Brentwood’s Ward

Brentwood’s WardBrentwood's Ward by Michelle Griep
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Shiloh Run Press on January 1, 2015
Pages: 322

 

Lady Emily knows her only means of supporting herself in life is to secure a wealthy husband, regardless of any personal faults such a man may have. When her father leaves unexpectedly on business, Nicholas Brentwood is hired by her father to watch over Emily during his absence. She is determined to find the perfect match to secure her future, and Nicholas simply wants the large payment her father has promised him for a job well-done in order to care properly for his sister who is direly ill. Despite clashing from their first meeting, Emily and Nicholas can’t help but be intrigued by each other’s secrets. Unfortunately, they come to realize that some secrets are sought after by others who would do harm to Emily and Brentwood both if they get in the way.

Michelle Griep has blended romance and suspense perfectly in Brentwood’s Ward.

Michelle Greip has blended romance and suspense perfectly in Brentwood’s Ward. It’s a true combination of history, romance and suspense. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find it more suspenseful than what I was expecting from a historical novel. Though the plot was obvious at times, the story is well worth the read. The characters’ interactions with one another and the unique writing style kept me flipping those Kindle pages. Griep has a writing voice that compels me to pick up her other novels sooner rather than later. There is something special about her descriptions of time, setting and the nuances of character traits—“Ahead, Nicolas stepped back from the row of carriages lined up like infantrymen in front of the curb. In the rush of departing patrons, his figure alone commanded her gaze. How could he, without a word, make such demands?”—this is just a hint of the striking writing style found in this story.

The suspenseful scenes were clear in my mind and happened in way that I could envision easily and realistically.

While I can’t speak as one well-versed in Regency life, I feel that Griep follows it closely, for the most part. Most of the passion and attraction is conveyed in glances and nearness, not out and out displays of affection – although there are several more romantic moments that will make romance readers happy. I also found there to be a certain grittiness when necessary to Griep’s descriptions that really took the writing up several notches for me.

Lady Emily appears to be a spoiled, pampered brat at the beginning of the story. I had a hard time connecting to her, and understood why Nicholas had such a hard time with her. I sometimes felt that the decisions she made to make herself accessible in dangerous situations were a bit naïve. At the same time, Emily has a certain vulnerability about her, and Griep wrote fears and insecurities realistically into Emily’s character as a sheltered, yet headstrong, young woman.

Nicholas’s character actually felt more realistic than I was expecting. Emily’s world is foreign to him, and he doesn’t care to be a part of it. The little glimpses of the softer side of his character contrasted well with his occupation as an officer in the Bow Street Runners, a pre-cursor to the Metropolitan Police. I found the look into the beginnings of an organized police force to be fascinating and something really unique to a story set in this time period.

Griep has a writing voice that compels me to pick up her other novels sooner rather than later. There is something special about her descriptions of time, setting and the nuances of character traits.

Despite seeming to be complete opposites, Emily and Nicholas are a couple that the reader can truly get behind. Their verbal sparring was humorous, as well as realistically telling of their individual fears, vulnerabilities and mutual attraction.

The plot dragged a bit for me mid-ways through the story, but once that passed, the pace really picked up. The narration style did well in propelling the story from scene to scene, as the reader sees the story through the eyes of both Emily and Nicolas. I loved the danger and excitement of the last half of the story and even appreciated the few times that the villain’s point of view came later on in the story. The suspenseful scenes were clear in my mind and happened in ways that I could envision easily and realistically.

Along with being utterly entertaining, Brentwood’s Ward also has a lovely faith aspect. For me, the overarching message was that God knew what they needed even before they did and trusting God is ultimately the only certainty in life. Readers who find some novels preachy need not worry here, as the spiritual storyline flows naturally into the plot and progression of the characters’ stories.

Fans of historical romance will find plenty here to their liking, and suspense lovers will be pleased as well. The delicious blend of romance, intrigue and historical details have now put Michelle Griep on my “watch list” and am eager to read her other novels.

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