Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Virtuoso by Grace Burrowes

The Virtuoso is Valentine's story. Valentine is the youngest son of the Duke of Moreland and is forever trying to find a way to live out of his family's shadow.

He does so by playing the piano. Well. So well that he is known as a virtuoso. But a sore hand and a doctor's orders prevents him from doing the one thing that he feels defines him -- and he is lost once more.

One night, a game of cards and lady luck in his favor gives Valentine another opportunity -- he travels to Little Weldon to inspect his "newly-acquired" property and is pleased to discover that a former acquaintance lives nearby.

Ellen, Baroness Roxbury, lives a quiet life -- and loves her garden.

When Valentine shows up in her quiet little town, she doesn't know if she should be pleased or worried. They had met a year before ... and shared a kiss. They never expected to meet again but, now -- they were living in close proximity to each other and the attraction from one year before is stronger and more irresistible.

But things were happening around them -- bonfires and loose tile roofs -- and a tree falling on to Ellen's cottage.

And why was Ellen living so modestly in a place so badly in need of repair? And where was all the money from the tenant farms going?

Valentine is determined to uncover all the secrets Ellen keeps --

And Ellen wants to discover Val's secrets as well.

Why did Valentine have so many titled friends? What sort of furniture did he make that made so much money?

I loved Val's hesitation to reveal his identity -- it worked on two levels -- on the basic level, Valentine didn't want to lord around (pun intended) his title and connections. On the greater level, I guess it was because Val didn't know exactly who he was. He was searching for his own identity, outside of being his father's son and being good at playing the piano.

The whole crisis of identities comes into a wonderful climax when a piano is delivered to Valentine's new home and he shows Ellen who he is by playing.

Grace Burrowes is a wonderful storyteller and one of my great discoveries -- her stories are charming and wonderfully written.


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