The Reluctant Duchess - Ladies of the Manor Book 2 - Roseanna M. White - Guest Post + Giveaway

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I have been looking forward to The Reluctant Duchess since the moment I finished book one, The Lost Heiress! As the mystery of the Fire Eyes continues, we will follow Lady Rowena on her journey of faith and love. We also have a special guest post by Roseanna M. White and a giveaway! (Make sure you click on the link below.) 

"Ye're incorrigible, aren't you, Duke?"
He leaned forward a bit, the grin feeling at home now. "The word you're looking for, my dear lady, is charming."
- The Reluctant Duchess (page 79)

About the Book
By the year 1912, Lady Rowena has suffered much and is determined to flee the terrors of her life in the Highlands of Scotland. Yet she reluctant to submit to the schemes designed for her escape. In a rather unconventional way, Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, sweeps in and saves her from a daunting future. With the Duke, Lady Rowena has the chance of a new life, new love and a new hope that she never thought possible. (Please tell me I am not the only one who started humming the Star Wars theme song just now.) Yet she is plagued with nightmares of the past. Afraid that she will never be worthy, convinced that no one could care about her. Rowena also discovers that Brice is involved with a treasure that brings sorrow wherever it goes.  Will Brice be able to help her see the true worth and the beauty that lies within her? Will she find her confidence, her voice and maybe fall in love along the way? Can they overcome the "curse" of the Fire Eyes, together?

"Be whoever you want to be, and be it with confidence." 
- The Reluctant Duchess (page 156)
My Thoughts
While I have no personal understanding of the exact situation that Lady Rowena experiences, I know full well the horror of emotional trauma. I avoid talking about our experience in my reviews because, books are my escape. I didn't want the stress, the
trauma, to slip into my posts. But after reading this book, I felt that I needed to share just a little bit. We have been through a lot with our son (medically) since he was born two years ago. He underwent a lifesaving Bone Marrow Transplant (non cancerous diagnosis) at 9 weeks old and everything that goes along with that: being isolated because he is immune suppressed, constant doctor visits, being hospitalized with even the slightest hint of a fever and so much more. Thankfully we are now at the tail end of our journey. He made it through his first cold and was not hospitalized! (Although he had a quick visit to the E.R. per his protocol.) But the effects of the last two years remain. For me, the thought of having to spend the night in the hospital with my son has brought on severe anxiety. Going shopping alone is a real challenge for me as well. While this may seem trivial to some, it is very real for me. What Rowena undergoes, and what I have experienced ( although different triggers) can be explained as PTSD. Because of this, I feel it only fair to give a heads up that separate from Rowena's experience, there is a heart wrenching circumstance near the end of the book that involves a child. I was caught quite off guard with it and know that can be a sensitive subject. This book was a very hard read for me emotionally. It is not a comedy, however I did laugh out loud a couple of times. Love, faith, hope and joy can be found in The Reluctant Duchess as well. I love Brice's faith, that he is actively listening to God in every situation. He acts on the voice he hears, and even though he may misinterpret the words on occasion, he does not let the condensation of his peers sway his faith. Overall, I really enjoyed this second book in Ladies of the Manor. Because it helped me to see myself in a new light. Roseanna captured the essence of the story beautifully. I absolutely LOVE her use of accents throughout the dialogue. All through the story we are reminded of the truth: Where LIGHT is, darkness cannot abide. Do not let the fear of the past distort your view of the future. I understand first hand the effects that can linger after a traumatic experience. But please, do not suffer in silence. Reach out to those who love you. And find hope for the future. 

Brice ducked his head a bit, caught her gaze. 
"And if you really want to spite them, do you know what you should do?" 
He leaned closer, pitched his voice low. 
"Thrive. Be happy." 
The Reluctant Duchess (page 156) 

Purchase Options

I received a free print copy of The Reluctant Duchess from Bethany House Publishers, through Celebrate Lit for a blog tour, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Guest Post from Roseanna White

Though I’ve written nearly thirty books, thirteen of which will be out by the end of 2016, there’s something very special about the Ladies of the Manor Series. The first book, The Lost Heiress, is a rewrite of the first novel I ever wrote—at the age of 12-13. Once I finished that first novel, I made it my goal to keep adding more manuscripts to my “finished” file. I started in immediately on the sequel . . . and soon ran into a problem. You see, I knew who I wanted these characters to be. Brice Myerston, a duke, whom readers would have met in the first book. And a young lady from Scotland who had suffered abuse.

That’s it. That’s all I knew. And it stymied 13-year-old me, who hadn’t a clue what it felt like to suffer such things, and whose imagination, while rich, just lacked a certain basis in the realities of human nature. Probably a good thing that I gave up on the story back then, and didn’t dust it off again until my mid-20s, when I was reworking the series. And better still that Rowena had many more drafts to go through before she finally took to the printed page in The Reluctant Duchess.

I narrowed my setting down, during those years, to the Highlands, and I chose Loch Morar because of how perfectly the region of Lochaber suited the story I wanted to tell. Isolated. Stark. Rugged. Beautiful. Sometimes cruel. This was a land utterly perfect for my heroine’s family, for her back story. Then came the challenge of picking a clan for her to belong to—because lemme just tell you, one could quite easily offend with such choices, if not portrayed properly, LOL. And because I wanted her father to be chief of her clan, I ran the risk of people mistaking him for the actual chief, if I chose an actual clan.

A writing friend came to rescue and offered her last name for my heroine: Kinnaird (pronounced “kin-AIRD”), which is a sept (branch) of another clan in reality, so had no chief of its own, but was still a well-established Scottish name. Perfect!

So Rowena Kinnaird was born after many years of her character floating in and around my head and computer screen. And I got to pair this backward, sometimes shy, sometimes stubborn Scottish lass with the charming, suave, polished English duke I’d had planned out since I was 13.

I went to great pains in The Lost Heiress to make Brice Myerston a favorite character, so that readers HAD to read his story. Mwa ha ha ha. So far, so good on that score! Brice is a hero who has his faults, but he also has character. He has faith. He has a good heart, he’s considerate, he’s understanding. And he’s also so accustomed to charming everything female that he doesn’t quite know what to do when Rowena doesn’t seem inclined to be charmed.

There are clashes. There is tension. There’s much healing on Rowena’s part. Many trials for them both. But I hope that through this story of The Reluctant Duchess readers see what it means to triumph over past hurts. And how brightly God shines against the darkness.

About the Author
Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. The Reluctant Duchess is Roseanna’s eleventh published book. Her novels range from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more

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Ladies of the Manor
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A lost heiress has been found, but the past brings a danger that will threaten all she holds dear.

With a mysterious past, Brooke Eden recruits her closest friend, Justin Wildon, to find who her true family is. She has been raised in Monaco by the Grimaldi family, but she knows that they are not her true family. She is shocked to discover that she is a long lost daughter of The Earl of Whitby and even more surprised that her father receives her with open arms.  Read More.

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