If you’re a fan of sweeter, romantic Harlequin Historical reads, you owe it to yourself to pick up “Major Westhaven’s Unwilling Ward” by Emily Bascom. This was my first read by this author, but I was caught up in the well-paced story of a man and a woman, both fighting their own demons, who discover that being loved for oneself is the greatest gift.
Lily must marry. There’s really no other viable solution since her brother died in the war and she can no longer support herself and her loyal maid. Not that marriage is BAD, but Lily knows that she will have to mask her inquiring mind and intellect; instead turning herself into a simpering, fawning doll in order to snare a husband amongst the ton. When a handsome, yet distant, stranger turns his disapproving eyes her way, she finds it almost impossible to maintain her disguise. When the stranger informs her that her brother made him her guardian, she’s furious. Yet, what exactly can she do about this? Fall in love of course!
Daniel returned from the war injured and depressed. After a year of healing, he reluctantly makes his appearance back in society…but only to find out about his ‘ward’. How can this be the same woman he felt he knew from his best friend? She doesn’t seem to care that her brother is dead and flits about like a gadfly. But it doesn’t take long for Daniel to learn that she has secrets…but unlike the secret he’s keeping from her, her secrets make him long to be a whole man who could love again.
Ok. It’s not exactly a new plot, but it’s done very well and the writing and pacing kept me engaged and interested. Although there were times I wanted to smack both lead characters, it wasn’t enough to make me stop reading. There isn’t much of a secondary cast, and the ‘suspense’ side plot was rather more of a cliche than I would have liked, but all in all I’m glad I read Emily Bascom’s story. Just the thing for a lazy summer afternoon.