Sunday, October 30, 2011
Review: THE VIRTUOSO by Grace Burrowes
Grace Burrowes's The Virtuoso, the third book in The Duke's Obsession series, is an intensely romantic and emotional story of two damaged people finding healing with each other.
For virtuoso pianist Lord Valentine Windham, the Duke of Windham's youngest son, music is his life--until a hand injury prevents him from playing. Terrified his music might be lost to him forever, he must find something to fill the void while, and if, his hand heals. He wins a dilapidated estate at cards and throws himself into setting the property to rights.
Widowed Mrs. Ellen FitzEngle lives alone on Val's new estate. Ostensibly a grower of flowers and herbs, the lady carries a weighty secret. Damaged in a different way than Val is, she seeks to help him heal. And maybe Val can help her heal, too.
I don't have much sympathy for the sufferings of the rich and powerful. Their money provides a cushion poor people with the same problems don't have. Ms. Burrowes has overcome most of my objections by saddling Val with a condition no amount of wealth or privilege can overcome. I also like Val. He's another of my favorite kind of hero, the decent man. I also like that he's an accomplished musician, something he attained solely through his own efforts. In the previous two books of the series (The Heir and The Soldier), he played the role of comedy counterpoint to the weighty emotions of the principals. This book strips away the camouflage to reveal the lonely, isolated man beneath.
The author has also balanced Val's privileges with Ellen's lack of them. Ellen is one of those poor people without money to cushion her suffering. Her plight is a mystery we and Val must unravel, and Ms. Burrowes keeps us guessing almost to the end exactly what horrors Ellen has endured.
But the mood is not all gloom. Abundant humor from the secondary characters as well as Val, who still can crack a smile or two through his distress, lightens the tone as we cheer Val and Ellen on.
I like all three books in the series, but The Virtuoso is my favorite. Enjoy.
Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks