On August 5th, bestselling author Grace Burrowes releases The Traitor, the second book in her Captive Hearts series. A stunning historical romance tale of revenge, love, and redemption.
Title: THE TRAITOR
Author: Grace Burrowes
Series: Captive Hearts #2
Release Date: August 5th 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
The past will overtake him…
Abandoned in France since boyhood, despite being heir to an English barony, Sebastian St. Clair makes impossible choices to survive a tour of duty in the French Army. He returns to England hoping for the peaceful life of a country gentleman, though old enemies insist on challenging him on the field of honor, one after another.
But this time, he will not fight alone…
Millicent Danforth desperately needs her position as companion to the Traitor Baron’s aunt, but grieves to learn that Sebastian must continually fight a war long over. As Sebastian and Milly explore their growing passion, they uncover a plot that will cost Sebastian his life and his honor, unless he does battle once more—this time in the name of love.
“I told Miss Danforth I’d served in the French Army, but I did not tell her what went on at the Chateau. What I did was worse than that, though I’ve come to think perhaps I did the woman a kindness.”
Michael set his drink aside. “I am not likely to be impressed with this great kindness of yours, am I? And she’s a lady, not a woman.”
“I kissed her, Michael.”
The admission did not result in a deluge of guilt and remorse, as Sebastian had been half-hoping it would.
“She’s pretty, though she tries to hide it. Any sensible woman in service hides good looks,” Michael said, his tone sympathetic. “As long as we’re confessing our misdeeds, you need to know I searched her room.”
Old habits died hard, particularly when a fellow enjoyed indulging them—old bad habits.
“On whose authority would you violate a young lady’s privacy, Michael? I cannot recall giving any such order. Or do we make war on small, defenseless women now?”
“If she’s a spy, she’s a damned good one,” Michael said. “Six dresses, all turned at least once, each one plainer than the one before it. One pair of boots, two pairs of house slippers, not a new heel on any of them. Underlinen so thin I could practically see through it.”
Michael’s recitation was disinterested, but Sebastian disliked the idea that Michael—that anybody—had seen Miss Danforth’s underlinen. “What else?”
“Lavender sachets, a few letter from some soldier boy, a lock of blond hair, bits of household lace, and the most unbelievable quilt you’d ever want to see.”
What would Michael consider an unbelievable quilt? “Anything else?”
“Her workbasket is large and well organized. I couldn’t get to her reticule because she was off seeing the sights in Chelsea. No lap desk, no jewel box, no dancing slippers.” Michael took another swig of his whiskey. “Why can’t you find a mistress to dip your wick? Fine English gentlemen have mistresses.”
“No mistress for me.”
“So, you’ll dally with the companion until she realizes what you are?”
“Dally is such a frivolous word.” A frivolous, wrong word where Milly Danforth was concerned, though there were no right words.
Right up front I’m going to admit that Grace Burrowes is one of my favorite authors to read and historical romance my favorite genre, if I must choose. So I was thrilled to find THE TRAITOR, the second book in her new Captive Hearts series available to download from NetGalley. And as always with Ms. Burrowes novels, I was in for a very enjoyable and completely enthralling several hours of non-stop reading. I intended to stop about halfway through, but I could not stop reading!
The old adage, there is always two sides to every story is played out by The Traitor, because within we walk in the shoes of Robert Girard, the jailer “The Capitaine” of the French Chateau where English officers were taken when captured out of uniform by the French, including Christian Severn, the Duke of Mercia who’s story is told so vividly in The Captive. And just as with the Duke’s side of the story, Ms. Burrowes masterfully draws us into the heart of this man, who is in actuality an English Baron, Sebastian Robert Girard St. Clair, and is now back in England. He has been trying to live a quiet life among his countrymen since the war has been over. He is wrought with guilt, self-recrimination, and nightmares of his time in The Chateau where it turns out he was every much a prisoner in the way the English officers he interrogated and tortured were.
However, he made enemies in France. Those he tortured and those he is unaware of who are even more dangerous. The English Lords and former officer’s of Wellington’s army are out for revenge and retribution. The least of which is the majority of the ton giving him the cut direct and calling him The Traitor Baron. His tale is fascinating and his willingness to take the punishment, including being called out to duel four times, is only a tip of how far he will go to humble himself to those he knows he wronged, no matter the perilous situation he himself had been in. He essentially lives his life knowing there is a price on his head. So he is alone in England, save his “valet” and self-appointed bodyguard, Michael Brodie, who had been at The Chateau with him serving as one of his Sargeants, and more importantly, his delightful Aunt Freddy, who loves him unconditionally, always showing him kindness and her unwavering support.
Lady Freddy St. Clair is the best of characters, adding a lightness to the story with her boldness and antics. I wouldn’t call her eccentric so much as she makes no excuses for herself, her behavior or her beloved nephew. As the story begins she has hired a new companion, Miss Millicent Danforth, who is from a family among the gentry in Chelsea, but being orphaned forced to rely on tedious cousins. The position with Lady St. Clair allows her to be out from under their control, escape their cruelties, and earn a good living. She could care less about Sebastian’s reputation or how hers may be affected by being in service to his aunt. She herself is fiercely willing to stand up for herself and those she cares about, and yet vulnerable due to insecurities learned from having it drilled into her since childhood that she is inadequate, incapable and handicapped. She is in fact, extremely intelligent, quite witty, and alluring in her beauty. Living with the St. Clair’s she comes to know and respect Sebastian, and then to admire him, and then to fall for him. He too, though not wishing to draw her into the danger that is his life, begins to fall for the fierce and unflinching manner of his Aunt’s companion.
Lord St. Clair and Milly are quite wonderful together and Ms. Burrowes brilliantly offers her readers a very tender and sweet love story in the midst of danger, intrigue, betrayal, manipulation, and a surprising plot twist at the end. I was amazed at how easily I came to have sympathy for the man I believed to be the epitome of coldness and callousness in the first book and I believe you will too. Most of all, I was held “captive” by his story, even realized there were times I was holding my breath for the outcome, for whatever the pages held I was right there too. Thus is the experience of a Grace Burrowes novel. 4.5 stars
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.