Grace by Contract (Once Upon a Duchy Book 1)


With no money to pay her father's debts, Grace Eldon indentures herself and her sister as maids to Silas Isling, the Duke of Brackenhurst. Grace works herself to the bone, but an unexpected opportunity to clean the Duke's study brings her further into his orbit. Having been scarred and maimed in a fire, Silas keeps his distance from others. Grace intrigues him, for she does not fear him, and she is able to read and write. He promotes her to the position of scribe. As they work together, Grace discovers that inside the "beast" of the castle is a man who yearns for someone to love him. However, old enemies seek to create new havoc and Grace's life is endangered, threatening any chance of a future for the two.

"Grace by Contract" offers an enchanting take on the beauty and the beast fairy tale! Grace will endear readers with her loyalty and kindness, and those are the qualities that chip away at Silas' defenses. Silas has gradually retreated from life, but like a bee to a flower, he cannot resist Grace’s gentle spirit. The world building sets the story in a medieval time, but it's not clear in what century or exactly where. The story is told in alternating first-person POV, which some readers may find confusing if they pick up the story in mid-chapter. The suspense increases throughout the plot and the stakes rise considerably at the climax, but these could have been drawn out further to maximize their effect. All in all, "Grace by Contract" is an engaging tale that will captivate readers who love fairy-tale twists and a sweet romance!

Tricia Hill