About the Book:
Oak Dorning is an artist determined to take his place among London’s most successful portraitists. Town life is expensive, though, so a temporary post restoring a few old paintings for a ruralizing widow strikes Oak as a prudent detour on the way to his brilliant future.
Verity Channing was married to a renowned artist, and knows firsthand how spiteful London sophisticates can be. A quiet life in the country is fine with her–also lonely and rather dull–until Oak finds scandalous treasures lurking in her art collection. When somebody sets out to ruin Verity, Oak must choose between his cherished ambitions and the lady who fills his dreams.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: A Lady’s Dream Come True: True Gentlemen Book 9
Oak Dorning is about to pursue his dream of becoming a successful artist and obtaining membership in the Royal Academy. He imagines a life in the company of like minded individuals, pursuing their passion and sharing their creativity. But one does have to pay the bills. So, before he ventures to London, he’ll make a stop of a few weeks to restore some paintings for the widow of famous painter, Dirk Channing.
Verity “Vera” Channing lives comfortably in Merlin Hall, the manor and estate left to her young son by her late husband. Still, she also has to worry about launching her stepdaughter into society, and keeping the estate profitable until Alexander is old enough to take the reins. Her husband had made vague references to “treasures” left in the house, and Vera assumed he meant some of his own artwork. She hopes to find those treasures, and that some of the other paintings can be successfully restored and sold.
Oak, whose many male siblings also have timber-like names, arrives at Merlin Hall to find his temporary employer to be young and extremely beautiful. Also in the household are Alexander- her six year old son, Catherine – her fourteen year old illegitimate stepdaughter, Miss Diggory – the seemingly bland governess, and Mr. Forester – the annoying and abusive tutor. Oak and Vera are soon ditching formality, then sharing casual touches, and before long, speaking of becoming intimate while Oak completes his work. That physical relationship does happen, but so does an emotional closeness and caring that neither expected.
While Oak and Vera spend the nights together, during the day, he devotes some time to the children, giving them art lessons. Catherine appears to have some genuine talent, but young Alexander is withdrawn, overly polite, and nothing like a typical young boy. It’s obvious that the odious tutor has a lot to answer for, and Oak does his best to assure Alexander of his worth, and show him how to enjoy life. Oak’s presence has enhanced the lives of the whole Channing family, and Vera is already dreading the thought of his leaving. As is Oak.
Neither Oak nor Vera has addressed a future together, as that wasn’t part of their temporary arrangement. Though it’s clear their feelings have grown to something suspiciously like love, Oak’s future is in London, which Vera loathes, and her home and future are at Merlin Hall. As it comes time for Oak to leave, an unexpected opportunity arises for Vera and the children to accompany him, albeit temporarily, and Vera accepts as it will give her a little more time with him. Before Vera and Oak can even address the remote chance of a future together, more complications come their way in the form of blackmail and coercion, and from a source they both believed to be a friend.
A LADY’S DREAM COME TRUE is a more complex story than simply a couple with different goals trying to make a go of it. Vera’s marriage was not the fairy tale some imagine, and her treatment from Dirk’s friends was abominable, as was his lack of action in protecting her. Though she made some mistakes with how she was raising her children, they were not done from lack of love, but rather from trying too hard to do what she thought was right. Oak’s employment at Merlin Hall was timed perfectly, and acted as the catalyst to put some things in motion to make a much better life for Catherine and Alexander.
I so admire how Oak (just like his name) was strong enough to stand up for himself, his fellow artists, and for Vera, while publicly and openly confronting the villain. I love how his family, extended family, and friends rallied around to aid his cause. The romance started out as passion, yet each day became a little more. The love was sweet and fulfilled an emptiness that Oak and Vera didn’t realize was within them. As always, family relationships were strong and comforting without being cloying. Grace Burrowes continues to show growing intimacy of all kinds by reduced formality in address, touches, and the sharing of food and drink. These elements add a cozy warmth that I find unique to her writing. Young Alexander is so endearing, and I loved watching him become a typical, exuberant, and playful boy. A LADY’S DREAM COME TRUE is a satisfying romance with plenty of heart, one I greatly enjoyed reading, and which will appeal to readers enjoying a character driven story. ~Rose