marrying Gabriel's fiance, running the marquesate, and going to Parliament. Gabriel decides to go home, and therefore, flush I loved this book---a DIK for me----so much that my husband knows all about it, plus my daughter. I just couldn't say enough about it. For full justice though one should really read "Beckman" first to see where Gabriel and Polonaise begin. Gabriel has been hiding for 2 years, ever since his attack which left him severly injured in Spain. His brother, Aaron, has stepped up, marrying Gabriel's fiance, running the marquesate, and going to Parliament. Gabriel decides to go home, and therefore, flush out who wants him dead. Polonaise has also been hiding, but is a talented artist who has left Three Springs to embark on a career as a portrait painter. Her first clients just happen to be Aaron and his wife Marjorie. When Gabriel comes back from the dead, Polonaise is already at the estate. Gabriel fears for her and wants her to leave but, of course, Polly is stubborn and doesn't go. The love story has already started but here it becomes a thing of such beauty there were times I just had to re-read Gabriel's words. His understanding and Polonaise's care of him make such a wonderful story. If one hasn't read Grace Burrowes before, what are you waiting for? "Vituroso" is also one of my favorite books but this is top of the heap!

  7. 4 out of 5

    R.C. Matthews

    I usually enjoy Grace Burrowes but this story was too slow for my liking and I never got fully into it. I skimmed the last third of the book. Her writing is still lovely. The blurb makes this story sound a lot more intriguing and potentially action packed than it is. And, although valid for the time period, it turns out I'm not a big fan of silly women who won't marry a man because he's nobility and she's not. There is no room in my life for that kind of nonsense so it was highly irritating and, I usually enjoy Grace Burrowes but this story was too slow for my liking and I never got fully into it. I skimmed the last third of the book. Her writing is still lovely. The blurb makes this story sound a lot more intriguing and potentially action packed than it is. And, although valid for the time period, it turns out I'm not a big fan of silly women who won't marry a man because he's nobility and she's not. There is no room in my life for that kind of nonsense so it was highly irritating and, hence, the skimming.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen J

    Burrowes has excellent writing skills and I have dearly loved most of her books. This one not so much. Many of Burrowes usual skills are displayed here: 1. Conversation. No one does conversation better than Burrowes. So much dialogue in genre fiction is tedious, wooden, silly, out of character or, in a variety of other ways, just plain bad. Burrowes’ characters show their complexity and really come to life with her dialogue: she always has me on the edge of my seat throughout her captivating conv Burrowes has excellent writing skills and I have dearly loved most of her books. This one not so much. Many of Burrowes usual skills are displayed here: 1. Conversation. No one does conversation better than Burrowes. So much dialogue in genre fiction is tedious, wooden, silly, out of character or, in a variety of other ways, just plain bad. Burrowes’ characters show their complexity and really come to life with her dialogue: she always has me on the edge of my seat throughout her captivating conversations rather than waiting for the next bit of action. 2. Character complexity. No wooden characters here. 3. Atmosphere and “taking us there.” Burrowes knows how to weave actions and description into the scenes in just the right doses and at just the right times to make us feel like we’re on the scene. 4. Vocabulary and sentence structure. No boring sentences. Great words. I mean, for example, who uses “besom” but it is so perfect. 5. Interesting historical information and, much of the time, good period language. Definitely not a wallpaper historical. So, why didn’t I like this one so well? 1. I didn’t care much for the protagonists and their relationship. I’ll admit I’m tired of petite spitfire heroines and I didn’t like Polly’s tendency toward lachrymosity. But the biggest thing was there didn’t seem to be enough chemistry between them, especially on his part. For the longest time he kept resisting her while she made all of the overtures and had to ask him to make love to her. Even once they began their affair, he was always the one in control while she was always having to beg him to continue and move forward. I want the hero to find the heroine a little more irresistible than that and I don’t like her to have to plead and beg for his attentions. God, this is really insulting to our heroine and not at all romantic. 2. Time period limbo. This author knows much about the period and its language but these characters had contemporary personalities and often used contemporary concepts (constructs like “consenting adults” sounded so out of period). The characters also acted totally different from the way people of the period ever would have acted. So this was neither contemporary nor truly period---I’d really get into the historical period then one of these “out of time” things would happen and take me out of the story. A visitor to an estate going out in the kitchen to cook? And the lady of the manner joining her? Can you really imagine that this unmarried female guest just curls up every night on the couch with the lord of the house and then later he joins her in bed? And, he wants to publicly acknowledge Polly's secrets instead of coming up with some lies that cover up the truth? Letting the truth out would certainly cause everyone in the story to be cut by the ton, keep children from being able to make acceptable matches, send ripples that would have devastating affects on the lives of the whole family.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tory Michaels

    There is no end in sight to the wonders of Ms. Burrowes’s novels. Each one makes me love her families more and more. There have been those who criticize her but I’m not one of them because her wordcraft pulls me in and doesn’t let me go once I start reading. Gabriel, aka Gabriel North from the prior book in the series (Beckman: Lord of Sin), returns home at long last after being in hiding. We finally get to discover why he was hiding (someone had been trying to kill him, he learned) and watch him There is no end in sight to the wonders of Ms. Burrowes’s novels. Each one makes me love her families more and more. There have been those who criticize her but I’m not one of them because her wordcraft pulls me in and doesn’t let me go once I start reading. Gabriel, aka Gabriel North from the prior book in the series (Beckman: Lord of Sin), returns home at long last after being in hiding. We finally get to discover why he was hiding (someone had been trying to kill him, he learned) and watch him tentatively step back toward the position of Marquis of Hesketh. This book had a bit of a different feel for me, because it’s the first time I’ve read a book where there was active maneuvering going on with regard to a title. Gabriel was declared dead by his brother two years ago, and so his brother was now the Marquis, yet with Gabriel very much alive there were issues to be sorted out legally. Polly of course shows up to paint the picture of the Marquis and his wife (though there is definitely question whether the brother is the legitimate Marquis or not), and discovers Gabriel. She’s hurt when he first tries to send her away and then they gradually work through their issues, and she has her feelings of inadequacy because of secrets revealed in Beckman and brought up again here regarding her time abroad touring Europe with her sister while the sister was a violinist. Probably the only things that dragged this book down for me were the “woe is me, I’m not worthy because of X” attitude of Polly (which got a little tiresome toward the end of the book) and the resolution to the question of who tried to kill Gabriel. I found the motivation of the ultimate villain, and the villain’s incompetence in carrying out his original intention toward Gabriel, a little eye-rolling. But, then again, I can’t really ask for more when it comes to tugging at the heartstrings with Polly and Gabriel as a couple. I’m already champing at the bit to get my hands on the sixth book in the series, Gareth: Lord of Rakes. I can barely keep up with Ms. Burrowes. Hat’s off to her AND Sourcebooks for getting her books lined up the way they have for publication! Book provided by netGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    A semi-murder mystery, a hot romance, and a legal battle come together in this book to make it one hell of a read. Gabriel: Lord of Regrets was a fantastic historical romance that kept me hooked. Loved it! Polonaise was a lovely heroine. She was easy to sympathize for, considering everything she had gone through and was still dealing with. Despite that, she was a tough woman, and nothing could get her down. I liked that she had her head firmly in reality. I find it unrealistic when historical rom A semi-murder mystery, a hot romance, and a legal battle come together in this book to make it one hell of a read. Gabriel: Lord of Regrets was a fantastic historical romance that kept me hooked. Loved it! Polonaise was a lovely heroine. She was easy to sympathize for, considering everything she had gone through and was still dealing with. Despite that, she was a tough woman, and nothing could get her down. I liked that she had her head firmly in reality. I find it unrealistic when historical romance heroines who are of common birth expect a higher born hero to drop everything for them. Sure, that makes for great romance, but it's totally unrealistic for the times. But, Polonaise was down to earth and realistic about her situation. Of course, she was in for a pleasant surprise :) Overall, I thought she was a likable character. Gabriel was also wonderful. There was a lot to him. Running away from a possible assassination attempt, living as a commoner for two years, and suspecting the worst when he tried to figure out who was responsible for the attacks. All that made him into an unusual marquis. So, it was interesting to read about a character who left the mold of historical romance heroes. I thought he was great. Very sweet, loyal, protective, and determined to win the woman he loves. I really liked him. The romance was hot. Both characters were experience, so they weren't afraid to go for what they wanted. And that led to a ton of sparks. And they were definitely sweet together. Since they were already in love prior to the beginning of this book, the emotions were already there and they just deepened as the book went on. Loved this couple. The plot was fast paced. The mystery of who tried to kill Gabriel kept me on the edge of my seat. Add to that a possible lawsuit against Gabriel for the confusion of his earlier betrothal that ended up with his brother marrying the former fiance and there was never a dull moment. I was hooked the entire way through. And the ending was lovely. Gabriel: Lord of Regrets is my favorite of the Lonely Lords series so far. I absolutely loved it! Lovers of historical romance, you definitely have to get on this series and read this book. *Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for a copy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    For me Grace Burrowes' habit of telling half a story in one book (in this case, Beckman) and concluding in another is getting old. At least in this book we don't suffer the repetition of half a book, just from a different perspective. As we found out in Beckman, Gabriel is not a land steward but instead, for reasons unknown, a nobleman in hiding. He and Polly are clearly in love although their relationship has been platonic. The book starts with Gabriel deciding it is time he resumes his old life. For me Grace Burrowes' habit of telling half a story in one book (in this case, Beckman) and concluding in another is getting old. At least in this book we don't suffer the repetition of half a book, just from a different perspective. As we found out in Beckman, Gabriel is not a land steward but instead, for reasons unknown, a nobleman in hiding. He and Polly are clearly in love although their relationship has been platonic. The book starts with Gabriel deciding it is time he resumes his old life. His friends and family believe he died from his wounds in Spain and his younger brother has ascended to the title, and married Gabriel's fiancé. With Gabriel gone, Polly decides to leave the farm and pursue her painting career. In the traditions of all novels, her first commission is to paint Gabriel's brother and his wife, although she is totally unaware of this fact. There are lots of sub-plots at work. Who tried to kill Gabriel and why? Gabriel's brother is in love with his wife but they have not consummated the marriage because of various misunderstandings. On Gabriel's return, his sister-in-law's mother tries to revoke the marriage and force her to marry Gabriel. No, I don't know how that would work either, but it is something to do with breach of promise and allegations that Gabriel's brother knew he was alive and misled them on purpose. Polly gave birth to her brother-in-law's child when she was barely sixteen. Her elder sister has brought the child up as her own daughter. Polly feels that these circumstances make her unsuitable to marry Gabriel now that he is revealed to be nobility. She also desperately misses her daughter and regrets allowing her sister to claim the child. In return, her daughter feels abandoned and displaced by the imminent arrival of a new cousin. Then there is yet another instance of sabotage of the farm to be investigated. With all these plots the underlying romance is strangely muted, maybe because from the start we know they love each other? Edited because I consistently called Gabriel Gareth throughout the entire review as Jen was kind enough to point out. Oops.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    #5 in the Lonely Lords series by Grace Burrowes. I have really enjoyed all of these books so far. It is nice to read about some really sweet, caring, protective men. Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh (we met him in book #4)has been in hiding for the last 2 years because someone has been trying to kill him. He was attacked and almost died in Spain when he went over to see about his injured brother who was a soldier in the Napoleonic wars. Gabriel pretends to have died hoping that he can the fe #5 in the Lonely Lords series by Grace Burrowes. I have really enjoyed all of these books so far. It is nice to read about some really sweet, caring, protective men. Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh (we met him in book #4)has been in hiding for the last 2 years because someone has been trying to kill him. He was attacked and almost died in Spain when he went over to see about his injured brother who was a soldier in the Napoleonic wars. Gabriel pretends to have died hoping that he can the ferret out who is trying to do him harm. Gabriel is afraid that it is his brother who is trying to do him harm -- his brother has him declared dead almost as soon as possible -- even though there is no body -- and he also marries Gabriel's fiance. Healing is a very slow, years long process, and Gabriel hides out as a steward for an estate about a days ride from his home. He shares duties at that estate with the Hunts (two sisters and a daughter). We met the Hunts in book 4 also. Gabriel and Polly Hunt fall in love, but both are hiding things (imagine that!) and they each leave to escape each other and their problems. Both end up at Gabriel's ancestral home and have to work through their secrets and trying to solve the mystery of who is trying to harm Gabriel. We also get further acquainted with Tremaine St. Michaels that we met in book #4. He has his own book (Treymaine's True Love) in another series. This is a good sweet read with yet another very sweet and endearing hero.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wollstonecrafthomegirl

    Lots of the criticisms of this book are well-founded. There's a hell of a lot of plot points. The murder story is wrapped up in too a neat moment of WTF, everyone gets over it with staggering ease. The law is hilariously inaccurate, although Burrowes gets bonus points from this English lawyer for working equitable maxims into a romance novel. It's basically a sequel to Beckman and you do need to have read Beckman to understand it and the h/h relationship. All that said, it's still a Burrowes and Lots of the criticisms of this book are well-founded. There's a hell of a lot of plot points. The murder story is wrapped up in too a neat moment of WTF, everyone gets over it with staggering ease. The law is hilariously inaccurate, although Burrowes gets bonus points from this English lawyer for working equitable maxims into a romance novel. It's basically a sequel to Beckman and you do need to have read Beckman to understand it and the h/h relationship. All that said, it's still a Burrowes and she's absolutely top-notch. I enjoyed every minute of it. I love Gabriel, I loved him in Beckman and I loved him here. The book falls down only because I never quite warmed to Polly. Her reasons for refusing Gabriel's marriage proposals were nonsensical and then overcome too easily. It's still a great book though. It's comforting, beautiful writing and better than most of the stuff that's out there. Thank God Burrowes is such a prolific writer because, for me, she cannot write a dud.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Murray

    As anyone who follows my reviews would know, I’m totally addicted to Grace Burrowes’ novels and “Gabriel” is no exception. As usual with a Burrowes novel, the evil plot, in this case someone’s apparent attempts to kill Gabriel, does not overwhelm the novel. The characters are fully drawn and completely engaging. She does a very cool thing with the character names in this novel. Gabriel falls in love with Polonaise whose whole family has names relating to music and dance. Gabriel, an angel in man As anyone who follows my reviews would know, I’m totally addicted to Grace Burrowes’ novels and “Gabriel” is no exception. As usual with a Burrowes novel, the evil plot, in this case someone’s apparent attempts to kill Gabriel, does not overwhelm the novel. The characters are fully drawn and completely engaging. She does a very cool thing with the character names in this novel. Gabriel falls in love with Polonaise whose whole family has names relating to music and dance. Gabriel, an angel in many ways, has a solid brother in Aaron. And the “bad guys” are not really evil, just wrongheaded. The only downside is that you really need to read “Beckman” first, almost like one long novel broken in two. But I highly recommend all the works of Grace Burrowes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel T

    Written as a combined review with the previous book Beckman! 4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks! The Lonely Lord series by award winning author (and one of my faves) Grace Burrowes once again did NOT disappoint. This review consists of books number 4 (Beckman) and 5 (Gabriel). These two were just as yummy as Darius, Nicholas and Ethan and totally swept me off my feet once again! If you love a solid historical romance (1800's) where gentlemen were expected to be gentlemen, ladies were ladies and al Written as a combined review with the previous book Beckman! 4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks! The Lonely Lord series by award winning author (and one of my faves) Grace Burrowes once again did NOT disappoint. This review consists of books number 4 (Beckman) and 5 (Gabriel). These two were just as yummy as Darius, Nicholas and Ethan and totally swept me off my feet once again! If you love a solid historical romance (1800's) where gentlemen were expected to be gentlemen, ladies were ladies and all the rules are thrown out the window then seriously check this series out! Let's get on with it shall we .. I have two more men for you to get to know! ;) BOOK 4 - BECKMAN Lord of Sins DESCRIPTION Beckman Haddonfield is ready to live again... Beckman finally emerges from the shadow of his wife's death by agreeing to restore a family estate...and embarking on a dalliance with the quiet, mysterious housekeeper who resides there. But she is not who she seems... Riveting and refreshing, Beckman is an unforgettable story about love's power to overcome grief and guilt. Award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes's gorgeous writing and lush Regency world will stay with you long after you turn the final page. REVIEW We have never really met Beckman, though he is mentioned several times in the previous books. Beckman is the younger legit brother of Nicholas and Ethan. He is also very complex, spare to the heir, underestimated and misunderstood. He is the baby of the family who is easily brushed aside, and left ignorant to some family matters (although he still caught on regardless of his families intentions). Beck has lived a full life for a man his young age. He's been married and widowed, been wild with the ladies and gambling, has fallen so far off the edge of a cliff in the opium house that it was amazing he was able to bounce back. He has also been sent away by his dying father (this is where I should mention that this book is written parallel to Nicholas book) to fix up an old family estate (Three Spring Estates) that belongs to his grandmother (his father doesn't want Beck to see him die). Beck understands why he is sent away (he deeply loves his father and I would like to believe seeing him die would throw him back in his recovery) and decides to tackle the estate with vigor. He meets Sara who is a housekeeper at this Three Spings along with her daughter Allie and sister Polly. The man working as the steward (Gabriel) is also there playing the role of grouch, let's get this done, I have no time to waste (he gets his own story ..lol). Beckman finds himself immediately captivated by Sara and realizes that there is so much more to this woman than housecleaner extraordinaire. Sara has secrets, and Beck wants to figure them out but in the process cannot help but fall in love with this complex woman. Sara is running from a past that if discovered, can effect her entire future. She just wants to live a simple life in the country, fix up the estate and be left alone. Well all was going well until she admits Beck into her bed. The passion between these two sparks up the pages as does the sensitivity to each other and the budding friendship. As Sara's past comes to the forefront we are taken on a ride of suspicion, action, intrigue and ultimately happily ever after (duh .. this is Grace Burrowes we're talking about ..lol) Can Beckman live with what Sara is hiding? Can Beck make it through his father's death unscathed? Will these two put aside their stubborn streaks to be each other's forever?? You know the answer, but reading how they get there is the best part! LOL BOOK 5 - GABRIEL Lord of Regrets DESCRIPTION Gabriel North has spent two years allowing his family to believe him dead, while he assumes the identity of a hardworking steward on the neglected Three Springs estate. When Gabriel falls in love with Polonaise Hunt, cook at Three Springs, he realizes that until he solves the mystery of who tried repeatedly to kill him, he cannot ask any woman to share his life. Gabriel resumes his proper identity as Marquis of Hesketh, only to find that Polonaise has also resumed her calling, that of talented portrait artist, and she's been commissioned to paint Gabriel's heir. While Gabriel tries to untangle the mystery of his attempted murder, he finds Polonaise has been keeping secrets of her own. She can capture Gabriel's likeness on canvas, but can he capture her heart? REVIEW I REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK! LOL We first met Gabriel in Beckman's book as the grouchy, no nonsense steward of the estate. It is there that you begin to understand that there is more than meets the eye to this man .. well this book it all comes out! Gabriel is really a titled man. Actually he is the Marquis of Hesketh and has been in hiding, assumed dead for the past couple of years. You see someone attempted to kill Gabriel two years ago, and he suspected his brother (who currently is holding the Marquis title). As time has passed, Gabriel has kept his eye on his brother and has come to realize that perhaps he wasn't involved in his attempted murder. He decides to come out of hiding. Gabriel reclaims his title (kind of) and happens upon a certain artist that he left behind at Three Springs Estate but has never forgotten! POLLY! Polly has been commissioned to paint portraits of the Hesketh family members. Little does she realize that her beloved Gabriel is not the steward she fell in love with but in fact a titled man. Considering all, she takes it all in quite nicely. The flames still burn hot between these two and before they know it, they are giving into their desires for one another knowing that the future holds nothing for them. Why would a Marquis want a simple artist? In the midst of all this romance, there are frequent abnormalities going on that sabotage the functioning of the Hesketh estate. Gabriel is in danger as someone is still trying to kill him. He wants Polly away from all the danger, but begins to realize that he cannot live without her. After he comes to terms with this, he needs to convince her. We have a side romance going throughout this story as well! Gabriel's brother and his wife begin to blossom as the pressure of being the Marquis and Marquess is lifted off their shoulders a tad, and answers to questions must be answered. I have to say I enjoyed their story as much as I did Gabriel's. Of course there is so much more than what I say in my reviews to these books. I hate spoilers and have to be careful on what I can or cannot reveal here! LOL I really wanted to give 5 out of 5, but I am seeing a repeated formula with this series that is predictable now. We have a powerful man who seems to be the most loving and understanding of men. We have the woman who is not innocent and agrees to the loving physical affair with our main man. We see them really become friends and not just lovers. Don't get me wrong, this formula works for Grace Burrowes books, but I would love a little mix up in there! This is 5 books in now. A WONDERFUL historical romance series and one that I am going to remain current with. HAPPY READING! :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sandi aka Maudley

    Characters as comfortable and complex as good friends.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Rondeau

    After years of hiding and denying himself his birthright, Gabriel Wendover leaves behind a woman he loves to resume his place as the Marquis of Hesketh even now still feeling as though he still had a target on his back after someone had nearly killed him some years back. He felt he could no longer hide and would bring himself out in the open, if only to discover who wanted him dead. However, after leaving behind the woman he loved (in order to protect her) he discovers she, Polonaise (Polly) Hun After years of hiding and denying himself his birthright, Gabriel Wendover leaves behind a woman he loves to resume his place as the Marquis of Hesketh even now still feeling as though he still had a target on his back after someone had nearly killed him some years back. He felt he could no longer hide and would bring himself out in the open, if only to discover who wanted him dead. However, after leaving behind the woman he loved (in order to protect her) he discovers she, Polonaise (Polly) Hunt has been hired by his brother to paint family portraits. Still fearing for her safety, Gabriel wants her gone, but his body simply wants her! *** In Book #5 of my newest favorite and auto-buy author, Grace Burrowes has penned another marvelous book of GABRIEL, the mysterious land steward unearthed in her previous book BECKMAN - Book #4 of her Lonely Lords series. And let me say, right from the on-set - this series rocks! Additionally, to give you even more to ponder - Grace Burrowes is rocking skyward as a true super star of the historical romance genre! Burrowes’ characters are amazingly real. They aren’t always your normal cookie cutter gorgeous vestal virgins, or the handsome rakish men of the ton with each story usually quite original, as well as totally believable. Especially in the instance of Polly, cook extraordinaire yet in reality an artist of immense talent and a bittersweet secret. Loving Mr. North who turned out to be the Marquis of Hesketh and knowing that with that revelation, Polly knew she would never be considered good enough for him. Both Gabriel and Polly held bitter secrets that kept them apart, but the passion and sensualness of the authors writing as well as the mystery of where and who the danger came from was cleverly disguised and revealed in a way I never saw coming. As mentioned before, Burrowes is a true star of this historical romance genre. She has graced us all with her exquisite prose, engrossing and creative stories, and I for one consider myself extremely lucky and blessed to have found her right from the start when I picked up a copy of THE HEIR! Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kiki Z

    I usually have issues with Burrowes's books, but this one was just a horrible mess. If I read Beckman: Lord of Sins which was the one before this maybe I would have understood Polly and Gabriel better, but personally, I believe that you should be able to read a romance series in any order. I've never had this issue with others. This book is just a hot mess. Polly and Gabriel have a past we don't understand. There's a murder mystery with no actual murder. There's some stuff about Marjorie and Aar I usually have issues with Burrowes's books, but this one was just a horrible mess. If I read Beckman: Lord of Sins which was the one before this maybe I would have understood Polly and Gabriel better, but personally, I believe that you should be able to read a romance series in any order. I've never had this issue with others. This book is just a hot mess. Polly and Gabriel have a past we don't understand. There's a murder mystery with no actual murder. There's some stuff about Marjorie and Aaron trying to make a go out of their marriage. And none of these things make a bit of sense. It was too long since most of the middle of the book had nothing happen but the same old same old. The writing and writing style made the story seem disordered and chaotic and that is made it hard to read. Then she tried to add drama and the end of the murder mystery and... it was just a mess. There was no real tension, and there was no real plot, and there was no real characterization. And, again, I feel like since romance novel series are supposed to be separate stories, then I should be able to read it without wondering what happened during a previous book. Most books cover these encounters. This book gives us a vague "they spent a lot of time together and flirted" explanation, no specifics.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Book #4 in Grace Burrowes’ sexy and emotional Lonely Lords series, featuring many of the secondary men (friends and acquaintances) from her Windham series. This book is really a continuation of Beckman, the third book in the series and should be read after that. While I enjoyed that book, I found I liked this one more. We also learn a surprising secret about Gabriel that I hope will be further explored in a later Lonely Lords story. Gabriel Wendover, the Marquess of Hesketh, has been in hiding for Book #4 in Grace Burrowes’ sexy and emotional Lonely Lords series, featuring many of the secondary men (friends and acquaintances) from her Windham series. This book is really a continuation of Beckman, the third book in the series and should be read after that. While I enjoyed that book, I found I liked this one more. We also learn a surprising secret about Gabriel that I hope will be further explored in a later Lonely Lords story. Gabriel Wendover, the Marquess of Hesketh, has been in hiding for the last two years and, during that time, he changed, from a frivolous rake to a hardworking and grateful man now determined to take the reins of responsibility seriously. Convinced that someone is trying to kill him, he rusticated in the country posing as a land steward. But now he’s fallen in love and has decided it’s time to face his killer so that he can live the rest of his life in peace and happiness. For my full review on my historical romance and history blog: http://bit.ly/QcHIep

  20. 5 out of 5

    Moriah

    Another fantastic book! What I love about books by Grace Burrowes is the depth of emotion she brings to her stories. There was a mystery involving who tried to kill Gabriel, but rather than allow it to become the main focus of the book, it just acts as reason that our hero had to hide on an estate as the estate agent where he met Polly. Burrowes does not shy away from some heavy emotional issues including Polly coming to terms with choices she made as a very young mother and the consequences of Another fantastic book! What I love about books by Grace Burrowes is the depth of emotion she brings to her stories. There was a mystery involving who tried to kill Gabriel, but rather than allow it to become the main focus of the book, it just acts as reason that our hero had to hide on an estate as the estate agent where he met Polly. Burrowes does not shy away from some heavy emotional issues including Polly coming to terms with choices she made as a very young mother and the consequences of them today. The relationship evolves between Gabriel and Polly in a very realistic manner and the reader really feels that they have a lasting connection. Too many books these days rush the relationship formation in favor of sex or action making for less satisfying reads.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    Having a formula is one thing, but having everybody end up with eight children or more is too much in an era where women and children died like flies. This is really a 1.5 and that barely. Two more to go from the library and then I'm going to take a break from her until maybe, I can forget the plot of all of them which happens to be the same. Having a formula is one thing, but having everybody end up with eight children or more is too much in an era where women and children died like flies. This is really a 1.5 and that barely. Two more to go from the library and then I'm going to take a break from her until maybe, I can forget the plot of all of them which happens to be the same.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deb Diem

    Gabriel by Grace Burrowes is a well written book, full of suspense, lovable characters, action and sizzle. Gabriel and the sassy Polly's story was a fun read. I enjoyed this book cover to cover and can't wait to read more from the talented Grace Burrowes in the future. Gabriel is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. Gabriel by Grace Burrowes is a well written book, full of suspense, lovable characters, action and sizzle. Gabriel and the sassy Polly's story was a fun read. I enjoyed this book cover to cover and can't wait to read more from the talented Grace Burrowes in the future. Gabriel is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Blaylock

    Disappointed I love Grace Burrowes books. This one I did not. The language and story got to where it was a chore to read. I skimmed the last 30% of the book. I have loved all others but this on was not worthy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judy Hankom

    I really liked this story. I first met Gabriel in the preceding book (Nicholas), part of the Lonely Lords series. Gabriel has been hiding out for two years after he was attacked. He was working on an estate a days distance from his home. There he meets an artist, Polonaise. He moves back to his estate to come back to life. His brother has had him declared dead in order to continue on with life and all its tangles. Polonaise shows up there also as she has been commissioned to do portraits of his b I really liked this story. I first met Gabriel in the preceding book (Nicholas), part of the Lonely Lords series. Gabriel has been hiding out for two years after he was attacked. He was working on an estate a days distance from his home. There he meets an artist, Polonaise. He moves back to his estate to come back to life. His brother has had him declared dead in order to continue on with life and all its tangles. Polonaise shows up there also as she has been commissioned to do portraits of his brother and wife. Gabriel is getting on with his life with all the complications that arise. Polonaise (Polly) has a past that she is trying to deal with. This is a great romance. I am sure I will be rereading it in the future!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sijing

    Dunno why, but I really did not like Polonaise, almost from the very beginning, which says a lot because I'm predisposed to like characters I haven't already read about. Then of course Tremaine came in and I had already read and loved Tremaine's True Love so I felt he was much and unfairly maligned. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Literally all the conflict was from Polonaise being an insecure idiot who couldn't bring herself to trust Gabriel despite EVERYTHING. Even though Gabriel already knew! And that pissed Dunno why, but I really did not like Polonaise, almost from the very beginning, which says a lot because I'm predisposed to like characters I haven't already read about. Then of course Tremaine came in and I had already read and loved Tremaine's True Love so I felt he was much and unfairly maligned. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Literally all the conflict was from Polonaise being an insecure idiot who couldn't bring herself to trust Gabriel despite EVERYTHING. Even though Gabriel already knew! And that pissed me off too, that he never revealed that he'd known her secret for some time already. And the whole thing with Ally felt so contrived...(view spoiler)[Because Ally had been Sarah's daughter for literally her entire life up until that point! And, okay, Polly had always been there and Ally knew the truth, but it was like. Of COURSE Polly suddenly wanted to properly be Ally's mother, and of COURSE Ally suddenly couldn't think of Sarah as her mom anymore and of COURSE she wanted to call Gabriel father, and of COURSE, Sarah and Beck suddenly couldn't think of Ally as their daughter anymore because Sarah was pregnant with their TRUE child. Ugh. (hide spoiler)]

  26. 5 out of 5

    L.

    It is time for me to concede defeat. And right in the middle of a love scene at that. I tried to be a trooper. I could see the end in sight. But I have to be true to myself. I've been reading this book for months. Read a couple of pages, go off and read another book, read a couple of pages, do something else, read a page or two, etc. I'm not saying this is a stinker. Perhaps that would have helped, giving me something to roll my eyes at. It's just the characters and story were so colorless, the It is time for me to concede defeat. And right in the middle of a love scene at that. I tried to be a trooper. I could see the end in sight. But I have to be true to myself. I've been reading this book for months. Read a couple of pages, go off and read another book, read a couple of pages, do something else, read a page or two, etc. I'm not saying this is a stinker. Perhaps that would have helped, giving me something to roll my eyes at. It's just the characters and story were so colorless, the book could not hold my attention.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tin

    One of the things that I notice when I read a Grace Burrowes novel is her use of words -- where one usually finds the word "move over", she uses, instead the word "budge up" -- and there's a lot of budging up happening in both Beckman and Gabriel's novels, as our heroes cuddle up with their heroines. It's idiosyncratic, yes, but it also is the perfect word to encapsulate the moment and capture the intimacy that exists between her characters. And Grace Burrowes is very eloquent in how her charact One of the things that I notice when I read a Grace Burrowes novel is her use of words -- where one usually finds the word "move over", she uses, instead the word "budge up" -- and there's a lot of budging up happening in both Beckman and Gabriel's novels, as our heroes cuddle up with their heroines. It's idiosyncratic, yes, but it also is the perfect word to encapsulate the moment and capture the intimacy that exists between her characters. And Grace Burrowes is very eloquent in how her characters express themselves. We already know that Gabriel is more than just a steward, and he has finally decided to resurface and claim his rightful place in society. Gabriel North is actually Gabriel Wendover, Marquess of Hesketh, who went to France to rescue his younger brother, Aaron, only to be ambushed and injured. Gabriel believes someone wants him dead, so he decided to disappear for a while to recover from his wounds, and also to observe his brother from a distance, because he believes it was his brother who orchestrated the ambush in France. Gabriel's story is connected to Beckman's story, because a lot of Gabriel's backstory unfolded in the latter's book. And they are involved with the Hunt sisters, whose lives are fraught with secrets, a lot of them center on Allie Hunt, the young daughter of Sara. One of the most difficult things that Gabriel has to do is to say goodbye to Polly Hunt, the cook at Three Springs, whom he has developed an attachment to. Polly is understandably heartbroken, but, with her sister's new relationship with Beckman Haddonfield, and with Gabriel leaving, she sees it as a sign that it might be time for her to move on. So Polly accompanies Tremaine St. Michael and tries to restart her painting career, with Tremaine now managing her commissions. It's a lot of goodbyes and a lot of hellos, and a lot of confusion as Gabriel rises from the dead: for one, it throws a monkey wrench into Aaron's marriage to Gabriel's former fiancee, Marjorie. The marriage contracts state that Marjorie is engaged to the Marquess of Hesketh, and, at the time of Gabriel's disappearance, it was his younger brother who held the title, but now that Gabriel is back, Marjorie's mother is determined that her daughter remains married to the Marquess, whoever it may be. Of all the surprises, the most surprising of all is Gabriel finding Polly Hunt napping in a chair in his house. It's been two months since he left Three Springs, and he hasn't heard from Polly -- and now he finds her in his house, hired by his brother to paint portraits of the family. There is a tug of war within Gabriel who wants Polly to stay, but also needs her to leave, for the sake of her own safety -- as long as he hasn't uncovered who was responsible for the ambush that has left him permanently scarred and in pain, he knows that none of his loved ones are safe. I have to admit to being baffled by the mystery and by its resolution: Burrowes presents it as very dire, and builds it up really well by leaving hints as to who did it and for what reasons. We already know it isn't Gabriel's brother, who clearly loves him and was devastated by his "death" -- and all signs point to another person, but -- when everything is revealed in the end, I just felt let down. And the excuse provided didn't help either. But, the whole middle part was very good: I wish Burrowes just focused on the confusion regarding the title and Aaron and Marjorie's marriage, and delved into untangling this legal knot. Gabriel's brother was put in a very difficult position: he doesn't want to retain the title, but he very much wants to retain the wife that goes with the title. It doesn't help that Gabriel is a bit ambivalent about getting the title back, and definitely averse to getting the wife that goes with the title, because Gabriel wants Polly Hunt -- and being Marquess would be another reason Polly would use against him: no one would accept a Marquess marrying the cook. Not that Gabriel cares -- after two years of working as a steward, Gabriel has learned to see a person's value not from their titles or clothes, but from the work they do. The title is just one reason why Polly refused Gabriel's proposal. Polly has another, more potentially damaging reason for not accepting Gabriel -- and it has to do with Sara and Allie. I thought Grace Burrowes did a good job of showing the very complicated relationship that families have: to have that kind of love, and then to have that same degree of resentment inside -- a lot of the dynamic between the three Hunt ladies as explored in Sara's story, and it all culminates in Polly's story, with a very heartbreaking confrontation and confession. Aaron and Marjorie have not consummated their marriage, because Aaron always believed that his brother would come back. Their marriage began under duress, and Aaron initially married Marjorie out of duty -- but, after two years together, despite the outward indifference, Aaron discovers that he is reluctant to give up his wife. What ensues, however, is a very confusing, protracted conversation between Aaron and Marjorie, because neither one wants to admit (openly) how much they really care for one another. It got a bit frustrating that they never progressed past needing an heir, in case Gabriel never marries, etc. etc. Overall, I enjoyed Gabriel's story and saw at as an essential follow-up read to Beckman's story, but it isn't without flaws.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I liked the hero and heroine and liked that what kept them apart was fear and their own (unverified) assumptions about each other. I love how much animals are part of the world in this author's work. The hero adored his horse and a specific pig that he took his troubles to. I was not a fan of how long the fear and anxiousness went on. Then, when the emotional resolution did come, it felt too easy. I liked the hero and heroine and liked that what kept them apart was fear and their own (unverified) assumptions about each other. I love how much animals are part of the world in this author's work. The hero adored his horse and a specific pig that he took his troubles to. I was not a fan of how long the fear and anxiousness went on. Then, when the emotional resolution did come, it felt too easy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Another great one by Grace Burrowes! I rated this 5 stars, but it's not among my favorites, even though Gabriel is one of my favorite heroes. Why? Still can't help but be annoyed by Polly. Little Allie had way more sense than Polly. But still, she was great with Gabriel. Dear, dear Gabriel. Very good story with lovely steamy bits. Another great one by Grace Burrowes! I rated this 5 stars, but it's not among my favorites, even though Gabriel is one of my favorite heroes. Why? Still can't help but be annoyed by Polly. Little Allie had way more sense than Polly. But still, she was great with Gabriel. Dear, dear Gabriel. Very good story with lovely steamy bits.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary Craven

    This book was a bit of a continuation of Beckman, since we had already met and gotten to know Polly and Gabriel then. This however is Polly and Gabriel story - with a little of Allie too. Someone is trying to kill the marquess of Hesketh, but why and more importantly who. It is a lovely story of family misunderstanding, trust and everyone finding their HEA.

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