Title: The Baron’s Honourable Daughter: a novel
Author: Lynn Morris
Publisher: Faith Words
Released: May 2014
Genre: Historical, Christian
Society has little respect for a young women of independent mind. No matter how capable she is.
Regency period England is a man’s world. For Valeria Seagrave, she learns the only way to get anything necessary accomplished is if a man is willing to do it for her. The truth of this gulls her. Can she set aside her strong opinions and fiery pride for the sake of her families best interests?
“ What was mine is his, but what is his is not mine. That’s simply the way of it. It’s the law.”
Regina – Chapter 6, pg 82, para 5
Within the Leaves of The Baron’s Honourable Daughter : a novel
This story was written as 3 parts:
Valeria’s father, the 21rst Baron Seagrave died while she was very young. When she is 11 years old her mother, Regina , marries the Earl of Maledon and a year after that her brother St. John , Vicount Stambourne, is born.
Having lived all her life in the country, Valeria is shocked when she witnesses the notorious behavior of her step father, even though her mother is under the same roof!
While on a hunting trip with his London friends the Earl suddenly dies . With Regina lost in her grief, Valeria must step up and take charge of the household and estates that now belong to the new Earl, her 6 year old brother.
“ I am the Earl of Maledon now, am I not?”
Trueman’s eyes widened. He was speechless at first, and then he managed to answer, “Yes, my lord, that is true.”
“Then I want Veri to help me,” he said sadly. “For I don’t know what to do, and my mamma is ill, and Veri is clever and knows things. I think you should let her have the papers.”
St. John, Ch 9, pg 126 para 2-4
Valeria, though a clever and capable girl, finds that no matter what she tries to do, her authority is challenged by all the men she must deal with – from servants to solicitors, who shrug her off as nothing more than a young girl who is not even a blood relation to the late Earl.
Lord Alastair Hylton, a distant relation of the late Earl and son of Regina’s best friend, Lady Letitia Hylton, takes on the task of delivering the sad news to the Maledon family . While he is there, Valeria finds herself asking him to stay until after the funeral to assist her in the many things that must be done concerning Earl Marsden’s passing.
During the reading of the late Earl’s will, Valeria and Regina receive a couple of nasty surprises:
- Regina is left only $10,000 pounds, which is less than half of what she brought into her marriage to Marsden.
- Valeria’s annuity left to her by her father, Baron Seagrave, was absorbed into the Maledon Estates and used by the late Earl as funding for his lavish lifestyle.
Together Lord and Lady Hylton, Valeria and Regina decide to form a trusteeship for St. John’s, estate with Lord Hylton and Valeria as joint trustees.
This partnership brings Valaria and Alastair together often and as she becomes comfortable around him, her propensity of speaking her mind, and other habits developed from a country life, come to the fore.
Alastair takes it upon himself to assist her with gentle strictures and corrections to what is seen as ‘proper’ behavior.
“I’m telling you this because you will only do injury to your reputation, Miss Seagrave. Surly you must know that what I say is true. Well-bred ladies don’t behave in such a wild, rash manner.”
Lord Alastair Hylton, Ch 13, pg 184 para 3
Her Godmother suggests as a distraction, that it is time for Valeria to finally have a come out season.
“If you will allow me to be a meddlesome old lady Regina, I will tell you exactly what needs to be done…”
Lady Letitia Hylton, Chapter 14, pg 192 para 4
Valeria finds that having been a country girl all her life she is ill prepared for the drawing rooms of London.
“…but there are strict rules of propriety that a well-bred young lady must follow. Outrageous pronouncements of any kind are not welcome in any drawing room.”
Lady Sturway, Chapter 17, pg 235 para 2
As Valeria stumbles her way through London society she finds she is constantly in conflict of what the dictates are for well-bred girls, who she is and surprisingly to her, what Lord Hylton’s view of her is.
“Why do I brood over him so much? What do I care what he thinks, or feels? It’s so confusing, one minute I admire him…. well, maybe mostly his looks… and the next I’m angry with him.”
– Valeria, Ch 15, pg 213, para 5
Though his gentle strictures are kindly meant, they often meet with the lively temper and quick tongue of Valeria.
Can these two find a way to coexist for the sake of the co-trusteeship and their friendship? Will Valeria ever measure up to the high expectations of Lord Alastair? Does she want to?
Sweet-Tea Rating for The Baron’s Honourable Daughter : a novel
I purchased this book because the blurb promised what I was looking for at the time. I was in the mood for some lively banter, set in the Regency period with a little female rebelliousness tossed in there.
I was not disappointed.
The various settings Valeria moves through in the story brought out different aspects of her independent and opinionated self. Though she is only a young woman, she must carry very adult burdens after her step father’s death.
As fiercely independent as she is, I was happy to discover her character is not a self centered one and her kindness for others is demonstrated quite often.
The Supporting characters are such a motley crew it is easy to find someone who is like someone you know in the bunch.
St. John and his friend Niall are everything lively and curious that you would expect young boys to be. The cherry picking contest had me laughing out loud and cheering right along.
The solicitor for the Maledon estate embodies every negative stereotype I have ever been familiar with regarding the ‘Old Boys School’. I would like to hear your opinions on what exactly he was trying to accomplish during the reading of the will.
Character I would most like to share a Cuppa with:
I would love to sit down for a cuppa with Lord Reginald Lyndgate. Though he seems to be quite familiar with the unwritten rules of London Society, he hasn’t lost his boyish sense of fun.
“Didn’t mean to utterly corrupt him in one day, don’t you know. Apologies and all that, Lady Maledon.”
Lord Lyndgate, Ch 12, pg 160, para 1
Element Ratings for The Baron’s Honourable Daughter : a novel
I found that with the story broken in to three parts it read a little choppy. There were also many times when the story went off course to spend a lot of time in the minute details of clothing, rooms, etiquette etc.
These historical details were well researched and if you like to learn about the little things that made life what it was in that time period, these diversions are a grande addition.
If you would prefer not to get in depth with the surrounding details, just skim past them and the story flows well.
The Baron’s Honourable Daughter was not so much, to me, “ Will they or won’t they?” but “Why would they?” I didn’t feel Valaria and Alastair were compatible until closer to the end of the book.
However, I did find myself waiting for Lord Hylton’s tongue – lashing the evening of the masquerade ball and was curious as to how Valeria would respond. This was the nail biting turning point for me.
“Love you?” she repeated.”But of course I do! But you hate me! Don’t you?”
“Wha–hate–no! No! I love you, I just thought you could never forgive me.”
Valeria and Alastair, Ch 25, pg 355, para 4 + 5
These two really had to work around his gentlemanly manner and her personal assumptions through most of the book. Regardless, they managed throughout to build a friendship and respect for each other’s strengths to work as a team.
I think they will do just fine.
Lord Alastair Hylton, while among the haute ton is a bit of a prig. Amongst his family and close friends his quick, dry wit comes bursting through.
He certainly is not a fictional hero that makes me swoon but he does often come to Valeria’s rescue and is throughout a complete gentleman. I respect that.
Lynn Morris writes dialogue that is fun, edgy, quick, and really brings an interplay between the characters that made this an enjoyable read.
I rated the Emotion Coaster a 4 because I felt consistently frustrated on behalf of Valeria when she was stonewalled at every turn trying to do the best she could for her family.
Hot-Tea Rating for The Baron’s Honourable Daughter : a novel:
I actually had to go back through the book to look and see if they kissed. Yup, found it.
What I Learned About the Real World
The reality in that period of England, and for most of the world, was that women were not seen as capable enough to hold opinions of value, or the intellect to make decisions of authority.
I feel blessed that is not the world I live in, however there are many women and girls that do.
This story really brings to light the frustration of being powerless, when you know there is so much ability inside you.
The Last Drop:
For it’s amusingly witty banter and rich Regency period details I will give this one another read.
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