Building a life away from her bullying family, schoolmistress Helen Tilney now needs to convince her childhood sweetheart she’s a worthy bride. Standing in her way is Lord Hunter—the man Nell has just discovered she’s betrothed to!
Hunter’s offer of marriage to Nell came out of guilt, and now seems less than appealing! So when she asks for his help to win another man, he agrees. Until their lessons in flirtation inspire a raging desire that has Hunter longing to keep Nell for himself…
Firstly I must warn you that I will probably do a great deal of gushing throughout my review, but when you read something that is as superb as this, then I hope you will forgive me. This is book one in this new series; The Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies Series by the highly talented Lara Temple, and one that I have been looking forward to reading. But nothing prepared me for the huge emotion that surges through you as you read it.
I know that Lara has said that this series is her baby, this is a personal story for her and you can really understand as you are reading it just how much of herself she has put into this. I have always liked her work but this really resonates with me, this touched a cord with me more than any other book I have read before, you can feel Temple’s heart and soul running through this, it is very emotional and it packs a real punch and it stays with you long after the last page.
He must be freezing. She wrapped her cloak around his hands drawing them into hers. “You must be cold.”
“I am many things at the moment, cold is not one of them.”
“Sorry my hands are so rough.” She said…
“The hands of a queen are never soft. They aren’t passive. They take what they want. They are beautiful and elegant and strong. You can take what you want.”
Hunter, Raven and Stanton are three lords who have all been through their own personal trials and tribulations and have witnessed and suffered heartaches due to the wars. They are all wounded in some way or another (maybe not physically, but still wounded) and they have seen the effects of the war on ex-service men, so they create the Hope House. A safe refuge for those men that have been cast out and who have suffered and who are in terrible need.
The whole story of these three noble lords setting up Hope House for ex service men is so inspirational. Like now there was so many men that had come home from the war wounded in more ways than a civilian can imagine, they are cast out from the military and just as now the very people who these brave men fought for just don’t care anymore, they are left destitute and in a lot of cases they had lost the will to live and I love how that is the very focus and underlying story of this book.
When we first meet out couple they are both young and have both suffered greatly. Hunter having just lost his brother in horrific circumstances plough’s on with life, he doesn’t grieve for the brother he felt he let down. He just goes about his life making these big decisions that does end up with him owning two horses and another life changing decision that comes back to bite him.
He goes to the Tinley’s to discuss his water source from the river that join’s both their lands together, but in the process he finds a down beaten and bullied young girl who reminds him of his brother. He at first thinks her to be vibrant and free-spirited but he soon realises the horrible truth.
Nell is in a living hell. She is bullied, humiliated and ridiculed daily from everything from her being too tall, not pretty and lacking in everything that a man holds dear. Bell’s aunt Hester treats her niece like dirt off her boot, her father is no better he stands there and lets this happen to his seventeen year old a daughter. He should be protecting her and nurturing her and yet he stands back and allows this vile acid tongued women to have her way.
For me that is worse than the actually bullying, that makes him no better and he should be absolutely ashamed of himself.
Funnily enough when Nell is away from her so-called family she is a right little rocket, she is a spirited young woman. A skilled and confident rider and trainer, like Hunter she has got an extraordinary gift with horses, I would definitely say that she is some kind of Horse Whisperer, she and Hunter understand horses better than they do people.
She glanced over at Hunter. “Your team is just as evenly paced and perhaps having a little more staying power.” Hunter resisted the urge to smile, barely and some of his tension faded.
“e you placating me, by any chance? Precisely how old you think I am?”
“Ancient.” She replied.
Four years later, these two are reunited, after she finds out that all these years Lord Hunter and her father came to an agreement that solves Hunter’s water and drainage issues on his land and takes Nell off her father’s hands. They become engaged, only without Nell’s knowledge. Well obviously Nell is furious and she heads off to Lords Hunter’s to tell him in no uncertain terms that this engagement is to be broken off.
Hunter is shocked in the change of Nell the last time he saw her four years earlier she was a timid, bullied lass and now she is a vibrant no-nonsense woman who knows her own mind and he is instantly drawn to her.
Hunter is tormented by what happened to his brother, he blames himself not just for Tim’s suicide but Hunter thinks he should have stopped his baby brother joining the army. He thinks that if he did then Tim wouldn’t have been taken Prisoner. Obviously Hunter has got nothing to feel guilty about he did his absolute best for his brother but unfortunately you cannot help someone if they have lost themselves. It is absolutely heart-breaking you want to put your arms around Hunter and give him huge hug and tell him that it’s not his fault.
Temple has his agony absolutely spot on, she has portrayed the suffering that these brave men are going through with real tact and decency and with up most respect, and I absolutely applaud her for that. It is sensitive, but yet brutally honest and that is what I really love about it.
Now, I really like the other two in their trio; Stanton their Parliamentary Lord is the diplomatic one, he is quiet and brooding who doesn’t show his hand until he absolutely has to, he isn’t one to raise his voice but when he gets angry it is palpable. Raven has to be my absolute favourite so far, even though this is book one and we have just met the lads he has definitely caught my attention. I’m drawn to the black-haired charmer, he is a proper Rogue, but you sense that there is a real darker undercurrent to him.
“Ah, the sentimental of today’s youth…”
“ You can be as caustic as you like, Raven. Your one of the least sentimental people I have met.”
“I have my moments, luckily none of them involved an offer of matrimony.”
I cannot wait to read the rest of this series, if this first instalment is anything to go by we are in for something special, because this is flawless. I could read this over and over again and I would still laugh, cry and be shocked over and over. The romance is as ever beautifully written by Temple, but for me the real winner, the thing that sets this book apart from others is the undercurrent story, that is where the heart-breaking and emotional moments come from.
This is simply beautiful and perfect and I adore it.
I was so privileged to have received a very ARC copy from Lara in exchange for an honest review.
Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress is to be released on 1st November and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.