BLURB: Willl Dorning, as the Earl of Casriel’s heir, and older brother to four rambunctious brothers, sees his life as one of duty and drudgery. He guards the earl’s back, and keeps a watchful eye on his siblings, though his only real companions are the dogs he’s treasured since boyhood;
Lady Susannah Haddonfield has no patience with loud, smelly beasts of any species, but must learn to appear to like dogs so as not to offend her sister’s only marital prospect. Susannah turns to Will, an acquaintance from the most awkward years of her adolescence, to teach her how to get along with canines. Will instead teaches her how to get along with him, and with her siblings, until Susannah must choose between her favorite lone wolf and placid propriety.
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Years ago, when Lady Susannah Haddonfield made her debut, she was the victim of some malicious stunts by a pair of nasty sisters pretending to be her friends. At first she was too naive to see what was really happening, but Will Dorning noticed, and he came to her rescue. Susannah and Will felt an instant rapport and attraction, but Will was a second son with no prospects, so their relationship never progressed any further. Susannah eventually gave up all hope of marriage, and now just wants to see her younger sister, Della, make a good match, at which point she’ll live a quiet life, enjoying her books and her nieces and nephews. Meanwhile, Will, (which is quirkily short for Willow, not William) has taken on the task of the upbringing of his younger brothers, as well as assisting his older brother with the duties of the earldom. In addition to all this, Will has an affinity for dogs, and is much in demand as a trainer. While all this keeps Will’s life full to overflowing, it does not have the same effect on his pockets. He does not have the funds needed to support a wife and children.
Though Will and Susannah haven’t seen each other for a long time, fate brings them together in a strange way. Della, Susannah’s younger sister, has a suitor, and he claims to love dogs, and states that anyone who does not is unacceptable. Susannah has no liking for dogs, but she doesn’t want to take a chance on damaging Della’s courtship. So when she encounters Will, she asks if he will teach her to at least appear to like dogs. Will agrees, and right off the bat, both of them still realize that they feel the same rapport they felt years ago. Although Will is trying his best to be honorable, since he can’t offer marriage, Susannah has different plans. If they can’t marry, she wants to enjoy all of Will that she can, for as long as she can. Aside from their burgeoning love, and the lessons in how to love dogs, Susannah and Will become involved in solving a rash of dognapping crimes that have been taking place.
I adore both Susannah and Will. She is so strong and determined, despite her quiet and bookish appearance. If she can’t have forever, she wants at least a taste of genuine love. Her dislike of dogs is such a farce, too, as she can’t seem to stop stroking Georgette, Will’s pet, who also has taken a great liking to her. Will is an awesome hero, though I would have liked him to be a little less self sacrificing in regard to his older brother, Casriel, the earl. So much of what he carried on his shoulders should have been the responsibility of the earl, not the second son. There was a little bit of mystery about Casriel, and I think he may have a history that makes for his own interesting story.
WILL’S TRUE WISH has all the signature elements that I’ve come to expect from Grace Burrowes. The story has warmth, heart, passion, a bit of mystery, and a satisfying resolution. Delving into a book by Grace Burrowes is as comforting to me as my favorite jammies in my favorite comfy chair. (Though sometimes it may get a little warm.) I’m very happy to give WILL’S TRUE WISH my heartiest recommendation.
(P.S. If you do read books by Grace Burrowes, check out her dedications, as they are always interesting and relevant to the story. This book is dedicated : To Those Who Have Been Bullied.)