…And you’ll have your freedom.’
Her father’s will dictates that Violet Harper must wed or be disinherited—but she’d rather face the wilderness of the wintry Yorkshire moors than be bound to cynical, damaged soldier Lance Amberton. Lance promises a marriage of convenience that will grant Violet her independence. In exchange she must put her faith in Lance, and see beyond his gruff exterior to the man beneath…
Firstly, let me say that if I was one of those reviewer’s who rates books with star’s then this would be a huge ten star book, but as I’m not I’ll just overly gush about how much I love this book instead.
I am an avid reader of Jenni Fletcher’s work, everything from her Medieval’s to this Victorian and I have to say that this is the finest I have read, Captains Amberton’s Inherited Bride is a beautifully written story with some well-crafted and defined character’s, which portrays a wealth of knowledge and research into the era. I am an odd reader that I can always seem to ‘see’ the hero of the story so much clearer than the heroine, yet in this case Violet spoke to me – her character shouted out and made me listen and when I did, the revelations of not just the character but of how I felt about her were astounding.
Are you saying that you were willing to lose your inheritance just to walk around some old walls?’ ‘Yes.’ She seemed nonplussed by his reaction…..
‘Indeed.’ He didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. ‘You must have heard some very interesting stories about me, Miss Harper. I’ve always flattered myself that I was more attractive than crumbling stone.’‘I didn’t mean it like that. It’s not the wall itself—more the idea of it. The freedom to do something I want to do. That’s what I want, freedom.’
Lance (Lancelot) Amberton is the black sheep of the family, he is on a knife-edge where his father is concerned and so when an innocent mis-understanding concerning his twin brother’s future wife; Violet, this just confirms everything that his father and the whole of society think of him – that he is a un-repenting scoundrel who has is a basically a waste of space. Lance gets banished from and right there and then he walk’s out of his family home, goes back to the army and from that day he never see’s his brother or father again.
After living her life practically, a prisoner in her own home, because of her stern, selfish and controlling father – who is such a pathetic bully who really should be ashamed of his treatment of his beautiful daughter. Violet has always been told by him that the only reason any man would want to go near her was because of her vast wealth, she grew up sheltered in her prison like home with this man telling her daily that she is odd, ugly and no one will ever love her for her. At her first ever – and only ever – social outing she meets Captain Amberton, who because of her naivety she instantly thinks that he is making fun of her and doing what her father has always said a man will do to her and string her along. One thing leads to another and she is witness to the Captains banishment, while she is pushed closer and closer to the Arthur; Lance’s twin.
Arthur is a man who is very unhappy with his lot in life, he doesn’t want to marry Violet he has his eyes set on the beauty of society but being the more reticent and dutiful twin, he never stands up for himself where his father is concerned. He goes along with whatever his father says, but in his heart and mind he is screaming for someone to listen to him.
Five years later Violet’s father, Lance’s Father and Arthur all die, she thinks that this is her chance for the freedom she so desperately yearns for, she is severely saddened by Arthurs death, but she cannot hide the fact that she now feels free. That is until she hears of the terms of her father’s will, which basically states that if she doesn’t marry the heir to Amberton she will be cut off, which is one thing but that’s means as Lance is now the heir it is in his hands her fate and happiness rests. She really doesn’t want to marry him, infact she doesn’t want to be in the same breathing space as the ‘beast’ as he is now called. She can’t go back to how her life was, to putting herself back under the control of man she wants to live rather than be ruled over.
…staring at her feet for a few seconds before crouching down suddenly. ‘There a pattern here.’‘It’s a Yorkshire rose.’ He watched the graceful sweep of her fingers across the floorboards. She was so small, so delicate, and yet there was something entrancing about her….
Lance isn’t the fun-loving, scoundrel he was, he has become a cold, stoic and deeply unhappy man, and I do have to say that my heart bleeds for this traumatised man. The pain he is in – not just due to being shot in the leg, but he is emotionally damaged and that has a lot to do with his family and their treatment of him more than what he had to go through while at war, even though that has had a huge impact on his character.
He blames Violet for everything that has happened to him and I suppose you can see where he is coming from, for the first time in his life he was doing something that was good and proper and because of that he gets banished from his family. The only person Lance knows who is always on his side is his twin brother Arthur – are you seeing the Arthurian link yet? I love that! Arthur is the only person in Lance’s world who genuinely has any love for him, so when Arthur drowns in what is classed as an accident, Lance feels as though someone has ripped out his heart. Like the other half of himself has been stolen away, he is absolutely gutted!
He isn’t keen on the idea of marrying Violet, any more than she is of him and there is some hugely entertaining moments between them as they bicker and throw insults to and fro. I do love a ‘Enemies to Lover’s’ trope and this was right up my street. I do really like Lance, he reminds me of John Thornton from North and South, he is a tormented but ever such a good man and I never did feel that he was the scoundrel that his father and whole of society deemed him to be. After coming back from the war injured instead of skulking away into the shadows – don’t get me wrong he does that too, his soul intention on a daily basis is to drink himself into oblivion – he decides to help put the people of his estate and neighbouring area’s by not only purchasing a iron works but he wants to open a colliery which not only brings vital jobs to the area but gives him something to live for – other than living in the bottom of a whisky bottle. He thinks of the regular people, he feels their plight and he wants to do the best for them.
‘A kitten and a beast?’‘Violet and Lance.’ She lifted her head up to kiss him lightly, and then not so lightly, on the lips. ‘Who will Arthur find, I wonder?’
I always seem to understand and ‘get’ the heroes, I don’t seem to connect with heroines as much as I do the heroes but, in this case, it is so different. I felt hugely connected to Violet in a way that I haven’t ever connected with a heroine before, I understood her! Everything about Violet struck a cord with me, parts of her character and circumstances reminded me of myself. I understood her thirst for knowledge, her fascination with history her urgent need to do what she wants with no restrictions and being able to explore places she has never been before, see things she has always wanted to see without responsibilities holding her back. She is a sheltered little thing who just wants a bit of freedom to do what she wants, when we first meet her she is a naive over sensitive little thing, but I saw a sparkle, a fire under that sheltered façade.
For me this is by far the best Fletcher has done, I do love her medieval’s but this is something special, I do have a real soft spot for Victorian stories and this is just fabulous it is infused with Fletcher’s unrelenting passion for history, for the era and especially for Yorkshire. I particularly love how she has written in the beautiful Yorkshire Rose into the floors and ceiling of Amberton Castle. I love the Arthurian undercurrent is such a wonderful addition, it’s subtle and perfect for the story. I really can’t say too many good things about this book, for me it is a breath-takingly pure and beautiful tale and this story really shows just what a fine and articulated writer Ms Fletcher is, she time after time shows that she can handle the hard and complicated stories as well as the loving romantic ones.
I think that any author who can switch so seamlessly from one era to another and create such inspiring and fabulously original stories that draw you in are so talented and Jenni Fletcher is up there with the best.
Captain Amberton’s Inherited Bride is to be released on 22nd March and can be pre-ordered at Amazon
This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.