Duty and Desire

reviewed by Camilla

Book 2 of The Hearts of Honour Series
by Elise de Sallier


Genre: FICTION / Romance / Historical / Regency / Erotica 
ISBN e-book: 978-1-61213-383-6
Available from: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Review (by Camilla)

Duty and Desire, the second novel in the Hearts of Honour series, is interesting and captivating beyond the love story it tells. Here the author moves her focus on two secondary characters from the first book.

First of all, we are presented with a medical mystery, which is key to an unconventional romance: Jonathan Loring - a widowed and impoverished baron turned overseer - is desperate, because his little son, Peter, is very sick and the eminent physicians he has summoned. to his financial ruin -can’t do nothing. Bleeding and purging only seem to aggravate the boy’s condition. At the end of his tether, Jonathan finally decides to seek the help of Grace Daniels, the village’s midwife and herbalist. He thinks the worst of her “primitive” non scientific methods, and they had frequent spats in the past, but he has nobody else to recur to.

The illness that affects Peter (and his young aunt) is something modern readers might recognize, but surely unknown at the time. The fight to save the boy’s life creates a new understanding between the young father and the young midwife. Then friendship comes, then passion.
But… could they marry? No, they can’t.

Grace is the bastard daughter of a nobleman and till her father was alive she was raised as a lady, but on his death she was thrown out by his spiteful wife with not a penny to her name. Fortunately she was taken in by an old aunt, a midwife herself, and taught the trade. Now she is relatively well off, provided she stays single. Married women could not work at the time, particularly if married to a baron, however poor. Plus, she cares for her work, and would hate to stop helping the village’s people, who need her services.

As for Jonathan, he can’t marry, since his wages are too modest even to take care properly of his child, mother and sister. He certainly has not the means to raise a family of his own. He is a younger son and his elder brother has gambled their inheritance away. He is well respected, however, and has a title, therefore a rich wife could solve all his problems.

But he wants Grace and Grace wants him. Not unsurprisingly is Grace who comes out with an unconventional proposal. They can become lovers. Just that, provided nobody discovers them and they manage to prevent pregnancies, something Grace has some knowledge of, due to her profession.

Jonathan is too much of a gentleman to acquiesce immediately, but eventually the desire he has for her makes his defences collapse. So the arrangements starts, to their enormous satisfaction.
How it will work out is for the readers to discover, because things aren’t simple. Jonathan is not a master of deceit and a pretty girl with a good dowry has set her sights on him. And what is worse. Grace likes the girl and thinks she could be a good solution for her lover, one that everybody is encouraging. And, because she loves him so much, she starts thinking she should step aside and set him free

Along with the romance, what makes this historical novel so deserving to be read, there is the description of society two centuries ago and of the non enviable condition of women. It was so unfair! Plus, the medical puzzle, which Grace has the good fortune to solve very soon, is really intriguing.

I sincerely recommend Duty and Desire to all readers.
About the Author

A great believer in living happily ever after, Elise de Sallier began her lifelong obsession with the romance and paranormal genres when she was far too young to be reading either. After more than thirty years of marriage to her very own romantic hero, she now knows great relationships don't just happen, they take work . . . which doesn't mean writing about them can't be a whole lot of fun!
While raising a family, Elise established a career as a counsellor and family therapist. Seeking an escape from the stresses of her work, she discovered the world of fan fiction, and her timid writer's muse made its voice heard. After 2.3 million hits, 20,000 reviews, and an e-mail from an acquisitions editor at The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House, her life found a new and fascinating direction.
Elise likes to see her characters grow, experience passion and adventure, tackle some difficult issues, and find lasting love . . . eventually.



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