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Today I’m posting a review of the 4th book in Grace Burrowes’ latest series – The Virtuoso. For those of you that are following this series, this book is about Val – the musical brother of the Windham family. The third book – Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish will post on the 18th.
I’m giving away my copy of this book to one lucky person who fills out the form below. Because I have to mail this book, Canadian and US entries only please!
Virtuoso by Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release: November 2011
Source: I received a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher
A Man Whose Passion has Failed him…
Lord Valentine Windham is devastated when an injury makes it impossible for him to play the piano. Val’s music was his greatest expression and also his salvation from the pressures of society – and of this imperious father. Grief, loss, and loneliness threaten to overwhelm him, until he meets a beautiful young widow whose troubles are even deeper than his own…
Immerse yourself in the earthy, passionate Regency world of Grace Burrowes where love and sensuality come vibrantly to life in a timelessly graceful era….
Virtuoso is the fourth in a series of books by Grace Burrowes. The Windham family is featured in this ongoing series, and is proving to be delightful; each book very different than the previous!
Lord Valentine Windham is the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland. He is part of a collection of 10 siblings but has never felt as if he belongs. He has always had an affinity for music in general and the piano in particular. It is his life – it is his identity. His world is shattered when the family doctor tells him he can’t play the piano until the swelling in his hand goes away – it may be months. There seems to be no clear cause for the swelling and therefore it isn’t known what will resolve the issue; maybe time, maybe never.
He manages to win an estate from the Earl of Roxbury – a questionable fellow, seemingly determined to gamble his way to ruin. Val takes this as a sign, and heads off to inspect his new property. Something to do while he isn’t playing the piano. When he arrives he discovers the Mrs. FitzEngle – Ellen – whom he met and shared a shattering kiss with some time ago. He is determined not to let her get away again! Ellen, we find out, is being blackmailed, and is living a hand to mouth existence regardless of her position. She is largely ignored by the community and keeps body and soul together by selling flowers and scented soaps in town at the market. She is a puzzle to Val who is determined to make his own.
This is another delightful story by Grace Burrowes. I have now read The Heir, The Soldier, and Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, and finally The Virtuoso. I’ve read these books slightly out of order in error. Each book does not depend on the others to be understood, yet there are characters that are common to all the books, and we learn more about the members of this family that are becoming dear to me! My most favorite character, the Duke of Moreland, only makes an appearance at the end of this book. He’s a crusty old character that thinks himself wise, yet is played continually by his wife. He’s delightful, he allows himself to meddle in his children’s lives in ways that drive his children to distraction. There is an outstanding scene that describes this in the next book – stay tuned for that review! For this book, there is a discussion between St Just, the Soldier brother and Val that brought me to tears. In this scene St Just describes just how important Val is to him.
“You ass.” St. Just stepped closer and fisted a hand in the hair at the nape of Val’s neck. “Do you really think without a piano bench under your backside you aren’t worth the ducal associations? Is that what this subterfuge is about? Denying you’re Moreland’s legitimate son because you are only a mere mortal, not a god of the keyboard, due to a simple sore hand?”
Val glanced at his hand. “I didn’t think you’d noticed.”
“You didn’t think I’d noticed?” St. Just growled and shook him a little, as if he were a naughty puppy. “When I came back from Waterloo, you played for hours and hours just so I could sleep. You fetched me home from certain death and they played me a lifeline. When I went haring off to York, you spent the damned winter up there just to make sure I was coping adequately. You are the first friend Winnie has made and when she can’t tell me or Emmie what’s wrong, she bangs at that piano until Scout’s ears hurt. You tucked us in each night with lullabies, you interceded for me with the biddies, you…Damn you.”
“Damn you, too.” Val stepped close, and mostly to give himself a moment to swallow back the lump in his throat, hugged his brother. “Sometimes” – he dropped his forehead to St. Just’s shoulder – “I wonder if it isn’t all a lot of noise. It’s good to know somebody was listening.”
“I was listening. I heard every note, Val” St. Just held him a little tighter then let him step back. “Every note.”
St. Just shot him a look then, one that allowed val to see just ahint of the weary soldier St. just had been, a hint of the despair and beliderment that had followed him and so many others home from Waterloo.
“Write,” Val said, unwilling to hold that gaze. “I promise to reply within two years at least.”
So….keep a box of kleenex by your side, find a comfy chair and a few uninterrupted hours and immerse yourself in the beautiful story telling of Grace Burrowes.
According to Ms. Burrowes’ site (http://graceburrowes.com/ ) “September 29, 2011 • Christmas came early for me and the Windham family with the October 1 release of Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish. We reach the half way mark in the eight-sibling family series on November 1 with the release of Valentine’s story, The Virtuoso. Watch this space for the giveaway and blog tour celebrating the arrival of both books, and look for Val and Sophie to pop up on the tour — the Windhams are not a biddable bunch!” It seems like there is more to learn about the Windham’s in the future!
If you are interested in winning a copy of this book, and have a Canadian or US mailing address, just fill out the form and I’ll announce the winner in a week or so.
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Amazon Purchase Link for The Virtuoso