Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Really Reluctant Dad -- or -- "An Unmistakable Rogue" by Annette Blair

Married and widowed in short order, Chastity Somers vows to claim her bridegroom's inheritance as the long-lost St. Yves, Earl of Barrington. But she must contend with Reed Gilbride, who also believes himself the missing St. Yves. The dangerously handsome military man has the power to derail all her dreams.

I know Father's Day was 10 days back, but this story captivated my interest and I wanted to share it with my visitors/folloapwers.  I haven't posted much for a while as we are getting ready to mozy down the road toward Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and then back home during July.  But as I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think about Father's Day, my own dad, and what it must have been like to be growing up in a society where being a child was a dangerous thing.  

We read historical romances and see children who cosseted and spoiled, but Charles Dickens had it right when he painted the picture of children whose lives were seriously in danger from starvation, poverty, cold, and most of all, neglect and disinterest on the part of the greater society.  In this entertaining historical novel, set in the years just after the Battle of Waterloo, characters and relationships which were first introduced in this series' first book continue to make their appearance.  Reed Gilbride was a decorated officer in the war, but when he returned to England he was a man at loose ends--no family, no roots, and no knowledge of who he really was.  A  mysterious note causes him to begin his search for information that will prove that he is the heir of a long-dead earl.  But in his search he encounters a gutsy, sassy, and determined woman whose love for all things helpless has caused her to take charge of a whole cadre of children, apparently abandoned by people given responsibility for them by their desperate mother.  And the last thing Reed Gilbride needed in his life was a sassy woman loaded down with children. . . UGH!!

Yet the one thing Reed couldn't seem to avoid was the way his emotions resonated with these kids--he saw his own pain, he remembered his own drive to survive, he empathized with the defensive walls that enclosed their hearts because they didn't want to endure anymore loss and its resulting pain.  He saw Chastity's drive and experienced her warmth and generosity, he did all he could to avoid her giving ways and responding to her ways of including him as even a temporary member of her household.  Yet through it all he began to experience the rejuvenating effects of the kindness she brought into his life, the connections he couldn't seem to resist with those delightful kids.

This is a story about another battered and bruised and deeply injured veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, a member of the Rogue's Club--a small group of English officers who vowed to "be there" for each other and any survivors of those who didn't return from the war.  Yet Reed felt he had so little to give since he couldn't even figure out who he really was.  The kindness and grace Chastity injected into his heart not only changed the direction of his life, it renewed his belief in himself and opened his heart to others far more than he could ever have expected.

This book is a fun read in so many ways but it is also one that tugs strongly at your heart strings.  It was first released a number of years ago and is now being re-released.  How glad I found it and have had opportunity to read and enjoy.  It's a wonderful book that is built around the journey of discovery of a man whose desire to be a father was absolutely nil.  And yet, of all the Rogues, he came farthest in realizing a dream he wasn't aware he even possessed.

It's a great book and one that I think is even better than the preceding ones.  It certainly grabbed me, and I hope you can get hold of it and enjoy it as much as I did.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

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