Title: Throw His Heart Over
Series: Aubrey & Lindsey: Book Two
Author: Sebastian Nothwell
Length: 162 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
At a Glance: There is no doubt this author has a formula, and it’s worked for me every time.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: England, 1892
Sir Lindsey Althorp, spectacularly wealthy baronet, has sat in the saddle since the day he was breeched.
Aubrey Warren, threadbare telegraph boy turned engineer, has never ridden a horse in his life and had no intention of starting—until now.
When a portrait-painting holiday in the country provides an opportunity for riding, Lindsey is eager to teach Aubrey the ropes. Aubrey works to overcome his well-founded caution regarding large beasts of burden. Harder to dispel are his insecurities about his scarred body in the wake of the Rook Mill boiler explosion—particularly as these scars are put on display to model for the painting Icarus Fallen.
As the painting progresses, so do the riding lessons, until a potentially deadly accident may put a stop to both for good.
Review: Sebastian Nothwell continues to publish some of the most engaging Victorian Era romance, this time following up on the love story between Sir Lindsey Althorp and Aubrey Warren that began in Mr. Warren’s Profession.
Aubrey has since recovered from the boiler explosion at the Rook Mill that very nearly took his life. His broken bones are mended now, though he still bears the physical scars on his face and body which serve as a constant reminder of the fact that he’s no longer the great beauty who’d once made a living exchanging sex for money. The scars matter not at all to Lindsey, though. When he looks at Aubrey, he only sees the man he loves—the man he almost lost—and that love is as deep and abiding as ever, his joy at having Aubrey in his life not diminished in the least.
Aubrey is still working to fit into Lindsey’s world, none too simple a task for having spent most of his youth in a workhouse and then as a telegraph boy before becoming a clerk and, eventually, fulfilling his dream of becoming an engineer at the mill. He is the commoner to Lindsey’s aristocrat—even though the Althorps are on the lowest end of the pecking order—and finding a place in the household that feels comfortable to him is made all the more difficult as his own self-doubts tend to creep into his thoughts. His overhearing servants speak of how hideous he is to look upon doesn’t help either. Aubrey’s greatest strength has always been his perseverance, though, and his courage is on full display in this book when he agrees to a proposal that’s been a long time in the making.
Aubrey’s former neighbor, the artist Halloway, has wanted to paint Aubrey for years, but Aubrey had always declined the offer to pose for him. It shows no small measure of bravery that he finally relents to sit for a portrait that is inspired in its intent, a Classical showpiece that will reveal Aubrey, scars and all, in equal measures of vulnerability and strength. Sitting for the portrait is not without its complications, though. Lindsey’s determination to teach Aubrey to ride a horse, something that Lindsey has been doing since he was a young boy, ends in a near-tragic accident that once again makes clear how deeply Lindsey loves his Aubrey. When the portrait is finally completed and goes on display in a gallery, Aubrey is once again subjected to the callous comments of strangers. But this also leads to a truly romantic moment for him and Lindsey.
Nothwell seems to love his imperfect characters. They never escape some form of physical peril or emotional pitfall, nor do they come out unscathed—and sometimes not even in one piece. He writes a ‘type’, but somehow his characters never feel cookie-cutter or one dimensional. There is no doubt this author has a formula, and it’s worked for me every time. I don’t know if he has more planned for these characters, but I’d happily join them in further explorations of how they’ll continue to build a life together, along with Miss Emmeline Rook and Miss Rowena Althorp in attendance.
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