Courtney Milan‘s Unveiled is the first in a new series about the Turner brothers. Unveiled is due to be released in January 2011; its sequel, Unclaimed, starring Ash’s youngest brother Mark, is due out in Fall 2011. I enjoyed Unveiled, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one.
Mr. Ash Turner is the perfect stereotype of a self-made man, rising from an impoverished background to the pinnacle of wealth; he went to sea when he was a teenager, made his fortune overseas in India, and paid for his two youngest brothers to have the finest education money could buy. And now he has his eyes set on a title – specifically the Duke of Parford’s. Ash has waited decades for a chance to seek revenge on Parford, whose uncaring arrogance years before led to the dead of Ash’s younger sister, Hope.
The old duke is dying, and with both of his sons proved illegitimate, the Parford estate and the title must fall to the nearest male kin – Ash Turner and his brothers. Satisfying though it was to embarrass Parford and his family in front of London Society and secure an even more advantageous future for his own family, Ash soon finds vengeance to be not nearly as satisfying as he had thought. Perhaps he can find consolation in the arms of no-nonsense Margaret Lowell, Parford’s very attractive nurse…
I won’t just steal your title and your lands. I will run any bank that holds your funds into the ground. I will bribe your servants to slip nettles into your bed. I will hire trumpets to stand outside your home, every evening, where they will sound notes at irregular intervals. You will never have a solid night’s sleep again.
Unfortunately for his plans, Miss Margaret Lowell is better known as Lady Anna Margaret Dalrymple, Parford’s only daughter, and she has no interest in offering anything other than hatred. Ash has ruined her family, her inheritance, and her reputation to settle a decades-old quarrel with her father, the Duke of Parford, proving the duke a bigamist and Margaret and her two older brothers illegitimate. Whilst Richard and Edmund, Margaret’s brothers, attempt to gain support for a Bill of Parliament to grant them legitimacy, Margaret has been left at Parford Manor to pose as a nurse and care for her ailing father. And to spy on Ash, when he arrives to survey his stolen inheritance…
This was a very interesting story. The plot – disinheritance because of bigamy and attempted reinstatement by Act of Parliament – is not one that I’ve ever come across before, and I do love new concepts and settings. The early Victorian era was a nice change from the generic Georgian Regency period that seems to be the historical romance setting of choice.
Ash was an interesting character, very determined to get his own way and have things go the way he planned. Including having Margaret in his bed, even after he discovered who she was. Might I just add that he has the best name I have ever seen on a Romance hero.
Margaret felt rather passive at times, and a little overwhelmed by her domineering father and her affection for her brothers versus her growing attraction to Ash. I very much enjoyed the way she eventually shook off their hold – including Ash’s – and took her future into her own hands.
Both Ash’s brothers and Margaret’s brothers came across as ungrateful, rather spoiled brats. I’m not sure if that was intentional, or my own prejudice against bratty younger siblings.
Overall, I enjoyed Unveiled a great deal, and will be looking forward to the sequel. If you enjoy a determined hero, a unique plot and a refreshingly different setting, do make sure to pick this one up. Recommended.