Rating: 4 Stars
Review: "Brentwood's Ward" isn't a typical Regency romance; it has murder, mystery, and deception alongside the expected spencer jackets and social gatherings. Michelle Griep creates a plot with numerous twists and surprises that keep the pace moving steadily. Emily Payne is a headstrong young woman determined to do things her own way, even when danger lurks nearby. She comes across as spoiled and makes some aggravating decisions; but like any good character, the circumstances she faces lead to growth and maturity. Sparks fly when the handsome Nicholas Brentwood is assigned as guardian to Emily. The two are social opposites, and Emily is steadfastly determined to marry within her own class. The result is an undercurrent of romance, leaving us in anticipation for the moment they openly acknowledge their mutual love.
Brentwood brings a lot of interest to the story. He plays a variety of roles - guardian, lawman, and caretaker. Griep ties in a few subplots through Brentwood. His job as a Bow Street Runner provides a new perspective into London's history, while bringing action and suspense as well. Brentwood takes us on a detective's journey to uncover the deadly danger that surrounds Emily and her family. The most heartwarming role that Brentwood portrays is that of a loving brother. His sick sister is a sweet addition to the cast, who reminds me of Betsy in Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South." Brentwood's interactions with his sister establish his character, making him a stark contrast to some of the society "gentleman" who Emily holds in high regard.
"Brentwood's Ward" is a novel that kept my interest completely. The specifics of the central mystery and Emily's family felt somewhat contrived, but I enjoyed the story. I read Michelle Griep's "A Heart Deceived" last year, and found it completely gripping. "Brentwood's Ward" is less memorable for me, but a novel that I fully recommend. Griep's ability to create a dimensional historical story with themes of faith will keep me picking up her books.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Books through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Summary from Barbour Publishing: Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.