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. Except, her dreams are soon shattered from beyond the grave when she is not only left penniless, but 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?
Isabel's husband has died, but before she can move on with her life she must find his heir. The new Lord Somerton, Sebastian Alder, is a soldier with no knowledge of how to be a Viscount, but he soon takes on the responsibilities of his new life. With the help of Isabel, he settles into his role, but she is not his only responsibility and it soon becomes clear that not all is as it seems at his new home, Brantstone Hall.
Isabel is a little hard to pin down as a character to begin with. She is determined, but very reserved. Though it soon becomes clear that this is a result of her past traumas. Rather than being devastated by the death of her husband, she is more traumatised by their loveless marriage and most particularly the loss of her child. I found this aspect of the story really heart breaking.
Sebastian is no stranger to loss either. His wife was brutally murdered in Spain and he found the body - an event which is mentioned in horrifying detail, and had him questioning the meaning of life and his religion. Needless to say, between the traumas of both Isabel and Sebastian, there is a lot of sadness in this novel. While our hero and heroine are able to find happiness and comfort in each other, it is worth noting that this is a romance to read when you're looking for a heartfelt but serious story, rather than a light pick-me-up.
There is also a strong mystery plot in this novel, which winds into the romance as Sebastian finds himself questioning Isabel's role in the murders which he uncovers at Brantstone Hall. Our heroine, however, is as much a victim of these crimes as those murdered, and Sebastian must solve the mystery and save the day if Isabel and he are to find happiness.
Given the circumstances, and their past traumas, Isabel and Sebastian do not get together until quite near the end of the novel, so there's not that much sexy time to be had in Lord Somerton’s Heir, but despite this they have great chemistry and develop an actual friendship, which I really enjoyed.
Lord Somerton’s Heir is a heartfelt historical romance, which combines heartbreak and mystery, with friendship and just enough seduction.
Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart was published by Escape Publishing on May 1, 2014 and is available from Amazon.
This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.