Ever Yours

A Matter of Convenience

A Matter of Honor

A Matter of Pride

Yours Always by Gabriella Anderson
(Zebra, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-8217-7446-8
Yours Always is a historical romance set in 1850’s England. Colin Savernake has been left a bequest from Lord Stanhope, a friend of his father’s. But in order to inherit the farm that was left for him, he must complete the task of finding out who is stealing from Squire Hobblesby, who lives in the small town of Middle Hutton in Yorkshire. In order to complete his task, Colin joins the squire’s household under the pretense of being his secretary. Almost immediately he suspects the squire’s betrothed, Anthea Fortesque, the eldest of five daughters of the late Earl Fortesque. Her father left the family penniless when he died and she’s agreed to marry the squire to help her mother and sisters financially.

It’s obvious to Colin that Anthea doesn’t love the squire, nor does she get along with most of his grown children (the squire is nearly 60 years old). He’s certain she’s stealing from the squire in order to help her family, yet he finds himself attracted to her. Anthea accepts Colin’s advances out of selfishness (she‘s afraid she‘ll never experience heated romance unless she allows herself this one opportunity to indulge). She thinks Colin a mere secretary without enough money to support her family if she falls in love with him. She intends to let nothing stand in the way of her marriage to Squire Hobblesby - not Colin, not the squire’s family and certainly not the accusations of being a thief.

The mystery of the thefts is overshadowed by a more urgent mystery later in the story. There’s a host of suspects in the household and it could be any one of them. The mystery is fun and makes the story very engaging. Unfortunately the romance between Colin and Anthea doesn’t have the same allure. Neither character dwells on their attraction to the other enough for the reader to find their stolen embraces and kisses to be appealing. There is a secondary romance between Anthea’s sister and the squire’s blind son that was much more interesting. They would have made a better hero and heroine for this story.

Addtionally, the ending left a lot to be desired. In almost all romance stories, the hero eventually asks the heroine to marry him, so it wouldn’t be giving too much away to say that this is the eventual outcome for this romance. But, the proposal is just awful. Colin doesn’t disclose some information about himself at this point that he should have and it causes unnecessary conflict that‘s really frustrating. He doesn’t live up to the term “hero” in the end and it leaves the reader wondering if he’s worthy of Anthea’s affections.

If you’re not a diehard romantic and can live with a less-than-mediocre romance, you may enjoy Yours Always for the value of the mysteries alone.

--Tracy Merritt

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