The world has not been kind to Ash Turner, but he has resolutely made the most of it. Born to a mother intent on giving away her family’s last morsels of food, dyslexic in a world which doesn’t understand his condition, and fiercely protective of two brothers he struggles to understand, Ash’s moment of triumph, after years of hard-working success, has finally arrived when he gets in line to inherit the dukedom from the distant relative who would not help him and his brothers in their time of need.
But he hadn’t accounted for Margaret, the daughter of that duke, who is not only watching her father die but herself and her brothers being disinherited. She’s determined to hate Ash, and pretends to be a nurse so she can spy on him for her brothers. As time goes on, though, she realizes that she can’t hate him; he cherishes his family in ways she’s never known, and treats her like a somebody even though she’s now a bastard and dressed as a servant. Torn between loyalty to her family and a growing love for Ash, Margaret has to weigh her values carefully to avoid making what could be the biggest mistake of her life.
I knew I had to read more by Courtney Milan as soon as I’d finished Unlocked earlier this year, and I am so thankful she hasn’t let me down with this book. As with most romances, this story is really about the characters, and I loved them both, especially Ash. It’s hard not to fall for someone who is genuinely charming to all levels of society; he knows what it’s like to be poor as well as he knows what it’s like to be rich, and he’s not going to put down the people he knew and loved from either phase of his life.
Margaret is his target almost as soon as he sees her; he really has no idea who she is. She has, obviously, her own problems to face, not only her growing attraction and feelings for Ash, but her loyalty to her father. As the book progresses and she tends to him, she starts to realize that he may not care much for her at all. And when she thinks about her brothers, and compares her family life to that of Ash’s, who loves his brothers and isn’t afraid to show it, she finally starts to wonder about what’s been lacking and just how she can fix it. More, she sees what Ash is doing for the dukedom – for her mother’s home – and her opinion gradually starts to shift. (It’s a romance, we all know the ending).
In short, Unveiled is a really lovely book that will grab you by the heartstrings and force you to keep reading. And the book certainly left me keen to read Mark’s story in Unclaimed, the next book in the series – who doesn’t love the prospect of a hero who writes a book about chastity?
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