The Wayward Son (The Ashmead Heirs #1)


Since discovering his so-called father had been lying to him his entire life and his beloved was beyond his reach, Sir Robert Benson fled Ashmead for London. After ten years, he’s back, and determined not to be made into something he’s always hated by an inheritance from the earl who fathered him. Upon arriving at Willowbrook, he’s entertained by the woman who evicts him at musket-point, but as he spends more time in his hometown, he’s increasingly drawn to his ties there - and to the woman who loves the land he’s vowed to sell. Lucy Whitaker has devoted herself to Willowbrook, even knowing it wasn’t really hers, but that doesn’t make things any easier, especially when she begins to fall for Rob.

This is an engaging story from an author gifted in writing that flows and enchants the reader. In this particular story, however, it is at times a bit difficult to remember that it’s a romance. From the start, Lucy is unkind to Rob, which seems to only make him like her more, but her resentment makes her rather unsympathetic. Lucy expects to be challenged and starts confrontations to gain the illusion of the upper hand, but it’s rather off-putting as a reader. Rob isn’t much better given that he has such a chip on his shoulder and no real reason for it since his adopted father treated him well. In fact, Rob’s reluctance to become a landowner never makes much sense, and it is difficult to understand his motivations in much of anything. It’s quite a slow burn and somewhat less than satisfying when the main characters do finally come together. Nevertheless, the mystery elements are strong here and make the story engaging and keeps the reader turning the pages!

Niki Price