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||Books We Love
||29 May 2011
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Hazel Statham Writer of Historical Romance
After being out of print for over a year, MY DEAREST FRIEND, the final book in the Dukes of Lear trilogy, is once again available as an e-book and paperback.
Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, is a man of intense emotions who loves deeply and protects fiercely. Devastated and wracked with guilt by the death of his younger brother, Stefan, in the Peninsular War, he readily agrees to aid Jane Chandler to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal. Much against Jane’s wishes, he decides to accompany her and together they embark on the hazardous mission to retrieve the young soldier. However, the journey holds many revelations, not least of all the abiding friendship and growing love between the two travelers. That special love is put severely to the test by the treachery that awaits them upon their return to England, when a tenant of Jane’s former home invades their lives, maliciously creating jealousy and misunderstandings for his own nefarious reasons. Can their friendship and love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them asunder?
Their arrival at the inn that night went quite unnoticed, the sound of the horses’ hooves clattering over the cobbled yard exciting no more interest than had done their predecessors during the day. Once they were halted, the duke hurried Hannah and the sleeping Sophie from the vehicle and into the private parlor. He had hoped to find Jane within, but the room was deserted and he knew a moment’s disappointment. Just as he was about to go in search of her, Eaves pushed open the door and stopped in some surprise.
"Your grace," he beamed coming into the room. "We had given up hope of you arriving today."
"Where is Miss Chandler?" the duke demanded, making toward the door.
Eave’s countenance sobered. "She’s with the major, sir. I am afraid he took a turn this morning and she has not left his side since. The doctor has been called and says that despite it being but a momentary setback we must delay our return journey for a few days. Shall I fetch her for you, sir?"
"No need, I will go to her directly," the duke said. "However, I would be grateful if you would arrange suitable accommodation for my ward and her nurse and make sure they are well nourished before they retire. It has been a very long and tiring day."
With that, he strode from the room and took the stairs two at a time to the second landing. Eagerly pacing its length, he came to a sudden halt just as Jane stepped out of Harry’s room and quietly closed the door behind her. In the dimness of the corridor, she did not immediately perceive him standing but a short distance away, awaiting her notice, and was startled when he softly called her name from the shadows.
"Robert," she cried, involuntarily pressing her hand to her throat, unable to move, as a new shyness overcame her.
For an instant, they stood thus until the duke moved forward into the pool of moonlight that filtered through a small window and slowly opened his arms to her. She did not hesitate but ran to him and buried her face in his neck. Words were not necessary for the moment as they both rejoiced in their reunion. Indeed, if she had tried to speak she would have found her words crushed into oblivion as, bending his head, he fiercely kissed her, demanding a response. Finding in herself no resistance to his embrace, she welcomed it as if to be loved by him was the most natural occurrence in the world.
Eventually pulling apart and capturing her hands in his the duke gave a low chuckle, "I see you have missed me as much as I have you, my love."
"That is unkind of you, sir," she replied dropping her eyes before his fiery scrutiny, thankful that the shadows hid the warm glow his embrace brought to her cheeks. "But oh, how I have longed for you, my dear friend."
He smiled mischievously, once more drawing her to him, the better to study her features. "So, you will still insist on calling me your dear friend, sweetheart. I had hoped for something more."
"You will always be my dearest friend," she replied meeting his gaze openly. "Whatever else you may become, you will still be my friend."
"Tell me then, my little friend, do friends marry?"
"Of course they do," she replied without hesitation. "Who else would tend me when I am nauseous and become a burden?"
My Dearest Friend is a passionate tale of the great love and trust that Jane and Robert discover that will last a lifetime if they can endure the treachery of others. Hazel Statham will keep you turning page after page as your experience the heart felt journey and struggles these two lovers face in the endeavours to find true happiness.
Coffee Time Romance
My Dearest Friend is a very tender love story about two people who are dearest friends first before marriage. The characters are likeable and their expressions almost dance across the pages. The reader cannot help but be caught up in their life. Ms. Statham blends all the right elements that breathe life into this well-written classic that I recommend.
My Dearest Friend is a magnificently well-written story of love and the obstacles that can come between two people when they fall in love. As things from the past threaten to destroy their happiness, the couple will have to learn to let go and trust in the love they have for each other. Ms. Statham has truly given readers an enjoyable and relaxing read that will have you glued to the pages from the beginning until the end. A marvellously written, warm, relaxing read.
Reviews for "My Dearest Friend - Newly Released"
|Reviewed by Hazel Statham
|I have just received this review from The Long And Short Of It and wanted to share it with you all.
My Dearest Friend is an historic romance in an unusual but undoubtedly moving style.
Ms. Statham indulges in the gushingly dramatic at times, not just leaning toward but splashing heavily into precious sentiment. And indeed, it is an indulgence; in a time when storylines are king and 'fast-paced' is promised in so many, it is almost a luxurious change to sit and savor this tale.
Friendship, trust and mistrust, and finally love fill these pages, and we all wallow in every emotion. The wealth of those emotions is hard to explain; as compared to more common descriptions, it is the difference between a ginger snap and a double chocolate brownie, and the word choice is often every bit as rich. The occasional lengthy, complex sentence might be found as detrimental; However, those sentences remind us to savor; to pause and feel a chill, or imagine those strong arms about you.
Tension is palapable as the action begins in a gambling den, London, 1812. Robert, the duke, seems to have all the cards in his favor - yet we are soon to learn, his motivations are far deeper, and grim. Upon meeting the petite and quite fashinably turned out Jane chandler, he is motivated to become the good Samaritan. Yet, it seems he will take not take personal involvement; and we wonder how the two shall ever meet again. Their next meeting is not by chance, however. The duke shakes off his inner darkness, in spite of himself, and in spite of recalling a betrayal. Their journey over both land and sea brings them into closer aquaintance, but is full of challenges.
The conflicts, communications issues, (how frustrating some of the decorum of the day, when we long for the two to share their meanings more clearly!) the depths of the characters and so much more will keep you reading this romance. Plausible dialogue make the characters, no matter how dramatic, believable. The small details of nineteenth century life, from background objects to the central codes of behavior and honor, add a depth that parallels nicely with the inner lives of the main characters. I loved that he drove the man's man of a vehicle - a curricle - at "breakneck speed."
Jane is to be found in her aunt's drawing room composing letters. Carriages, homes and ships come as sharplyinto focus as do the characters; just imagine the busy deck of a ship preparing to sail, or a young woman being shown along the companionway to her cabin. I will without doubt indulge myself in another read of this warm and enriching romance.
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