Grays Hill By Barbara T. Cerny
After her father committed suicide, rather than face his mounting gambling debts, Oksana Wallingford knows she will have to work in order to keep food on the table and her younger brother, the new baron, in school. When her best friend finds her a position as the nanny of his brother's children, it is the opportunity Oksana needs. But what she didn't contend with was Rafe, the recently widowed Duke of Essex and her new employer.
Oksana and Rafe's personalities are like oil and water. However, what begins as mutual hate slowly begins to change into something more. But what future can they have when Rafe has sworn off marriage for good?
As the mismatched pair struggles to come to terms with one another, a disaster that throws everything into question strikes them both.
I had been keen to read this book when I read Rubina’s review on her blog. The blurb was quite interesting. Before I went and bought the book, I received a copy to review for this blog tour. Am I lucky I landed with this wonderful book by Barbara T. Cerny!
The story begins with Geoff aka Lord Tarkington, a sunny character and the younger brother of Rafe, the Duke of Essex. Geoff sees that his friend Lady Oksana Jane and her family are in deep trouble when the king’s men take away all their possessions and their home to pay off the loans of her dead father. He immediately jumps to their rescue.
Geoff sees to it that her mother is settled before offering Oksana the post of governess to his nephews at Grays Hill, the duke’s country mansion. While the dour duke is not too keen on the arrangement, he is convinced of the advantages.
Soon, Oksana takes over Rafe’s household and runs it smoothly, too much so for his liking. The servants adore her and are ready to do her bidding at the flick of her fingers. Was she aspiring to become the duchess?
Sparks fly when Oksana and Rafe come together – every time. Soon, the anger turns to passion. But will the duke ever escape his dead wife’s shadow to marry again?
My take on it
I like a story that starts with dialogue on Page 1. I could see that it was going to move fast with that kind of a beginning. The conversation set the background as the author introduces the characters.
Oksana is a strong woman who is loving, hardworking, truthful and determined. She is a bundle of energy who takes to living in Grays Hill as a duck takes to water. Her friendship with Geoff, her guileless nature and her playacting skills have been woven so beautifully into the story. What really touched my heart is the way she tames Lucifer, a wild horse that refuses to be handled by anyone. Oksana’s huge build should have been off-putting. But somehow, it makes her all the more endearing.
Rafe is angry with what life has dealt him. He loses his parents at a very young age - left to deal with the Duchy, his two younger sisters and a kid brother - a lot of responsibility for a man of 20. He does not have a choice but to grow up fast. His marriage has left him totally bitter and he has forgotten to smile, let alone laugh. The transformation of the duke under Oksana’s influence has been dealt with so wonderfully that it is a joy to read. One could see the resemblance between Lucifer and Rafe.
Then there is Geoff. He is fun, a truly loyal friend and an adoring uncle. I just loved his character and his relationship with Rafe and Oksana. He is totally unpretentious.
I have a request of Barbara T. Cerny – please, can you create a sequel for this book with Geoff as the hero?
I loved reading this period romance and will go with 5 stars. Looking forward to reading more by this author!
Meet the Author
Barbara T. Cerny grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. She served twenty-two years in the US Army Reserves, retiring a Lieutenant Colonel in 2007. She is an information technology specialist and supervisor. Barb writes historical romances good for late teen and adults. She puts a lot of history and adventure into her work. Words are her passion, they do matter.
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