About the Book:
Ash Dorning has loved Della Haddonfield from afar for years. He has played the part of the cordial family connection and battled every demon from lack of funds, to meddling relatives, to a recurring case of the blue devils—while other men have won Della’s smiles. When Della lands in the midst of scandal, those fellows who fawned over her hand disappear behind the nearest potted palms, leaving Ash to waltz to the rescue.
Della is compromised by a thoroughgoing bounder, and only Ash’s loyalty stands between her and hopeless ruin. But Ash has played least in sight with her for too long, and too many secrets lie between them for Della to believe that Ash is motivated by anything other than gentlemanly duty. When troubles comes calling once again, Ash and Della either learn to trust their love, or they will lose everything they hold dear—including each other.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: My Heart’s True Delight: True Gentlemen book 10
Ash Dorning has finally found a degree of financial stability, as he and his brother, Cam, manage the Coventry Club, a gaming hall thinly disguised as a supper club. Ash has also found the woman he would like to spend forever with, but he can’t bring himself to burden Della with his affliction. So after the couple shared some lovely kisses, Ash decided to back off, leaving Della bewildered and hurt. Her overtures were met only with politeness and friendship. So, after years of having her loving but misguided family try to arrange a match for her, she takes a desperate step. She’ll take part in a fake elopement with William Chastain, who is already unhappily engaged to someone he doesn’t want to marry. When William’s father catches up with them, he’ll see the light and allow William to break the engagement. Della figures that she’ll be tainted sufficiently, so that her family will allow her to retire in peace to their country home. The plan goes awry, when William’s father is late catching up with them, and William becomes a villain by trying to force a real marriage. Della is not truly ruined, though she’s definitely suspect in the eyes of society.
The Haddonfield family won’t let Della hide away, insisting that she continue with her social obligations. Meanwhile, Ash has learned the news, and has arranged for several dance partners for her, including himself, to make it appear that she’s not being ostracized. When Ash and Della are finally able to have some time alone to talk, Della is insistent on knowing why Ash withdrew from their relationship. Ash finally confesses that he suffers from extreme melancholia, having bouts that can last from weeks to months. This news doesn’t deter Della, and the couple decides to marry quickly, then attend an upcoming house party to show the world that Della isn’t ruined. Little do they know that William Chastain is also going to be a guest, and that his villainy seems to have no limits.
Ash and Della already had strong feelings for each other, so their marriage gets off to a warm, companionable, and passionate start. Then things begin to fall apart. Chastain is enraged that Della got away, and that his family forced him into an unwanted marriage. He’s now determined to have his revenge not only on Della, but on Ash, and his club, as well. Chastain is a true lowlife – a spoiled, petulant bully who can’t see his own weaknesses, and blames everyone else for his woes. His anger fuels him into scheming, lying, and blackmailing seemingly most of the guests at the house party. If that weren’t bad enough, Ash is starting to feel his melancholia coming on, causing him to lose interest in things happening around him, even apparently, his own wife.
MY HEART’S TRUE DELIGHT is both a tender love story and somewhat of an eye opener as to the far reaching effects of melancholia. In today’s world, we call Ash’s condition depression, perhaps even SAD (seasonal affective disorder) since it seems to happen mostly during the winter months. The violence Ash was driven to in order to combat the condition is heartbreaking, and even shocking. I felt such compassion for his helplessness, and I still loved the man he is. When it is learned that Della had been hiding a secret disorder of her own, Ash’s reaction is supportive and loving, just as hers was to his revelation. I think that Grace Burrowes must be a very kind person, because her villain received what I thought was nowhere near the comeuppance he deserved, as he was truly a nasty piece of work. (I’m hoping that in a future book in this series, she throws in a little paragraph about him truly receiving his just deserts.) The relationship between Ash and his brother, Cam, is beautifully written, with a couple of very emotional scenes. There is also a satisfying epilogue, something I always love to see, which shows how this couple’s love and dedication carried them through the difficult times. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for readers who enjoy a strong and warm romance, along with complex characters, wonderful family relationships, and, of course, happily ever after. ~Rose