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The Partridge and the Peartree by @PatriciaKiyono is a Book Series Starter pick #historicalromance
Title: The Partridge and the Peartree
Author: Patricia Kiyono
Genre: Sweet Historical Romance
Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf. Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate. But a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams. Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission — educating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.
The missile hitting his abdomen doubled him over, knocking the breath from his lungs. When he’d recovered enough to straighten, his eyes focused on the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Had the punch to his stomach addled his brain, or did a halo surround this woman’s face? The lively young thing waved her arms as she talked, and judging from the way her mouth moved, she spoke as quickly as she moved. Shiny golden curls tumbled from her bonnet, and her deep brown eyes radiated with intelligence and purpose. Fascinated by the way her luscious lips formed her words, he forgot to pay attention to what she was saying.
The lips stopped moving and her eyes widened. She had to be waiting for him to reply, but he had no idea what she’d just said.
“Er — pardon me, miss. I didn’t see you. I sincerely hope you’re not injured.” Spying a handful of books scattered near her feet, he quickly bent and retrieved them for her. “Here you are.”
Her lovely brown eyes narrowed. Had he said something stupid? Sometimes he did, especially when he hadn’t followed a conversation closely. Since he’d lost most of his hearing in the accident that had disfigured his face, he’d learned to read lips quite well, but occasionally he’d get it wrong, much to the amusement of his cousins, who would tease him mercilessly.
“I’m fine, good sir,” she said, taking the books he offered. “And I thank you for retrieving my books.” She took them and whirled away without so much as a goodbye.
Phillip stood transfixed, staring after her.
Slowly, common sense returned, and he sighed regretfully. Such a lovely woman would never consider a friendship, much less a courtship, with someone like him.
Remembering his reason for entering the bookstore, Phillip continued to peruse the titles. At the back of the store, he found the section from which the lady had emerged. Here he found an assortment of slender books like those she had dropped. They were children’s stories. Of course. She was married and probably had been there to purchase books for her children. He’d best forget about dreaming of a life with her.
Chagrined, he moved on to the next section. His eye caught a familiar name from his youth. An elegantly bound volume held a collection of poetry by Robert Burns. He remembered his grandmother, when she’d still lived, sitting on a bench in the estate gardens, reading her own well-worn book of Burns’ poetry. Later, when she fell ill, Grandfather would go to her chambers and read to her, his gentle voice caressing the words as if singing a love song. Grandmother would lie back with her eyes closed, an ethereal smile lighting her face. It was his favorite memory of his grandparents and the love they’d shared.
Warmed by the memory, he picked up the volume, took it to the shop clerk, and purchased it.
* * * *
Robert Townley, the duke’s valet, stayed close to his master, but not so close as to intrude. The duke managed to get around quite well on his own, reading lips and using his other senses, but he couldn’t hear warning shouts or the rushing carriages traveling the busy London streets. Though Robert hadn’t been instructed to do so, he’d made it his mission to protect Phillip whenever the young duke went out.
Robert’s father and grandfather had both served the duke’s family. Robert himself had grown up on the estate, spending his youth with the young heir. He’d been allowed to sit in on Phillip’s lessons, never letting on that he was learning as much as Phillip. When Phillip had left for Eton, Robert had continued his own education by reading the duke’s discarded newspapers and everything else he could get his hands on.
When Phillip’s gun had misfired, leaving him scarred and deaf, he’d come home to convalesce, and Robert had been one of the few people he’d allowed in his rooms. The two men had forged a bond more akin to friendship than the usual relationship between servant and master. Now, he noted Phillip’s dazed expression.
What happened in that bookstore?
He reached out a hand and lightly touched the duke’s sleeve to get his attention. “Your Grace?”
Phillip blinked several times, seeming to bring himself into the present. “Yes, Townley?”
“Is everything all right? Did something happen in there? You look rather… dazed.”
Phillip sighed. “I suppose I do. I just caught a glimpse of heaven.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-partridge-and-the-peartree-patricia-kiyono/1113737450?ean=9781687583239
What makes your featured book a must-read?
The Partridge and the Peartree is different from the traditional regency romance in that, while both the hero and heroine are connected with the nobility, their attitudes and interests are very different from the usual members of the ton. Reviewer KVD wrote: “Miss Peartree goes against the grain of her elite society and works with the poorer class teaching children to read. Along comes a handsome, yet disfigured and almost deaf Duke who is drawn by her compassion and the fireworks begin.” This is a sweet/clean romance that will appeal to readers of all ages.
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During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.
She lives in southwest Michigan, USA. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and making music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.
Social Media Links:
Patricia Kiyono can be found on her website and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub, and Amazon.