Series: Midwinter Manor 01
Author: J.L. Merrow
Genre: Historical (1922), England
Length: Short (65pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (30th January 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: One snowy night just before Christmas, 1922, poacher Danny Costessey rounds off a night trapping rabbits by climbing a tree to fetch some mistletoe for his mother—only to fall and break his leg. Taken to the manor house to recover from his injuries, Danny meets the reclusive owner, Philip Luccombe. Village gossip has it Luccombe went mad during the war, but Danny soon realizes he’s simply still mourning his late lover. As friendship grows between them, Danny starts to fall for handsome, shy Philip.
Danny’s lively nature, roguish good looks, and ready laughter enchant Philip, and he finds himself being drawn out of his shell whether he will it or not. But when Danny tries to move beyond friendship, Philip panics—and his rejection threatens not only their happiness, but Danny’s health.
Previously published as short story Pleasures With Rough Strife in December 2009 by Dreamspinner Press.
Review: Danny is a poacher on his way home with his bounty when he decides to treat his mum to some mistletoe. Unfortunately, he falls out of the tree and is found by the Gamekeeper. Danny awakens in the manor house and the Lord of the manor, Mr. Luccombe, assures him his family will be taken care of while Danny recovers from his injuries. Peter has locked himself away inside his manor since the death of his beloved Robert, but having Danny under his roof pulls him back to the land of the living and maybe he can start to love again.
This is a sweet historical that touches the heart. Danny and Phillip come from different worlds, Phillip is well off and has all the comforts in life, while Danny is poor and has to resort to poaching so his family can survive. When the two first meet, it is a fearful Danny laid up in bed wondering if he will be punished for poaching and an unsure Phillip who is curious about his houseguest. Both characters are wonderfully written with Phillip having a wounded heart over the loss of a loved one year’s before; he withdrew into himself and Danny who has confidence and an open heart.
Both characters have suffered loss, with Danny losing his father and having to become the man of the house at a young age and for Phillip it was the loss of his lover Robert. Both men connect in friendship and Danny’s presence in the house has Phillip seeking company for the first time in years, he begins to emerge from his self-exile from life and begins to feel things that he never thought he would again. This is a very sweet story that was a charm to read.
I will recommend this to those who love historicals, sweet connections, emerging from a cocoon of the past and a happy ending.