A USA Today bestseller
He'll never be free...
Captured and tortured by the French, Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, survives by vowing to take revenge on his tormentors. Before the duke can pursue his version of justice, Gillian, Countess of Greendale, reminds him that his small daughter has suffered much in his absence, and needs her papa desperately.
Until he surrenders his heart...
Gilly endured her difficult marriage by avoiding confrontation and keeping peace at any cost. Christian's devotion to his daughter and his kindness toward Gilly give her hope that she could enjoy a future with him, for surely he of all men shares her loathing for violence in any form. Little does Gilly know, the battle for Christian's heart is only beginning.
Captive Hearts series:
The Captive (Book 1)
The Traitor (Book 2)
The Laird (Book 3)
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
In his personal hell, Christian Donatus Severn, eighth Duke of Mercia, considered the pedagogic days the worst of a horrific lot-also the most precious. The days when his captors used his suffering to teach the arcane art of interrogation might cost him his sanity, even his honor, but they also ensured he would some day, some night, some eternity if necessary, have that sweetest of satisfactions-revenge.
"You see before you the mortal form of a once great and powerful man, Corporal," Girard said, pacing slowly between the table his prisoner had been lashed to and the damp stone wall where the corporal stood at attention.
Girard was a stranger to hurry, a necessary trait in a torturer. A big, dark, lean acolyte of the Corsican, Girard lived in Christian's awareness the way consumption dwelled in the minds of those it afflicted.
"Our duke is still great, to my mind," Girard went on, "because His Grace has not, as the English say, broken."
Girard blathered on in his subtly accented French, and despite willing it to the contrary, Christian translated easily. As Girard's ironic praise and patriotic devotion blended in a curiously mesmerizing patter, Girard's superior, Henri Anduvoir-the actual intended student-lurked off in the shadows.
Bad luck in a man's superiors was not the exclusive province of Wellington's army. Girard made a science of extracting truth from those reluctant to part with it, and pain was only one tool at his disposal.
Anduvoir, a simpler and in some ways more-evil soul, was plainly addicted to hurting others for his own entertainment.
Christian filled his mind with the lovely truth that someday Anduvoir, too, would be made to suffer, and suffer, and suffer.
"Yet. Our duke has not broken yet," Girard went on. "I challenge you, Corporal, to devise the torment or the prize that will break him, but be mindful that our challenge grows the longer His Grace is silent. When the good God above put Mercia into our hands all those months ago, we sought to know through which pass Wellington would move his troops. We know now, so what, I ask you, is the point of the exercise? Why not simply toss this living carcass to the wolves?"
Yes, please God, why not?
And then another thought intruded on Christian's efforts to distance himself from the goings-on in that cell: Was Girard letting slip that Wellington had, in fact, moved troops into France itself? Girard played a diabolical game of cat and mouse, hope and despair, in a role that blended tormenter and protector with a subtlety a better-fed man might find fascinating.
"We yet enjoy His Grace's charming company because the duke serves another purpose," Girard prosed on. "He did not break, so we must conclude he is sent here to teach us the breaking of a strong man. One might say, an inhumanly strong man. Now..."
The scent of rich Turkish tobacco wafted to Christian's nose, cutting through the fragrance of lavender Girard favored and the perpetual damp of the Château's lower reaches. Christian's meager breakfast threatened a reappearance, a helpful development in truth. He focused not on Girard's lilting, philosophical French, but on holding the nausea at bay, for he had reason to know a man could choke on his own vomit.
A boot scraped, and by senses other than sight, Christian divined that Anduvoir had come out of his shadows, a reptile in search of his favorite variety of heat.
"Enough lecturing, Colonel Girard. Your pet has not told us of troop movements. In fact, the man no longer talks at all, do you, mon duc?" Anduvoir sucked a slow drag of his cigar, then gently placed the moist end of it against Christian's lips. "I long for the sound of even one hearty English scream. Long for it desperately."
Christian turned his head away in a response Girard, who was by no means a stupid man, would have predicted. Anduvoir was an infrequent visitor, though, and like any attentive host-or prudent subordinate-Girard trotted out the best entertainments for his guest.
Anduvoir moved into Christian's line of sight, which, given the careful lack of expression on Girard's face, was bad news all around. Anduvoir was short, dark, coarse featured, and behind his Gallic posturing, suffused with the glee of a bully whose victim could not elude torment.
"A quiet man, our duke." Anduvoir expelled smoke through his nose. "Or perhaps, not so quiet."
He laid the burning tip of the cigar against the soft skin inside Christian's elbow with the same care he'd put it to his prisoner's mouth, letting a small silence mark the moment when the scent of scorched flesh rose.
The blinding, searing pain howled from Christian's arm to his mind, where it joined the memory of a thousand similar pains and coalesced into one roaring chant:
"Lord Greendale was a man of great influence," Dr. Martin said, clearing his throat in a manner Gilly was coming to loathe, the way she'd loathed the sight of Greendale lighting one of his foul cheroots in her private parlor.
"His lordship enjoyed very great influence," Gilly concurred, eyes down, as befit a woman facing the widowed state.
The bad news came exactly as expected: "You should prepare for an inquest, my lady."
"An inquest?" Gilly gestured for her guest to take a seat, eight years of marriage to Greendale having taught her to produce an appearance of calm at will. "Theophilus, the man of great influence was universally disliked, approaching his threescore and ten, and the victim of an apoplexy in the midst of a formal dinner for twenty-eight of his most trusted toadies. What will an inquest serve?"
Since Greendale's apoplexy, Gilly had dared to order that the fires in her parlor be kept burning through the day, and yet, the physician's words chilled her more effectively than if a window had banged open.
"Lady Greendale..." Martin shifted a black satchel from right hand to left, making the contents rattle softly. Gilly was convinced the only items of interest in that bag were a selection of pocket flasks.
"Countess, you must not speak so freely, even to me. I will certainly be put under oath and questioned at length. I cannot imagine what the wrong words in the hands of the lawyers will do to your reputation."
His wrong words, over which he'd have no control, of course. A just God would afflict such a physician with a slow, painful death.
"Reputation matters little if one is to swing for murder."
"It won't come to that," Martin said, but he remained poised by the door, bag in hand, as if lingering in Gilly's presence might taint him not with her guilt-for she was innocent of wrongdoing toward her late spouse-but with her vulnerability to accusations. "I had Harrison consult on the case, and he confirmed my diagnosis by letter not two days after the apoplexy."
Dr. Theophilus Martin had observed this precaution not because he was intent on safeguarding Greendale's young widow, but because his late, unlamented lordship had created an air of mistrust thick enough to pollute every corner of the house.
"What am I to be charged with?" Stupidity, certainly, for having married Greendale, but Gilly's family had been adamant-"You'll be a countess!"-and she'd been so young...
Dr. Martin smoothed a soft hand over snow-white hair. "You are not accused of anything."
His lengthy, silent examination of the framed verses of Psalm 23 hanging over the sideboard confirmed that Gilly would, indeed, face suspicion. Her life had become a series of accusations grounded in nothing more than an old man's febrile imagination, and he'd made those accusations where any servant might have overheard them.
"They will say I put a pillow over his face, won't they?"
"They can't. You had a nurse in the room at all times, didn't you? Lovely stitch work, my lady."
Gilly had been accompanied by two nurses, as often as possible, and the stitch work would go to the poorhouse as soon as the inquest was over.
"If I was with his lordship, a nurse was always present-or you, yourself. Will the nurses be suspect?"
She did not ask if Martin would come under suspicion, because quite honestly, she was too afraid to care. He'd been summoned to Greendale Hall on many occasions, and had socialized with Lord Greendale as often as he'd treated him. His solicitude of Gilly now likely had to do with seeing his substantial bill paid.
"I hired the nurses based on my personal experience of them, so no, I shouldn't think they'll come under suspicion," Martin said.
Because the physician was eyeing the door, Gilly fired off the most important question, and to Hades with dignity.
"Who's behind this, Theophilus? My husband is not yet put in the ground, and already you're telling me of an inquest."
Though thank a merciful Deity, Martin's torpid humanitarian instincts had resulted in this warning, at least. Another smoothing of his leonine mane followed, while the fingers of his left hand tightened on the black leather handle tellingly.
"I thought it the better part of kindness not to burden you with this news prematurely, but Lord Greendale himself apparently told his heir to see to the formalities."
And to think Gilly had prayed for her husband's recovery. "Easterbrook ordered this? He's still in France or Spain or somewhere serving the Crown."
"As heir to Lord Greendale's title and fortune, Marcus Easterbrook would have left instructions with his solicitors, and they would in turn have been in communication with King's Counsel and the local magistrate."
Men. Always so organized when bent on aggravation and aspersion. "Greendale was the magistrate. To whom does that dubious honor fall now?"
"Likely to Squire Gordon."
Gordon was a hounds-and-horses fellow, and he'd never toadied to Greendale. A fraction of Gilly's panic eased.
"Shall you have some tea, Theophilus? It's good and hot." Also strong for a change, Gilly's second act of independence from the infernal economies Greendale had imposed on her.
"Thank you, my lady, but no." Martin turned toward the door, then hesitated, hand on the latch.
"You needn't tarry, Theophilus. You've served the family loyally, and that has been far from easy." He'd served the family discreetly, too. Very discreetly. "I suppose I'll see you at the inquest."
He nodded once and slipped away, confirming that he would not call in even a professional capacity before the legalities were resolved, not if he wanted to maintain the appearance of impartiality. Not if he wanted to keep the Crown's men from turning their sights on him as well.
Gilly added coal to the fire-rest in peace, Lord Greendale-and stared into the flames for long moments, weighing her very few options as best one could weigh options when in a flat, terrified panic.
As her strong, hot tea grew tepid in the pot, she sat down with pen and ink, and begged an interview with Gervaise Stoneleigh, the coldest, most astute, most expensive barrister ever to turn down Greendale's coin.
And that decision very likely saved her life.
"Girard gave me final orders concerning you."
Christian turned his head slowly. He was still recovering from the last teaching day, a sorry effort on the corporal's part, consisting of familiar tortures enthusiastically applied the better to impress Anduvoir, while Girard had stood bristling with silent censure.
Girard did not approve of brute maneuvers that produced no results, and one had to respect Girard's sense of efficiency.
"You don't care that Girard might have given me orders to kill you, do you?"
The jailer sounded Irish, or on rare occasions when nobody else was about, Scottish, and Christian admitted-in the endless privacy of his thoughts-to being grateful to hear English in any accent other than French.
And typical of Girard's cunning, the jailer was also a frequent source of small kindnesses intended to torment the prisoner with that most cruel weapon: hope.
"Girard said I'm not to allow you to suffer, on account of what's gone before. Said you'd earned your battle honors, so to speak, though it would be a mercy to allow you to join your duchess and your son. He said you're a man who can trust no one, and the life that awaits you won't be worth living for long, assuming your enemies don't ambush you from the hedges of Surrey."
Ah. The old lie, for Christian had no enemies in Surrey, and his wife and son yet thrived at home in England. Severn was a veritable fortress, staffed by retainers whose loyalty went back generations. Girard was simply a petty evil allowed to flourish in the bowels of the Grand Armée's outpost on the slopes of the Pyrenees, and this claim that Helene and Evan were dead was merely a blunt weapon in Girard's arsenal.
Which Girard would pay for using.
Christian focused on ignoring the man speaking to him, a big blond fellow with watchful green eyes and a wary devotion to Girard. Girard referred to him as "Michel"; the other guards quietly referred to him in less affectionate terms.
The jailer held a gleaming, bone-handled knife, its presence a matter of complete indifference to Christian-almost. The knife had become something of a friend to Christian-for a time-until Anduvoir had found a use for it no man could contemplate sanely.
"Orthez fell in February," the jailer said, still lingering near the open door of the cell-a taunt, that, leaving the cell door unlatched when Christian was powerless to escape. "That was weeks ago, not that you'd know, poor sod. Bordeaux was last month. Toulouse has been taken, and we've heard rumors Napoleon has abdicated. Girard's gone."
None of it was true. These fairy tales were a variation on the stories the jailer told from time to time in an effort to raise hopes. Christian knew better: hopes that refused to rise couldn't be dashed.
The jailer came no closer.
"I've seen what went on here, and I'm sorry for it," he said, sounding Scottish indeed, and damnably sincere. "Girard is sorry for it, too. This was war, true enough, but when Anduvoir came around..."
But nothing. Christian was tied to the cot, a periodic nuisance he'd long since become inured to. Girard's greatest cruelty had been to show his prisoner only enough care to ensure Christian wouldn't die. The mattress was thin but clean, and Christian probably had more blankets than the infantry quartered elsewhere in the old château.
He was fed.
If he refused to eat, he was fed by force. If he refused to bathe, he was bathed by force as well. If he refused his occasional sortie into the château's courtyard, where fresh air and sunshine assaulted his senses every bit as brutally as the guards assaulted his body, he was escorted there by force.
Eventually, the force had been unnecessary, for a man strong enough to escape was a man who preserved the hope of revenge, and Christian wanted to remain that strong. He endured the fresh air and sunlight, he ate the food given him by his captors, nourishing not himself, but his dreams of revenge.
Girard had understood that too, and had understood how to manipulate even that last, best hope.
Christian was required to heal between sessions with Girard or the various corporals, and he was given medical care when the corporals-or more often Anduvoir-got out of hand. Now he'd earned a simple, relatively painless death.
He tried to muster gratitude, fear, relief, something.
Anything besides a towering regret that revenge would be denied him.
"I'm sorry," the jailer said again. "I'm so bloody sorry."
Girard had said the same things, always softly, always sincerely, as he'd lowered Christian carefully to the cot where the mandatory healing would commence.
Christian felt the knife slicing at the bindings around his wrists and ankles, felt the agony of blood surging into his hands, then his feet.
"I'm sorry," the jailer said again.
And then Christian felt...nothing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first book in Grace Burrowes' newest series, Captive Hearts. One of the best things about a Grace Burrowes novel is how she connects her stories and characters from her books in her other series. I prefer to read series in order and, with this title, each new book adds a richness to her Regency world, first begun in the Windham Family series. Here we learn more about Colonel Devlin St. Just (from The Soldier) and mention is made of Worth Kettering (from Worth: Lord of Reckoningpart of the fantastic Lonely Lords series). This beautifully written but sometimes difficult to read novel—it’s emotionally heart-wrenching because of the great pain both Gillian and Christian have suffered—centers on the theme of captivity: Christian was held captive and tortured for a year by the French and then held captive by his determination for revenge, Gillian was trapped in an abusive arranged marriage for eight years, Christian’s young daughter, Lucy, is bound mute in a fearful silence, and both Gillian and Christian are held captive by their own emotions in their ability to love again. "Captivity came in many forms. A marriage being one, a dungeon being another, a quest for vengeance another…" Revenge is another prominent theme. Christian wants revenge on his cruel tormentor, Robert Girard, a Frenchman with an English title; in fact, during his captivity, his promise of revenge keeps him determined to survive. Another character, Marcus, is also driven to his own revenge. Gillian helps Christian heal, both emotionally as well as physically. When all he wants to do is hide in his London townhouse, she visits him and demands he take responsibility for his young daughter, Lucy, who has not spoken since her mother and baby brother died over a year before. Gillian is a cousin to Christian’s late wife, hence the family connection. The romance between Gillian and Christian is slow to grow, and at first it’s a sincere and sweet friendship. Both are abused souls who find comfort in one another. Eventually, they also recognize a mutual sexual attraction. But Gillian does not want marriage, she simply wants an affair, but Christian won’t settle for anything less. Gillian refuses to leave him and his daughter and she’s not frightened away by his abrupt outbursts of fear. She’s an incredibly strong and resilient woman and she helps him heal by forcing him into a daily routine of normalcy. “…it was a struggle to not fall in love with a man who was determined to be decent to her when what she sought was indulgence of her wanton nature.” "She didn’t even know Mercia and might not like him if she did know him, but to have endured such suffering made her hurt for him." It is only when both Christian and Gillian allow themselves to be free of their captivity and revenge that they can truly love each other completely. “‘You tried to show me,’ she said. ‘You tried to convey to me, that after years of fighting against a bitter enemy, you can lose yourself in the belief that it’s enough merely to be his enemy, even when the hostilities are over. But if you sustain yourself on that bitterness, your foe wins twice, for you are as much his slave as if you were still chained in his dungeon.’” The little Grace Burrowes details are evident, and a joy to discover: a black band on a calling card indicating widowhood, Gillian and Christian’s shared ritual of sharing oranges, how Christian and Devlin consume all the butter before Gillian comes down to her breakfast. "Lady Greendale had renewed a certain appetite in him, one he hadn’t realized he’d possessed—for sweet touches, for care and tenderness and tactile loving kindness." "He was a war hero for silently enduring a few months of Girard’s intermittent abuse, while Gilly remained emotionally imprisoned after eight years of silent torture, for which the law and Society both had guaranteed her tormenter impunity." When Christian realizes someone is out to harm Gillian, he becomes obsessed with protecting her as well as Lucy. While I see hints of the villain toward the end of the story, I still was shocked that someone could be so horrible. It is interesting to see the connections between Gillian and Christian’s shared histories. This touching story also includes the history of Colonel Devlin St. Just, the Duke of Moreland’s eldest son born on the wrong side of the blanket. He’s a secondary character here, but a major one, as he befriends and supports Christian Severn. The events in The Captive take place before The Soldier. Devlin doesn’t want to go home, even though he loves his family. Burrowes captures his reluctance well. An affecting and powerful love story.
I have read about a dozen books by Grace Burrows and enjoyed them all but The Captive was the best one yet! If you have read any others, you will be pleased to have St Just back in this story. I would give this book five stars! /cs
Incredible and Absolutely lovely This is a fantastic start of a new series by Grace Burrowes. The Captive is a perfect title for this amazing story of the Duke of Mercia who captured and tortured by French and Gillian, countess of Greendale who suffered eight years in her marriage by her cruel husband. This is a heartbreaking , romantic and emotional story with amazing characters. I loved this story and can't wait to read the next in this wonderful series.Thank you Grace Burrowes for writing another fantastic book.
Book source ~ NetGalley Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, has survived being held captive and tortured during Napolean’s reign. Finally back in his London town home all he wants is to get well enough to exact his revenge on his captors. But he hasn’t been home long before Gillian, the Countess of Greendale, invades his home and reminds him that he has a daughter in the country who needs her father. He agrees to go, but insists Gillian accompany him. Since she’s a recent widow and has no desire to return to a home filled with unhappy memories, she agrees to his demand. And that’s when it all gets interesting. This is a very well-written story about dealing with the aftermath of abuse and trusting again. I love Gillian and to an extent I love Christian. I’m probably being picky, but I disliked Christian’s dismissing of Gillian’s concerns, poo pooing them like she’s just a hysterical woman. It’s not something he does overmuch, but it dropped my rating. In any case, despite this slight flaw of Christian’s, this book is still going on a list of my favorite reads of 2019. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a damaged hero.
Story. The subject matter is sometimes difficult to get through, but the creative characterization manages to make the journey well worth the read. Grace Burrowes at her best!
Good book, with a hero who is dealing with the Regency version of PTSD and a heroine who has a traumatic past of her own. The book opens with Christian as a prisoner of the French, being tortured and tormented in an attempt to get him to confess what he knows. Seeing what he went through made me ache for him, but also impressed me with the fortitude he showed in enduring it. He was determined to survive in order to take his revenge on them later. There was something a little odd about his treatment, and the memories of it carried throughout the book. When the war ended and he was released, he had to find his own way back to the British army. That arrival was not what he expected, and his treatment by his cousin was disturbing. I really liked Christian's dignified attitude as he attempts to prove his identity. I liked seeing Devlin St. Just again, and enjoyed his matter-of-fact treatment of Christian, both now and later in the book. Once Christian is back in London, he avoids contact with everyone, still attempting to deal with the physical and mental effects of his captivity. Everything changes when Gillian bursts into his life. Gillian is recently widowed, ending her eight year marriage to a man three times her age, who was physically and mentally abusive to her. She was cousin to Christian's late wife and has been trying to watch over Christian's young daughter Lucy. Disturbed by the child's withdrawal and refusal to speak, Gilly confronts Christian, forcing him to see that he has a responsibility to Lucy. Her own past enables her to handle Christian with tact and sensibility for the most part, with a bit of steamroller tossed in when necessary. I enjoyed seeing them get to know each other, as the two of them settled in to life at Severn, Christian's country estate. His return to health can be partially credited to Gilly, who doesn't fuss but makes sure that he has what he needs and is able to handle. I liked seeing how Christian reestablishes his bond with Lucy, and how their care for her helps bring him and Gilly closer together. Their friendship begins to grow into more, but there are some obstacles holding them back. Because of her marriage, Gilly is reluctant to put herself under the power of another man, even one such as Christian. There are also several accidents that happen to her, that Christian feels aren't actually accidents. This brings out a protectiveness in him that rubs up against Gilly's fears. On Christian's part, he feels that he really can't move on with his life until he deals with his past, which means following through on his vow of revenge. This is made somewhat more difficult by his knowledge that Gilly is against violence of any type. There were some beautiful scenes between Gilly and Christian. I loved his patience and sensitivity as he learned more about what her marriage had been like. The part with the exposure of what she considers her biggest shame was especially moving. Gilly's way of helping Christian through his toughest moments was also beautifully realistic. I especially loved her tailoring efforts, and later her reaction to what Christian considered his worst scar. Because of space limitations, review is continued at: http://susans2016readingblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-captive-grace-burrowes-sourcebooks.html
GB brings a great cast of characters together once again.. It was intriguing te see how she brought Christian to heal from his torturous wounds through Gillie's own experiences. Loved his relationship with his daughter Lucy and with St. Just. Beginning The Traitor featuring Girard from this novel as Sebastian St. Clair. LORRAINE
"Some Silences we are compelled to keep." This story was so well written that I truly felt taken back in time. Both Duke and Duchess has lived through their own personal hell and have kept it secret from everyone. They find comfort within each other's arms while facing their past. They also worry about the Duke's daughter who is refusing to talk. She also has secrets that she has to hide in order to protect the ones she love. My heart just went out to this family. This is the first book I have read from this author and I can't wait to read more. If you love historical romance you do not want to miss this book!
I really enjoyed this book. If you like Regency romance buy it. You won't be sorry
Absolutely loved this book. I read anything Grace Burrows, and I love all the story lines. I truly enjoyed this new turn on the sadness they was theirs to overcome. I loved the characters and could not put this book down. I would give anything to be talked to like Christian does to Gillian. LOVED this book!
As with all of Grace's books this one was a great read! I always wait for her new releases with great anticipation!!
I loved this book! Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia,opens the book while being tortured by the French during the war. After his release and return to England, he becomes a virtual hermit until he is confronted in his own home by Gillian, Countess of Greendale, a recent widow. Gillian has come to force Christian to return home and care for his daughter who is her cousin's child. Gillian has been through rough times of her own including an eight year marriage to an very much older man. Christian and Gillian travel to his country home and the real story begins. Both of these characters have lived through hellish times and they connect on many levels. They also disagree on many levels which actually gets Christian to start to return to life. Gillian has a tender heart but also a good brain and she gets where Christian is emotionally. Christian, while scarred physically and emotionally, recognizes a kindred soul and one who he cannot survive without. Their romance is at once tentative and combustible. They heal each other. There are evil doings throughout the book and the ending is surprising, but sets up the next book in the series. I am interested to read the Traitor and see how Ms. Burrowes is able to create a hero out of the main character. Although, I shouldn't be surprised as redeeming what would typically be an anti-hero seems to be a talent of hers. It should be an interesting book!
This book is darker than other books by Ms. Burrowes. War is hell and survivors suffer long after the war is over. The interaction between Christian & Gilly is heartwarming. A good start to a new servies. It is always funs to catch up other favorite characters from the Heir series.
As usual Ms Burrowes has written an outstanding and heartwarming book. One of my favorite aspects of this book (and her books in general) is she writes wonderful relationships between the men in the books. There is true caring, warmth and respect between her male leads and the other men in the lives of the characters. It's an aspect of life seldom touched on in Romancelandia. That said, the relationship between the romantic leads here is not given short shrift. Their feelings for each other develop in a natural progression and feel real. Characters from her other books appear in this tale, and if you know who they are it enhances the story, but knowing them is not necessary to understanding the story. Dang I wish I could write like this.
5 out of 5 for this reader folks! WOW! Another grand slam by Grace Burrowes. I really ... REALLY enjoyed this historical romance. I love that Grace writes mature," lived life a little and now much wiser" kind of characters. I think this is the big reason why her stories seems to flow so naturally and always before I know it, I am finished the book. The believability is front and centre as is the ability to feel sympathy and compassion. I always FEEL FEEL FEEL reading a Grace Burrowes book and I absolutely love that. I also adore that she always seems to write the perfect match for her often conflicted characters and somehow they always seem to break the mold and become one of a kind! So clearly, yes, once again I am gushing at my fave historical romance author, but it is well deserved. Let's "meet" why shall we??? WINK! A little darker to start than her other books I have read, The Captive is the first book in her Captive Heart series. Set in London and France during the Napoleon war, we are introduced to Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia right away. Unfortunately, it is after he has been captured by the French and is being viciously tortured and reduced to nothing short of an animal. Once the war is over, Christian is released and finds his way back home as an close to complete broken man (both physically and psychologically). He also learns that he has lost his Duchess and heir but his daughter survives. Gillian, Countess of Greendale is recently widowed and is quite pleased about it. After surviving her own abusive situation, she has taken responsibility towards her cousins daughter (that would be Christian's late Duchess). When she learns that the Duke has survived his ordeal, she takes it upon herself to barge in and demand that he step up and be a proper papa to his ailing daughter Lucy. Completely taken with Gilly in the most refreshing manner, Christian insists that Gilly stay on to help him with his daughter and somehow ... to help him heal. These two turn out to be what the other didn't know they needed. With revenge strong in his mind, Christian is resolved in righting the wrongs that were inflicted upon his person .. no matter the cost. Gilly begins to strip away all that hate that consumes Christian and it's through small displays of consideration on the other's behalf that these two form a bond and perhaps a healing love. However, for a true happy ending, Gilly must learn that marriage doesn't mean being under a man's hand/word, and Christian must learn that revenge can tear apart his new found happiness. If these two can jump these hurdles, they have the makings for happily ever after. Another wonderful start to a new series Grace Burrowes and I must admit I am anxious to read the next one! HAPPY READING! :)
THE CAPTIVE by Grace Burrowes is a captivating Regency Historical Romance. Book 1 in "The Captive Hearts Trilogy", and what a beginning! This is the story of Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia and Gillian, Countess of Greendale. Christian was captured and tortured by the French for over a year. Now, he is free and he wants revenge against his captors. He survived by his vow to himself, of vengeance and justice, only to come home to find his wife and son dead, his young daughter has suffered much from his absence. Now she either refuses or can't speak. There is, of course more to that amazing story! You many guess, but the answers come toward the end. Gillian, is a widow, finally, after eight years of abuse, from the older Greendale and now suspect in his death. His heir, Christian's cousin, Marcus, has made sure of that. Oh, but all is not what it seems on that front. Greed can do so much to destroy innocent lives! A captivating, fast paced tale of intrigue, suspense, mystery and passion. Two tortured souls find comfort, justice, passion, a safe haven in each others arms and everlasting love. Ms. Burrowes blends the right mixture of suspense, tragedy, passion and romance to keep the reader turning pages way into the night. I truly wish to see the others in this series, come to fruition. The true magic of this tale is the love, and compassion shown throughout this story by both Christian and Gillian. Not just another romp through Regency England but a romp on one's heart! Well done, indeed! Received for an honest review from the publisher. Rating: 4.5 Heat Rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR, Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Wow. I’m known for being sometimes hit or miss on Ms. Burrowes’ work, but this was a definite hit for me. I loved the interplay between Christian and Gilly, the desperate healing that both needed at the juncture of their lives that brought them together. I fell in love with Christian, and was fascinated by the semi-villain of the piece and the truth of what lay behind his actions. Absolutely 5-gargoyle rating for this book. Check it out people!
I enjoyed all of her books and this one, as well. Never have I found one of her books a disappointment!