Lady Eve’s Indiscretion is the seventh (!!!) book in Grace Burrowes’s Windham series and it is of a piece with all the others–there’s a delightful intimacy in her writing and the sense that this is a family who really loves each other permeates the writing.
There is a Big Secret in this book–although it’s fairly clear what it is from the get-go if you read carefully–but I’m going to talk frankly about what it is so if you’re concerned about being spoiled I”m going to suggest you stop reading right about now.
Evie is the youngest Windham offspring and she really doesn’t want to get married. She suffered a serious fall from a horse a number of years ago while escaping from a rapist (the test is never so blunt as to call him that but as far as I’m concerned that’s what he was). Her recovery was long and painful and the incident serves as a turning point in her life.
Deene is a neighbor and friend of the family. He has recently come into his estate and is trying to learn more about how it’s run, leading to many meetings with his cousin and steward, Anthony. There’s something stinky about Anthony from the beginning and I was extremely pleased to find out by the end of the book that my gut feeling about his stinkiness were completely correct, down to every detail (this may actually be a flaw in the book–I would rather the author be able to trick me). He also wants to gain custody of his niece, Georgina, from his sister’s widower, an Irishman named Dolan.
I felt like Deene was given so many opportunities in the narrative to figure out what was going on with Anthony and Dolan–and there’s a hint that he’s trying when he has a conversation with Kesmere about some supposed rumors–that it feels like this part of the story wasn’t fully developed.
What was fully developed was the relationship between Evie and Deene amd their mutual love of horses. I loved all the horse stuff in this book and how it was such a good metaphor for Evie’s recovery from her rape and her accident. And the horses are wonderful characters, especially William and Sweetness. I was never horse-mad, but this book helped me understand why a lot of girls are. There’s a horse race at the end which is fantastic and I really liked the way Burrowes didn’t write down to the reader and used some terminology that I was unfamiliar with and had to look up–I find that sort of thing to be very immersive but I know some readers feel that it pulls them out of the book.
Ultimately, I felt like this book was a pretty strong novel and while I felt that the secondary plots could have been better developed, I generally don’t have a lot of complaints about the book.
One note about Burrowes’s writing, though–I find that I have a hard time differentiating the different characters in subsequent books and I think I’ve figures out why. Burrowes uses the same type of narrative voice inside each of her characters’ relationships with each other so even though they’re all very distinct personalities, they end up feeling very similar in the long run. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading all her books in a row–I think it would end up being much of a sameness.
On another note, it appears that Burrowes has a new series starting in a couple of weeks–here’s an early look at the first book, Darius. It looks like something completely different and I’ve just pre-ordered it. (I feel like my romance reading mojo is back, huzzah!)