Today, the Romance Dish turns the spotlight on 2015 double RITA® finalist Grace Burrowes and her newest historical romance, Tremaine's True Love. I hope you will enjoy an excerpt from the book, Janga's review, a Rafflecopter tour giveaway and a message from Ms. Burrowes.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
For more information about Grace Burrowes and her books and to connect with her online, click on the links below.
A Message From Grace Burrowes
What makes a man a gentleman?
For a romance writer, this question has to be answered in every book, because implicit in the term “hero” is something of the gentleman. Heroes need not be charming, handsome or wealthy, and they might not even be obviously heroic, at least at the start of the book, but they have to be worthy of our loyalty for the duration of an entire book.
In the True Gentlemen series, I took three men who’d wandered across my pages in previous stories—Tremaine St. Michael, Daniel Banks, and Willow Dorning—and found them each a happily ever after. Tremaine is a flinty business man, Daniel is poor and pious, Willow finds polite society an enormous trial and would far rather be with his dogs. These fellows were not obvious choices as romance heroes, but they each had something that tempted me to write stories for them.
When we met Tremaine in an earlier book (Gabriel: Lord of Regrets), Tremaine was convinced that he’d found a good candidate for the position of wife. He offered marriage, listing all the practical advantages to both parties, and he congratulated himself on how much sense his proposed union would make.
The lady turned him down flat, and as a gentleman is bound to do, he graciously ceded the field. He didn’t like it, he didn’t entirely understand how or what he’d lost, but he wished the happy couple well.
Daniel’s role in David: Lord of Honor was to charge to London with sermons at the ready in an attempt to restore his sister’s honor. The very man Daniel accused of wronging that sister had already set her back on the path to respectability.
Oops. But again, being a gentleman, Daniel wishes the couple every happiness, even if doing so costs him the future he’d envisioned for himself and his loved ones. Like Tremaine, he’s a gracious and even dignified loser.
Willow’s appearance in Worth: Lord of Reckoning is brief, but he too is determined to see a sister rescued from a possibly compromising position, and again, rescue is simply not on the heroine’s agenda.
In all three cases, the true gentleman acts in the best interests of those he loves and is responsible for, regardless of the inconvenience or cost to himself. Because Tremaine, Daniel, and Willow were honorable, I liked them. I trusted them, I wanted them to have the happiness they clearly already deserved.
In the Nicholas Haddonfield’s sisters—Nita, Kirsten, and Susannah—I found ladies willing to oblige my ambitions for these men. In each case, our hero has lessons yet to learn, and in each case, his inherent honor wins the day. He might not be handsome, wealthy, or charming in the eyes of the world, but because he’s a true gentleman in the eyes of his lady, he wins her true love.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!
Excerpt – Tremaine’s True Love
Wealthy businessman Tremaine St. Michael has concluded that marriage to Lady Nita Haddonfield would be a prudent merger of complimentary interests for the mutual benefit and enjoyment of both parties… or some such blather.
Tremaine rapped on Lady Nita’s door, quietly, despite a light shining from beneath it. Somebody murmured something which he took for permission to enter.
“Mr. St. Michael?”
Tremaine stepped into her ladyship’s room, closed the door behind him and locked it, which brought the total of his impossibly forward behaviors to several thousand.
“Your ladyship expected a sister, or a maid with a pail of coal?”
“I wasn’t expecting you.” Lady Nita sat near the hearth in a blue velvet dressing gown. The wool stockings on her feet were thick enough to make a drover covetous. “Are you unwell, Mr. St. Michael?”
“You are not pleased to see me.” Did she think illness the only reason somebody would seek her out?
She set aside some pamphlet, a medical treatise, no doubt. No vapid novels for Lady Nita.
“I was not expecting you, sir.”
“You were not expecting me to discuss marriage with you earlier. I wasn’t expecting the topic to come up in a casual fashion either. May I sit?”
She waved an elegant hand at the other chair flanking the hearth. Tremaine settled in, trying to gather his thoughts while the firelight turned Lady Nita’s braid into a rope of burnished gold.
“You are pretty.” Brilliant place to start. The words had come out, heavily burred, something of an ongoing revelation.
“I am tall and blond,” she retorted, twitching the folds her of her robe. “I have the usual assortment of parts. What did you come here to discuss?”
Lady Nita was right, in a sense. Her beauty was not of the ballroom variety, but rather, an illumination of her features by characteristics unseen. She fretted over new babies, cut up potatoes like any crofter’s wife, and worried for her sisters. These attributes interested Tremaine. Her madonna-with-a-secret smile, keen intellect, and longing for laughter attracted him.
Even her medical pre-occupation, in its place, had some utility as well.
“Will you marry me, my lady?”
More brilliance. Where had his wits gone? George Haddonfield had graciously pointed out that Nita needed repose and laughter, and Tremaine was offering her the hand of the most restless and un-silly man in the realm.
The lady somehow contained her incredulity, staring at her hands. “You want to discuss marriage?”
“I believe I did just open that topic. Allow me to elaborate on my thesis: Lady Bernita Haddonfield, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife? I think we would suit, and I can promise you would know no want in my care.”
A proper swain would have been on his damn bended knee, the lady’s hand in his. Lady Nita would probably laugh herself to tears if Tremaine attempted that nonsense. Lady Nita picked up her pamphlet, which Tremaine could now see was written in German.
“Why, Mr. St. Michael?”
“I beg your pardon?” Tremaine was about to pitch the damned pamphlet in the fire, until he recalled that Nita Haddonfield excelled at obscuring her stronger emotions.
“Why should you marry me, Tremaine St. Michael? Why should I marry you? I’ve had other offers, you’ve made other offers. You haven’t known me long enough to form an opinion of my character beyond the superficial.”
This ability to take a situation apart, into causes, effects, symptoms, and prognosis was part of the reason she was successful as a healer. Tremaine applied the same tendencies to commercial situations, so he didn’t dismiss her questions as coyness or manipulation.
She wasn’t rejecting him either. She most assuredly was not rejecting him.
Tremaine’s True Love
By Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Tremaine St. Michael arrives at the estate of Nicholas Haddonfield, Earl of Bellefonte, expecting to negotiate the purchase of a flock of merino sheep within a few days. An immensely wealthy man, half-French and half-Scottish, Tremaine is more businessman than aristocrat, despite having inherited the title of comte from his French father. With little family himself, he finds Bellefonte’s large family attractive, but he is particularly taken with the earl’s eldest sister, Lady Nita.
Lady Bernita Haddonfield, Nita to family and neighbors, is the despair of her family. With her mother’s death, Nita inherited that lady’s responsibilities within the household and as healer within the local community. Since her brother Nicholas’s marriage, his wife Leah has assumed the role of chatelaine, leaving Nita free to become even more immersed in her medical duties. Not content merely to follow in her mother’s footsteps, Nita has learned as much as possible about medicine, including the latest advances and practices. Since the only physician available is a moralistic fool unsanitary in his habits, ignorant of best practices, and more interested in payment than in the welfare of patients, Nita is called upon to prescribe for diseases, treat wounds, and deliver babies. She ignores Nicholas’s demands and her sisters’ pleas that she cease these activities. Indeed, she visits patients even in the poorest hovel, exposing herself—and others—to risks of contagion.
Tremaine extends his visit again and again. At first, he delays because Bellefonte refuses to make a decision about the sheep sale. A neighbor from whom Susannah Haddonfield, another of Bellefonte’s sisters, is expecting a marriage proposal has indicated that he will accept the sheep as part of Susannah’s dowry. Although Bellefonte has a low opinion of the man, he wants to see Susannah happy. But the sheep are soon a secondary concern for Tremaine whose interest in Nita intensifies as he learns more about her. He is captivated by her intelligence, her passion for her work, her pragmatism, and the essential loneliness he senses in her even in the midst of her large, loving family.
Nita returns his interest in full measure. Everything about him appeals to her—his forthrightness, his willingness to listen to her and even follow her advice, his tenderness with newborns be they lambs or babies. His kisses leave her smiling and giddy. But can she trust that Tremaine will truly accept her need to continue as a healer even after she becomes his wife and the mother of his children?
Some readers find Burrowes’s tangled, tight family relationships overwhelming; other readers see them as one of her strengths. I belong to the latter group. From The Heir (2010), the author’s debut book and the first of the Windham books, I have found the family dynamics in Burrowes’s books as appealing as the romance. She has the ability to create families filled with flawed, fully dimensional characters and present them within the contexts of rich family relationships. I am delighted that the new series promises more in this line.
Nita is who she is in large part because of her relationships with her parents, both deceased by the time this story opens, and her siblings. Nicholas and her sisters fear for her because they love her, as Nita herself comes to realize in a painful lesson. The Haddonfields tease one another, snarl at one another, confide in one another, disagree with one another, and remain fiercely loyal to one another through it all. Tremaine, whose parents died when he was young and whose only brother is also dead, has a deeper need of family than he realizes, and Nita’s family can fill that need.
Developing family relationships does not mean that Burrowes neglects the romance. Watching Nita and Tremaine, neither of whom anticipated finding a mate, fall in love is a satisfying reading experience emotionally. Seeing them recognize that love does not instantly resolve all differences satisfied this reader’s desire for a credible, logical story as well. I believe in an HEA for these two because their knowledge of each other deepens to the degree that each understands the other’s point of view.
Tremaine’s True Love is the first novel in the True Gentlemen series, which Burrowes introduced with the novella The Duke’s Disaster (April 2015). Readers familiar with the author’s Lonely Lords books will notice that while the series may be new, the world in which Tremaine’s True Love is set is a familiar one. The story of Nicholas and Leah is told in the second Lonely Lords book (Nicholas: Lord of Secrets) in which Nita is a minor character. The heroes of the third book (Ethan: Lord of Scandals) and the fourth book (Beckman: Lord of Sins) are also half-brothers to Nicholas. Tremaine appears briefly in Beckman and in book five in the series (Gabriel: Lord of Regrets). Burrowes seems poised to repeat the pattern of her popular Windham books. Having completed the stories of the brothers in the Lonely Lords series, she will focus on the Haddonfield sisters in this series. Nita’s story will be followed by Kirsten’s story, Daniel’s True Desire (November 3, 2015), and Susannah’s story, Will’s True Wish (Spring 2016). Doubtless Della’s story will appear later next year. I’m hooked for the duration, and the Haddonfields appear slated to join the Windhams as one of my favorite historical families. I give this book a high recommendation.
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