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Lord Somerton's Heir

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First love left them desolate ... can a new love heal their wounds? A tale of second chance love in aristocratic Regency England, for lovers of all things Bridgerton.

Sebastian Alder's sudden elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of fairy tales, but the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition leaves him little time for fantasy, and the memory of his wife's brutal death haunts his every moment. When he learns of the mysterious circumstances of his cousin's demise, he must also look for a potential murderer ... surely not Isabel, his cousin's ladylike widow?

Isabel, Lady Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. Her hopes are shattered from beyond the grave when she is left not only penniless but once more bound to the whims of a Somerton ... although perhaps the new Lord Somerton is a man she can trust ... or even care for?

Suspicion could tear them apart ... honesty and courage may pull them together.

(Winner of the 2012 Romance Through the Ages Award for an unpublished manuscript - Romance Writers of America Historical Chapter)


First published May 1, 2014

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About the author

Alison Stuart

25 books330 followers
Mystery, history, romance and more…

Alison Stuart writes historical romances and short stories set in England and Australia and across different periods of history. She is best known for THE POSTMISTRESS and THE GOLDMINER'S SISTER, stories set in the Victorian goldfields in the 1870s.
She also writes historical mysteries as A.M. Stuart and her popular Harriet Gordon mystery series is set in Singapore in 1910.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and a geriatric cat. In a past life Alison worked as a lawyer across a variety of disciplines including the military and emergency services. She has lived in Africa and Singapore and, when circumstances permit, travels extensively - all for research of course!

(This writer is NOT the Alison Stuart who also writes as Kate Tremayne and authored Fateful Shadows, Sin No More, Barefoot Angel, Innocence Betrayed or Loyalty Defiled.)

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,323 reviews2,145 followers
January 11, 2016
Alison Stuart is well on her way to becoming one of my favourite authors! She had me with this book from page one as soon as I realised it was set in the Regency period. I seriously love Georgette Heyer and this read just like one of her books (except for the scene where they go a little further than kissing and we know Miss Heyer's characters never went further than kissing). Sebastian and Isobel made a lovely couple, the goodies were all very good, the baddies were very bad and got their just desserts . All very satisfying and written in a very readable style. A real pleasure to read.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,225 reviews2,731 followers
June 14, 2014
When Lady Isabel Somerton was summonsed with the dreadful news that her husband was dead, killed when thrown from his horse, her thoughts were in turmoil. What was she to do now that she was a widow? Learning of a cousin to her late husband, she set about finding him – near death in a hospital from wounds he received in the battle of Waterloo, she had him removed and placed where he would be cared for in a more suitable and caring manner. As the weeks passed, Sebastian Alder came to realize that Isabel had saved his life, and also that his life had taken an unexpected turn – it seemed he was now heir to Brantstone Hall and all that it encompassed. Unable to believe his good fortune, he was further astounded to find he had a family he knew nothing about. His sister Connie and brother Matt had been his only family for as long as he could remember…

But as Sebastian was to discover, the estate he had inherited had many debts – his cousin, the previous Lord Somerton, had deep, dark secrets and slowly but surely these were coming to the surface. With the help of the man who had controlled the finances and been by the original Lord Somerton’s side, Sebastian was coming to a realization that he needed to do something, and do it quickly. Those past secrets were beginning to unravel – there was danger – someone didn’t want the past uncovered; was there a murderer out there who wouldn’t hesitate to strike again?

As Sebastian found himself moving from gratitude and friendship with Isabel to something he hadn’t let himself feel in many years, he knew he had to tread carefully. And Isabel knew Sebastian was a completely different person to the man her husband had been – could she trust this man with her feelings and her future?

I absolutely loved this historical fiction novel by Aussie author Alison Stuart. She is an accomplished writer, one I have read before and have no hesitation in reading again. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,247 reviews643 followers
January 18, 2016
There is nothing I enjoy more than a murder mystery encased in a historical backdrop and this Regency period drama is delightful. What more could you need for the perfect time out from this world than a handsome hero wounded at Waterloo waking in hospital to discover he is the heir to the recently deceased Lord Somerton, a beautiful mourning widow, an evil blackmailer, a murder or two, a kidnapping and a mad chase across the countryside with a little romance thrown in for good measure? Alison Stuart delivers all this and more. With a delightful cast of extras, she brings to life the times of Regency England with its manners of polite society, lavish balls and lifestyle but also the extreme poverty of the lower classes and the struggle of the landed gentry to keep up with the costs of running a large estate. Most enjoyable!
Profile Image for Roz ~ My Written Romance.
408 reviews22 followers
May 1, 2014
You can read my other reviews at My Written Romance.

I was provided with an ARC of this book by Escape Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I remember, while reading another of Alison Stuart’s books earlier this year, being struck by how easy it was to imagine the words on the page leaping out at you like images on a movie screen.

When I opened Lord Somerton’s Heir on my Kindle and saw this in the opening paragraph, I knew that this would be another absorbing read:

In the light of the lanterns held up by the stablehands, the glossy hide of the great, black horse reflected fire. The animal shivered, breaking the fire into golden sparks. …

Fantastic opening few lines, hey? It’s not just the detail that I enjoyed about Lord Somerton’s Heir. The emotion, the suspense and the connection between Isabel & Sebastian all joined it and came together to create a truly enjoyable story.

Isabel, Lady Somerton, is another wonderfully strong Stuart heroine – giving of herself and her time, and wanting to make the best of where she has landed in life. I loved that despite the sadness of her past and potential future roadblocks, she doesn’t lose sight of what she wants to achieve. Sebastian’s life is thrown into upheaval, all of a sudden transformed from the soldier son of a small town minister to a position high in Regency society. I loved his sense of honour, and that he sought to maintain the relationships he had with his siblings.

These two were so beautifully suited, and throughout the bumps and twists of the story, I often found myself willing them along to their richly-deserved happy ending.

Another highlight for me with Lord Somerton’s Heir were the characters on the periphery. They helped to create a vivid and strong story. With regard to the suspense element of the story, this was so very well done. There were a few moments where I thought I had things figured out, but then suddenly suspicion would be directed elsewhere.

As I understand, the move to Regency romantic suspense is a new one for Ms Stuart – and I have to say, it is an excellent move on her part. I’m very much looking forward to more.
Profile Image for Lynxie.
586 reviews72 followers
January 4, 2016
Lord Somerton's Heir is a distinctly deceitful historical romance piece. The splendor and opulence of the balls and propriety from the 1800s abounded and danced alluringly with the grit of wartime soldiers.

Sebastian Alder, a soldier, wounded in numerous ways, plays the male lead, alongside Isabel Somerton, the late Lord Somerton's widow.

There is a raft of supporting characters, ranging from Sebastian's siblings, to best friends and war-time buddies, to young stable hands. They create a delightful supporting cast to the romantic dance Isabel and Sebastian take together.

The plot progressed slowly, twists and turns abound, some obvious and others not. The mystery and intrigue within this tale was masterfully weaved into larger and smaller plot and character arcs, and added additional layers of complexity to an otherwise tried-and-true historical romance plot.

An enjoyable romp through the 1800s, Lord Somerton's Heir will take readers on just as much of a journey as Sebastian and Isabel take.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,077 reviews59k followers
June 16, 2014
Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart is a 2014 Escape Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sebastian goes through some pretty heavy duty life changes and events in a short period of time. First of all he is wounded in the war at Waterloo. He will most likely always walk with a limp. While burning with a fever, he is discovered by the Dowager Lady Somerton and from that moment on his life will never be the same.

Shocking revelations about his heritage will thrust Sebastian into the role of being the new Lord Somerton. He believes his fortune has changed but soon discovers things are not as they appear.

Isabel is still in mourning for her child who apparently passed away from SIDS. The death of her husband Anthony has given her the hope of freeing herself from the Somerton duties so she can open her own school for girls. So, finding Anthony's heir is a must. As soon as she finds Sebastian she takes him to his new home and begins to nurse him back to health. The sooner he heals and adjust to his new title and responsibilities, the sooner she can escape and begin her independent life.

Alas, things don't work out quite as planned for Sebastian or Isabel. It appears that Anthony squandered all of Isabel's money which ruins her plans for the school. To put the cherry on the cake it becomes evident that Anthony did not die from an accident after all. It seems he was murdered and Isabel is the only likely suspect.

This story got off to a really slow start for me. The first half of the book dragged along as Sebastian recovers from his wound, meets relatives he didn't know he had, and begins to realize the estate is in debt and he learns of Isabel's cold and loveless upbringing and he discerns her marriage to Anthony was one of duty and love was not a part of the partnership. It wasn't until nearly half way into the book the plot picked up steam. This is where the murder mystery really starts to become intriguing. Many stunning revelations will come to light as Isabel will learn things about Anthony she didn't know. While there is romance, I think the book was more along the lines of historical fiction/mystery. If you go into it knowing that upfront you will like this story a lot. If you are expecting a lot romantic angst and steamy sheet twisting, that doesn't happen in this one. In fact the romance was really low key. However, the mystery part of the story makes up for that and I was really into the second half of the book. There were lots of twist and turns in the murder plot and I also liked the super sweet and sentimental ending of the book. Overall this is good effort and the author shows a lot of promise. I 'm giving this on a 3.5 and rounding it up to four mainly because I love a good historical mystery.
Profile Image for Anita.
Author 22 books82 followers
November 16, 2015
Whenever I pick up an Alison Stuart novel I know I am going to love her hero and admire her heroine, and this novel did not disappoint. In this, her latest work, the author moves into the Regency era where England is still reeling from the Napoleonic wars and so many men were irrevocably damaged by their experiences. Sebastian Alder is one of these, badly injured at Waterloo, with a tragic history, I fell for him the second he shrugged off Isabel, Lady Somerton’s shake of his shoulder and gruffly demanded who she was.

Sebastian is the unwitting, and at first unwilling heir to the Somerton estate, that of Isabel’s late husband. Sebastian has to break it to this self-contained woman reluctant to display any emotion, that her husband has left her penniless and him the master of a ruined estate.

Not a good start to a romance, but Miss Stuart’s Sebastian Alder is an absolute gem and a hero to fall for. Although Isabel is not strictly his responsibility, the valiant soldier cannot abandon her, nor the two cuckoos in the nest that come with Brantstone, his country estate.

When blackmail, murder and other dark secrets emerge and affect their present, the situation goes from bad to worse for Sebastian, the slightly naïve soldier, and Isabel, an emotionally damaged widow determined to walk away from a life that brought her only unhappiness.

A character driven story, this is a real page turner that delves into the darker areas of human nature and tests the mettle of the players. It may be a well-used formula, but an effective one which takes the reader on a roller coaster journey with a very satisfactory ending.

I look forward to more in the same genre from Alison Stuart.
Profile Image for Helen.
2,314 reviews12 followers
April 13, 2014
I loved this story it is emotional and moving as Lady Somerton tries to locate the Heir to Somerton after the death of her husband Isabel has not had a great life in her marriage to Anthony and now she will be free to start her school. Sebastian Adler is a soldier from a little town when he is injured at Waterloo and found by Isabel and told he is now Lord Somerton many things change in his life. With blackmail murder secrets and a growing love between Isabel and Sebastian this story will have you falling into it Sebastian is such an honourable and caring man he has been through a lot in his army life and is also a widow losing his wife in a terrible way but can they make it to a HEA with suspicion and broken hearts and truths learned. The characters in this story are so strong and rich and they add a lot to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this one from start to finish Sebastion is a hero to die for and Isabel is strong and caring thank you MS Stuart for hours of reading pleasure don't miss this one.
Profile Image for C.A. Clark.
Author 16 books19 followers
August 12, 2016
I really appreciated the consistency of Ms Stuart's Regency setting and markers. The story is pacy and the characters are likeable while the storyline holds together well. I like that her female protagonist is not a total wall flower even in the restrictive hothouse of the era in which she is constrained. I appreciated the realism of the potential outcomes for her character especially when dealing with scandalous and taboo subjects.
From a harsh and difficult relationship to love and forgiveness, this story is a delightful romance.
September 5, 2021

Having read and enjoyed Alison’s Australian colonial tales, I was eager to step back to Regency England for a change of scene. Suffering from Bridgestone Blues, it was time to find a fix somewhere else and I am happy to say Lord Somerton’s Heir more than fits the bill.

This is classic stuff and highly entertaining. Alison gives this Regency romance some real drama with a fabulous murder mystery. There is the mandatory handsome hero and a wise widow, along with a solid cast of other characters that bring real depth to this great getaway. Add to the standard plot of redemption some evil blackmailers, a couple of murders ending with an edge of your seat final coach chase across the English countryside which is all neatly tied together with a romantic bow for good measure.

Regency England comes to life from a lavish ball, to the other end of the spectrum with the lengths some poor souls needed to go to in order to survive. What I truly appreciated was how Alison subtlety brought to light the very real struggle of how the aristocracy lived beyond their means, often with the cost of running such estates moving beyond them.

I very much enjoyed my trip to Regency England - a sweet romance and murder mystery - with Alison’s words flowing at an easy and enjoyable pace that kept me engaged to the very end.

‘She was free, but at what price came that freedom? … To attain freedom, first she had to find Lord Sommerton’s heir.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1,536 reviews
September 2, 2019
Alison Stuart's writing caught my eye in a sample I downloaded. What a lucky moment for me!

It's been awhile since I found a new author that caught my eye in a free 26 page story. So then I purchased the book last night about 10 pm and started reading. Taking the hero from a Waterloo hospital to his new estate sets up a mystery and a romance that kept me turning pages until past 2 in the morning! Glad to have a new author to read.

Profile Image for Craig / Phil.
1,413 reviews66 followers
September 5, 2021
Thank you Harlequin and Alison for sending us a copy to read and review.
A very entertaining historical regency romance with a hint of mystery.
Sebastian Alder is fighting for his life when he discovers he’s the new Lord Somerton.
Stepping into the role has its issues but most of all his wife’s death still haunts him.
As he arrives at the stately manor he soon discovers his cousin’s death may be murder and the suspect could be the former Lady Isobel Somerton.
Isobel has been in a unhappy marriage since the beginning.
Her husbands death has not left her sad and now she finds out she is broke.
Wanting to start up a school she must ask for the new Lord’s help.
Can a new attraction between the two lead to love?
A delightful, alluring and enchanting read.
Previously published in 2014 and with a little tweak here and there it’s available for the first time in large paperback.
These types of stories are usually aimed at Mills & Boon fans using the same formula, something I loved about it was while it still contains the classic love story it also has a thread of mystery and a sprinkle of suspense.
Alison has captured the elegance, prestige, peril and treachery in this fine story where dashing men and glamorous ladies fall in love against the odds.
Wonderfully written, engaging and steadily paced keeping the reader intrigued page after page.
A cast of characters to drive the plot from debonair lead gentlemen to sophisticated central heroines to even some dastardly ones too, throw in a charismatic secondary cast, all having their essential role to the storyline.
A tale of excellence that combines some conundrum, danger, flirtation, scandal, heartbreak, friendship and of course closed door seduction.
I think readers will adore this book………. Indeed!
Profile Image for Maria.
Author 2 books30 followers
May 8, 2014
A stunning Regency romance from the enormously talented Alison Stuart, who has the ability to spin historical stories which will draw in a reader who will simply never wish to return. LORD SOMERTON’S HEIR is an ESCAPE publication.
There are some secrets which we will carry to our grave. Isabel, Lady Somerton, doesn’t intend to ever share the truth about her unhappy marriage with anyone. She will take her small inheritance, move to the dower house and set up a school for young girls, spending the rest of her existence doing philanthropic works. But will her dream be realized? Or will her late, unlamented husband manage to ruin her dreams of a simple, worthwhile life, even from beyond the grave?

Wounded at Waterloo, Sebastian Alder is stunned to learn that he is the new Lord Somerton. The memory of the dreadful events he’s witnessed on the battlefield haunt him, as does the memory of his lost love. But he has no time to grieve. His Somerton inheritance is mostly debt. The late Lord Somerton’s life was a shambles of unpaid bills and useless relatives hanging on and draining his estate. Then there is the question of Lord Somerton’s beautiful widow. How can Sebastian shatter her dreams tell her that her late husband simply squandered her inheritance in useless living?

A beautifully told story set in a bygone age where life – for some at least – was more leisurely and unhurried, this will certainly please readers of historical romance, particularly Regency romance. And anyone wishing to try out historicals, Regency or otherwise, would be well advised to start with Alison Stuart. She’s a magical storyteller.
Profile Image for Deanna from Deanna's World.
780 reviews48 followers
June 10, 2021
While the writing was good, I found the style stiff and difficult to engage. This book did not capture or hold my attention at all and unfortunately I was not able to finish it. I found myself getting distracted and bored with it. I just was not invested in the characters and didn’t care what happened to them. The most emotion the characters got out of me were Fanny and Freddy, and that was because they were such sycophants and leeches. I just hated them on right away.
In addition, the story did not seem original to me. New heir inherits title with no money has to figure out how to make ends meet, widow who wants her freedom after a bad marriage just seems done to death. I understand that with historicals, you get a lot of the same but different storylines, but this one just was not different enough to hold my interest. Everything about it was just blah.

Deanna's World

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Profile Image for Roslyn Stillman.
425 reviews7 followers
August 1, 2021
After reading some other books by this author I was very pleased to see that this new historical romance has had a nice little mystery included in it too. It isn’t quite a cozy mystery but it had you wondering and guessing from page one. The characters were beautifully written and the story flowed at a pace that had you turning the page to see what would happen next. I have enjoyed all the different eras and nationalities this author writes and am looking forward to seeing what she writes next. There was no sex in this book but lots of romance which also made this review very happy. I received this book as an Arc and freely give my review.
Profile Image for Edwina .
299 reviews
January 30, 2022
Alison Stuart's 'Lord Somerton's Heir' was a beautifully written romance novel set in the Regency period in England. The prose was easy to follow, the plot was well paced alongside the murder mystery that envelops both the two protagonists - Sebastian Alder and Isabel, Lady Somerton. The blossoming romance between Sebastian and Isabel saw the two of them battling their own inner demons and reflecting their own desires to have a happy ending following personal tragedies and grief that made them lose hope. An excellent read that I am sure I will come back to, time and time again for years to come.

Would recommend if you enjoy a romance read to pass the time!
Profile Image for Carrie.
57 reviews
October 12, 2021
This novel by Alison Stuart transported me to a different time and place, as historical events were seamlessly woven into the tale. The excitement built as mysteries unfolded. This book had me guessing until the end. The romance between Sebastian and Isabel was built on admiration and respect, the kind of slow-burn I love. An exciting climax. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Paula Beavan.
38 reviews7 followers
November 16, 2021
I listened to this book on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters we’re fabulously drawn and likeable. This wont be my last read of Alison Stuarts books.
Profile Image for Sally.
79 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2022
Nice easy romance with a little who dunnit thrown in. Looking forward to reading more from Alison Stuart.
Profile Image for Magpie.
1,800 reviews8 followers
February 25, 2023
5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ .. well written historical fiction romance about Sebastian and Isabel, 2 people who up until now haven’t had much luck in life.
One was found half frozen on the steps of a church with his mother as a toddler, the other orphaned early and raised by cruel mill owners.
Fortunes are wryly attributed to slavery.

They grow up, into soldiering and sad short marriages only to be thrown together when the Somerton estate is looking for a new heir.

Of course they fancy each other.. glimpsed chests and stray dark blonde curls do all the heavy lifting and it’s a race to the finish (😹🤦‍♀️)
The novel has more than a few Dickensian touches( Molly houses, abandoned children, severed tongues etc) but comes alive with some genuinely well written villains, some obvious and some hiding in plain sight.

I enjoyed it, the writing is fine and the outcome never in doubt
M 2023
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,318 reviews542 followers
June 8, 2014
Received from publisher via NetGalley for an honest review

"In the light of the lanterns held up by the stable hands, the glossy hide of the great, black horse reflected by fire." This was the first sentence and what followed was a just as lushly, rolling gentle written read.

Lord Somerton's Heir is a male Cinderella story with a touch of mystery. Sebastian is a soldier who fought and was injured in Waterloo. While suffering from a bullet wound and fever he is visited by a woman calling herself the Dowager Lady Somerton and stating he is the new Lord Somerton. While at first it seems like a stroke of good fortune, Sebastian soon discovers a mountain of debt, hanger on cousins, and a murder mystery are also part of the inheritance.

Isabel, Dowager Lady Somerton, is the heroine of the story and I found her to be the more stronger written character of the two. She appears cold and rigid at first but as the story goes on it is revealed the brick wall exterior is built from a horrible childhood, death of a child, and a lack of a relationship between her and her husband. She is very easy to sympathize with and as you read on you'll be wishing for her to get her happy ending. Sebastian, I felt, was more weakly written than Isabel. His humble beginnings are discussed, military service, and the traumatic death of his wife but he lacked the depth Isabel had. He always make the right decision, has a heart of gold, and I'm sure in his free time rescues puppies and babies. It started to feel very overdone.

The romance between the two is a very slow burn. They start off as strangers, move to friends, and at the very end of the book develop their romantic relationship. Their interactions are soft and gentle. There are really only two bedroom scenes and both were fairly short. I could see this book falling under the term of women's fiction.

The murder mystery story arc was intriguing and will keep you guessing. I do however, think the separate house maid murder and gold mine scam tangent should have been cut; it wasn't necessary and cluttered the story.

This is not a book that is going to elicit strong feelings, rather a chicken noodle soup comfort read. I suggest finding a babbling brook, laying down a blanket, and settling in for a nice read.
Profile Image for Love Reading Romance.
120 reviews29 followers
May 17, 2014
Isabel's husband has died, but before she can move on with her life she must find his heir. The new Lord Somerton, Sebastian Alder, is a soldier with no knowledge of how to be a Viscount, but he soon takes on the responsibilities of his new life. With the help of Isabel, he settles into his role, but she is not his only responsibility and it soon becomes clear that not all is as it seems at his new home, Brantstone Hall.

Isabel is a little hard to pin down as a character to begin with. She is determined, but very reserved. Though it soon becomes clear that this is a result of her past traumas. Rather than being devastated by the death of her husband, she is more traumatised by their loveless marriage and most particularly the loss of her child. I found this aspect of the story really heart breaking.

Sebastian is no stranger to loss either. His wife was brutally murdered in Spain and he found the body - an event which is mentioned in horrifying detail, and had him questioning the meaning of life and his religion. Needless to say, between the traumas of both Isabel and Sebastian, there is a lot of sadness in this novel. While our hero and heroine are able to find happiness and comfort in each other, it is worth noting that this is a romance to read when you're looking for a heartfelt but serious story, rather than a light pick-me-up.

There is also a strong mystery plot in this novel, which winds into the romance as Sebastian finds himself questioning Isabel's role in the murders which he uncovers at Brantstone Hall. Our heroine, however, is as much a victim of these crimes as those murdered, and Sebastian must solve the mystery and save the day if Isabel and he are to find happiness.

Given the circumstances, and their past traumas, Isabel and Sebastian do not get together until quite near the end of the novel, so there's not that much sexy time to be had in Lord Somerton’s Heir, but despite this they have great chemistry and develop an actual friendship, which I really enjoyed.

Lord Somerton’s Heir is a heartfelt historical romance, which combines heartbreak and mystery, with friendship and just enough seduction.

More reviews at: http://www.readingromance.com
Profile Image for Miriam.
661 reviews43 followers
May 5, 2014
***Received from publisher via NetGalley for an honest review***

After reading the blurb, I thought this would be a Cinderella type Regency romance that explores the ins and outs of London society with a newly discovered heir/heiress as the lead. It was…but not really. While this does have that theme, there’s so much more to this story than that.

It’s about Isabel and Sebastian. She is a neglected Viscountess who, on the heels of her husband’s death and displaying very little despair over it, finds and brings to Branstone House the new Lord Somerton, Sebastian Alder. He is the stepson of a reverend from a small village, an English Captain who lost his wife to the French, and has no idea who the Somertons are as he has no memory of his real father. She is struggling to move toward fulfilling her dream but the memory of her unhappy marriage haunts her. He appears to fit right into his new role but there are secrets that come with it, secrets that do not want to be brought to light.

I loved reading about Sebastian and Isabel. The attraction and romance between them developed throughout the entire story and it was beautiful to watch because it felt natural. Every part of their relationship, going from being strangers to acquaintances, from friends to wanting to be more than friends, and eventually to lovers. By the way, Ms. Stuart, thank you so, so much for writing their lovemaking toward the end of the story instead of before. Reading it then was so worth the wait!

To be honest, the suspense is what kept me reading. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted Sebastian and Isabel to have their happy ending, but I was more interested in peeling back the multiple layers of mystery surrounding the Somerton name and house. Finding out the answers one at a time, that there was so much more than meets the eye, is what compelled me to keep turning the page.

This is a well-paced, detail oriented novel that might be slow for some but was perfect for me. I’ve not read anything by Ms. Stuart before, but I guarantee this won’t be the last and I’ll be looking for whatever she writes next.
Profile Image for Gina Tosi.
50 reviews
November 25, 2022
4.0 stars - Solid writing + caricature + triggering + interesting plot

Who knew a historical romance and a murder mystery could go quite well together??

Oh boy. I saw the cover and the book delivered something I did not expect. The darkness and deepness of the story really juxtaposed the lighthearted pastel cuteness of the cover!!!

War, death, murder, rape, assault, homophobia, arson, etc etc etc. The book was suspenseful for the last half but nothing much really happens in the first half - I think that the first half would have been a good opportunity to develop the bland relationship between the hero and heroine more. I liked the pairing between two hurt characters, but there wasn't that much chemistry between them...

The villain, Freddy, was a bit of a caricature and I sort of saw it coming. All that trauma-info-dumping near the end of the book and the solving of Amy's murder with Harry was a bit sudden and overwhelming, but everything tied in together and the climax was quite exciting to read about.

Oh and Anthony...poor guy. He's a very tragic character. I feel really conflicted about him. Should I feel pity for him dying in that manner? Anger that he tricked a woman into falling in love with him? Marrying a woman for her dowry? Lying to her? Wasting her time? Forging her signature and stealing her jointure? Putting up a womanizing image despite Isabel's clear sense of distraught?

But I understand his motives. They make too much sense and it's set up really well...But I am not so magnanimous that I would ever forgive him for lying to Isabel all the way. His being gay has nothing to do with being a coward, a liar, a deceitful and foolish man...
...AHH BUT I STILL WISH HE WAS GIVEN ANOTHER CHANCE...AND HIS LOVE STORY AND LETTERS??? BOIII...With Isabel's kind and merciful nature, I am sure things would somehow have worked out between them.

By the way, the writing was pretty solid and I would totally read another book from the same author.
23 reviews2 followers
May 5, 2014
This is the Regency romance you read when you want something a bit different because it also brings you a nice, but not too scary murder mystery. Yes, it gets a bit hairy at the end (no spoilers) but you know it will end with all being well because it's an Alison Stuart and that's the deal she always offers you. This is absolutely not the sort of murder novel that makes you scared to be home alone! I gave those up years ago. I read Lord Somerton's Heir in almost in one sitting because it was so enjoyable. A real world, with people who feel real and who behave in a real way, despite terrible trauma in their past (and boy do they have TERRIBLE trauma in their past) and a great story. If you want a well written Regency romance that is not run of the mill because it has a little bit extra then this is for you. It definitely was it for me.
245 reviews6 followers
December 28, 2018

DNF @ 83%

A little predictable and caricature but my biggest complaint is that for 80% of the story, NOTHING HAPPENS despite all the OBVIOUS clues that pile up. Yet, the hero of the story just sits back and let himself get effed over. The hero of the story is more like the dumbass of the story.

289 reviews2 followers
September 24, 2021
“Lord Somerton’s Heir” brings a modern sensibility to a regency romance, giving a splash of freshness to a very familiar genre. Fans of the genre will delight in it, and those who dip into the genre occasionally will also find it a pleasure.

As a teenager, I went on a huge Georgette Heyer binge, but have rarely read regency romances since. It’s a genre that has some limitations, given both the constraints of the historical period and romances in general, and I think I slightly overdosed. Although I now read them more sparingly, it’s still a genre I enjoy.

Stuart’s previous novel, “The Goldminer’s Sister” is set in a similar period, but in the Australian bush. Despite the differences in the historical background, Stuart shows similar strengths in both novels: strong and engaging characters and a background which is well woven into the story.

Isabel Somerton is rejoicing; she’s found her dead husband’s heir. Now she can shuck unwanted responsibilities and the memories of her unhappy marriage, and finally embark on the charity project she’s dreamed of for years.

Sebastian Alder, an impoverished officer in her majesty’s army, is more than a little startled to find himself suddenly elevated to the aristocracy. He didn’t know he had any relatives other than his half brother and sister, let alone any who were rich and titled. Still, he steps into the unaccustomed role with grace.

Unfortunately Isabel’s husband’s mistakes reach out from the grave to affect both Isabel and Sebastian, perhaps even derailing their futures.

Sebastian is a particularly appealing character, a man who steps up without a second thought. I found Isabel less immediately appealing, although over the long run she becomes a very understandable and empathetic character. The many lesser characters are well drawn and add vivacity and color to the story.

In many ways it’s the characters who carry this novel, as the plot isn’t particularly original – although to be honest, I don’t expect a lot of originality in this genre. Stuart does give her plot a modern edge with the underlying reason that made Isabel’s marriage unhappy. It has veracity, but it’s not something that would ever have been spoken about during the period, and as such many writers haven’t touched it. This was perhaps the only point where I felt the historical accuracy was a little weak; in reality more people would have been more horrified and revolted, I think. Empathy from Isabel is understandable, but I’m not sure it would have been so widely available from other characters.

Although that may be a glitch in the historical accuracy, to a modern reader it’s an understandable reaction, and many won’t think twice about the acceptance and empathy of many of the characters. It didn’t weaken the experience of reading the novel.

This is well plotted and the action is well paced. Stuart balances engaging you with the characters with having stuff happen, and the result is a novel that comfortably draws the reader along.

In all, this is a really enjoyable reading experience. There are a few minor problems, like the glitch noted above, and some continuity issues, but many readers won’t notice them. Only one bugged me enough to impede my reading experience, and it’s mostly because I’m the sort of reader who can’t let go of something once I’ve noticed it.

Readers who regularly choose regency romances should thoroughly enjoy this – it offers everything they could want. More sporadic readers of the genre are also likely to enjoy this, especially as there’s minimal use of terms specific to the period. It’s well written, with strong characters and an unusual gloss to parts of the plot.

You may also be interested in my review of Alison Stuart’s “The Goldminer’s Sister” :

Profile Image for Melanie Hunter.
180 reviews3 followers
September 25, 2021
Two people drawn together, two people whose heartbreak runs deep into their soul, two people who must learn to recognise the love they are capable of.

Lord Somerton's Heir is a historical regency romance novel set in England in 1814. After losing her husband, Lady Somerton is in search of the heir to the estate. She finds Sebastian Alder in a makeshift hospital fighting for his life after fighting in the battle of Waterloo. Sebastian, unaware of his connection to the late Lord Somerton is shocked by his newfound fortune to say the least. Nursing him back to health, Lady Somerton helps him to adjust to a new way of life, hoping to help women to be educated and personally to have some independence. However, her hopes and dreams are destroyed by her late husband's financial burdens.

Sebastian is a humble and kind man who treats those around him with respect. His inheritance comes with many challenges, along with financial stresses. Sebastian is a much loved character, as is Lady Somerton. The mystery in the story held my interest, as did the characters' themselves. Sebastian's brother and sister and his newfound family are loving people who appreciate his kindness. As romance blossoms, there are questions the reader must ask as to whether or not an unlawful act could tear the couple apart. I was kept in suspense and could not put this novel down.

Alison Stuart's writing is delightful. Having read her Australian historical fiction novels, The Postmistress and The Goldminer's Sister, I was surprised to read a novel that is vastly different, yet has the same level of intrigue and romance. I loved every moment spent reading Lord Somerton's Heir. Alison Stuart is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I love each and every one of her novels. I would highly recommend Lord Somerton's Heir.


Thank you @harlequinaus @alison_stuart14 for #gifting me a copy of Lord Somerton's Heir.
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