About the Book:
Hawthorne Dorning either finds a way to turn his family’s vast botanical resources into a successful commercial venture, or the estate the Dornings have called home for centuries could be broken up. He loves the land and he’s never shied away from hard work, but he knows nothing about creating perfumes or fragrances.
Margaret Summerfield has put aside her passion for scent-making to tend to the serious business of raising her little nieces. She’s no longer the girl who wandered the countryside by the hour, lost in the pleasures of nature, nor does she want to be. Hawthorne needs her help, but what does he have that could possibly tempt to Margaret to entangle herself with his dreams?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: A Lady of True Distinction (True Gentlemen Book 7)
Hawthorne “Thorne” Dorning and Margaret Summerfield fancied each other years ago, but Thorne had no prospects, so he never pursued his attraction. Margaret assumed that Thorne had no interest in her, so she moved on, and eventually married Charles. Today, Thorne still toils as the overworked land steward for his brother, the Earl of Casriel, and has never married. Margaret has been widowed for four years, and lives comfortably on a neighboring estate while acting as co-guardian for her deceased husband’s two orphaned nieces.
Thorne is one of seven brothers, and the earl’s estate is not in a position to support them all. Since the earl is a newlywed, he’s tasked his brothers with coming up with a way to make the estate profitable. Thorne’s late father’s collection of plants gives them the idea of preparing unique perfumes, herbal concoctions, and / or cosmetics. However, while they do have the plants, they don’t have the recipes or knowledge to prepare the products. Knowing that Margaret is somewhat of an expert on that subject, Thorne sets off to visit her and make a business proposition.
Though Margaret still finds that her heart beats a little faster at the sight of Thorne, she’s quick to let him know that she no longer is involved with any herbal or medicinal remedies and can’t help him. Her odious brother-in-law, Bancroft, has put a determined stop to that. He’s also the only demon in her little bit of paradise, as he lets it be known that he will be removing the nieces to his care. As their other co-guardian, he certainly can follow up on that threat. Though he has no love for the girls, he has substantial interest in their fortunes and dowries, which he plans to put to good use once he is in control.
Though turned down by Margaret as to the business proposition, Thorne feels some hope as far as a personal relationship goes. He decides to court Margaret, hoping that his brother’s venture will be successful, and that Casriel will bequeath him a small parcel of land for his own. Thorne has an affinity for children, and is quite willing to welcome the nieces into his household should he and Margaret ever marry.
When Thorne comes courting, Margaret confides her fears that Bancroft is planning to take the nieces away for his own financial gain. Thorne explains that their marriage would be to her benefit, as a married couple with connections to an earl would be thought to provide a better home than a bachelor. With that sound logic, as well as their long time simmering attraction for each other, Margaret and Thorne plan to marry. When they learn that Bancroft appears close to wedding an heiress, they step up their plans and marry immediately by special license.
While Thorne and Margaret enjoy a warm and satisfying physical relationship, they have many hurdles to overcome. They never came to an agreement where they would live, and each assumed the other would move into their home. Margaret is still unwilling to provide her recipes, which Thorne needs to make a successful go of his brother’s project. Bancroft has confiscated the nieces, hoping to convince his heiress that he’s a loving family man. And Margaret is still holding on to two very large secrets…
Thorne is truly the stuff heroes are made of – he instantly takes on Margaret’s battles as his own. He is so overwhelmed with his own work, yet he makes time for Margaret and the girls. When Bancroft appears to have won the war, he brings his brothers into the fight, ready to take any action necessary to bring the girls home, put the greedy man in his place, and save the quite likeable heiress from making a dreadful matrimonial mistake. His acceptance of Margaret’s past actions, as well as his not judging her for them makes me wish there were more men like him in the world.
Though their happy ending was a long time coming, Thorne and Margaret find that their genuine regard rapidly develops into love, one that I believe will last through the years. A LADY OF DISTINCTION is warm, interesting, and satisfying. The characters are fully developed, as I’ve come to expect in a book from Grace Burrowes, and I recommend it highly, especially for those who enjoy a character driven romance with plenty of heart. ~Rose