When Ethan Gray was just a boy, his father sent him to boarding school, separating him from his family. Soon after arriving, he was assaulted by a bully, Hart Collins, and his mob. Ashamed and traumatized, he did everything he could to bury it and move forward, cutting himself off from everyone he held dear. Alice Portman became a governess to escape from her own childhood trauma, scarred by the same bully. She is now part of Ethan’s staff, looking after his two small sons, and they soon find a chance to heal together. But just when it looks like they could make a life together, Collins appears to ruin everything.
Burrowes once again brings readers a troubled and endearing hero. We first met Ethan in Nicholas and now we get his story – and what a heartbreaker it is. Ethan is a good man, but one who has lived with the bastard tag all of his life. Separated from his family and sent to a harsh school run by uncaring adults, he had a terrible thing happen to him, one that affects the rest of his life. Alice’s life has also been impacted by a devastating event in her childhood, one that has impacted her decisions ever since. These two are very compelling as they work through their pain and learn how to overcome it together. These are awful events, but ones that have a positive outcome as they bring these two together.
Ethan is definitely not for the faint of heart – I cried as Ethan learned to relate to his sons and move beyond his past. It’s definitely a tear-jerker but one that is worth it. Having loved every one of Burrowes’s “Lonely Lords” so far (see Darius & Nicholas), I’m definitely looking forward to future books in the series. Burrowes keeps giving readers heroes and heroines that tug at the heart and make you smile when they get their happy ending.