Sunday, October 13, 2013

Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak

Historical Romance

What Goodreads Says:

A shocking betrayal…

Riches. Power. An ancient heritage of pride. The Earl of Druridge wanted only for an heir. So when he learned that his wife was carrying another man’s child, he was filled with a thirst for vengeance.

But he wasn’t the one who caused Katherine’s death. Or was he? To his horror, he remembers nothing of that dreadful night, when their last confrontation ended in scorching flame and cold blood.

A forbidden love…

Rachel McTavish, the beautiful daughter of a coal miner, knows something about the fire that took Lady Katherine’s life. In secret, the strong-willed girl strikes a bargain with the desperate earl: he must send his physician to help her dying mother or he may go to the devil—and the scaffold. He agrees, but she is still unsure that her revelation will be enough to save him when so many wish him dead.

Passionately drawn to the nobleman, despite all the doubt and mystery that shrouds him, Rachel wonders if he can really be a murderer. Or if he is the only man who will ever own her heart.

I have been reading and enjoying Brenda Novak’s Whiskey Creek Contemporary Romance series.  Historical romances are not what she usually writes and I wanted to see if I liked Through the Smoke as much as I liked her other books.

She did take a slightly different slant for the romance.  While the hero is a nobleman and an Earl the rest of the characters are not part of the nobility.  Truman Stanhope, the Earl of Druridge, is a tortured character.  He cannot remember what he did on the night his wife died and now someone is trying to kill him.  His cousin saved him that night or he might suspect that he is the guilty one.  To add to his problems his late wife’s parents want to try him for murder and see him hang.  He needs to prove that he is innocent.
Rachel McTavish knows something about that night.  She might be able to prove that he is innocent.  She and Truman are drawn together but even if she helps she still has other secrets.

 This book moves rather slowly but that allows great plot development as the book unfolds.  The attraction between Rachel and Truman builds in spite of the secrets both have.  The coal mine that Truman owns and the men that work there are central to the danger, the secrets, and the tension in the story.

While I suspected who was the villain there was one surprise relationship in the book.  The writing in Through The Smoke was good, the plot was interesting and the journey to the HEA was filled with problems.

In other words there was everything needed to make Through the Smoke an enjoyable read.

Montlake Romance published Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak in 2013.

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