I'm not sure why the book excerpt painted Ash Turner as a villain. Honestly, he is not. He is the epitome of perfection, he is caring, loyal, intelligent, charming, down-to-earth and totally swoon-worthy. The way he treated people around him and the things he said makes me gasped "Are you for real?".
The story started with Ash Turner stolen a dukedom from his fifth and twice remove cousins, the Dalrymples by exposing that their father engagement in bigamy. The motivation behind his action is to provide higher status for his brothers and also to pay revenge on the family that refuse to help save his sister all those years ago. When he reached Parford Manor with his brother Mark, he is determine to win his people over and become a much better Duke than the Dalrymples. On the first day of his arrival, he had set his eyes upon the the old Duke of Dalrymple's nurse, Margaret. Little did he know, Margaret is Lady Anne Margaret Dalrymple herself.
Margaret vowed to help her brother to gain back their dukedom by staying back at the manor to pose as their father's nurse while spying on Turner to gain any information that will tarnish him. Unfortunately, he make his interest on her showed and she can't help but feels that he is not what she assume him to be, a ruthless man who will do anything to steal a dukedom from her family.
"You are the most cheerfully ruthless individual I have ever met."
Ash never acted like a snobbish gentleman much to Margaret chagrin. He is friendly to the servants, especially Mrs. Benedict, the housekeeper and value her opinion. He encourage Margaret to be a defiance and not bow to society's rules. He makes her feels important and value as a woman in a society where men see woman as something to possess. Whenever she had an outburst and revealed her flaws, she expected him to despise her or leave her, but he did non of that. He accepted her willingly no matter what and honestly sometimes I feels that Ash is just too good to be true. Anyway, I just love that guy. Especially when we know that he loves his brothers and will do anything for them, steal the moon, walk on glass, anything. He also struggling to hide and cope with his dyslexia. I love the scene where Margaret reads to him in his chamber. Anyway, when Margaret identity was revealed, he had to make the hard choices. Will he choose his brothers or the woman he loves?
Margaret's brothers, Richard and Edmund are in London appealing their case to the magistrate. She is suppose to supply her brothers information on Ash's weakness, but after she known the man himself, she can't bring herself to ruin him. And she is dreading the moment that she needs to confess to him her real identity. She herself also had some hard choices to make, to help her brothers by betraying Ash or give in to her own happiness and forgo her brothers. I like way things ended, the choices that Ash and Margaret individually make in the end makes me admire them more as a person. You won't get those lame and cliche moment like the hero will just gives up everything to be his woman. This will only make him less admirable. No, Ash is much better than that.
Most historical romance usually depicted the heroes as rakes and manwhore, as it is something to be proud of. So is very refreshing to read that both Ash and Mark actually are quite honorable man when it comes to women. Mark even practice chastity. Oh my. There is no mentioned of Ash previous lover or mistresses. I'm sure we will get more on Mark's story next and just need to know what is going on in his head. "A Gentleman's Practical Guide to Chastity", indeed.