The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath


From the back of The Determined Lord Hadleigh:

Part of The King’s Elite. Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can this he break through his own – and Penny’s – barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?

The good

First of all, I had no idea that The Determined Lord Hadleigh was part of a series. I guess part of the blurb on the back should have given that away, but I did not pick up on that. I was given this book for free at the RNA Conference in Lancaster, otherwise I might have cottoned on that this was the last in the series.

The Determined Lord Hadleigh can totally be read as a standalone. I did not have the feeling I had been missing anything, and it wasn’t until more than halfway through the book that I got the suspicion that maybe there were more books that had come before this one. It is quite enjoyable as a standalone book, but I am happy that it’s part of a series as I really liked it.

The characters of Penny and Lord Hadleigh are very well drawn. I really felt for Penny and all she had gone through and I admired her for her determination to make something of her life. Lord Hadleigh’s attempts to help Penny were sweet, but it was refreshing to see a female character rebuff the help of the hero and insist to stand on her own two feet. I love that Penny refused to let her marriage to Lord Penhurst define who she is – something that Lord Hadleigh still needs to learn.

Lord Hadleigh was a lovely character as well, and you can really feel his struggle with his own past. It was wonderful that he was able to overcome that and the way he treats Penny in the book makes me love him even more.

The pacing in the book is great, the emotional conflict is believable and does not drag on too much and the resolution is satisfying. I wasn’t sure about the epilogue, as I usually don’t care for them, but in light of The Determined Lord Hadleigh being the last of a series, it makes sense to tie it all together.

The not-so-good

Believe it or not, there wasn’t really anything that was not so good. It was a very sweet romance, very character-driven and it was great to see both Penny and Lord Hadleigh grow – individually as well as a couple. I guess I didn’t really care much for Freddie, Penny’s toddler son, but that’s just because I don’t really care of children in books in general (especially not in romance). That’s my own hang-up and in no way a reflection on the book.

In conclusion

I really liked this book. It was a sweet romance, with well-drawn characters who make believable choices and who grow throughout the course of the story. I am definitely going to read the rest in the King’s Elite series.

The Determined Lord Hadleigh is available from Mills and Boon.

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