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Widows of Somerset ~ Review

Widows of Somerset
Timeless Regency Collection Book 15
By Rebecca Connolly, Jen Geigle Johnson,
     and Heather B. Moore

Somerset has an abundance of young widows - women who, with the loss of their husbands, lost much more - home, financial stability, social standing, and even friends. Fortunately, Somerset has Lady Joanna Kingswood, widowed twice. Lady Joanna learned from her first marriage that she never wanted to be at the mercy of a husband's Last Will and Testamony ever again. To share her knowledge with the other young widows, she has created the Secret Society of Young Widows. But every society has rules, and these rules are of utmost importance if you are a widow. The first rule one must be a widow. Second, have an impeccable reputation is a must. Third, promise to not fall in love again...And if you get married again, make sure your future husband signs the Continuation of Care contract.

In An Heir to Spare, Lady Anna Lyndham has lost her husband. As soon as the new Lord Lyndham arrives, Anna knows she will lose her home and her identity. Her late husband somehow forgot to make provisions in his will for her future - a future shrouded in uncertainty. Which considering his determination to make her his wife would have been surprising if he hadn't ignored her after the marriage.

Ned Richards never expected to be a gentleman, but due to the death of a distant relation, he is to become the next Lord Lyndham. What he didn't expect was his late predecessor's widow. Nor the responsibility he feels towards her care. 

In The Widow of Lavender Cottage, Lillian Hunter has been widowed for 18 months. She never married for love, her husband was a good sort though his intentions were a bit lacking when it came to his will, leaving her a rundown little cottage. A cottage which she is more than willing to transform into a space to suit her sensibilities. Lillian is determined to never marry again, not willing to give up the independence she's experienced as a widow. Her life is her own so when she receives an invitation to join the Secret Society of Young Widows she is more than willing.

The one drawback to the Lavender Cottage is Oliver Wentworth. Newly landed gentry he is Lillian's new neighbor. A question about their shared fenceline brings him to the home of the widow next door, a neighbor whom he feels obligated to offer assistance to. But soon the two have a friendly relationship that finds them spending more time together than would be acceptable if Lillian was not a widow. But newly landed gentry needs help - help that Lillian is more than willing to give.

A Promise Forgotten finds Charlotte Ashford widowed. She married not for love but because her heart was broken following news that left her broken-hearted. Lord Brand Wilshore was lost but not dead as reported. Learning of Charlotte's fickle heart, upon his return, has hardened him towards her. 

As the widow of a poor vicar, she and her young daughter have no choice but to return to Somerset and the home of her childhood. Her mother, a widow too, has encountered financial hardships so home is no longer what it once was. But her best friend, Thea is determined to help Charlotte and her mother. The best way to do so? Convince Brand to get involved in helping their neighbor and childhood friend. And connect Charlotte with the Secret Society of Young Widows. 

As Brand works to help Charlotte, each interaction is a brutal reminder of what they could have had. Can he stay the course until his duty to his neighbors is discharged? Or will he fulfill the promise he made before leaving Charlotte and his heart behind for that fateful voyage to India?

As these Somerset widows traverse the perils and pitfalls of their new station in life the rules of their society are about play an important role in their futures. Can marriage as a business arrangement worked to their favor bring them the desires of their heart? Or will the promise of guaranteed provisions be the most they can hope for?

This book skillfully crafted by these three authors masterfully combine for a delightful Regency read that any fan of the genre will enjoy curling up in an out-of-the-way-corner to while away the weekend. Each story has a distinct flavor so that one does not feel as if a cookiecutter was used to create each. The characters are ones a person can connect with and empathize with as they face what life has given them to deal with. Financial hardship following the loss of a spouse is something many can relate to so though this is set during the Regency period it still has relevant issues for today. This is a book one will want to read more than once and share it with a good friend or two.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows:
    Rule 1: Be a widow.
    Rule 2: Have an impeccable reputation.
    Rule 3: Don't fall in love again.

An Heir to Spare 
by Rebecca Connolly
Widowhood has changed much for Anna—Lady Lyndham—but an unconventional heir to the estate was not something she had anticipated. Nor had she anticipated that he would have no intention of forcing her out, although he has every right to. And she certainly did not anticipate finding him handsome, charming, and unfailingly generous. But Ned Richards, the new Lord Lyndham, has a world of surprises in store for her, and not anticipating them will become quite the adventure.

The Widow of Lavender Cottage 
by Jen Geigle Johnson
As a widow, Lillian Hunter has never been in love and plans to never marry again, so the rules of the Secret Society of Young Widows suit her just fine. Her days are spent attempting to transform her newly inherited Lavender Cottage into a livable space until Oliver Wentworth shows up, asking for her late husband. Anxious to establish himself as a landed gentry in Somerset, Oliver is none too pleased to discover that a widow lives alone in a tiny run-down cottage bordering his new property. The fact that she's young and attractive only adds frustration to his sense of responsibility for her. And confound her, she challenges his every attempt to help manage her affairs.

A Promise Forgotten 
by Heather B. Moore
Charlotte Ashford never thought she'd marry a vicar, and she never thought she'd find herself widowed with a young child to care for on her own. She certainly never thought she'd return to Somerset to live with her mother again, and Charlotte never thought she'd see him again. But Lord Wilshore has never forgotten her, and he has never forgotten their promise made long ago. Charlotte would love nothing more than for Lord Wilshore to forgive her, but too much heartache and too much time might make that impossible. Friendship is all she can hope for, but that hope may be dashed as well.

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