To keep herself from the depths of poverty, Milly Shepherd needs to be appointed manager of the Red Lion Tavern. The elderly owner is in failing health and has promised her the job permanently if no one more suitable applies. Milly will fight with her entire being to make the job her own.
Joseph Jacobs needs to supplement his income to pay off his father’s creditors and save him from debtor’s prison. Though the job as manager of the local tavern looks promising, Milly is favored by both the owner and customers. Instead, Joseph swallows his pride and agrees to tend bar.
As they work together, their attraction grows, their goals cross, and both Millie and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?
Joseph Jacobs closed the tavern door behind him and paused a moment to take in his surroundings. As a man used to looking over his shoulder and sensing trouble, experience taught him to be aware of others before they became aware of you. He narrowed his gaze. The meager number of patrons at the tables surprised him at an hour when he expected the bar to be fairly busy. He glanced at the clock; maybe it wasn’t time for the workers yet.
He shifted his gaze to the woman standing beneath the clock and his heart kicked. Her green-gold eyes held him where he stood. She stared and Joseph swallowed, willing some words to come forth from his frozen tongue or at least a smile to curve his paralyzed lips.
She lifted her eyebrows and slowly pulled a cloth from her shoulders. Her hair was a mass of fire-tipped curls around her oval face, her skin creamy-white and her parted lips, a soft delicate pink. Joseph cleared his throat and belatedly removed his hat.“Good evening, miss.”
Her smile slipped easily into place. “Good evening to you, sir.” Her voice was smooth, clear and full of confidence. “Are you looking to quench your thirst or just planning on soaking up the atmosphere?”
Joseph inhaled a long breath through flared nostrils as if trying to smell her. Something told him she’d smell of lavender…or maybe musk. Something to throw a man off guard, to lower his defenses.
He stepped forward. “Neither. I am looking for the landlord. Would you happen to know if he’s available?”
Her gaze lingered on his a moment longer before she looked to the four glasses at the table beside her. She grasped them expertly between her fingers and carried them behind the bar without answering his question.
Joseph couldn’t take his gaze from the natural sway of her hips beneath the deep burgundy dress she wore, the bustle a little too prominent for the current fashion showing her lack of money to afford better. Why else would a woman with the features of an artist’s model be working in a tavern unless necessity demanded it?
Let me start off by saying that Rachel is my English Rose. I adore her as a person, writer and as someone that has cheered me up when I needed it. This is her second Victorian historical romance and it doesn’t disappoint.
I know that my English Rose is nervous about this review and she shouldn’t be. Its a sweet, historical with a complete twist on what you expect from two Victorian characters. Ms. Brimble writes with a deft hand and her settings are perfect. I really feel like in the story; walking down the street; in the tavern; on the docks. Her imagery is fantastic but it doesn’t over power the story. Only enhances it.
Milly is not your typical Victorian English Rose. Oh no, she works for a living in a tavern and is looking to be promoted to manager of the tavern. She provides for her mother and sister and will not let a man take that position away from her. She’s smart, friendly and different from the standard Victorian lady. She is a lady but has no use for balls, fancy things. She wants all of that for herself and family but it will have to wait. She’s not a bitter person but a very happy person and very well liked. What she never counted on was fighting for a job and her heart.
Joseph is a the complete opposite of what an English gentleman. Down on his luck, sharing a room with his father and losing his stature. I really felt for Joseph. He really wanted the tavern manager job but ended up working for Milly in the end. His pride was wounded and he wouldn’t ask for help. Damn English pride! When a part of his past catches up with him, will he let Milly help him or push her away.
Milly and Joseph were well thought out and drawn characters. I understood what motivated them and kept them from truly opening up to one another in the beginning. Their romance was sweet and uplifting. I felt their need for each other and keeping their independence. Again, Ms. Brimble puts the characters in opposite roles that are standard in Victorian novels and she does a great job.
I highly recommend Love’s Debt for all you nay sayers about Victorian novels. This one is different, fresh and heartwarming.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bathin the UK.She started writing short stories about eight years ago but once her children were at school, she embarked on her first novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with small presses as well as securing her first contract with Harlequin Superromance in May 2012.
Represented by USagent Dawn Dowdle, of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family.Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…