“Book Review: The Land Steward’s Daughter”
Reviewed by Joelene Pynnonen
A steamy Regency romance teeming with characters you won’t want to leave
The Land Steward’s Daughter is Becky Michaels’ debut novel. This Regency romance has all the lavish estates, extravagant house parties, and hints of scandal that aficionados of the genre desire. It also delves into deeper topics like social politics, class divide, and individual freedoms.
Elaina Walker has loved Will Winter for longer than she can remember. Taken in by his parents as a child, she spent most of her formative years exploring the extensive grounds of Blackmore Park with him. The fact that she has not seen him since he was sent to school when she was fourteen? It’s changed nothing. When he comes back a retired captain, ready to settle into an estate of his own, it’s clear that his feelings match hers. But his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Blackmore, oppose the match, and Elaina owes them more than she could hope to repay.
Soon she will have to decide between desire and obligation. And if she does not choose wisely, she may lose everything.
The Land Steward’s Daughter is a charming addition to the Regency romance genre. It accentuates all the wonderful aspects of the time, without slowing down the prose. Each chapter opens with an excerpt from a letter, not only deepening character development and moving the story along, but cementing the 1815 setting.
Historical romance has to tread a fine line with dialogue. Keeping it too authentic makes for an uncomfortably dense reading experience, while trying to simplify the language can make it seem too contemporary. Michaels manages to emulate the cadence of 1800s dialogue while keeping the ease of modern speech. The result isn’t exactly an accurate depiction of the Regency era, but one that passes brilliantly without feeling like a drag.
The variety of characters are the highlight of this novel. They are a treat to spend time with, and their interactions keep the story’s seamless pace. There’s a good cast of side characters, who look as though they will show up in following books, which to me sounds lovely, because even as side characters these people are compelling. It’s rare to find a book that can set up dynamic and distinct personalities with so little room to work with, but The Land Steward’s Daughter does so with seeming ease.
This novel is firmly entrenched in the romance genre, and it does get pretty steamy. Like Tessa Dare or Amanda Quick, Michaels works with a solid plot as a foundation. The action primarily revolves around that plot, but if you like a sprinkle of smut with your love story, this one has you covered.
The bones of The Land Steward’s Daughter are strong, but it does lack the escalating conflict I’m looking for. The barriers to Elaina and Will’s relationship might be set up as dire, but they could have been heightened more. The setting, writing and characters save the story, but with higher conflict, this novel could have hit a whole new level.
For pure escapist enjoyment, The Land Steward’s Daughter is a fantastic candidate. It balances lush historical detail with modern language and a quick pace to keep the flow of the story going. Spending time in this world and with this cast of characters is like taking a trip with friends, making this a near-perfect holiday read.
Category: Historical romance
Paperback: 314 pages
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