source: free review copy via Rachels Random Resources
title: The Determined Lord Hadleigh (The King’s Elite #4) / goodreads
author: Virginia Heath / Twitter
genre: historical romance
first line: She had attended every single day of the trial.
rated: 4 out of 5
Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can this he break through his own – and Penny’s – barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?
My first time reading Virginia Heath was this past April when I read The Disgraceful Lord Gray . I really enjoyed the writing and the slow burn romance so when I had a chance to read another installment in the King’s Elite series I jumped at the chance. The Determined Lord Hadleigh is book 4 and the final one in the series but reads fine as a stand alone.
In this last installment Lord Tristan Hadleigh member of the King’s Elite, is a barrister who is working as prosecutor on the case against a smuggling ring. All the smugglers are now standing trial including Penny Penhurst’s husband, Viscount Penhurst. Penny has been called as witness. When Lord Hadleigh sees her on the witness stand he is instantly drawn to her beauty and her bravery.
Once her husband is found guilty and sentenced to death his estate is taken away and Penny is left to fend for herself and her toddler Freddie but society can be cruel and the odds are against her.
“Penhurst had fathered her child and been her husband. There were many in society who would judge her unfairly and she was unlikely to ever be welcomed within its hypocritical ranks again thanks to the sins she had not committed but which branded her nevertheless.”- 4% Kindle, The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath
Penny finds a small place to stay with her son and she gets by selling her jewelry and is trying to find work but as a single mom plus with the scandal relating to her late husband it is not easy. Hadleigh tries to secretly help her and when Penny finds out he’s secretly paid her rent for the year she confronts him letting him know she can take care of herself and does not want anyone’s charity.
Hadleigh comes up with an idea, as the smuggling ring trial continues he offers the witnesses a place to stay at his large estate in Essex. This is the home he grew up in and has not visited in a long time due to the bad memories of his abusive father and the guilt he harbors. Hadleigh also offers Penny a job as a housekeeper at the estate during the course of the trial. This way she has a safe place to stay with her son, has income plus can use this as a reference for future job hunting. Win win.
As the two get to know each other and Penny gets Hadleigh to open up about his past sparks start to fly as friendship and love begin to blossom. Handsome lawyer alert.
“Because of his height, she had assumed his legs would be thin and gangly. However, the thighs which perfectly filled out the buff kerseymere stretched taut around them had been honed on horseback rather than by sitting behind a desk. They had to be.” -27% Kindle
Much of the story-line revolves around domestic abuse towards women. This is the reason Lord Hadleigh chose to be a lawyer in the first place, his mother was a victim of abuse at the hands of his father. This haunts Hadleigh who lives with much guilt thinking he could have done something to help stop the abuse. He uses his inheritance from his late father to help abused women. I found the author tackled a tough subject well.
I really enjoyed The Determined Lord Hadleigh and author Virginia Heath has become a quick favorite in the genre. This was a sweet, well-written, romantic read about two people who are trying to move on with their lives and put the past behind them. I liked both Hadleigh and Penny. He automatically wants to take care of her, but she lets him know she can take care of herself and he respects her for that. She survived marriage to a man she didn’t love and who ridiculed and used her and she is now free of that and finding herself. Hadleigh opens up to her about his own mother and how she suffered and the guilt he feels over it. The two naturally gravitate towards each other and it was sweet seeing them get together. I liked the slow burn romance and he is good to her son as well. My one tiny qualm on this one is the cover. I’m not a fan of it but it goes to show yet again, don’t judge a book by its cover.
I’ll close with a few favorite lines and read on for a link to enter to win an e-copy of this one.
“There was something about Lady Penhurst’s eyes which disarmed him and called to him in equal measure. He found he wanted to keep looking at them, as if within their sapphire-blue depth was something he needed…”- 5% Kindle
“Penny picked up the bottle and the two steaming mugs of milk and turned, then faltered. The sight of her son sleeping soundly on Lord Hadleigh’s chest and Lord Hadleigh cradling him as if he were the most precious thing in the world made her heart stutter.” -52% Kindle
“She wanted to stand on her own two feet. She didn’t need to be carried. He simply had to prove he deserved to be the one to stand beside her.”- 92% Kindle
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Author Bio – When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free review copy of The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for my honest thoughts.