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Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

 A Review by Wendy 
4 Non-Biddable Love Stars
* * * *  
Spoiler Free

Back in the day of historical times, a highly coveted woman on the marriage market would be highly feminine, well versed in the needlework arts and most importantly, Biddable. Yes, the willingness to be directed by her soon to be husband was the push back, no mind of her own and never to talk back and have her own opinions.

Thank goodness I am of these times!

In The Beast of Beswick, we are given the circumstances where two sisters are at the mercy of a scheming, money-grubbing uncle and aunt. The parents died and did leave funds for the girls but the uncle has been using them for his own purposes. The good news is that the older sister, Lady Astrid Everleigh is months away from receiving the untouchable funds which will change everything. Once she turns 26, she will be in charge of her sister and the uncle cannot do a thing about it.

But until then...the scheming is in full force.
The uncle has agreed to marry off the sister before she even has an opportunity to be part of her season and to add insult to injury, the cad is the man who told lies about Lady Astrid when she turned him down during her season. It was his telling of false tales about her which caused her to be shunned by the ton.

Astrid will not allow her sister to be bought and sold to this man...but how can she do this...
Lady Astrid knows of one person who would be the perfect answer...a man no one would approach, who would or fight.

Astrid just needs to steel her spine, present the situation, and make the duke see his need for Astrid. Astrid will do anything to save her sister from that man and her uncle. She will present an offer the duke cannot refuse...

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the Duke of Beswick is not living the life he thought he would. He never wanted to be the duke, his brother was destined for that. But fate decided to hand him something very different. Thane was strong, handsome and willing to enjoy the adventures life had...and one was joining the army and fighting for the Regent. He was fearless and when another cowardice soldier ran away, he laid down his life saving the rest of the troops. The wounds were deep and it was a miracle he lived. His scars were nothing but horrific. After many surgeries, the results left him alive but at what cost.

Years had past and as I said fate played a mean hand. His father died and then the brother who was to be the duke died as well. Thane is now the holder of the title and all of the responsibility...and one of the main responsibilities is to continue the produce an heir. But with the body and face, he has now, Thane is more beast than man... at least that is how he sees himself and the ton and others reinforce it.

Thane has only his butler and manservant who push back and speak truth to him. The relationships are tricky but deep. Thane threatens every day to fire these men but would be lost without them.

It is a commotion outside the door of his bathing pool which causes Thane to pay attention. It is late in the day and he is hearing a woman demanding to see him. She will not be turned away and pushes past his men opening the door and finding Thane standing there in only a towel.

Astrid thought the room was a study or library...and turned away so as not to see anything. Thane thinks this disturbance and Astrid's embarrassment is something to play with...and he does..saying inappropriate things causing Astrid to turn red.

Thane tells her to go to the library and he will meet her there...and once he does, he sits so that the light does not show his entire face...after all most are frightened of the sight.

Astrid has come with a purpose and will not allow this man to deter her. She was "spoiled" by her father who allowed her to have the same education a man would. He allowed her to ride horses and she was well versed in many different subjects. She was not raised to be biddable and never would be.

The time has come for Astrid to present her reason for being there. The duke has an extensive artifact collection from his father. Astrid learned of it while waiting for Thane to come to the library. She presents the idea of her cataloging it for the charity auction Thane is doing and he marries her. This marriage will allow him to produce an heir, she will be able to save her sister and it is the answer to all their needs.

Perfect, right...

Well, Thane hears this and almost falls off his chair. He says all sorts of scandalous things to Astrid and she leaves him hoping he will think it over. What he thinks is this woman is crazy...and how could she even want to be with him. What also surprises him is the stirring he feels for her.

These two are forces that will come together due to the need to protect the sister...and through this process, the Beast of Beswick becomes the man Astrid learns to love. Thane is confused, fighting his need to push everyone away with the need to master this woman. He cares for her in a way that frightens him. How can a woman so lovely as Astrid could ever love him...

This was an enjoyable read and it does skirt the Beauty and Beast feel. Astrid has a quick mind and is nothing like the required woman of the time. She is smart, allows her mouth to say what she thinks and is supportive of Thane. She sees the true man he is and brings out his best. Thane is the perfect foil for Astrid, allowing her to be who she is and appreciating it. Their chemistry is perfect and worked.

Amalie Howard was a new author for me and I will keep my eye opened for more.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

AMALIE HOWARD is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. The sequel, Bloodcraft, was a silver IPPY medalist and a Children's Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX, written with her good friend and fellow author, Angie Morgan.
As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

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