Rhys Winterborne, born in Wales and raised in the labor class, has taken his family’s grocer business and grown it into the most successful department store in London. He meets Lady Helen Ravenal while visiting her brother on his estate where she nurses him back to health after an accident. He decides she’s the one for him and they become engaged. This premise sounds pretty normal, right? I thought so too, but was surprised at a couple things that made this novel original.
As expected, as a self made man, Rhys has dreams of marrying into the higher class, and in this novel, the Ravenals were the epitome of class- which is a pretty normal theme in historical romances. However, I can’t recall reading a historical romance with a Welsh romantic lead. There were some interesting facts splashed through the novel about the Welsh, and how the British were prejudiced. This created tension, making Helen’s choice of marrying Rhys a bigger challenge than it otherwise would’ve been. As an American, it is harder to grasp the reason for racial tension between the English and Welsh, but as my sister reminded me, the British conquered the Welsh, and those prejudices probably did exist.
Helen is incredibly shy, and the contrast between his earthiness and her gentle nature would have become stale except her character grows strength. She battles adversity, not just with her love for Rhys, but as she deals with an enemy. That there is an enemy is not surprising, but her choices while dealing with him were different, and I liked her more for making them. The chemistry between Rhys and Helen combined with the social class issues gave this romance a gritty real estate that I enjoyed exploring.
Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved