November 24, 2015
This is my first experience with Grace Burrowes. Well, that's not true; I started one earlier
this year and set it aside. After reading this one, I thought about glomming Ms. Burrowes. I went to her website and she has about a gazillion books, so I'm not going to be glomming her any time soon. I liked her writing style enough to go back and pick up the one I sat aside though. If you happen to visit Ms. Burrowes website you will notice that most of her books are connected in one way or another and she is one of those authors who have created pedigree charts of her characters. It was rather intimidating.
Daniels True Desires is a different type of romance book. At least for me it was. I became engrossed in the story and about half way through I figured out why. For me it was a little reminiscent of older writing similar to Little Women or Little Men. Yes, there was romance in Daniels True Desires but there seemed to be more than just that. This book may be classified as a romance, but it seemed to be a story of a lot of people, not just two. In this case it was a refreshing change. Ms. Burrows did a fine job of fleshing out the other characters in her story. I learned to care about not only the Reverend Daniel Banks and Lady Kirsten but a number the supporting cast. Those supporting cast were more than just supporting, they were an integral part of some pretty satisfying storytelling.
Evidently in some previous stories, both Daniel and Kirsten have been introduced (remember the gazillion connected stories I found at her website?) Anyway, this is the plot line: Daniel is the new minister of Haddondale. He has left behind his son, Danny, who is not really his son but the illegitimate son of Daniel's sister, Letty. Letty's story is in another book. Also left behind is Daniel's horrible, conniving wife, Olivia. So our hero has a wife hiding in the countryside somewhere. If you are worried about any infidelity, don't be - Ms. Burrowes takes us down an interesting path that shouldn't trigger anyone’s hot button. Daniel is a really nice guy (at last a nice guy.) There were times when I thought he might have been just a little too astute, too insightful, almost Q-like, but I ended up not minding too much.
Then we have Kirsten. Kirsten is ready to be everyone’s favorite doddering aunt. She doesn't want to marry, she has convinced herself that she will be happy going from household to household bouncing her siblings children on her knees. Besides that, she is one of those heroines who cannot have babies. In her case those words came from a doctor, so it's not something she came up with herself. Then she meets Daniel and she is attracted to him right away. The attraction is mutual, but Daniel will not act on it because he is already married. So they form a friendship and of course fall in love. Then things happen in the form of Olivia. I'm not telling you what those things were, except it was horrifyingly fascinating.
Then there are the "rotten boys." Daniel decides to teach a group of boys whose ages appear to be around eight, nine or so. All of these boys are well-developed, wonderful characters. Soon joining this group of boys is Danny, who runs away from Letty. I can't tell you how much I loved these boys, especially Danny. All of the interaction between them and Daniel and Kirsten and, well, everyone else in the story was just wonderful.
Overall, this was a great book. The people in the story were drawn so well, I found myself cheering them on. While the HEA may have been a little over the top as far as the solution, the ending/epilogue was just delightful. I intend to keep Ms. Burrowes on my radar from now on and have started to read the one I put aside: The Captive. I wish I had started reading her a little sooner, 'cause I don't think I can glom a gazillion books.
Time/Place: Regency England