Sandy M's Reviews > The Soldier

The Soldier by Grace Burrowes
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's review
Oct 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical
Read in October, 2011

I fell in love with the hero of this book when we met him in The Heir. He’s the illegitimate brother of the Earl of Westhaven, though their father has recognized him and that makes his life much easier. At least as far as society is concerned. Dev still has demons that no one can help him conquer. Until he meets Emmaline.

While I did enjoy this book, I feel that Devlin is slightly different from his character in The Heir. But, of course, we only touched the surface of his character in that book and here we do delve much deeper into his life, discovering what he hides from the world. He has recently been given an earldom via his father, but the place is rundown, in need of a barrage of work. But that work will be a balm to his soul, keeping him busy, allowing him to force his demons away, to face them another time. However, before Dev can really dig in, his life is interrupted by not one but two confounding females, one six years of age and the other her only but very intriguing relative.

Winnie is the previous earl’s by-blow and she’s as sassy as they come. I think the reader is as surprised as Dev that he’s taken with Winnie so quickly. Too bad logic doesn’t work on most kids, but Winnie is in such need of love and caring that she follows Dev’s instructions from table manners to bedtime. Along with Winnie comes Emmaline Farnum, her cousin, who tries to keep the child in check. When she follows the elusive creature to Rosecroft, she’s as immediately taken with Devlin as Winnie is, though she thinks him a barbarian initially. That opinion subtly changes as the man seduces her into his bed.

Emmie also has a passel of demons, all of which lead her to the conclusion Winnie is better off without her. So plans are made for her to leave once Dev finds an appropriate governess. She tries to keep this from Winnie, but there’s no pulling the wool over this child’s eyes. So much has happened to her in her young life that she’s extraordinarily perceptive, and she does what is necessary to get her way - when the earl allows her to do so. I really enjoy Winnie. She’s fun even though she’s scared. She’s been left by everyone in her life and now Emmie is going to do the same. Which kind of irritates me as much as it does Winnie. I realize she’s trying to help, to keep the taint of the family shenanigans away from Winnie so she can grow up without all that baggage. But the child is only six. She needs love and familiarity and protection, all of which Emmie will be taking from her, thinking what the earl can give the little girl is enough.

I also don’t like Emmie’s oscillation going to Dev’s bed and waking up angry she succumbed again and vowing it won’t happen anymore. Although, no matter how hard she tries, it does happen again. And again. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, but she acts so out of character when it comes to Winnie and Devlin. And it goes on for far too long. Her past is fraught with transgressions against her, and I can see why trust is an issue for her, but Dev does his best to show her he can be trusted with her heart. Allowing him to help her shouldn’t have been that daunting after their lovemaking. But they both go on without saying the words needed to bring them closer together and to prevent Emmie from going forward with her plans to leave. I just recently found a deleted scene from this book on the author’s website that I feel was a mistake to omit. Of all the scenes to be deleted, it shouldn’t have been that one, which gives us more of the emotion between these two about her impending departure.

What I really like in this book is the closeness we see between Dev and his brother Val. We saw some of that in The Heir, but it goes to a whole new level in this story. Though Devlin has been dealt a lot to deal with from his mother leaving him to losing two brothers in the war to his post-traumatic stress after being discharged, he does lean on family and friends when he’s on the verge of losing control emotionally. The scenes with his father, which surprise him and the reader, and his stepmother are quite moving, especially when she finally gives him what he needs to make peace with his mother. I like this loving, emotional take between the brothers. Most stories have brothers one-upping each other, taking potshots, and engaging in fisticuffs while having the other’s back, as brothers are wont to do, but it’s nice to be given the other side of the coin in more than just back pounding and joking to hide emotion.

So while part of the book didn’t connect with me in terms of the heroine, other parts absolutely made the deeper connection in terms of family and love. Ms. Burrowes also does a fine job with bits of humor, as the very first scene of the book attests. Though this is a Devlin I didn’t expect, he’s a hero who stirs me emotionally and I’m glad to have met him.

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